Send It, Carry It Or Leave It Behind?

Among the many challenges you'll face when relocating is deciding what to take and how to get it there. If you're paying for your own move, you'll certainly want to keep the size and weight of your shipment to a minimum. If a company is paying for your move, they may not pay to ship certain items and you're likely to have a maximum weight allowance. Either way, you won't want to waste time and effort packing and unpacking things you no longer want. Pre-Sort Get a jump on your move by going through every room, cupboard, closet and storage area in your home looking for items you no longer want or need. If you haven't used something in a year, or if you never unpacked a box from your last move, chances are you'll never miss it. Most of us find it difficult to toss away things that still have value--even if we don't value them. As you go through your home, sort your unwanted items into three piles: for sale, donation or ash. Plan to list sale items in your local newspaper or hold a yard sale a month or more before your move. Contact local charities, many of whom will come to your door to take items away (and give you a charitable contribution tax deduction too). If your ash collection company won't take what you have to toss, plan a trip to your local landfill to unburden yourself of "value free" items. The Big Stuff Are Your Appliances Too Old To Move? Unlike appliances made in the 1960s and 1970s, today's refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers are not likely to last an entire generation. If yours have been around for a while, you may want to think about leaving them behind and replacing them on arrival at your new home. Here's a look at the average life expectancy for today's appliances:

Appliance Avg. Life Span (years) Dishwasher 13 Dryer 13 Range (double oven) 18 Refrigerator bottom mount 17 side by side 14 single door 19 top mount 14 Washer front load 11 top load 14 What to do about large items may be among your most vexing problems. If yours is a company-paid move, make sure you know exactly what your company will pay to ship, as large items can be expensive to move. If you'll be returning to the area in a few years or less, find out whether your company will pay to put some items in storage at your current location. Get a sense for how much space you'll have in your new home. Will there be a large enough yard for the fully-equipped jungle-gym set? Will your 25 cu. ft. refrigerator fit in your new kitchen? It is customary in some areas for appliances to stay with the home or apartment. Why ship a refrigerator or washer and dryer if your new home comes equipped with those appliances.? Bear in mind, too , your current home may sell better with the appliances installed. Other large items may be more trouble to move than they're worth. Swing sets and jungle gyms, for example, must be completely disassembled, then reassembled at the new location. Parts such as nuts, bolts, screws, plastic connectors and brackets will all have to be carefully labeled, packed and tracked. Vehicles What options your options for moving a recreational vehicle, boat or a second or third car? If you're paying shipping charges, consider carefully whether selling it now and replacing later might be a more economical choice. Find out, too, whether you'll have a place to store vehicles at the new location. Some housing communities prohibit parking boats and RVs on the street, or even in driveways and yards. If that's the case, you'll need to find an affordable storage yard near your new home--an additional cost you may not want to carry. Valuables It's often safer to hand-carry certain items rather than trusting them to movers or the mail. Before the packers arrive, put together a portable filing box or folder for birth certificates, legal documents, school records, vaccination and medical and veterinary records, financial records, and the all-important address book. Not only are such items difficult to replace, many of them may be needed during the trip and perhaps immediately upon arrival. Other expensive and irreplaceable possessions should also be hand-carried-jewelry, special family photos, stock certificates, and so on. A portable safe may be a good investment, helping deter (if not prevent) theft while you're en route to your new home.