Pro or no?

The world is divided into two groups: those who move themselves and those who hire professionals to handle it for them.

Put Tammy Lyn Phillips firmly on the "get a pro" side. She took this route for her first uprooting, but chose the do-it-yourself method the next few times to save money. But after she ruptured a disk using improper bending, lifting and carrying techniques -- racking up at least $10,000 in recurring medical bills over the next three years -- she wised up to a different definition of "expensive."

"If a professional incurs any unfortunate injuries, you're not held responsible. Plus you feel completely at ease overseeing and not pressured to physically assist, so you avoid hurting yourself," she says.

Still, in this age of cash allowances for moving expenses rather than an automatic company-covered perk, it's tempting to play the odds and pocket the extra bucks. It's rather like sitting on a pitchfork: either way you squirm, it hurts. Experts offer these points to help you decide which way to go:

Single people rarely accumulate enough stuff to make throwing it in a U-Haul an ordeal. "But the minute you get two people in a household and start adding children, the things really accumulate," says D'Arcy Goldman, president of Humboldt Storage and Moving Company in the Boston area.


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