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So you're moving? Here are some helpful tips that will save you time and effort!

Start paring down | Following a timetable | Packing guide & tips | Interior planning | Moving plants | Moving notification checklist

Start paring down

Moving is tough, but it can also be an opportunity. This is the perfect time to get rid of the extra "stuff" you've accumulated. Take it one room at a time and prepare to make tough decisions.

Survey each room and ask yourself —

Does this have sentimental or monetary value?
Does anyone really use it?
Is it worth lugging around?
Is there room for it in our new home?

If the item in question doesn't make the cut, ditch it! Plan a yard sale, post an online auction or simply donate anything that does not meet your criteria. This is a great way to earn a little extra and make some space.

Start using up items that can't be moved to your new home. Eat foods that are frozen or stored in glass jars and don't plan on replacing these items until you are in your new home. Finally, be aware that live plants cannot be shipped with your other household goods. Mention to XPS Tokyo that you have plants and they’ll receive special care.

Do not pack flammable items such as kerosene, paint, gasoline, lighter fluids or other such items. Let XPS Tokyo do that. Empty kerosene heaters before moving.

Following a timetable

Allow yourself enough time to pack. First, pack items you won't need right away, such as articles stored in the basement, garage or attic. Wait and pack things you'll use right up to moving day last.

Pack one room at a time, labeling each box with a description of its contents and its destination (e.g., dishes-kitchen, cupboard-bathroom). Be as specific as you can; it will make unpacking that much easier.

Keep the weight of your boxes reasonable. If possible, put heavy items in small boxes to make them easier to carry.

Use strong boxes for fragile items and add plenty of cushioning.

Packing guide & tips

Essentials —

Strong packing boxes
Bubble wrap for packing fragile items
Tissue and packing paper
Knife for opening boxes
Several broad-tip markers to label boxes
Rolls of packing tape
Misc. tips —

Don't apply tape directly to polished or painted wood finishes. Removing the tape could ruin the surface. (Ask XPS Tokyo for any special requests and what tape is good.)
Make sure that the items you want to take to your new home can fit through the doorways and halls. Sometimes a living room window has better access so check that also.
Notify all necessary parties of your new address. Cancel the newspaper, check your cable/satellite company if you can transfer. Different wards in Tokyo have different providers so transferring may not be possible. For a list of other parties that may also need to be informed of your move, see our moving notification checklist.
Packing yourself can be more work than you anticipated. Allow enough time to do this without putting yourself under pressure.
Packing tips —

Get more boxes than you think you will need.
Pack room-by-room, keeping similar items together.
Remove lids from jars and ceramics. Wrap each separately.
Seal any opened boxes and bottles before packing them to avoid spills and leakage.
When disassembling furniture, beds, lamps, etc. put the hardware into a plastic bag along with any assembly tips and tape it onto the item itself.
Make a master list of all household items and your belongings.
Number boxes when they are packed and sealed. Clearly indicate on the box its room destination. Write on the master list the contents of the numbered boxes.
Don’t pack anything that you may need at any given moment. Assign a drawer or place for those items.
Make a box of essentials and label it "Open Me First." Put this box to the side to be loaded last (so it’s unloaded first) or move it yourself. Your Essential box will include: Basic tools such as flashlights, pocket knife, hammer, screwdrivers, nails, masking tape, tape measure, and light bulbs. Bathroom essentials such as hand towel, soap, toilet paper, shampoo, and shower curtains. Kitchen goodies such as paper towels, coffeemaker and filters, paper plates and cups, plastic utensils, dish detergent, a sponge, pet foods, dishes, and trash bags.
Pack rugs last so they can be the first items unloaded and placed at your new location.
Keep your valuable paperwork in a safe place. You should also personally transport irreplaceable photos, financial papers and assets (bank checks, insurance policies, stock certificates, etc.), legal documents (wills, passports. etc.), valuables (jewelry, coin and stamp collections, etc.), and medical and family history records.
How to pack boxes —

Assemble boxes. Invert box, fold in flaps. Place a long, wide piece of packing tape across center seam, and one piece along each side seam making an 'H' shape.
Place heavier items in the bottom of the box and lighter items on top.
Separate items with paper to prevent scratches caused by rubbing.
Wrap all fragile items in paper or plastic foam (ask XPS Tokyo for this). (Towels, linens, curtains, etc. can also be used.) Not only does this protect it from other items, wrapping also helps things fit snugly in the box and prevents contents from shifting during the move. Clearly mark these boxes "FRAGILE."
Fill all empty spaces with small items or crumpled paper. This is also to prevent shifting, and helps make the box crush proof.
Get smaller boxes for books and other heavy items. Use bigger boxes for lighter items.
Periodically lift carton to check weight — box should not be too heavy for one person to lift comfortably (approx. 20 kilos or 50 pounds).
Make a top and/or bottom cushion. Leave 1/2 inch of space at the top of the carton. Fill this space with crumpled paper or foam sheets. When closed, the carton should neither bulge nor sag.
Label boxes clearly. Write the room to which the box should go and a general description of its contents. Write "fragile" only if items within are truly fragile. (Otherwise, good loading decisions will be impossible.)

Interior planning

As much as possible, have an idea of where you want to relocate your furniture in your new home. If not, the tendency is to tell the movers to just put it anywhere. Knowing where you want your furniture ahead of time will save you a lot of work later on.

Moving plants

A couple of weeks before you move, prune plants to facilitate packing. Consult a florist or a plant book for instructions.

A week before your move, put your smaller plants in a black plastic bag with a bug/pest strip, conventional flea collar or bug powder in the bag before you put the plant in. Close the bag and place in a cool area overnight. This will kill any pests on the plant or in the soil.

The day before your move, place the plants in cardboard containers. Make sure they are held in place by dampened newspaper or packing paper. Use paper to cushion the leaves and place a final layer of wet paper on top to keep them moist. Water the plants normally in summer, a little less in winter.

On the day you leave, close boxes, punch air holes in the top and load in your car.

Unpack the plants as soon as you can after arriving. Remove plants through the bottom of the box in order to avoid breaking the stems. Do not expose the plants to too much sunlight at first. Let them get accustomed to more light gradually.

If you must leave your plants behind, then take cuttings. Put them in a plastic bag with wet paper towels around them.

Moving notification checklist

Don't forget to notify businesses of your move. Keep a list of who you’ve contacted and when.

Post Office
Department of Motor Vehicles/Driver's License
Voter Registration
Credit Cards/Charge Accounts
Insurance Company
Finance Companies/Car Loan
Banks/Credit Unions/Loan Companies
Airline Frequent Flier Cards
Alumni Associations
Doctors/Dentists/Other Medical Professionals
Tax Assessors
Emergency Road Service
Any others
©2004 XPS Tokyo :: Expat service in Tokyo, Japan :: Site by Steven Levithan