Tips for Packing Like a Pro

1. Develop a master "to do" list so you won't forget something critical.

2. Sort and get rid of things you no longer want or need. Have a garage sale, donate to a charity, or recycle.

3. Don't throw out everything. If your inclination is to just toss it, ask yourself how frequently you use an item and how you'd feel if you no longer had it.

4. Pack like items together. Put toys with toys, kitchen utensils with kitchen utensils.

5. Decide what if anything you plan to move yourself. Precious items, such as family photos, valuable breakables, or must-haves during the move, should probably stay with you.

6. Use the right box for the item. Loose items encourage breakage.

7. Put heavy items in small boxes so they're easier to lift. Keep weight under 50 lbs. if possible.

8. Don't over-pack boxes and increase the chances they will break.

9. Wrap every fragile item separately and pad bottom and sides of boxes.

10. Label every box on all sides. You never know how they'll be stacked and you don't want to have to move other boxes aside to find out what's there.

11. Use color-coded labels to indicate which room each item should go in. Color-code a floor plan for your new house to help movers.

12. Keep your moving documents together, including phone numbers, driver's name, and van number. Also keep your address book handy.

13. Back up your computer files before moving your computer.

14. Inspect each box and all furniture for damage as soon as it arrives.

15. Remember, most movers won't take plants.

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