moving boxesMoving to a new home can be a stressful time. You can often feel rushed and under pressure - and it can be an expensive business, too. When you're moving an entire houseful of possessions, it definitely pays to have a detailed plan and to start preparing early.

Before You Move

It's a good idea to begin packing early for two reasons. It gives you a time advantage when you're ready to move to your new home. In addition, packing up many of your belongings early on means that your house will be seen at its best by potential buyers. Pack up about half of your decorative objects such as lamps and photographs, leave a spare set of bedding and towels for each member of the house and pack up the rest. Your rooms and storage areas will look larger and more attractive to buyers. This is also a good time to go through your possessions and decide what you want to keep, and what you want to toss out or give away. Many of us are "packrats" and tend to accumulate items that we don't necessarily need - but this only adds up to more expense when it comes to moving all those items to your new home.

As soon as you know the date you'll be moving, call all the relevant utility companies and let them know when to turn off services at your current home and turn them on at your new one. Don't forget that you may need to pay deposits and connection fees if you're switching companies.

This is also a good time to ask your local post office for a moving and change-of- address kit. These are full of handy tips for moving, and often contain discount coupons you can use when you hire a removal company.

Packing Tips

Packing can get expensive, especially if you decide to take advantage of the variety of packing boxes that are now available. These are easily available from online stores, and many companies deliver packing materials right to your door, so it's a tempting option. If you want to save some money on packing materials, you can simply use normal cardboard boxes (which you can often obtain for free from supermarkets - just make sure they are free of holes or rips). And, instead of buying Styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap for wrapping fragile objects, save space and money by using sheets, towels, or pillow cases as wrapping. Unprinted newsprint paper is also a good, inexpensive option, The unprinted kind is preferable, because the ink from printed newspaper will stain many fabrics and other materials.

When you start packing, keep an inventory of items you pack in each box and label the boxes clearly according to the room the items will go. When you start unpacking in your new home, it'll go much more smoothly. Set a few boxes aside to pack last-minute items on moving day, and for packing things you'll be using right up until you leave. Make sure these boxes are loaded last so the items are available to use as soon as you arrive at your new house.

After You Move

  • An empty house is much easier to clean. With that in mind, the first few days after moving are the best time to clean from top to bottom. Pick up a supply of cleaning products and light bulbs for use in the new house, too.
  • Change the locks on your new home as soon as possible. The previous owners may have given keys to multiple people, so it's safer to have the locks changed or re-keyed.