Photo: Robert Clark

The typical American moves about eleven times throughout the course of their lifetime, and many say moving is nearly as stressful as death and paying taxes.

To avoid devolving into a raging ball of stress when the movers pull into the driveway, it’s important to plan ahead. Most experts agree that you should start preparing for your move four to six weeks in advance, depending on how much “stuff” you’re taking with you to the new place.

Together with Melissa Pollock, PODS lifestyle and organization expert, and Nimrod Sheinberg, Oz Moving vice president of sales, we’ve come up with five pre-moving tips that will help you build your perfect moving checklist and eliminate stress.

“A good moving checklist would include moving related tasks (packing, preparing items for shipment) as well as life related tasks (registering for school, filing change of address forms, etc.),” says Sheinberg.

Because closing one door and opening another should be an exciting life change, not a dreadful one!

1. Book your move sooner rather than later

Every move is different when it comes to timelines, which depend on various factors such as time of year and moving distance,” says Pollock. “It’s always a good idea to book any necessary deliveries, pick-ups, and shipments as soon as you know the dates you prefer, as calendars for moving companies can fill up quickly, especially during the summer months.”

Allow extra time for the move, and, if possible, take the day off work.

“Do not rush to get the movers done – this almost always will result in loss or damage as you are dealing with physical labor that requires some rest and proper lifting,” says Sheinberg.

2. Declutter

“Six weeks from your moving date is when you’ll want to begin organizing your belongings,” says Pollock. “This will give you time to declutter, finding items that you want to donate, toss or sell. Through this process, you’ll have an idea of just how much stuff you’re moving and can determine the right quantity of packing supplies to buy.”

This is a good time to decide “trash” or “treasure.”

“Sort your belongings before the move and get rid of what you do not need. If moving long distance, some things will be more expensive to ship than they worth,” adds Sheinberg.

3. Set up or close accounts

About six weeks from your move date, arrange cut-off and activation dates with utility companies to ensure you’re able to receive essential services on move-in day — and night.

Cable television and internet installation spots tend to go quickly and can be booked for weeks in advance. So, if you don’t want to miss that “Game of Thrones” premiere, book your service call as early as possible.

4. Pack with care

Inspect all furniture and fragile items for nicks, cracks and dents, and keep a running list in case you do suspect something was damaged in transit. For insurance purposes, high-value items will need verified values in advance of a move.

Clearly label all your boxes — nothing is more stressful and time-consuming than searching through a mountain of boxes for a misplaced item. You should also pack boxes according to the room their contents belong in. This makes organizing the new pad much easier.

Be fully packed prior to moving day. Otherwise, you risk delaying the movers and causing unnecessary stress.

“Most people underestimate the number of boxes they will fill with their belongings. It is always a good idea to ask for an in home estimate which will include optional packing service, this way you will receive a list of boxes or you can request one from the mover who did the in-home assessment. Many times moving companies will offer a good deal on a package of moving and box purchase,” says Sheinberg.

5. Prepare moving day essentials

As your move looms closer, pack an overnight bag with any toiletries you might need, as well as clean clothes.

Be sure to pack an ‘essentials box’ that includes things like pet food, garbage bags, toilet paper, towels, all-purpose cleaner, first-aid supplies, a flashlight, dish soap and any important documents. And make sure it’s clearly labeled!

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