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Get to Know Walt Disney's "Nine Old Men"

Franklin D. Roosevelt called his Supreme Court Justices his “Nine Old Men,” wondering if the older court was out of touch with the times. Walt Disney lovingly borrowed the term to refer to some of his animators, but they were anything but out of touch. Disney’s Nine Old Men were at the forefront of the industry, developing new techniques and innovations with every film they worked on.

You may not know them by name, but the collective works of these animators probably defined your childhood—and your parents’ childhoods. Meet Disney’s Nine Old Men:

1. LES CLARK

There’s no doubt that Les Clark’s talent landed him a job at Disney Studios, but his courage played a pretty big role as well. As a high school student, Clark worked at a lunch counter where Walt and Roy Disney frequently dined. While he was waiting on them one day, Clark asked Walt for a job; Disney was surprisingly game, asking to see some of his work. “So, I copied some cartoons and showed them to Walt. He said I had a good line, and why don’t I come to work on Monday,” Clark recalled. Clark graduated that Thursday, then went to work for Walt Disney four days later. He helped animator Ub Iwerks on the first Mickey Mouse shorts, Plane Crazy and Steamboat Willie.

Characters he worked on: Pinocchio, Snow White’s dwarfs, Ichabod Crane from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Alice, Peter Pan, Sorcerer Mickey, Cinderella.

You also know him for: The scene in The Skeleton Dance where one skeleton plays another skeleton’s ribs like a xylophone (starts around 3:45):

2. MARC DAVIS

In 1935, Marc Davis was looking for a job as a newspaper cartoonist when he happened to notice that Disney Studios was hiring. Though he had no background in animation, Disney was impressed with his sketches of animal anatomy and movement and hired Davis as an apprentice animator for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Characters he worked on: Snow White, Bambi, Tinker Bell, Princess Aurora, Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, Mr. Toad, Brer Rabbit from Song of the South

You also know him for: Animatronic character design from the parks. Davis’ many ride contributions include the Jungle Cruise, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Enchanted Tiki Room, and the Country Bear Jamboree.

3. OLLIE JOHNSTON

Joining Marc Davis as a Disney Studios newbie in 1935 was Ollie Johnston, who was also hired as an apprentice animator. One of his earliest projects was a Silly Symphonies short called The Tortoise and the Hare, which won an Oscar for Best Short Subject.

Characters he worked on: Sir Hiss and Prince John from Robin Hood, Mr. Smee from Peter Pan, the three good fairies from Sleeping Beauty, Thumper from Bambi.

You also know him for: Getting Walt Disney interested in trains. Disney was well known as a backyard train hobbyist, and he caught the bug thanks to Johnston. Johnston had just begun work on his own backyard steam engine in 1946 when Walt caught wind of the project and asked to see it; several months later, he started building his own.

4. MILT KAHL

Like Marc Davis, Milt Kahl had hoped to find work as a cartoonist. He dropped out of high school to work at the Oakland Post-Enquirer and the San Francisco Bulletin, but after Kahl saw Disney’s Three Little Pigs short at a local movie theater, he decided to try his hand at animation. He was hired at Disney in 1934 as an assistant animator for shorts like Lonesome Ghosts and The Ugly Duckling.

Characters he worked on: Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, the hounds and fox in Mary Poppins, Pongo and Perdita in 101 Dalmatians, Ludwig von Drake, most of the characters in The Jungle Book and Robin Hood, Madame Medusa from The Rescuers.

You also know him for: You’re probably also pretty familiar with the work of Kahl’s protégé, Brad Bird. Bird (who has won Oscars for The Incredibles and Ratatouille) was just 13 years old when he sent his first animated film to Disney for review—it was a remake of The Tortoise and the Hare, with the race culminating in a five-way tie. Bird’s parents advised him to send the film to the biggest name he could find, and that happened to be Milt Kahl. Impressed, Kahl mentored Bird from then on.

5. WARD KIMBALL

Ward Kimball may have been at the same matinee Milt Kahl attended, because he was also inspired to switch from magazine illustration to animation after seeing Disney’s Three Little Pigs short. After graduating from the Santa Barbara School of Art, he found a job with Disney Studios in 1934 and worked on most of their animated films until his retirement in 1972.

Characters he worked on: Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, Jiminy Cricket, the Three Caballeros. He also helped write the story and script for Babes in Toyland.

