Buying a house is exciting. Moving is not. But there are strategies that can help you make it as painless as possible. If you’re moving within six weeks, you’ll have no problems mastering a mega move. Moving in less time than that? Some of these plans can be reorganized to fit your schedule.

Six Weeks Out

If movers are an option, now is the time to research and book the one that fit your needs. Cross-country: Know your budget if you’re receiving any relocation assistance, and start shopping around. In-town: Moving on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday generally costs more than moving Monday through Thursday.

No matter who you hire, make sure they are bonded and insured and note any fees for the use of moving blankets, inner-city mileage, and wrapping and moving televisions and other appliances. Read the fine print on your moving agreement; some companies will only offer you a few cents on the dollar for your possessions which may be damaged or lost.

Five Weeks Out

It’s supply time. Order more boxes than you think you’ll need, bubble wrap for fragile items, permanent markers for labeling and colored dot stickers for organizing. Pro tip: If you buy boxes from U-Haul, you can return unused boxes with proof of receipt.

Start planning with color codes. For example, if you know you want your entire record collection to go in your downstairs guest room, use green dot stickers for all boxes for records, and then label the top and a side of each box with more specific contents description, such as classic rock or The Beatles. (Yes, this is the time to pack up books, movies, records and any collectibles.) If you’re extra organized, you’ll have a chart with colors corresponding to each room, which you can distribute to movers so everyone is on the same page.

Four Weeks Out

Do one last big grocery run. Stock your pantry with what you’ll need to make meals before the move. Then try to create a rough meal plan of what you’ll eat over the next month so you don’t have to move canned food and other non-perishables along with your kitchen caboodle.

Have you finished packing up knickknacks like your tiki mug display and geode collection? The tedious activity of wrapping, organizing and boxing these items can take more time and effort than you think. Knock this out now, then admire your empty shelves.

Three Weeks Out

Time to pack up the home office and carefully organize personal papers and documents. If you’ve already purchased homeowners insurance for the new place, keep that information in an easy-to-reach place. Label each box using your color code system.

Any out-of-season or nonessential clothing should be packed now. This is the perfect time to clean out your closet. Make a donation pile and a trash pile, and don’t be afraid to purge. Drop off donations immediately, and do the same with the discards. Less to move means less to unpack when you arrive.

What not to pack at this point? Your luggage. You’ll need it in the interim.

Two Weeks Out

Tackle the kitchen. Put all non-essential kitchen gadgets—and those you haven’t used in a year—to the side. Leave out a few everyday pans, silverware and dishes so you can use them right up to moving day. Make sure you’re cleaning out the food, too, and eating everything you can so that you’re not wasting time and energy packing it up (and unpacking it later).

Time for a yard sale! It feels good to let go of the things you don’t need, and even better when you can trade those for a little cash.

One Week Out

Do you have enough cleaning supplies? Just like with buying moving boxes, buy more rolls of paper towel and household cleaners than you think you’ll need. Moving is dusty.

How are your bathroom cabinets looking? Do you have towels, empty toiletry bottles or anything else to toss into the trash and recycling bin?

Three Days Before

Do any laundry and finish packing remaining clothing into luggage or boxes. Between this time and moving day, you’ll want to get the last kitchen items squared away and the pantry emptied.

Toiletries can be tossed in boxes last minute, but you may want to put liquid items in plastic shopping bags first. Cabinets, shelves, and drawers should be completely empty. Keep the boxes of cleaning supplies in an easy-to-access place, as you’ll need them before you unpack. Clothing, medications and toothbrushes can go in an overnight bag. Enjoy the last moments, take time to say goodbye and reminisce about all the good memories you created in that space. And then, get ready for the next chapter. Adventure awaits in your new home.

 

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