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By Nancy Clement



April 27, 2011 (La Mesa) - Summertime is almost here and for many people, that means it is time to move. June, July and August are the most popular times of year for moving. Moving is the third most stressful life event, according to psychologists; only death of a spouse or divorce is more angst producing.


Since many people dread the thought of moving, the Dollar-Wise Diva decided to consult an expert, Elaine Worman, to get ideas on how you can make an easier, less traumatic move.



Elaine made 21 moves in 24 years as an Army spouse with three children, and is now a professional organizer. Check out her website, and scroll down for moving tips.

Tip one:
Prepare the family for an upcoming move: Several weeks before a new move, she would dig out the scrapbooks/photo albums of family and friends and place them on the coffee table. When her three children saw them, they knew it was time to move again. It helped them remember where they lived before, and was a reminder to create photos of where they were currently living. Likewise, after the move, the albums were placed back on the coffee table for the kids to review again.


This gave her children (who moved as Army brats 9 times in 9 years) the ability to remember good times and know they will be having new experiences, which would become fond memories. It also interested them in taking photos as they met new friends and enjoyed sightseeing in different cities and countries.

Tip two: Sort items and make decisions: Several weeks prior to a move, she always had a drawer/closet, garage, kitchen cabinets "cleaning marathon," allowing everyone to decide what to do with their things. Her family did not want the Army paying shipping costs on unwanted, outgrown, worn out, items. It made the kids and the parents realize exactly how much "stuff" had been collected that was unnecessary in one's life!


The kids each were allowed to make decisions about their things –within reason- and knew their choices were one of the following:

1. Donate items to charity
2. Give to friends
3. Hold a garage sale to sell items
4. Take to the next home

Tip Three: Decide on heavy, big-ticket items: Often it did not make sense to move heavy items like washer, dryers, and refrigerators so the family would have a garage sale and save the money to buy the replacements at our new home. Nowadays, there may be rebates and vouchers to help offset the cost of replacing the items, so do check out the websites of the water district and utility company at your new city.

Tip Four: Decide what items to take with you: Oftentimes a move to a new city or country would be first to temporary housing and then to a new home. If this is the case, make sure to take items that you will need right away, so you will not incur the expense of buying items that are currently en route to you. In an international move, the items had to fit into several footlockers, which were on the same airplane with the family, not as carry-on items. If making a cross-country move and driving, the items would still be similar to the list below:


• Expandable curtain rods of 3-4 lengths with children's and kitchen window type curtains
• Change of season clothing if necessary
• School clothes (most moves were made late summer)
• Shot records and possibly school records
• Medicines, vitamins, personal items (perhaps unobtainable in the new city)
• Camp-type basic pots and pans, dishes and eating utensils
• Shower curtain and hooks
• Sleeping bags & pillows
• Coffee pot & the “makings”
• Favorite toys & games for the kids and dresser top items for Mom & Dad
• Basic cleaning supplies (frequently the 1st night in a new place would find us camping out on the floors)
• Emergency box containing bathroom necessities and first aid articles

Tip Five: Hand carry important documents with you: As the Mom, Elaine had the responsibility of hand carrying the legal paperwork, address book, prescriptions, school, medical, & auto records (all this was before scanners and laptops!). If bringing netbooks or laptops with you make sure to make back-up disks in the event the computers are damaged or stolen. Data can be recovered but you want to cut wear and tear on your already jangled nerves.

Tip Six: Set up a home as quickly as you can: This helps everyone settle into their new city and after the home is set up, take the time to help the kids adjust to their new surroundings. Take them to see their new school, visit the nearest library and get library cards for every family member (if the kids are old enough.) The internet makes a move easier as so much more information is available so your family can begin learning about and adjusting to life in the new home city prior to making a move.

Tip Seven: Have a party 2 – 3 weeks after the household goods arrive: Plan to be unpacked and have a party so everyone gets to meet the new boss, new neighbors, new playmates, etc. Elaine says her family always settled in quickly because of this party, and it made her family’s moves and the ability for creating wonderful memories much easier.


We hope these ideas will be of benefit to you and your family and make a new move easier for all concerned.

Nancy Clement writes money saving tips to encourage mindful spending so you have more dollars available for housing, travel, retirement and investment plans. She is a Realtor® and Mortgage Consultant; e-mail her at or call 619-563-4184 with column suggestions or comments.

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