You also know him for: Kimball was famous for his sense of humor—for example, he gave himself extra fingers during his Disney Legend handprint ceremony. He also got a kick out of perpetuating the rumor that Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen: “I always tell people that if anyone was going to be cryogenically frozen, doesn’t it seem like something Walt would be interested in? Knowing Walt, he was always interested in experiments, always interested in science. He was always interested in the 'new' thing. He was that type of personality. Was he frozen? I wouldn’t put it past him and that’s my answer. I like to keep it floating out there."

Kimball also had a second career as the trombonist in a Dixieland jazz band called The Firehouse Five Plus Two, which included several other Disney Studios employees. They recorded 13 albums and occasionally performed with big names such as Bing Crosby and Teresa Brewer.

6. WOLFGANG REITHERMAN

Wolfgang “Woolie” Reitherman had been intent on a career as an aircraft engineer when he suddenly became enthralled with watercolors. He switched from Pasadena Junior College to the Chouinard Art Institute in L.A., and met an instructor who also happened to teach classes at the Walt Disney Studio. Reitherman got a job there in 1933.

Characters he worked on: The crocodile in Peter Pan, the dinosaurs in Fantasia, the Headless Horseman, the Magic Mirror in Snow White, the whale chase scene in Pinocchio.

You also know him for: Reitherman earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for serving in the Air Force during WWII, flying missions in India, China, Africa, and the South Pacific.

7. FRANK THOMAS

When Frank Thomas was just nine years old, he asked his father how he could make money drawing pictures. Whether he was career-oriented at a young age, or just strangely prophetic, Thomas graduated from Stanford and then went on to study at Chouinard. A fellow student told Thomas that Disney was hiring, and on September 24, 1934, he started work on a short called Mickey’s Elephant.

Characters he worked on: Cinderella’s stepmother, scenes in Brave Little Tailor, the famous spaghetti scene in Lady and the Tramp, King Louie from The Jungle Book, the dancing penguins in Mary Poppins, and Captain Hook.

You also know him for: Co-authoring, along with Ollie Johnston, The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation, which is widely regarded as “the bible” for character animators. You can see cameos by Thomas and Johnston in Bird’s movie The Incredibles:

8. ERIC LARSON

Eric Larson attended the University of Utah for journalism, and as he became more involved in the campus magazine, he found himself interested in sketching as well. After freelancing for a year post-graduation, Larson decided to send some of his sketches to Disney on the advice of a friend. When he retired in 1986, he had one of the longest tenures in the company's history under his belt—52 years.

Characters he worked on: Lady, Tramp, Wart and Merlin from The Sword in the Stone, Roquefort and Scat Cat from The Aristocats, Pegasus and Centaurs from Fantasia, Kanga and Roo from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

You also know him for: His recruitment training program. His Disney recruits include John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Don Bluth, Tim Burton, Glen Keane, Henry Selick, Andreas Deja, and Ron Clements, among many, many others.

9. JOHN LOUNSBERY

John Lounsbery’s story is a lot like his fellow Old Men: he graduated from an art institute (Denver) and then headed to L.A. to seek work. While he was attending some illustration courses at the Art Center School of Design, an instructor there thought he would be well-suited to Disney and pointed him toward the hiring studio. Lounsbery joined in 1935, specializing in Pluto shorts.

Characters he worked on: Willie the Giant, Jasper and Horace from 101 Dalmatians, the hippos and the alligator from Fantasia, Dumbo and Timothy Mouse from Dumbo, the flowers from Alice in Wonderland, King Leonidas and the soccer players from Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

You also know him for: You probably don’t. Lounsbery was the quietest of the Old Men and kept a very low profile. “I wasn’t very articulate in story meetings,” he once said. “Walt and I had an agreement: He judged me on what I produced and didn’t expect me to be a talker.”

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XOXO: 20 Things You Might Not Know About Gossip Girl
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Giovanni Rufino - © 2012 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Ten years ago, Gossip Girl became appointment television for America’s teenagers—and a guilty pleasure for millions more (whether they wanted to admit it or not). Like a new millennium version of Beverly Hills, 90210, the series—which was adapted from Cecily von Ziegesar’s book series of the same name—saw The O.C.’s Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage trade in their west coast cool for New York City style as the show followed the lives of a group of friends (and sometimes enemies) navigating the elite world of prep schools and being fabulous on Manhattan's Upper East Side. In honor of the series’ tenth anniversary, here are 20 things you might not have known about Gossip Girl.

1. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A LINDSAY LOHAN MOVIE.

Originally, the plan for adapting Gossip Girl wasn’t for a series at all. It was supposed to be a feature film, with Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino writing the script and Lindsay Lohan set to star as Blair Waldorf. When those plans fell through, the producers approached Josh Schwartz—who was just wrapping up work on The O.C.—about taking his talent for creating enviable high school worlds to New York City’s Upper East Side.

"The books are a soap opera, and TV makes a lot of sense," executive producer Leslie Morgenstein told Backstage of the decision to go the small-screen route. "When we made the list of writers who would be the best to adapt Gossip Girl for television, Josh was at the top of the list."

2. PENN BADGLEY INITIALLY TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF DAN HUMPHREY.

Barbara Nitke - © 2012 THE CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Though he was hardly a household name when Gossip Girl premiered, Penn Badgley had been acting for nearly a decade—and had a lot of experience working on first season TV shows that never took off—when he was offered the role of Brooklyn outsider Dan Humphrey, and his initial response was: thanks, but no thanks.

“The reason I turned it down initially was because I was just frustrated,” Badgley told Vulture in 2012. “I was frustrated and I was broke and I was depressed and I was like, ‘I cannot do that again. I can't.’ … Stephanie Savage, the creator [of Gossip Girl], she said to me, ‘I know you might not want to do this again, but just take a look at it.’ And I actually was like, ‘I appreciate so much that you thought of me. I just don't want to do this. Thank you for understanding that I wouldn't want to do this.’ And then they couldn't find anybody for it—which is weird, because a million people could play Dan Humphrey—and she came back around, I was about to get a job as a waiter, and I was like, ‘Okay.’”

3. ULTIMATELY, BADGLEY PROBABLY WISHES HE HAD FOLLOWED HIS INITIAL INSTINCT.

Badgley told Vulture that, “I wouldn't be here without Gossip Girl, so I will always be in debt and grateful. And I've said some sh*t that ... I don't regret it, but I'm just maybe too honest about it sometimes.”

But executive producer Joshua Safran had a different view on the situation. “Penn didn’t like being on Gossip Girl, but …. he was Dan,” Safran told Vanity Fair. “He may not have liked it, but [his character] was the closest to who he was.”

4. THE CREATORS GOT THE IDEA TO CAST BLAKE LIVELY FROM THE INTERNET.

According to Vanity Fair, when it came time to casting the show’s main roles, they cruised some of the online message boards related to the Gossip Girl book series to see which actors fans of the books were suggesting. One name they kept seeing for the role of Serena van der Woodsen: Blake Lively, who had starred in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. “We didn’t see a lot of other girls for Serena,” Schwartz said. “She has to be somebody that you believe would be sitting in the front row at Fashion Week eventually.”

5. LIKE BADGLEY, LIVELY WAS ON THE VERGE OF QUITTING ACTING.

© 2008 Warner Bros. Television

Like her onscreen (and eventually off-screen) love interest Penn Badgley, Blake Lively was also considering leaving Hollywood when Gossip Girl came calling, so she turned the producers down.

“I said, ‘No, I want to go to college. Thank you, though,’” Lively told Vanity Fair. “Then they said, ‘OK, you can go to Columbia [University] one day a week. After the first year [of the show], it’ll quiet down. Your life will go back to normal and you can start going to school. We can’t put it in writing, but we promise you can go.’ So that’s why I said, ‘OK. You know what? I’ll do this.’”

As for that going back to school and life going back to normal? “When they say, ‘We promise, but we can’t put it in writing,’ there’s a reason they can’t put it in writing,” she said.

6. LEIGHTON MEESTER DYED HER HAIR TO GET THE PART OF BLAIR.

Because Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen were both best friends and occasional enemies, it was important to the show’s creators that the characters did not look like the same person. That fact almost cost Leighton Meester the role of Blair.

“She came in and she was really funny, and really smart and played vulnerable,” Schwartz recalled of Meester’s audition. “But there was one problem: she was blonde. And Blake was blonde, obviously; Serena had to be blonde. So, [Leighton] went to the sink and dyed her hair. She wanted it.’” (Sounds like something Blair would do.)

