Whether you’re planning to hire professional movers, rallying friends and family to help or going it alone, you’ll want to take steps to keep your belongings secure in transit and your move as stress-free as possible. A bit of planning with your initial packing will greatly improve the ease with which you’re able to unpack. These five tips will help to simplify your move, keep your belongings organized, and get you from A to B without mishap.

1. Less is more

You can really simplify your move by taking an inventory of your belongings and getting rid of any excess stuff. If something doesn’t bring you joy, hasn’t been used in over a year, or doesn’t fit with your new home, consider selling it at a garage sale or donating it to charity.

2. Get the proper tools

The four essentials for any move are boxes, tape, markers, and bubble wrap. Once you’ve scaled down your belongings, estimate how many boxes you will need. At this point it is more likely that you will underestimate how many boxes are required once you factor in the weight and size of what you’re moving. Get an assortment of small to large boxes. It’s also worth splurging on the handheld tape dispenser, which makes tape easier to apply and prevents it from sticking to itself.  Remember to also have furniture blankets on hand and don’t forget to stock up on rock salt (or alternative ice melting products) to help keep footing safe if you’re moving in the winter.

3. Pack your boxes effectively

Use small to medium boxes for heavy or fragile items such as appliances or dishware, and larger boxes for bulkier items such as towels, bedding or clothing. Always pack the heaviest items at the bottom. Line the tops and bottoms of the box with bubble wrap and individually wrap fragile items. If anything is exceptionally fragile or valuable, it’s best to move it separately from the rest of your belongings. Once the boxes are packed to a reasonable weight, place one horizontal and two vertical strips of tape on the top and bottom of each box making a capital letter “H” shape. Label each box with its contents, whether it’s fragile, and the room it belongs in.

4. Accounting for cleaning supplies

You’ll want to line these boxes with garbage bags to safely contain any leaks that may occur during transportation. If you are hiring professional movers, it’s worth knowing that many household cleaning chemicals such bleach, ammonia, peroxide, and disinfectants may not be not allowed in the truck by law (check with your local authorities). These should be carefully moved in your personal vehicle.

5. Coordinate your bookings

If you live in a building with an elevator, you may need register your move with the building manager and provide a security deposit. If you’re hiring professional movers or renting a truck, try to book at least one month in advance as dates around the first of the month tend to be the busiest.

Buying a new home can be exciting, but moving in can feel like quite a chore.  Don’t let the chaos of packing tarnish the enjoyment you’ll get from your new home. With the right planning and execution, the moving process can be relatively stress-free.