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Simple tips to protect you and your things while moving

Adding to the excitement or nervousness of moving is the dilemma of packing. Mankind, being pack rats, tends to gather a lot of clutter over the years --things of use, of sentimental value, gifts, brick-a brack, and family heirlooms. Some are treasured while others tolerated. When the time comes to move there are hard and heartrending decisions to make. Determine how much you are allowed to take with you.

Find out the floor space in your new home. Be practical and: * Make a list of "must haves." * Arrange to put all other things in storage or have an auction or garage sale. * Put aside things you want to give to charity. * Disconnect, clean, and repair appliances a week before packers arrive.

* Make arrangements to transport plants and pets or find new homes for them. Most packers will not transport plants and pets. You will need to take them by car, train, or plane to your new destination.

Here are a few guidelines: * Hire professionals to pack fine china, breakable antiques, silverware, furniture, and heavy appliances. This will save breakage costs and the consignment can be insured. * Undertaking to handle the bulk of packing yourself, it saves money. Start with non fragile things: books, clothes, linen, shoes, as well as inexpensive kitchen ware.

 Use small boxes -no box should weigh more than say 15-20 kilos.  Jewelry and other irreplaceable items should be handled and transported personally. Pack with bubble wrap and carry it yourself as luggage.

 Boxes must be of the ideal size and good strength. Wardrobe boxes are ideal for expensive clothing. Use padded dish boxes for packing chinaware. Use free boxes obtained from the supermarket for jeans, t-shirts, shoes, toys, and everyday non-fragile items like tea cups and coffee mugs.  Use as buffer: old newspapers, bubble wrap, sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and towels.

Every item should be wrapped individually. Fill empty paces between objects with torn paper bits so that things don't rattle around when shifted.  Pack plates and glass objects vertically instead of flat.  Seal boxes using duct tape or plastic strapping used by movers.  Mark each box clearly--put a number or code that corresponds to your master list. Paste a label with name, address, destination, and contact number.

Use pre-printed labels or an indelible marker.  Boxes containing fragile items should be marked clearly as "fragile" with an arrow showing which the "top" side is. * Make an inventory. Include a detailed list with corresponding box number and which room it is for in the new home.

* Pack a first day box. Mark it to be opened first. Load it last.

It should contain: medicines, food, baby needs, and copies of house documents, emergency numbers, soap, towels, and insecticide. Include a few sleeping bags in case of emergency. Move economically. Make a plan or timetable.

Start weeks in advance. Try and locate a plan of your new home so that you can decide what to take with you and what to store. .

By: Paul Wilson

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