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Saying goodbye to Portland?

Now that school is out, it is time to move. But where do you start? When you review all your worldly belongings and consider packing boxes and wardrobes and figuring out how you will get everything moved, it can be more than overwhelming. Just remember, there is no such thing as being too organized when it comes to moving, nor can you over-prepare.

First, you need to assess what will be involved in this move. Will this move be from Tigard to Northwest Portland or from Portland to California? U-Haul is great for the do-it-yourselfers. You’ll find everything needed for a successful move, including boxes, furniture pads and dollies. At the Web site,, you can also view the various sizes of trucks available for rent. For example, for an across-town move of a two-bedroom home, you will need a 14-foot truck with a capacity of 669 cubic feet. The rental fee is $29.95 plus 49 cents per mile. An entire apartment (which U-Haul believes takes up only 317 cubic feet) will run you $19.95 for the 10-foot truck and again, 49 cents per mile. Correlating rates for interstate moves are, for a two bedroom home, a 14-foot truck that will run you $431, while a 10-foot truck will run a cool $395, allowing for 747 free miles over the course of four days.

If you’re not feeling that ambitious, there is always the more costly alternative of hiring a moving company for your move. For inter-city moves, your friends are usually the movers of choice. For a meal and mass quantities of consumables, you can find someone with a pick-up truck to get your stuff from Tigard to your new apartment in Northwest Portland. Local company Master Movers does good work as well, and will run $130 for two movers for a two-hour minimum. For the long-distance move, bigger guns are necessary. This is where a bit of research comes in handy.

The Yellow Pages are a great place to find moving companies offering a variety of services. If you have the dough, you can find the company that will not only pack all of your belongings, but load the truck and drive it to your said destination. Usually such companies charge for the packing and loading service by the hour and the space in the truck by the pound. For example, at Bekins Northwest,, in order to obtain a free quote on their services you submit an online form with the usual information (name, address etc.), the number of rooms being moved and the approximate square footage. Within 24 hours, an itemized quote will be in your e-mail inbox waiting for your approval. Most companies have checklists of furniture to help you determine the size of truck necessary as well as the number of movers necessary.

Now that the transportation is all sorted out, on to the ordeal of packing. While there are places you could buy boxes to pack your belongings, it really makes no sense to buy boxes. Thousands of boxes are broken down and recycled each day by various stores (especially grocery stores) that wouldn’t mind you taking them off their hands. This just means less work for them and free boxes for you. Everybody wins.

Now, what to pack? Hmmm … This can be the trickiest part to moving. What do you keep and what makes its way to the trash? Although there is no hard-and-fast rule, stick with the six-month rule. That is, if you haven’t used it in the last six months, chances are good that you probably won’t use it again.

Recycled newspaper always works well for packaging material. Again, thousands are recycled daily and can be found everywhere. Furniture and larger items should be wrapped in blankets or sheets to avoid dings and scratches. Towels work too.

Again, rallying for organization, it’s always a good idea to label your boxes. This comes in handy in a few ways. If you’re on the way to your destination and you need something, it can be easily located during the drive. Also, upon your arrival to your new destination, you’ll want to find clean clothes, another pair of shoes and your favorite pillow. For this task, Sharpies rule!

Keep in mind that if you have pets and you want to take them with you, there are a number of different pet transportation services available, which may be a better alternative than giving up your lifelong canary friend due to your move.

Plants are another thing to consider when moving. Most plants won’t survive a long-distance move. Consider adopting them out to friends, roommates and neighbors. One of the last things to consider when moving are the shutting off the utilities and registering a forwarding address.

In Portland, most of the local utilities can be disconnected with a phone call, and usually with 24 hours’ notice. If you live in an apartment, you will only need to call the utilities that you pay for, such as the phone and electricity. However, if you live in a house, you may be paying for all the utilities. A list of utility companies and their phone numbers is provided.

Lastly comes the forwarding address ritual. Fortunately, the United State Post Office has made this easier for everyone. No longer do you need to find the change of address kits and send them out to everyone who sends you mail (although they would tell you otherwise). Nowadays you can go to its Web site at and do it all online. Not only can you change your address on line, but you can also order moving and packing supplies, connect your utilities and change subscriptions. The United Postal Service will even send you your very own movers guide so you don’t forget a thing. With just enough planning and organizing, your move can be successful (with no broken items) whether you are moving across town or across the United States.