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Beware of packing material costs when moving

My wife and I are downsizing from a two-story, four-bedroom house to a ranch with less space. What advice can you offer on preparing for our move? - Albert Auld,  Angie's List member, Washington, D.C.

"Purge, purge, purge," says Scott Gillis, owner of highly rated Great Scott moving in Hyattsville, Md. He says he can't emphasize enough the importance of getting rid of as much as you can prior to moving.

If you haven't used something in two to three years, he says, you probably won't use it again so there's no point in paying someone to take it to your new home.

Ted Bowler, owner of highly rated Titan Moving & Storage LLC in Alexandria, Va., says downsizing is a great opportunity to make donations to local charities. He recommends donating plates, cups, glasses, towels and other items you have in excess of eight.

Also, map out where furniture will go in your new home and measure to make sure it will fit. "If you're downsizing, you'll probably have too much furniture," says Gillis, who adds it will give you an idea of exact items you'll need to get rid of.

To make your move even easier, plan ahead by visiting websites like freecycle.org to get materials such as boxes and bubble wrap. "Moving companies make a lot of their money on the materials," Bowler says. He recommends customers buy packing supplies wholesale, which can save them 50 percent.

While you're packing, label boxes and furniture so movers know exactly where the items should be placed. Another tip: "If you run out of boxes, contractor trash bags work great and you can reuse them after the move," Gillis says.


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