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First of all, are you crazy! Do you know the work this entails? O.K. You’ve had a moment to think about it and you still intend a do-it-yourself move. Usually the best reason for this decision involves saving money. In order to do so, don’t rent the first moving truck you find. Shop around between major competitors to get the best quote. Or better yet, line up all your friend’s and neighbor’s pick-up trucks and provide them with plenty of free food.

Avoid packing everything you own two days before the move. It can be done, but you will feel like you have worked an unpaid 48 hour shift at UPS during the holiday season. Start as early as you can. Begin by packing those little used items like your photo albums, next season’s clothing, holiday decorations. A week prior to moving day, be ready to pack extra bedding, pots and pans, extra servings of dishes. The day before the move you should be down to the basic essentials; your toothbrush, a change of clothes, and a single pan to cook out of. By this point you should be well into cleaning out the old place and making it spotless. Packing should not be a priority at this time, although it typically still consumes much of my time.

Another big packing mistake is assuming because something is currently in your household it should go into a box headed for your next household. Sort through that junk or you will end up like me, wondering why the heck I’m unpacking vacuum attachments to a vacuum I no longer have and an industrial lawnmower blade to a lawnmower I’ve never owned. Then there is the toaster that doesn’t work. Be tough on yourself and kind to the local Salvation Army. Remember there are some things they don’t want either, like your collection of mismatched socks. Recycle what you can and leave the rest for garbage pick up.

Moving day is here and you’re ready to load the truck(s). I sure hope you’ve got help! If you’ve got kids, send them to play at a friends, or if they are old enough put them to work in an out of the way spot. Have plenty of junk food on hand and have a pizza delivered for lunch. You’ll be too busy to go anywhere and you certainly won’t be whipping up a gourmet meal in the kitchen you just cleared.

If you are moving out of state there are a few special things you should be aware of. Take out that atlas and plan your route. How many miles will you be traveling? When do you need to arrive at your new destination? Avoid pressuring yourself with around the clock driving. Especially with kids, or you better have a new therapist lined up and waiting for you when you arrive! Scout out sight seeing along the way for interesting travel breaks.

Moving in ideally goes smoother if you can place boxes in the correct rooms they belong when unloading the truck. Again sort out any unneeded items you may have overlooked and take your time. If you were discouraged from getting rid of that awful paisley shirt your neighbor gave you for your birthday, well, she’s no longer your neighbor. Think of moving in as a new start, a chance to rival Martha Stewart in organizational skills. The do-it-yourself move can be done in a smooth, organized manner. You can avoid the trip to your therapist. Learn from the mistakes of others. Use me as your guide. You will save time, money, and sanity.