When many people find out they will be moving houses, they often jump into the work of packing up boxes. And while it can be very helpful to start packing those boxes early, this may not be the first task you should undertake to prepare for the move.

What should you do before you start packing those boxes? Here are a few steps to take.

1. Research Moving Services

Use some of your extra time to do thorough research into moving companies and options available to you. You may want to research companies’ billing methods and quote policies, their online and in-person reviews, licensing (particularly for interstate travel), insurance coverage, ancillary services, and whether they outsource any elements of the move.

If you aren’t sure whether you need full service, price out your options based on possible scenarios you may face. For instance, you might determine the difference between having the company pack up all your things or just hiring them for the day-of move.

Additionally, be sure to ask about special services, like if they can store your goods or transport a car.

2. Inventory Your Stuff

One important step that many people fail to do is to inventory their belongings. An inventory serves several purposes. First, it helps provide accurate information that moving companies will need to make better price estimates.

Second, an inventory ensures that insurance (both yours and the moving company’s) is sufficient for protection. Finally, an inventory aids in the decision of what to get rid of — and how — as well as assessing realistically how much work packing will entail.

3. Purge What You Can

The more you can get rid of at this stage, the easier packing will be. Purging generally should be on the to-do list of every household that moves. By tackling this job early, you get it out of the way — and may do it more thoroughly — before the chaos of packing starts. And it will organize your home so you can pack faster and easier.

You should purge the items you plan to sell or donate as soon as is feasible. After all, planning and executing a yard sale takes time and effort you may not have later in the moving process. And it may take some work to find an appropriate place to donate or recycle certain unusual items. If you do this now, you don’t have to take time out of packing to get it done later.

4. Remove What Can’t Be Moved

All moving companies have a list of items that they will not transport. Some of these items are specific to the mover, but many of them are common to all carriers. It could include hazardous materials (including household chemicals), combustible or flammable items, anything that might explode, live plants, live animals, and perishable items.

If you won’t be able move these on your own, it may be time to get rid of these items now. Doing so before you start packing frees up more space in the home and avoids the danger of accidentally packing any of them.

5. Make a Timeline

Plan your moving calendar as early as possible. A moving calendar helps you avoid a last-minute rush or overwhelming yourself to get everything done too early. You may want to schedule such things as when to hire the moving company, which rooms to pack on which days or weeks, when to transfer utilities, when to schedule your garage sale, or which days friends or family can commit to helping.

Clearly, you can do a lot of work toward your move even without filling any boxes. By using the extra time to plan and prepare, you’ll be in a better position when you do start packing up. Want more ideas to plan out your move? Start by meeting with the moving pros at Island Movers Inc. today.