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Originally published Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 9:05 PM

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6 tips to take the stress out of moving

Easy ways to reduce the stress from packing and moving to new home.

The Miami Herald

Whether you are moving across town or across the country, relocating can be expensive and stressful.

Surrounded by boxes and packing peanuts from a move from Maine to Florida, Myscha Theriault of Wise Bread (www.wisebread.com), one of the top-ranked personal finance blogs, recently shared her tips for saving time and money.

The tips are based on her experience of setting up homes in different countries and different states in the U.S.

Pare down. "Clean, cull and downsize before you even start the process. It'll be easier to set up afterward," Theriault said.

Create a system. As you pack, put room labels on each box. For instance, write "kitchen" on the box of dishes and "living room" on the box containing trinkets for the coffee table. This system will save steps whether you use professional movers or friends.

Prepare a kitchen kit. Your cooking routine will be dramatically disrupted before, during and immediately after you move into a new home. Minimize culinary challenges by creating a "startup box" for your new kitchen, said Theriault. You don't need a full set of pots or utensils, "just enough to whip up a few simple meals while you unpack and settle in," she said.

Her relocation menu includes grilled cheese sandwiches, skillet dinners, frozen pizza and spaghetti. Coffee supplies are essential. This starter kit will eliminate the need for expensive takeout meals when you move into a new home.

Start a portable tool kit. Easy-to-reach tools and supplies are useful for emergencies and necessities as you pack, move and reassemble your possessions. Creating a portable tool kit "is a great way to hit the ground running in your new location," Theriault said.

Dress simply. While moving, you won't be posing for Vogue or GQ magazine. Pack a small bag with a few grunge outfits that will work as you lift, sort or clean during the transition period. Don't forget an emergency dress-up outfit for unexpected job interviews or other professional opportunities.

Pack serenity. Patience — with others and yourself — is a valuable asset on moving day. "Take your time, tackle what you can and get the key systems set up first: meals, laundry, communication and transportation," Theriault said. "There's no pressure to be Martha Steward the first week."

Frugal Duchess is an occasional feature. E-mails can be sent to sharonhr@bellsouth.net. Sorry, no personal replies.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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