7. THE NETWORK WORRIED THAT ED WESTWICK LOOKED LIKE A “SERIAL KILLER.”

Giovanni Rufino - © 2012 THE CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Ed Westwick, who originally auditioned for the role of Nate Archibald but ended up playing bad boy Chuck Bass, almost didn’t land a role on the show at all. Though the show’s co-creators, Schwartz and Savage, loved the darker edge that Westwick brought to the group of friends, The CW worried “that he looked more like a serial killer than a romantic lead.”

“He's menacing and scary, but there's a twinkle in his eye,” casting director David Rapaport told BuzzFeed. “You want to hate him, but you would also probably sleep with him. He's one of those guys you hate for always getting away with things, but you also want to hang out with him and see what he's up to next. He's the guy that's going to give you a joint for the first time or get you drunk for the first time, so you know he's wrong for you, but he's fun.” Fans clearly agreed.

8. WESTWICK CHANNELED HIS INNER CARLTON BANKS TO PLAY CHUCK BASS.

In order to perfect his posh American accent, Westwick—who was born in London—looked to another iconic American television character for help: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Carlton Banks (Alfonso Ribeiro). “There’s a slight thing in Carlton Banks,” Westwick told Details Magazine in 2008, “that kind of über-preppy, that I did pick up on.”

9. GRETA GERWIG AUDITIONED FOR THE SHOW … IN OVERALLS.

In 2015, Golden Globe-nominated actress Greta Gerwig—who just wrote and directed Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan—talked to HuffPost Live about the mistakes she made early on in her career as an actress. “I have had moments when I was starting out when I was auditioning for things like Gossip Girl," she said. “And they would look at me like, 'Why are you wearing overalls to this audition?' And I'd be like, 'They said she was from a farm!' and they would be like, 'Well, this is Gossip Girl.’” (The role she was auditioning for, Eva Coupeau—a love interest for Chuck—eventually went to Clémence Poésy, who played Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter movies.

10. BLAIR WALDORF HAD TWO MOMS.

© 2008 Warner Bros. Television

In Gossip Girl’s pilot episode, Blair’s mom—popular women’s clothing designer Eleanor Waldorf—was played by Florencia Lozano. In episode two, and throughout the rest of the series, Eleanor was portrayed by Margaret Colin.

11. IT WAS ONE OF TELEVISION’S FIRST STREAMING SUCCESS STORIES.

Years before House of Cards changed the way we watch, and even define, “television,” Gossip Girl served as a sort of precursor to the streaming generation. While the show’s Nielsen ratings were mediocre, New York Magazine reported that, “New episodes routinely arrived at the No. 1 most-downloaded spot on iTunes, and then there were the hundreds of thousands who were downloading free week-old episodes on the CW's site. Even executives at Nielsen threw up their hands and admitted that Gossip Girl appeared to be speaking to an audience so young and tech-savvy they hadn't really figured it out just yet.” (Lost and The Office had followed similar tracks.)

12. THE SHOW WAS BANNED BY SOME NEW YORK CITY SCHOOLS.

Giovanni Rufino - © 2012 THE CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

According to Vanity Fair, some of the elite New York City private schools that might have shared some similarities with the show’s fictional Constance Billard and St. Jude's banned their students from watching it. (Which, the outlet noted, “only served, in all likelihood, to make the students want to watch it more.”)

13. THE SERIES TURNED ITS CRITICISMS INTO A MARKETING CAMPAIGN.

Even by 2007’s standards, Gossip Girl—for a show about high schoolers on what was mainly known as a teen-friendly television network—seemed to relish in pushing the boundaries of what might be acceptable. It didn’t take long for parental advocacy groups like the Parent Television Council to take very public, and vocal, issue with the show's in-your-face sexuality. When it was criticized as being “mind-blowingly inappropriate” and “every parent’s nightmare,” the show turned those critiques into a marketing campaign to help promote viewership.

14. A WRITERS STRIKE HELPED THE SERIES GROW ITS VIEWERSHIP.

While the show struck a chord with certain audiences immediately upon its release, the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America Strike proved to be a boon to the series. “The CW, because they couldn’t just run repeats or game shows, [Gossip Girl is] all they had,” Schwartz told Vanity Fair. “They kept re-running the show during the strike so more and more people were watching.” Which led to even higher ratings when the show returned for a second season.

