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Creating a moving timeline: Part I

Are you planning to move, and worried about how everything will get done in time for the big day? Use this checklist to segment your preparations for a simple and timely process.

If you're preparing to move, you've probably made a checklist of tasks that need to get done before the big day. Have you thought about planning the order in which things should be accomplished, though? Creating a timeline for your preparations can help you prioritize responsibilities and ensure that nothing essential gets left until the last minute. Here are some guidelines for streamlining your moving arrangements.

Countdown: 3 to 4 months

Your move might seem ages away, but starting a few months out helps get you in the right mindset so you don't feel overwhelmed later. Begin by creating a master list that includes every item you need to accomplish before the big day. It's helpful to have both a hard copy as well as a digital one on your computer, which can be easily edited and organized. Once you've compiled your responsibilities, arrange them on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis so you can compartmentalize the process, making even a mountain of work more manageable.

Looking at your master list, it's time to crunch the numbers. Although you may not be able to come up with an exact dollar amount, make a rough estimate of what each step will cost. If you're feeling ambitious, you can also set time allocations for different tasks, so you know how much time to set aside from your daily schedule.

Three to four months before your move is a good time to start thinking about professional moving services. If you are unsure of your options, start investigating online and ask friends for suggestions. Factors to take into account include cost, reputation and any additional perks that movers may offer. Have you thought about how you're going to move your utilities, too? Resources like SmartMove can help you select services for transferring those non-material goods, and assist with other important moving tasks like finding truck services and changing your mailing address.

Countdown: 2 to 3 months

Before you even think about loading boxes, consider the following: Are there items that might not merit a place on your packing list? Do you have clothes that no longer fit or sporting equipment that you haven't used in years? Don't pay to take it with you. Right before a move is the opportune moment to clear out your inventory of unnecessary items, which can be donated to charity or sold at a yard sale.

Around the two-month mark, you probably want to start thinking about how you'll transfer all of your non-material goods as well. Do you have valuables in a local vault or safety deposit box? Determine a time to remove them and cancel related holding charges.

Don't forget to have a bit of fun with the moving process as well. A few months out from the big day, you might want to start exploring some of the non-essential amenities that give your new location character and charm. If you live nearby, try out a few restaurants or look into the night life scene. For destinations that are farther away, start your adventure via the Internet and begin compiling a list of places you'd like to check out when you get to town.

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