Buying a new house is an exciting event. Moving … not so much.

For many homeowners, moving to a new house is an overwhelming, frustrating proposition. But there are some simple strategies you can use to make it less stressful and time consuming, the first being to get organized. Write down what needs to be done, in what order. Give yourself milestones so that you don’t leave everything to the last minute.

For example, if you are planning on hiring a mover, that should be one of the first things on your list. Depending on what time of year you buy your new house, movers can be booked for weeks in advance. You want to make the appointment at least a month before your moving date. If you are moving to a new state, you need to take the movers’ travel time into account.

Another thing to list if what kind of supplies you will need such as packing tape, boxes, bubble wrap, and packing paper. Estimate how much you will need then get even more. Inevitable people need more moving supplies than they think they will. That’s especially true with boxes. It is strongly recommend using boxes specifically designed for moving. Boxes scrounged from the grocery stores may not be clean, could have insect eggs, and are often not as sturdy. Buying proper boxes is a worthwhile investment because they will better protect your belongings, especially fragile items. And whatever you don’t use you can return for a refund. Plus, having standard-sized boxes makes it easier to load, whether you hire a professional mover DIY with the help of family and friends. Make sure to keep about a dozen boxes on hand for the actual moving so you can pack up last minute items like towels, bedding, cleaning supplies, and miscellaneous clothes. You can also use your luggage for packing clothes.

Young couple watching movers move boxes from the moving van

If the idea of loading a moving truck in a day is too stressful or inconvenient, consider using a moving container that is dropped off at your home so you can pack and load fill at your own pace. Once filled, it is picked up and can be immediately driven to your new home or if need be can be temporarily stored. Once dropped off at your new home, you again can take your time unloading.

Do not procrastinate when it comes to packing. Inevitably it will take longer than you anticipate so if you wait until the last minute you will be pressed for time and unnecessarily stressed. Start early and often. Begin with seasonal items, tchotchkes, books, photos albums, and seldom used items. Moving is also a perfect time to go through your closet and get rid of clothes you no longer wear. That’s true with everything; only move what you really need or still use and donate or toss the rest. You also have a garage sale and make some extra cash.

If you are looking to cut your moving expenses, instead of bubble wrap you can use T-shirts and other clothing to wrap fragile items like plates, lamps, glasses, and vases. You can also better protect dishes by packing plates on their side instead of laying them flat.

If you are using professional movers, transport your important papers (deeds, passports, bank records, etc) yourself. Do not risk them getting lost.

Finally, it should go without saying but make sure to keep items from the same room together and clearly detail the box’s contents on the outside with a Sharpie so you know what box goes in what room and what each box contains.