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September is the busiest month of the year for moves, whether you're relocating to a university dorm, a new condo or a house on the other side of the country. We explain how to minimize moving-day stress.

Start early

There's Moore's Law. There's Murphy's Law. But there's also some yet-to-be-named law that states: "Packing always takes longer than you think."

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Get started with sorting and packing a month ahead of time, says Janet Reay, manager of Reay's Moving & Storage in Vancouver. You don't want to leave anything till the last day - especially if you've recruited friends to help. "They don't want to be hanging around while you're running around still packing."

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If you've hired movers, keep in mind that you're paying them by the hour - forgive the cliché, but time really is money.

Ms. Reay, who has 26 years in the moving industry under her belt, suggests you pack your clothes first (leave out what you'll need to get by until moving day), then pack up knick-knacks and china, and leave your kitchen gear till the end. Have a few boxes on hand to fill in the last few days with all those assorted items that you forgot.


One of the best things about moving? You're forced to sift through your possessions to separate the junk from the good stuff.

It may be time to send clothes along to Goodwill if you haven't worn them in a year. And the garbage may beckon for that childhood bric-a-brac you've carted around for decades. Forget about annual spring cleaning - now's your chance to liberate yourself from the junk you've saddled yourself with.

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When it comes to furniture, the items that will take up the most room in your moving truck, ask yourself if each piece is worth moving (especially for longer moves) or if you're better off buying new items.

The joke at Ms. Reay's company is "IKEA is Swedish for 'don't move twice'" because the furniture usually doesn't hold up when it's disassembled and then reassembled. Halogen lamps and floor-length mirrors usually don't fare too well, either, she says. Sell them or pass them on to a friend.

Have the right supplies

Collect boxes of various sizes for your move: Ask friends for their old ones and swing by the liquor store to intercept some before they get sent out for recycling.

Put heavier items - books, china - in small boxes, and fill big ones with lighter items such as bedding, Ms. Reay says. Get some clean packing paper to wrap up your breakable possessions, she adds.

"It's better not to use newsprint because you'll have to wash your dishes again."

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For moving day, do your body a favour and rent some dollies. It's 2010, after all - we really shouldn't be moving the way our forefathers did. Having one on hand for even a small move will speed things up and bring relief to any volunteers you've recruited (which will, in turn, make them more willing to help you out next time).

Bring out your old, tattered blankets (or rent some from a moving company) to protect your furniture while it's in transit. Once you've loaded it into the truck, arrange the blankets around it to protect it from scratches and to cushion it if it falls.

Be organized

There are a few things you can do when you pack that will make unpacking much easier. Ms. Reay suggests you use little strips of masking tape and a marker to label the cords on various pieces of electronic equipment so you don't mix up the plug for your TV with the ones for your stereo or DVD player.

Label your boxes according to which room they'll be dropped off in. This will make unloading easier, but also help you prioritize unpacking. Familiarize yourself with the space you're moving into, as well, Ms. Reay says - it may make sense to load the "kitchen" boxes into the van last if you know they're going to be unloaded and dropped off in the kitchen first.

And don't do this

Water your plants the day before your move - they'll make a mess when you transport them

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About the Author

Dakshana Bascaramurty is a national news reporter who writes about race and ethnicity. She won a 2013 National Newspaper Award in beat reporting for her coverage of changing demographics in the 905 region. Previously, she was a feature writer for Globe Life. More

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