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10 Worst Things to Forget Before a Major Move

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Moving day is a giant logistical hassle before you get to the minutiae. A missed detail just makes it that much worse.

Renting a truck, hiring movers and getting stuff packed up and out of the house are the relatively easy portions of the move. Only when you get second notices forwarded to your new address or the lights cut off as you're packing up the old one do you realize how much the little things add up.

In the interests of saving readers some hassle while they plan to ship out, we contacted the American Moving and Storage Association industry group and asked if there were any common oversights its customers made while planning long or involved moves. The following 10 items are usually the easiest to overlook and the toughest to just shove into a garbage bag with the contents of the junk drawer at the last minutes:

1. Your local government
If you don't have a driveway for a moving truck to pull into or a storage container to be dropped in, chances are you need to put it on the street. If that's the case, in some places you're going to need a permit. To get that permit, you're going to need some sort of proof the company you're working with is insured or bonded with the local government. That's the case in Massachusetts, Florida and elsewhere and it can really put a crimp in your moving plans if you don't check first and your belongings end up in the impound lot.

2. Your hidden belongings
It seems pretty obvious, but taking another few sweeps around the house can help you avoid leaving grandma's china to the new tenants or going without holiday decorations for a season or so. AMSA spokesman John Bisey says the easiest items to forget are usually those tucked away in crawlspaces, attics and built-in cabinets. If there's a spot in your house or apartment that's out of sight, chances are that's where your last box full of stuff is coming from.

3. Your items on loan
Wondering where your reciprocating saw or popcorn maker got off to? Check in with the neighbors. The AMSA says items lent to neighbors, family or friends tend to cause customers the greatest headaches once they realize they're gone. Take some quick inventory and make some rounds at the going-away party.


4. Your sleeping arrangements
So you've packed up the truck or container and are ready to take off in the morning. That's great, but where are you going to sleep tonight? The first night at the new destination isn't that big of a problem, as you'll get to your bed eventually, but the last night after the big load-up can be a bit tough if you don't pack the bed last or stay with someone else for the evening.

5. Your records
It's a lot easier to do things electronically these days, but that's not always the case with medical, dental or school records. Sometimes it's just easier to keep these things on hand, so try to get copies from everyone as soon as you're ready to pack them up. Once you have them, keep them all in the same place so they're easy to refer to once you're setting up your new home.

6. Your heat and lights
If you don't turn the electricity, gas or oil heat on, nobody's going to do it for you. The AMSA advises turning off all of the utilities two to three days after you load out and turning them on at the new place two to three days before you move in. It's not great to get a bill for lights someone else is using forwarded to the address you're already being charged for. Speaking of forwarding ...

7. Your mail
Oh yeah, you're going to want to check in with the U.S. Postal Service and make sure it knows you're leaving. It'll only forward mail to your new address if you check with it in advance, and even then it's not permanent. Forwarding basically gives you a couple of months to change your mailing address with various institutions yourself. At some point, that yellow forwarding label's going to stop appearing. Just get the service's handy little change of address kit and you should be fine.

8. Your insurance
"Be careful when referring to 'insurance,'" Bisey warns. "Very few movers offer true insurance, which is regulated by the states and is offered by an insurance agent."

The best you can get from the movers themselves is valuation protection, which covers only a percentage of what your goods are worth. In May, a federal regulation took effect requiring interstate movers to include the cost of full-value protection in their initial written estimate. This should give consumers some second thoughts about choosing the minimal valuation option, which is only 60 cents per pound.

9. Your paid labor
If you tip someone for carrying a tray of food to you, you may want to consider tipping the people who just lugged a dresser up to your fourth-floor walk-up. There's no hard-and-fast rule about this, but if you're not at least offering some water afterward, you have no sense of empathy whatsoever.

"Not sure if people forget to tip or if they just don't think they should," Bisey says. "It's certainly not a requirement or even expected by most movers, but it is appreciated."

10. Your mess
Whether there are a few nail holes left in the walls where your family photos once hung or a huge paint spot in the closet from when you knocked over a gallon of Periwinkle Blue, it's usually in your best interest to take care of it immediately. Your security deposit or even a sale could hang in the balance.

"I think the last-minute repairs and/or fix-ups are legit," Bisey says. "Especially when, for example, a large piece of furniture is moved away, revealing a problem with the floor or wall it was hiding."

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