15. DESIGNERS WERE BEGGING TO SEE THEIR FASHIONS WORN ON THE SHOW.

Giovanni Rufino - © 2012 THE CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Just like New York City itself, the fashions in Gossip Girl essentially served as another character. According to a 2008 article in The New York Times, “Merchants, designers, and trend consultants say that Gossip Girl … is one of the biggest influences on how young women spend."

“When we came back with Season 2, so many designers were lining up and wanting to be a part of it,” the show’s costume designer Eric Daman told Vanity Fair. “They wanted their stuff on either Blake or Leighton.”

16. IT SPAWNED ITS OWN CLOTHING LINE.

To capitalize on the show’s influence in the fashion world, Daman and designer Christine Cybelle (a.k.a. Charlotte Russe) created a Gossip Girl-inspired clothing line.

17. KRISTEN BELL PLAYED AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE SERIES, BUT WAS NEVER CREDITED.

Though viewers had to watch all 121 episodes of Gossip Girl to learn the identity of the titular tattler, Kristen Bell provided the voice for “Gossip Girl” for all six seasons, without credit. And while she sort of hoped that the finale would have revealed that she was indeed “Gossip Girl” all along, that ending was not meant to be. “I’m sure that it would’ve been really cool had I got to play some vicious part and actually come out as Gossip Girl, but I think it was appropriate for one of the main cast members to have surfaced as Gossip Girl,” she told Perez Hilton.

Though she was a key part of the series, she didn’t learn GG’s true identity until the very end of the show—and she was surprised. “I don’t know that I ever forethought it being Dan,” she admitted. “That was a bit of a shocker!" (If it makes her feel any better, Badgley reportedly didn’t learn Gossip Girl’s identity until that scene was actually shot.)

18. JANUARY 26 IS "GOSSIP GIRL DAY" IN NEW YORK CITY.

© 2008 Warner Bros. Television

At least it was in 2012, when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed January 26 “Gossip Girl Day” in celebration of the show’s 100th episode. “I don’t have a whole lot of time to follow what New York magazine has called ‘The Greatest Teen Drama of our time,’” Bloomberg said. “But I am interested in finding out who the real Gossip Girl is—Serena’s cousin, maybe? And I don’t see how Blair could marry Prince Lewis while she is clearly in love with Chuck, although she and Dan became pretty close when they interned at that fashion magazine. And I just wish that Nate and Vanessa had been able to work things out, I guess Nate was preoccupied with everything that was going on with his father and Jenny and, I mean, it was a tangled web, I guess Dan would have ended up making their relationship impossible anyway, but I’m just a casual fan.” 

Super-fans of the show can still take a Gossip Girl tour of New York City.

19. IVANKA TRUMP AND JARED KUSHNER MADE A CAMEO.

Over the full course of the series, plenty of familiar faces popped up, but two in particular seem kind of funny in retrospect: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner played themselves in a club scene. (Ivanka was apparently a huge fan of the series.) “They did it for the money,” a chuckling Schwartz told Vanity Fair.

20. IN AN ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE, SERENA IS A SERIAL KILLER.

In 2002, von Ziegesar published a bloody take on her famed book series with Gossip Girl: Psycho Killer, which she said she’d love to see adapted. "I took the original text of the first book and whenever I saw an opportunity, I layered in this story of Serena coming back from boarding school as this coldblooded psychopath, which, to me makes total sense,” von Ziegesar told Entertainment Weekly. “She’s sort of like the Ryan Gosling of Gossip Girl world. She has that deadpan style, doesn’t seem to have much personality, and she’s really gorgeous, but then underneath she has this kind of scary ability to kill people. So she’s murdered people up at boarding school. She’s always had this dark side and everyone is a little bit scared of her.”

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8 Big Moving Mistakes—And How to Avoid Them
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Your wine glasses are smashed to pieces, and your toiletries are nowhere to be found. No wonder moving day is the most stressful life event for 62 percent of adults, beating out divorce or a new job for 43 percent of people, according to a recent study by the energy company E.ON. Many times, however, the moving day stressors can be avoided. We’ve got the dirty moving deets straight from the pros so you can move in one piece.

