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7 Tips to Prepare for a Move

You survived house hunting, found your dream home, and now it's time to make the move. Whether you're relocating across town or cross-country, you've got plenty to do.

There's no getting around the massive amount of organizing, packing and scheduling that lies in front of you. But implementing a few of the following tips can help make the moving process a bit smoother and less stressful.

A family packing their valuables in moving boxes.

1) Pack Strategically

Start boxing up items you don't use every day, then put the boxes in a room you currently use the least. Color-code your boxes with tape or labels to correspond to rooms: yellow for the kitchen, red for the family room, green for the master bedroom, etc. When you arrive at your new home on moving day, put a strip of painter's tape with a corresponding colored dot at the entrance of each room. This way, you won't have to explain to the moving crew where every box goes, freeing up your time and attention.

List the most important contents in the box on the top and at least one side. This lets you prioritize unpacking so you can put away the plates and cups before the rarely-used ice cream maker. Don't forget to write "FRAGILE" in dark ink when boxes need extra TLC.

2) Safeguard Your Valuables

If you don't already have one, purchase a small fireproof and waterproof safe. Put your most important paperwork, expensive jewelry and extra cash in here. It's a small investment to help gain priceless peace of mind. Keep the safe with you instead of packing it away for the movers to handle.

3) Pack an Overnight Bag

Give everyone a suitcase to fill with the items they'll need for at least the first 24 hours in your new home. This includes pajamas, toiletries, medication, phone chargers and a change of clothes. If you have furry members of the family, they'll need a bag, too. Stash a couple days' worth of food and treats, along with their pet bowl, bed and favorite toy in an accessible box or bag.

4) Assemble a Moving-Day Survival Kit

In addition to the individualized overnight bags, put together a centralized survival kit for the whole family. Include water bottles, snacks, bandages and an extra phone charger. Think about anything else you might need to be able to grab quickly during the hectic process of unloading boxes and unpacking items.

5) Prepare Clean Bedding and Towels

While doing a load of laundry right before you move doesn't sound fun, it will be rewarding for the whole family to take a hot shower and rest their heads on clean sheets at the end of move-in day. No need to pack them away in a box - simply use an extra overnight bag or even a large trash bag, then throw them in the trunk to bring with you.

6) Protect Your Floors

No matter what season it is, weather can impact moving day. Cleaning up dirt, mud or snow that was tracked into your clean, new home is the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day. Gather up some old bed sheets or drop cloths to throw down on major traffic paths. If you've hired a professional moving company, ask in advance if they bring floor coverings.

7) Prioritize Bed Setup

Make reassembling your bed one of the first priorities after arriving at your new home. You may be too exhausted to deal with it if you leave it for nightfall. Make sure to have any nuts and bolts for the frame in an easy-to-find place so you're not digging through boxes when you're exhausted. If you've enlisted professional help, confirm whether or not they are willing to break down your bed and set it up again in your new abode.

Whether you're renting or buying your new home, remember to reach out to your local independent insurance agent to make sure your renters or homeowners policy has the coverage you need.

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