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This past weekend, we moved from my parent’s basement (a temporary stop after moving from our apartment in Kokomo, IN) to an apartment about 15-20 minutes away. This was the 7th(?) move between us in the past few years, and we are still trying to avoid using movers. We are at the age where we can bribe family and friends with pizza and beer, but that won’t last much longer. We’re hoping to buy a house next spring, and that will probably be our final move without the use of a professional moving company. I decided I wanted to share a few things that really have helped us out each time.

1. If you have (or can borrow) a vehicle with a trailer hitch, rent a trailer instead of a truck. This is especially true if you are moving any real distance. They only charge for the trailers by the day, but they charge for the trucks by the day AND mile. We rented the biggest trailer and had to make two trips, because um, I have a lot of large furniture, but it was well worth it. We packed the little stuff in the back of the cars we were using.

2. Keep as many original boxes as you can. It is sooo much easier to pack things safely and securely in their original box. Then the small boxes can be stacked and transported in vehicles. Bonus, you then know exactly what is in the box, rather than having a bunch of cardboard boxes labeled by room that you really aren’t exactly sure what all is in it. When we unpacked, we stacked the empty boxes in our outside storage for next time.

3. Pack your clothes in kitchen trash bags, still on the hangers. This was pretty much life changing. Rather than using those expensive garment boxes or folding everything, try this. Shake the bag open, and then rip a small hole in the middle of the bottom seam, take a group of clothes still on the hangers, and pass the tops of the hangers through the hole you made, pulling the rest of the bag down around the clothes to protect them. Tie the bag closed at the bottom so nothing falls out if it falls off the hanger, and voila! Easily transported mini clothing bundles that take up much less room than a garment box.

4. Organize your moving helpers into teams. I had my dad, brother, husband, and two male friends helping, as well as my mother and a female friend. The guys were responsible for moving the furniture, with my dad advising as how to load the trailer. Meanwhile, the girls organized the rest and loaded the cars. Play to the strengths of the people you have helping. The guys had muscles, but not necessarily the organizational skills for the smaller stuff. My dad is really good with spatial concepts, and can load trailers like a boss. We unloaded in the same way, and it worked out so well.

Overall, we had an extremely successful move, and are pretty much settled in. Our couch is due to be delivered tomorrow, and then we will be all set for our housewarming party Saturday! Hope these tips help someone else.