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7 tips to simplify your move

Whether you’re moving across the country or down the street, there’s plenty to think about before you go

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This week marks the 16th time I’ve moved house in as many years. I’ve moved from Sydney River to Montreal, Montreal to Toronto, Toronto to Halifax, and a number of times around each of those cities.

I can say for certain that each time I’ve learned something from the experience, and each time moving day has been less stressful. Today I’ll share a few of my field-tested tips with you:

Clean out, pare down: Before you start to pack really look at the items in your home to decide if you want to take them. This is a great time to part with furniture, clothes, and other items you don’t really need.

Books are my big vice. Before I started packing I owned about 300. In planning for my move I cut that number by half, which made packing smoother and will cut my expenses on moving day.

Packing materials: Before you start to pack make sure you have everything you’ll need close at hand: boxes, packing tape, scissors, markers, and cushioning material. You don’t want to stop once you get on a roll.

Pick the right tool for the job: Have a range of box sizes available. You can buy boxes or work with a company like Frogbox, which will drop off and pick up reusable moving boxes.

I prefer to find my boxes for free. Tim Hortons cup boxes are perfect for small appliances like stand mixers and microwaves. The boxes that bottles of wine ship to the liquor store in are perfect for packing books and other small items.

When it comes to packing material you can purchase Styrofoam packing peanuts or bubble wrap, go the traditional route with newspaper, or wrap breakables in soft sweaters or blankets, which is my preference. Packing peanuts tend to linger around the house and can be dangerous for small children and pets. Newspapers can leave black smudges on your hands and the items you’re packing.

In 16 moves, I have yet to break so much as a single plate using my sweaters, towels, and blankets method, which also saves me packing space as I’m using items that I’m moving anyway.

Stay organized: Pack boxes according to kind. For example, all kitchen items. This simplifies unpacking as you can complete one room at a time. You may have to try several items in a box together before hitting the right combination.

Box one: Pack yourself a box with all of the essentials you’ll need immediately at your new home. Make the box easy to pick out from the others, and put it in the truck last for easy access. You should include: scissors or a box knife, non-perishable snacks, cups for water, toilet paper, and anything else you may need straight away.

Label every box: I’ve tried a number of different labeling techniques from simply writing the name of the room the box belongs in to to a full-blown numbering system with a corresponding spreadsheet listing each item in each box. This time around my plan is to simplify by writing the name of the room the box is destined for and listing a few key items inside.

And lastly, the big one: How are you going to move everything?

A rented truck is one option. If you’re moving within city limits and will return the truck to the same location you rented it, then it should cost less than $100 with a dolly, protective padding, and fuel. This option is easiest on your wallet, but hard on your body. Think honestly about how much help you’ll need.

Many moving companies will lend you the help without the truck for an hourly rate so you can combine the control of driving your own truck with the manpower of experienced movers.

If you’re moving to another city, factor into your budget the base price of the rental, kilometre fees, and fuel costs. Most companies charge a $150-$350 drop off fee if you are leaving the truck in a different city.

Hiring a moving company is another option. While movers will charge you $75-$150 an hour (plus kilometres or load weight) it saves you worrying about loading the truck or navigating stairs with heavy furniture.

Request three quotes before hiring a moving company. Many companies will be willing to send a representative to your home to provide a more accurate estimate of costs and time. Ask what’s included in the price, and how much insurance is included with the package you’re purchasing. Your home insurance company may also offer extended insurance to cover your move.

What moving tips do you have? Share yours below in the comments.

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