Moving is one of modern life’s big challenges. Even if your new home is just across town, there’s still plenty of work to be done. From carefully packing breakables to contracting with a moving company, a single day isn’t hardly enough time to prepare. That’s why residents who know that a move is coming up are encouraged to start early, so when moving day comes, everyone knows what to do and there are no surprises. By following a handful of simple tips, the day of the move can be almost effortless, and you can begin enjoying your new abode as quickly as possible.

First, buy more moving supplies than you think you will need. That means ample supplies of packing tape, cardboard boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes, bubble wrap and insulation for breakables, and magic markers for labeling everything. Having leftovers of these supplies is a good thing, as tape and boxes and bubble wrap can serve lots of purposes. Running out of these items prior to finishing moving prep, though, is definitely not a good thing. No one wants to stop what they’re doing because there’s suddenly no more tape or boxes.

Second, label every last box, no matter how trivial the contents may seem. When it’s time to move, you and the movers will know where each and every box belongs. You’ll also have a way to segregate the important stuff from the less important stuff. There will be no wasted time opening boxes just to see what’s inside. Plus, when you need to find that thing that you only use once in a blue moon, you’ll know where it is.

Third, take the fantastic opportunity that moving represents to de-clutter your life. When people live in the same place for any amount of time, they naturally accumulate plenty of things that aren’t really necessary. Moving is a chance to reset. Keep the important things. Donate the clutter to a local charity.

Fourth, make the arrangements for utilities and other bills to continue being paid, regardless of where you are in the moving process. Many people end up with late payment penalties because the mail gets lost under a pile of stuff. Electronic delivery of statements is one way to avoid this problem. Also, don’t forget to complete an official change of address form with the post office, and then manually change your address with your creditors and utilities.

Finally, put together a “trip kit” of essential items that should not be put in a box. This includes things like personal hygiene items, utensils, snacks, water, medicine and enough ready cash to cover the unexpected. If you have pets, each of them should have a trip kit, too.

Moving does not have to be a dreaded experience. Instead, with proper planning and attention to detail, it can be an adventure for everyone. Working with a licensed and reputable moving company is a big part of making the whole process get underway smoothly. Spend some time researching local movers, and don’t be afraid to “interview” your finalists.