Packing all your possessions into boxes, bags, and more can be overwhelming. Make it a little bit easier on yourself by cutting back on clutter as much as possible. Before you pack a single box, do a merciless purge of unused or unnecessary items. You'll have less to pack, less to move, and less to unpack-and you'll start life in your new space with a clean slate.
Start collecting new addresses, rental or purchase papers, moving contracts, and more in one folder. (Consider a hard copy, rather than a digital one, in case computer or phone batteries die during the move.) If any questions come up during the planning process or the move itself, you'll have the answer (and records of agreements, payments, and more) on hand.
Ideally, you'll know about a move (even if you're not sure of the final destination) weeks or even months in advance. Start by packing off-season items and the items you won't miss. If you're moving in summer, you can pack winter coats in advance-and likely books and other once-in-a-while items. When it's finally time to move, many items will already be ready to go, giving you less to stress about.
If you're hiring moving services, renting supplies, or hiring professionals such as painters or cleaners to work on the house, book early. Waiting to do so could mean paying a higher price, or not being able to get a truck or movers at all, particularly if it's peak moving season.
Once the dates are finalized, contact your utility providers to schedule service at your new home. You don't want to arrive there, tired from the move, only to find that the electricity, water, or heat is off. Schedule it ahead of time, and keep records of your requests in your moving folder. At the same time, request service stops for your move-out date at your current home.
On the night before the move, tuck everyday essentials-a change of clothes, a toothbrush, must-have stuffed animals or toys for the kids, medications, paperwork, etc.-into a suitcase or bag you'll keep with you in the car, the truck cab, or on the plane. If catastrophe strikes and the moving truck gets lost, at least you'll have some essentials with you.