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Top Five Items for a Smooth Move

by Mary Leigh Howell

Fancy clipboards, color-coded labels and nifty gadgets can be helpful during a moving adventure— but they’re not essential. CableMover® asked some “average Joes and Janes” what top five things, big or small, are critical to a smooth relocation.

Number Five: Hand Cart

Hand cart, dolly, hand truck— whatever you call it, this wheeled, ladder-back cart puts the power of physics in your hands. Without going into detail about torque, fulcrums and Newton's second law, let's just say the hand cart allows you to lift significant weight with minimal effort, and just wheel it away.

After a recent move from North Carolina to Tennessee, Tammy Huff says she couldn't have done it without her hand truck. "It saved my muscles and my back."

With a hand cart you can tote stacks of packed boxes, narrow pieces of furniture and even appliances. Just make sure to secure your items to the cart with straps. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a good one, or rent one by the day at a home improvement store or truck rental facility.

Number Four: Furniture Pens

Would the person who's never dinked a piece of furniture during a move please stand up? It's nearly impossible to have a scuff-free move, so use what furniture and showroom pros keep in their back pockets— furniture pens. These wood-colored markers are like make-up for tables, chairs and chests, hiding unsightly blemishes with just a few strokes.

Grab a six-pack in colors ranging from ebony to ash at home improvement or furniture stores. To touch up, start with a shade lighter than the finish of your piece, and work your way darker to get a perfect match. If you've got something more like a gash than a blemish, purchase furniture crayons or wax to fill in the space. 

Number Three: Essentials Kit

Aaron Steed of Meathead Movers in California recommends packing an "essentials kit" in a translucent, colored plastic box for easy identification. Toothbrush and toothpaste, bath tissue and medications are "must-haves" for this box. But it's also a good idea to include disinfectant wipes, a change of clothes and your cell phone charger.

Select an easily accessed location for the kit, and don't move it!

Number Two: Duct Tape

They don't write entire books about this stuff for nothing. It's a miracle worker and a lifesaver. Sealing packing boxes and repairing rips and tears are just the beginning. In a pinch, duct tape can stand in for most any adhesive. Neven Lee Gibbs of Nevada has used it to fix hoses, repair an aircraft rudder, and even make an emergency boat. NASA felt so sure of its usefulness, it kept rolls on board its space shuttles.

And the Number One item for a smooth move?  Drum roll, please. Sharpie!  By far, the item receiving the most votes was this marking miracle. It makes organizing a breeze. 

Top uses include:

  • Labeling boxes (contents and room location)
  • Creating floor plans
  • Identifying owners of those ubiquitous, red plastic drinking cups.

Susan Helene Gottfried of Pennsylvania is a big fan of the multi-purpose permanent marker, using it to label boxes, sign paperwork and put names on the kids' toys. "I keep three Sharpies in my purse at all times," she says.

Smooth moving, everybody!

Mary Leigh Howell specializes in communications for the home, furnishings and garden industries.