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Managing the Mayhem of Moving

Your home is a mess, your life is in turmoil. You've read about this-you just can't believe it is happening to you. Is it a nervous breakdown? A mid-life crisis? No, it's just time to move. And with that realization comes a laundry list of projects that must all get done by a certain date. On the brighter side of this dilemma, you know your home, it's possessions and you have a deadline. Sounds like a situation just waiting for a plan of action. And that plan will help to get you, your family, and your belongings into a new home, intact.

First, keep in mind that studies show that the average American life includes 11 moves. There's a lot of moving going on! Many of these moves occur during the summer months-try to avoid moving at this time. If you must move during the summer, try to schedule your move for mid-month, when moving companies and rental agencies are less busy.

If you are doing the packing yourself, work out a general schedule for when certain rooms should be packed. Begin hoarding boxes! The photo copy center in your (or a friend's) office building is a good place to begin looking. Also call grocery and department stores. Find out from a supervisor when they do inventory, which will yield a variety of different size boxes.

A good source for information packing tips is, of course, the Internet. Most moving companies provide packing tips on their Web sites. Some sites provide specific details about how to pack specific objects-from artwork to lawn mowers.

Information on organizing the move is also available. Refer to the moving planner available on the American Moving and Storage Association's (AMSA) website ( This planner lists activities that should be performed each week as your move approaches. This site also contains information on movers that are AMSA-certified. These movers have agreed to a Code of Conduct that requires "complete disclosure of moving information to consumers, written estimates of charges, timely service and prompt response to claims and complaints."

It is easy to become overwhelmed and stressed at the thought of uprooting your life from one house to another, but moving is simply a series of tasks that need to be accomplished by a certain date. The easiest way to eliminate moving stress is to establish a plan that allows for all the tasks to be complete by the specific date, and stick to it.

Sources: Annette John-Hall, Knight Ridder, AMSA Web site (

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