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Learning how to make a good move

YOU can save time, effort, and big money on your next move by relying on professional packing techniques for your household items. Savings of between $200 and $500 are possible on the average 7,000-9,000-pound truckload, whether you're moving across the country or only within the same town.

``If you're boxing and crating your own household items and having us professionals move everything into the van,'' says a supervisory agent for Allied Van Lines, ``your packing chore needn't be overwhelming. But the packing has to be done right to protect your goods and to save the professional movers time for which you're charged.''

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Time is crucial to a well-planned move. ``Always give yourself enough time to pack -- several weeks or more,'' he suggests. ``Don't judge yourself by what we professional movers can accomplish. A professional crew can pack in one day and move everything the next.''

Professional movers suggest that, even before you begin packing, you weed out and discard items that you really don't want. Perhaps a garage sale is the answer, and you could even make some money in the process. Then pack the easiest nonbreakable belongings first. If you run out of time, you can always have the movers pack the delicate items.

More than likely you'll need to buy or rent special containers for mirrors and mattresses from the moving company, but there are plenty of boxes around, free for the asking.

A good rule of thumb on the number of boxes to use is to double the estimate. Going on a hunt to the supermarket or local TV and appliance shop will turn up useful containers. Also, ask toy and variety store owners for cardboard tubes for wall hangings, posters, and so on. Using the right cartons and closing them securely with wide tape rather than cord will save time loading and unloading.

If you're doing all your own packing and moving, smaller boxes are easier to carry. Larger boxes are easier for experienced professional movers with the proper lifting equipment. Dish carton

Moving companies will suggest the right size cartons. The dishpack is an 18-by-18-by-30-inch carton with three layers of heavy, corrugated cardboard. Improvise with a store carton roughly the same size, lined with two or three layers of corrugated board or heavy-duty cardboard.

Pack heavy china in the bottom and always wrap each piece separately (sugar bowl top and bowl alone). Next, pack the cups and bowls. Always pack dishes on end, never flat. Lighter items, such as glasses and crystal, should go on top and be wrapped separately. Buy heavy-grade packing paper and tissue paper and use both between the plates and other china, not newspaper, because the ink can smudge and become embedded in fine china.

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Stuff dish towels around the china for a tight, snug wrapping. As you get near the top, however, don't pack items too tightly or loosely. Your judgment will improve as you pack.

Linen carton

Linen cartons come in two sizes: 23-by-23-by-20-inches for the larger size and 18-by-18-by-161/2 inches for the medium size. Both are good for linens, but you could easily use the cartons for light objects as well, such as pots and pans, lamp shades, and small toys and games.

A practical technique is to telescope several lamp shades to take up less space. Just remember to wrap each shade separately in tissue paper. Ask linen-shop owners for their pillow cartons.

Book carton

This container is the smallest size of all: 16-by-12-by-12 inches for books, records, and family files. Pack books flat to keep the spines from cracking. Don't jam books tightly together, use wadded paper to fill in spaces, or pack lighter objects with the books.

Always avoid placing lightweight objects with any heavyweight item.

Pack phonograph records on end, never flat, and mark the carton ``fragile.'' Remove the record-player needle, secure the arm and turntable, and pad the equipment and speakers.


This unit comes in three pieces and consists of a carton that is 55-by-21-by-22 inches in size. A rod snaps into the unit on which to hang clothes, while a top slips over it for protection. Don't be tempted to use the top covering for an extra carton. For free wardrobe cartons check menswear stores. Suits and top coats are shipped in cartons with hanging rods already inserted.

Make sure you tape each hanger to the rod to prevent the hangers and clothing from falling off. Devise a wardrobe for children's clothing, dresses, and robes. You can secure an old broom handle to the top of a furniture or appliance carton. Other packing ideas

For leftover room fill in the gaps with linens. This saves space in other cartons and provides a cushion for delicate breakables, such as figurines and knickknacks.

Pack rakes, brooms, and mops in curtain-rod cartons. And when taking pictures and fixtures off the walls, as well as bolts from the bed frames, tape the hooks, bolts, screws, and hangers directly to the item with masking tape.

You might be wise to let the movers pack precious art objects, such as paintings. Special cartons and expertise are needed to pack and move unusual valuables. You should transport jewelry, small personal valuables, cash, personal papers, special documents, stamp and coin collections, and furs by yourself.

Wrap all silver in fresh, clean tissue paper. Remember, pack all breakables tightly because movers cannot be held responsible for breakages.

Eliminate from packing or discard anything that could leak, cause a fire, or explode. Empty gasoline cans, engines, camp stoves, and lanterns, including even propane torch tanks. If in doubt about secure lids, throw away cans of paint, alcohol, cleaning fluid, furniture polish, bleach, nail-polish removers, and perfume.


You'll need to ready major appliances for the move. Secure spring-mounted motors in washing machines by wedging padded blocks or heavy fabrics in the space between the tub and sidewalls. Remove and pack loose pieces from stoves and secure burners and elements with tape.

Always dry out and air the refrigerator and freezer. Eliminate odors with baking soda, fresh coffee grounds, or charcoal. Remove shelves and use the empty spaces for bulky, lightweight items, such as pillows and stuffed toys. When necessary, brace motors, allot every electrical appliance a separate carton, and wrap furniture pads around all major appliances.

Avoid packing perishable foods. Seal with tape any open boxes of dried or powdered foods and shaker-type containers, such as those for herbs and spices.

Leave dresser drawers, chests, and desks with the objects and clothes in them. Don't tie cord around the dressers since it may damage the furniture finish.

Use a wide felt marker to describe the room where each box should go in the new house. Then list the box contents and number all boxes for your records.

The idea of moving need not seem overwhelming. If you use common sense in packing for the move and follow a few simple recommendations, your belongings should come through in fine shape.

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