I live in a traditional Colonial-style home with a basement and will be moving soon but the idea of packing is overwhelming.
To run smoothly, efficiently and cost-effectively, moving needs a plan (or a "plan of attack," as it were). Thinking ahead allows you to spend money to move only those items you'll actually use and have room for in your new home.
When planning a move, your first step is to design a floor plan. This will help you determine what moves and what stays. It will not only guide you, but also your movers on move day.
Creating a floor plan doesn't require a complicated computer program. All you need is pen and paper.
Take a tour of your current home; jot down the pieces of furniture that are most important to you, items you would most like to see in your new place. Then on a piece of graph paper draw the rooms of your new space and place those items. Consider thinking out of the box by repurposing pieces for maximum storage and scale. For example, perhaps a china cabinet that was in your dining room can now be a curio or bookcase in your den; perhaps the buffet can now be used as a flat-screen TV stand in your new great room. Be creative with your space, too — don't just put your furniture up against the walls. For example, think about setting a desk up "executive style," perhaps with room for a credenza behind the desk, or "floating" a sofa in the middle of an open space.
Once you determine what pieces will fit in your new space, you'll move on to your "stuff." Here, measure out the linear feet of closet space; this way you'll know ahead of time how much will fit in your new closets. These days there are tons of options to help you "stretch" your closets and maximize your space. When sorting and discarding your stuff, rummage through medicine cabinets, scan under sinks, pore through the pantry, filter old files. In other words, discard the outdated and give away the things you no longer use and the things you no longer need.
Why should this be your plan of attack? Because movers typically charge by the hour for a local move and by weight for long-distance moves. Therefore, making firm decisions before move day will make for a more efficient move while, at the same time, keeping your costs down.
Remember, though, while having a plan is key, flexibility is a must, since things won't always go according to plan.
And most important, don't ever go it alone. Make sure you ask for assistance — from friends, family or professional move managers.
Susie Danick, is the founder and co-owner of TAD Relocation, professional move managers. She is former board president of the National Association of Senior Move Managers and a certified relocation and transition specialist.