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Top 3 Tuesday: 3 Ways To Protect Your Items While Moving

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Moving into a new home can be exciting, but the process of moving can be overwhelming.

Annette Reyman knows that first hand. After years of relocating she became an expert and started All Right Moves, where you can hire a team of organizers to help you unpack.

"I've had people say to me, 'This would have taken me months to do what they did in one day,'" said Reyman.

You can hire help for several hours or a complete unpack.

"That means unpacking every box, breaking down all the packing materials and putting everything away," said Reyman.

But a smooth move starts long before that. First, you need to find a reliable mover.

"You're actually paying them to drive off with all of your stuff, so it's important to know who you're dealing with," said president and CEO of the American Moving and Storage Association, Scott Michael.

He says planning early is crucial.

"Far enough ahead that you can have time to research the companies that you're dealing with," said Michael.

Tip No. 1: Confirm their location

"We've seen some companies that have either no address at all on their website or when you look at the address it's a gas station or something that really isn't a moving company. If you're dealing with a company in your local community, you can drive by and see if it's a legitimate business there and there's actually trucks and things going on," said Michael.

Bob Cox, owner of Reads Moving Systems in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, agrees it's important to check out your moving company.

"Ask for a walk through. See if its clean. See if you have any questions they can answer for you," said Cox.

There's another reason to confirm the location.

"Many things fall through in settlements, or the banks or miscommunications. So make sure that the company you're going to use does have storage facilities," said Cox.

Tip No. 2: Check their paperwork

"If you're moving across state lines, they need a federal license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If they're moving locally, then they would need a local license from the state or whatever jurisdiction you're talking about," said Michael.

Tip No. 3: Arrange for three in-home estimates, and get everything in writing

"We think it's better to have that visual on site look at the items that are going to be moved," said Michael.

Another option? Visual surveys via smartphone.

"There are a lot of companies that are starting to do an over-the-phone survey using a smart phone. Where they can hold that up and actually see the items," said Michael.

The American Moving and Storage Association has a certified pro-mover program to help differentiate professional movers from scam artists.

You can also check out a mover's license and complaint history at

By the way, want to save some cash? Be flexible on your dates. Most apartment leases are up at the end of a month. So moving in the middle of a month could save you money.

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