Moving on a Dime

by Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam

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Have you ever been so stressed out over moving that you wondered if the easiest way to pack was to get a gallon of gasoline and a box of matches?

Moving can be a stressful time for everyone involved, but don't make it more stressful than it needs to be. Just getting started is the hardest part. Here are few tips to point you in the right direction.

Order In Which To Start Packing

Start with things you don't use every day.

  • Memories - Grandma's dishes, quilts, old books, Bibles, childhood toys and photos
  • Garage items - Christmas and Holiday decorations, camping equipment and things in storage
  • Things stored in closets that aren't used often and out-of-season clothes
  • Knick-knacks, pictures, mirrors and wall hangings
  • Seasonal dishes, canning equipment, roasting pans, good china, good silverware, large serving platters
  • Unnecessary CDs, DVDs and videotapes
  • Sewing room and craft items.
  • Home office - Pack as much as possible except bills that need to be paid. Leave office boxes open and tape them closed at the last minute before moving just in case you need something out of them.
  • Children's toys and games - Pack most of the toys they don't play with regularly.
  • One week before moving, pack all unnecessary kitchen items, clothes and linens (except what you need for one week).

Tips to Pain Free Packing

Don't leave empty spaces. Here are some examples of how you might use all available space.

  • I fill my china cabinet with lightweight soft things like stuffed animals, balls of yarn, quilts, artificial flowers and greenery.
  • If you will be moving your refrigerator, washer or dryer, fill it with pillows, wicker baskets or plastic items from the kitchen.
  • Fill clothes hampers with bathroom items. If you have a lamp that needs special protection, wrap it carefully in towels and place it in a clothes hamper.
  • Fill up even small items like plastic pitchers with kitchen utensils or kitchen knick-knacks.
  • I clean out a large outside trash can and use it to pack my hoses, small pots and gardening tools. If I'm not sure if I should keep something, I allow myself to take it if I can fit it in that one trash can. My son-in-law says it is one step closer to the curb that way.
  • Don't pack glass, porcelain or ceramic containers with loose items in them that could break them. Canning jars filled with marbles or baby food jars filled with nuts and bolts are recipes for disaster.
  • Pack heavy things, such as books, in small boxes.
  • calculator iconCalculator: How Much House Can I Afford?

  • Don't pack things like photos, videotapes, CDs, candles, plants or pets (especially pets!) where heat or cold can get to them. Don't think any of those things will be safe and protected in a car or truck overnight. If it gets cold, they will freeze. Also plants left in a hot car will not be safe because the heat will kill them. When transporting plants in a car, protect them from direct sunlight with a covering of newspaper because the sun will fry houseplants.
  • Pack kids' rooms last. They need the security of having their room the same for as long as possible. Be sure to put their favorite items in the car such a blanket, stuffed animal or books.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are the authors of Moving on a Dime: Save Money, Save Time, Save Your Sanity. To order Moving on a Dime and for more free money saving tips visit our web site at

Take the Next Step

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