A keyed floor plan like the one above can be very useful when you are moving, especially if you are relocating. You (and your designer, if you are working with one) can use it to decide where each item will be placed and to make sure that it will fit. The movers will know exactly where to place things, which can save you quite a bit of time, aggravation and money. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to create and use one of these useful tools. But if you are work with an interior designer you'll be able to skip steps 2-5.
- As you decide what furniture you are likely to take, photograph and measure each piece and assign it a unique number that you write on the photograph. Create a list with the number, description, measurements, room it will go in and comments. If you are purchasing any furniture for your new home, include those items on the list. I usually use an Excel spreadsheet for this type of list.
- Measure your new home and draw a floor plan to scale, or have someone do this for you. I used a software package created for architects for the floor plan above, but there are simpler and inexpensive programs that almost anyone with basic computer literacy can use. Even if you do not plan to purchase new furniture, you might want to consider having a professional designer perform this service if you are relocating and cannot take accurate measurements yourself.
- Draw a simple representation of each piece on your list to scale. Only the size and shape matter --- it will be obvious that the rectangle labeled "1" is the living room sofa. Move this "furniture" around on your floor plan until you're satisfied with the arrangement.
- Give your moving company a copy of the floor plan and your furniture list in advance of the move. If you give one or both of these documents to the moving company far enough in advance, it could also be helpful in getting an accurate and reasonable estimate of the cost of the move.
- Have copies of these documents to give to the people who actually pick up your furniture and additional copies at your new home.
- Label each piece of furniture, area rug, etc. a tie-on tag or piece of painter's tape that has its unique number and the room you want it in.
- Careful organization and labeling of cartons can make your life much easier when you move. Instead of two boxes of "glassware and china" think of using categories like "everyday china and glassware - place in kitchen" another that says "best china - holiday entertaining." Not all pots, pans and small appliances are created equal, so the cartons containing these items should also be labeled by priority. For instance, most of us could do without a Cuisinart or a fish poacher the first day we arrive, but not a coffee pot and a couple of mugs.