1. THE MISTAKE: LABELING JUST THE SIDE OF THE BOX

Ben Soreff, a professional organizer with House to Home Organizing in Connecticut, says that when the boxes get stacked, you can’t see their labels—so you may spend hours at the new house searching for your toiletries or bed linens after a really long day of moving. Instead, label every side of the box, and you’ll be able to spot your belongings quickly.

2. THE MISTAKE: THROWING AWAY RANDOM CORDS AND ELECTRONICS

It can be tempting to throw away what appears to be a spare cord, but Annie Draddy, organizer and co-founder of Henry & Higby, a professional organizing company in New York, thinks you should fight the urge. Instead, put all the random chargers, cords and electronics in one box. Then, as you go through your home prepping for the move, you can look for the mates, and be sure that you’re only tossing random cords that don’t have a purpose anymore.

3. THE MISTAKE: PACKING THINGS YOU MIGHT NEED TO HAVE HANDY ON MOVING DAY

Everyone wants to be fully packed when their movers arrive, but everyone will also find that they need last-minute items on moving day. Michelle Hale, organizer and co-founder of Henry & Higby in New York, recommends creating and properly labeling a moving day box. “Ideally, this box should include a hammer, screwdrivers, scissors, box cutters, tape, duct tape, dust cloths, basic cleaning products, paper towels, glue, sticky notes and pens, snacks and trash bags,” she says. You might need a bunch of those items even right up to when the last box has been moved (we’re looking at you, snacks and tools), and you’ll also want easy access to them the second you get into your new pad. You should also pack a separate box for your overnight essentials for that first night, which should contain sheets, towels, and toiletries. “Basically, anything to make the nighttime and morning rituals as normal as possible,” Hale says. “And remember to label it appropriately, and flag it to the movers as important.”

4. THE MISTAKE: PACKING LAMPS WITH THE LIGHTBULBS STILL IN THEM

Lightbulbs break easily—you don't want to be unpacking and stab yourself with a piece of bulb shattered during the move. Lamps and other large items can be bubble-wrapped and placed into boxes, but you should remove all lightbulbs before packing the lamps, said Nicholas Boorom, logistics director at Everything But the House, an online estate sale marketplace. If you have lightbulb boxes handy—or even have room in your Christmas ornament box—pack them up and bring them along. Otherwise, toss them and start fresh in your new place.

5. THE MISTAKE: LOSING PARTS OF DISASSEMBLED FURNITURE

There's nothing worse than getting to your new home and attempting to reassemble your furniture, only to find that you're missing a piece. Mike Glanz, co-founder and CEO of HireAHelper, a company that offers hourly movers throughout the United States, suggests having a Ziplock bag nearby when you're disassembling furniture in anticipation of your move. Toss all of the nuts, bolts, washers, and flanges for that item into the bag, then duct tape the bag and its contents to the item for an easy and quick find when you’re ready to reassemble.

6. THE MISTAKE: PACKING HEAVY ITEMS INCORRECTLY

Dense, heavy items like books should be backed in small boxes so that carrying them is manageable, says Nimrod Sheinberg, vice president of sales at Oz Moving and Storage in New York. “Movers can’t handle the box if you can’t lift it,” he says. On that note, a dresser full of clothes is a dresser that's too heavy to move. Movers aren’t superheroes, and some will refuse to move a packed dresser, Sheinberg says. Empty everything before moving day.

7. THE MISTAKE: LEAVING EMPTY SPACES IN BOXES

Leave space in your box, and whatever you've packed in there will move in transit to your new place. Sheinberg recommends filling the spaces with packing material or newspaper.

8. THE MISTAKE: FORGETTING TO PREP YOUR PLANTS

Your plants can survive a move ... if you get them ready about three weeks before moving day, according to Atlas Van Lines Inc., a moving company based in Evansville, Indiana. About three weeks prior to the big day, move your plants into unbreakable pots. Two weeks before, prune your larger plants to make them easier to handle (but skip this step if you’ve got jade plants, aloe, cactus, or other ferns and succulents). Two days before, water your plants normally, but don’t overwater because your plant could freeze or get moldy (depending on the weather). Finally, wrap your large plants with a bed sheet or tissue paper on moving day. Put them in a snug box, and put paper around them in the box so they’re snug. Put air holes around the box so it can breathe, then label the boxes and mark them so they aren’t turned upside down.

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