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How To Plan Your Move

Moving can be a stressful experience, and the average person will move 11 times in the course of his or her life. For many, one of the most stressful parts of a move is the packing, a process that can range from disorganized to chaotic.

So Julie Morgenstern, whose career is organization and time management, drops in on The Saturday Early Show with advice about moving — and packing in particular.

For much more about Julie Morgenstern, her work and her advice, go to her Web site.

Organizing Your Move

  • Mastermind your storage plan. Map it out on paper. Make sure to map out both your current space and your new space. Take the layout of your new home and identify what goes in each room. Think about function, storage units, built-in closets or shelves, and furniture you plan to use for storage. Decide what is going to live where. Know the destination of things. Do that with your spouse, and try to go through each room-by-room function. Make some big decisions. For example, think about what you will do in your living room (maybe watch TV or play games). And be patient. This may take a couple of hour-long sessions.
  • Tag items according to destination. Don't tag items according to where you had them in the old place. This is very helpful when stuff comes off of the moving truck. Otherwise, movers just dump boxes anywhere, and they are not organized.
  • Leave a breadcrumb trail. If, for instance, you have a wall unit with arrangements that you like, photograph it before you pack. Then, to recreate it in your new place, just hand your helper the photo. Also, layer boxes by drawer, or put paper tissue between them and put a piece of paper inside each drawer listing what goes in there. This is what Morgenstern means by "a breadcrumb trail": just making it easier to unpack.
  • Pack a moving-day survival kit. Pack and mark a "last box on / first box off." This should contain certain cleaning supplies and basic tools; bedding and bathroom supplies like sheets, a shower curtain and towels; and kitchen basics, like a coffee maker, paper plates and plastic utensils. Actually, you can prepare a couple of those boxes (for the bathroom, one for the kitchen, for cleaning supplies and basic tools). If you have young children, include some of their things in one of these boxes. (In order to get them settled faster, you'll want to do their rooms first.)

    Hand-carry certain items, like jewelry, small valuables, irreplaceable documents and plants. For your documents, you should make a moving-day folder, which should include the mover's contract, cash tips for the movers, and documents related to your new home, like directions, key phone numbers.