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9 tips for an easy moving day

On a list of dreaded occurrences, moving ranks along the likes of root canals and domestic discontent, even when connected to a joyous experience like getting a new home.

While moving is a big enough task to discourage the notion of relocation, local moving pros offer some savvy advice on planning, packing and transporting your stuff from the proverbial Point A to Point B.

To Hire or Not to Hire?

First off, weigh the pros and cons of hiring a professional moving service versus moving yourself. For long distance moves, professional movers have needed experience, equipment and insurance, says Cummings Moving Systems agent Craig Thigpin.

Most services offer a free estimate, which should be done in person (with references and license info). The biggest advantage, if your stuff is damaged, it's covered.

"We recognize people can't always afford our services, but it's worth it to find out what it would cost," Thigpin says, noting that do-it-yourselfers often figure car—instead of truck—mileage and don't calculate the near $100 cost per day (per person) for food and lodging.

Select the Right Truck Rental and Book Early

For die-hard do-it-yourselfers, research truck rental companies online. Some companies keep trucks in service longer between maintenance, meaning more likelihood of mechanical issues and worse gas mileage. Look for reviews, then book early and look online for discounts.

Clean Out Before You Pack

If time permits, clean things out before the big move, says Carrie Stromme, owner of Moving Miracles in Medford.

"Before you start to pack, have a big yard sale and get rid of everything you don't want," she says. "In every single move, people downsize, so unless you're a really bad packrat you don't need all that stuff."

Start Early

"If you're moving within a month, start two months ahead packing things you're not going to be using," says Weathers.

Box up infrequently used items, like seasonal stuff or the family movie collection, and get boxes taped, labeled and stowed away to reduce last minute workloads.

Pay for Padding—Not Boxes

Stromme's favorite piece of advice, save money and be eco-friendly by not paying for new cardboard. For small moves, websites like Freecycle and Craigslist are ideal sources for moving boxes and some stores allow "recycling" from cardboard recycle bins.

While skimping on boxes is OK, put the money saved towards padding. Says Thigpin, "People never rent enough pads. The do-it-yourself pads they get are thinner and less protective so they need to rent more than most places recommend. Pads are usually $10-$12 a dozen and I'm amazed when I see people moving quality furniture in the back of a pick-up truck."

Label, Label, Label

When packing, think about the inevitable unpacking, says Christensen. Tape lids shut and label boxes (top and side) with which room the box belongs to and a brief description of contents.

Slack Where Possible

While proper packing is important, don't pack what you don't need to. Tape dresser drawers shut and leave clothes inside. For hanging clothes, save money on pricey wardrobe units and leave clothes on hangers to lay inside boxes, Stromme suggests.

Pizza and Beer Advisory

It should go without saying, Thigpin says with a laugh, but the "pizza and beer part of having friends help you move" should be done in correct order.

"Pizza and beer comes after the loading! Don't do beer before," he says.

Odds and Ends?

Finally, tough-to-move items like pianos, hot tubs and grandfather clocks require special care when moved. Pay extra to have them moved properly and avoid heartache later.

"Chances are it will cost less to have someone move it correctly than to replace it because you damaged it. The purpose of it all is for your belongings to get from point A to point B in one piece," says Stromme.

All told, moving isn't an easy task, but steps can be taken to lighten the load.

"Moving and divorce are probably the two worse things to have to do," Weathers adds, "but there are some ways to plan ahead and make it easier."

9 tips for an easy moving day