YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsFamily

Home Rule

Moving Time Can Mean Organization--Or Disaster

May 22, 1986|BONNIE McCULLOUGH | McCullough, based in Colorado, is the author of five books on home management.

To move a house full of goods and a family takes more time than getting ready for Christmas or planning a wedding. If ever there is a time to get organized, this is it.

You'll need a notebook, if you don't already have one, to collect ideas and make plans. There are too many details to let them run around in your head. Take some of the stress out of the situation by writing the details on paper so you can use all of your senses to evaluate priorities. As you contemplate this move, all sorts of things that need to be done will come to your mind. Write them down and then categorize them.

The circumstances of your move affect the number of details. Obviously, it won't be as difficult for a single person to move across town as it will be for a family of five to move 1,000 miles.

Go through your place, room by room, and list repairs and cleaning projects that need to be done to be eligible for a return of your rent deposit or to get the house ready for sale.

Two Categories

If you are selling your home, your preparations fall into two categories: getting the house ready to sell, and getting the contents of the house ready to move. Often sellers can get a better price for their property by sprucing up the yard and house. Some real estate agents recommend that sellers pack up at least half of their stuff to give an image of spaciousness as prospective buyers walk through. Allow yourself plenty of time to spruce up.

Set up a reverse calendar to chart preparations and then establish intermediate deadlines. Important details will be skipped if you wait to do everything at the last minute.

Most national moving companies offer a free brochure describing helpful strategies on how to move yourself and/or how to work with a professional company. They will tell you to set up a plan-ahead program, somewhat like the following:

Before You Move . . .

One month before moving day:

--Decide whether you will be packing and/or moving yourself.

--If you are being relocated at your company's request, what portion of the move will the company pay for and what are the guidelines?

--Contact the Internal Revenue Service and ask about regulations dealing with tax deductible moving expenses.

--Call movers for estimate, if appropriate.

--Make travel plans and hotel reservations.

--Use up the food in your freezer and cupboards.

--Begin sorting your possessions. Get rid of junk. Some things are not worth moving. Send them to charity or prepare for a garage sale.

--Return borrowed items to friends and family.

--Gather packing boxes, newspaper and tissue for wrapping. You can buy boxes from various moving companies that are nice to use because they are sturdy and uniform in size. Buy gummed tape for sealing cartons.

--As you pay bills, enclose notice of address change to everyone you do business with. Send change-of-address cards to magazines, credit card companies, friends and family.

--Notify dentist, doctor, etc. of pending move and gather records.

--Contact church and school to make arrangements to have files sent to new area.

Two weeks before moving day:

--Start taking care of items you need to wash, repair or clean. This is probably too late for extensive projects like upholstering or refinishing furniture.

--If you are packing, do a few boxes a day, one room at a time. Have a place set aside to stack these boxes so they aren't all over the house. First pack the items you don't need every day. With a black marker, write on the box which room it will go to in the new house. Give every box a number. In your notebook, list a brief inventory of what is in the box.

--Notify local utilities of disconnect dates and arrange connect dates with new utilities.

--Have your car serviced for the trip.

--Drain all the oil and gasoline from power tools and lawn care machinery.

As the Day Draws Near . . .

One week before moving day:

--Pack necessities that you will need while everything else is in transport, including simple cooking utensils, paper products, towels, soap, basic tools, alarm clock, medicine and health and financial papers.

--Pack suitcases.

--Pay outstanding bills.

--Arrange for child care on moving day.

One day before moving day:

--Empty and defrost your refrigerator and freezer and let them air out.

--Clean and air your cooking range.

--Finish packing your personal items.

--Set aside vacuum and bucket of cleaning supplies that you will need for cleaning after everything else is loaded in the van.

Los Angeles Times Articles