Moving to a new home can be a wonderful opportunity to get a fresh start, but the move itself is often a huge headache. Not only are there any number of logistical things to consider, but you’ll also need to tolerate a certain amount of clutter and chaos as you pack up your home and setting everything up at the new location.

But while every move involves certain surprises and difficulties, these four tips can make the process a lot easier.

1. Create a Master Plan

If you’ve just learned that you have a move in your future, the first thing you should do is create a master plan that will allow you to map out the process and prioritize what needs to be done first.

This plan should include timelines around the move itself (when do you take possession of the new place? When do you need to be out of your current residence? Will you need to book accommodation during the move?) as well as inventories of large or delicate furniture or belongings that will require special attention.

2. Shop Around for the Right Moving Company

The single most important factor in your move will be the moving company you work with, which is why it’s worthwhile to spend a bit of time shopping around to find the right one. Above all, you should make sure that the moving company you work with has:

  • Transparent pricing
  • A history of quality service
  • Good reviews
  • Expertise in your particular type of move

Finding the right moving company will also help you plan your next move ahead of time and ensure that when moving day comes around, everything is ready to go and there are no unfortunate surprises.

move2 4 Essential Tips for Planning a Painless Move

3. Pack in Stages

Even when you have a clear plan, packing has a way of getting out of hand quickly. You may intend to start with a single room, but then you realize that the gap in your box would be perfect for an item from another part of the building, and before you know it the packing has spilled over into the whole house.

Packing things up room by room can be a good approach, but this isn’t the only way to organize things — you may decide it makes more sense to start with books, or linens, or clothing. However you choose to do it, staying disciplined about packing in stages will help the process go more smoothly.

4. Pack with Unpacking in Mind

Finally, as you begin to pack remember that everything will need to be unpacked on the other end. Do yourself a favor and ordering your boxes logically, with clear markings to help you know the contents of each container.

This will help you identify essentials on the other end, so you aren’t rummaging through box after box trying to find a blender, frying pan, or important document.

While it is important to stay flexible while moving, and re-evaluate your priorities as things change, being disciplined about sticking to your plan is also important. Creating a master checklist that will help you organize the move, working with a reliable moving company, and keeping the end goal in mind will help ensure that your move is as painless as possible.