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Fall House Hunt: 10 tips for making your move as easy as possible

Buying News Renting Somerville
With some preparing, moving day can go much more smoothly.
Preparation is more important than bubble wrap, it turns out. David L Ryan / Globe Staff

Moving day is fast-approaching, and you’ve already hired the movers at least three weeks in advance (double that if you’re moving in September). All you need to do is buy bubble wrap and boxes and get packing, right?

Not so fast.

There are more preparations you need to make to ensure things go smoothly — so you don’t wind up with boxes full of broken dishes.

We spoke with Jennifer Smith, co-owner and moving coordinator of Precision Moving Co. in Somerville to find out what people can do to make their lives (and their movers’ lives) easier.

Her tips:

1. Be fully packed

This may seem obvious, but Smith said many people aren’t prepared when moving day comes.

“Have all of your stuff that can fit in a box put in a box,” Smith said. People forget to take artwork off the wall or to put lamps safely away in a box, she said, noting that lampshades are oftentimes just thrown loosely in the truck, waiting to be crushed.

2. Don’t forget about your basement and attic

People sometimes just throw whatever is in the basement loose in the truck.

“People forget basements, attics, and storage places,” she added. “[They] forget to pack those because they think it’s not a big deal. A lot of loose stuff ends up coming out of these places.”

Wrangling those loose pieces certainly will make your move take longer.

“You’re not in the basement everyday, so you think you will have three or four bins,” Smith said, “but we go down and there are seven boxes [worth of stuff].”

The longer the move takes, the more money you are likely to pay.

3. Arrange to park the moving truck

If you live in the suburbs, your movers can probably park on the street or in the driveway, but if you are in the city, it’s a different story.

“Let the moving company know ahead of time if you need parking permits,” Smith said. This could mean addressing parking with building management or contacting the city to get permits to block off part of the street.

4. Find someplace for Fido

People sometimes forget to prepare their pets for a move, Smith said. “Have cats in cages or dogs somewhere else. We have had guys get hurt from dogs.”

5. Keep your belongings unbroken

Though the movers will handle your items with the best care possible and pack the truck to the best of their ability, you still don’t want stuff moving around in your boxes.

For breakable kitchen items, Smith recommends packing paper.

“Bubble wrap is not the best bet [for kitchen items],” she said. Add a layer of paper at the bottom, at the top, and a little in between, and wrap each dish separately with one or two pieces of paper for the best protection.

Save the bubble wrap for other items.

“Bubble wrap is best used for unusual sizes like sculptures or artwork, not for dishes,” Smith added. “Bubble wrap is bulky, and you will have to double the amount of boxes. Paper is thinner. Maybe you have a really expensive $100 plate; bubble-wrap that if it’s an antique.”

6. Take apart weird-shaped furniture

Smith said movers will protect couches and tables with furniture blankets in the truck, but for big items that can be taken apart, it’s easier if you do that ahead of time.

“If clients are looking to save money, disassembling a bed or futon would decrease [the moving] time,” she said.

7. Do your research on specialty items

Not every company can move certain types of pianos or exercise equipment, Smith said. “[Some pieces] require breakdowns that could take hours.”

She recommended hiring an exercise equipment specialist or someone from the company where you bought the item to help disassemble it.

Other specialty items that may require extra care include ping-pong and pool tables and grandfather clocks.

Movers don’t want a giant surprise on moving day.

8. Book your elevator

“Another major thing people forget all the time is if you are moving to an elevator building, you have to reserve the elevator,” Smith said.

She said this could cost people a lot of money: If the building won’t let you use the elevator to move, the moving company may have to bring everything back to its warehouse (if it has one), which you have to pay for.

9. If you have to keep your things in storage …

It is possible that you can’t move into your new house immediately and will need a storage unit.

Here are tips for preventing damage: Don’t leave any food in storage, because it can attract animals. You can store furniture, but if it will be in there for more than a year, cover it in shrink-wrap to keep off dust, especially if the piece is cloth or leather. You don’t want to put certain pianos in storage because wood can bend. You should check with the storage company ahead of time to make sure its space is climate-controlled, in case you have antiques that won’t do well in the heat.

10. Go to the moving company’s website

Many moving companies will have helpful tips on their sites, such as how many boxes to buy.

Prepare, prepare, prepare.

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