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Long-distance moving: What to put on the truck and what to ship separately

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Updated: 10/03/2012 3:56 pm

Long distance moving is stressful enough; you shouldn't have to worry about valuable items being damaged or the possibility of cost overruns. Sometimes it makes sense to ship items you want to protect, or if you want to lower the weight - and the cost - of your move. But what should you ship and what should you put on the truck? Here's a primer: Ship linens and clothing Moving requires implementing a strict, "donate or ditch" policy for your clothing, blankets and towels. Still, no matter how stringent your standards, you can't arrive at your new home without any linens or clothing. Nor do you necessarily want to waste limited space in your moving truck on pillows and fluffy comforters. A long-distance move is the perfect opportunity to invest in a vacuum-sealing device that shrinks five comforters into a cube the size of a breadbox. Shipping prices increase by weight, so shipping only soft, easily compacted items saves you money and space. Shipping bulky, light items, such as clothing, blankets and pillows, after you've vacuum-packaged them will also protect your items from moisture, insects and chemicals. You also won't have to worry about your throw pillows bursting during shipping. Keep in mind that only items that can be easily compacted and aren't fragile are suitable for shipping. Drive in the moving truck Space inside a moving truck is limited, something you'll quickly realize after placing just a few pieces of furniture inside. Successfully packing a moving truck is like playing a delicate game of Tetris. Obviously, you'll want to cover furniture to protect it against scratching and scuffing, but you'll also want to pack seemingly non-fragile items to protect them from being crushed or damaged. Personal information Always include a box to keep with you that's clearly marked "paperwork." This can include anything from your tax information to birth certificates and passports. File important documents in an organized folder before packing them in a box. And keep that box with you if possible. Things get lost too easily during a move and you don't want your banking or investment statements floating into unknown hands during the commotion. Valuable antiques For irreplaceable items of value, you may want to consider a separate service. While movers are well trained to be careful with your items, accidents happen. Therefore, you might want to consider a shipping option with increased insurance to make sure these items are safe. Living things A good rule of thumb: "If it's alive, it drives." Keep pets on the truck or in the car with you. Be sure before you book a hotel room that the property is pet-friendly and will allow your pet to stay in the room with you. Plants don't ride well since the dirt can spill easily, nor do they ship well. Give the plants away before moving and buy new ones upon arrival.

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