One of the most physically and emotionally grueling things people can do is move. Packing up all of your worldly possessions, leaving behind the home where you’ve lived, loved and made memories, and then departing to a place that is new and strange. It can be as hard on the emotions as it is on the back. To try and lighten the load we offer a few suggestions to make moving day a little bit easier.

Organize Early: Don’t leave everything to the last minute. Unless you have to pack up and leave in a hurry, chances are you have between 30 and 60 days to make a plan and ensure that moving day runs smoothly. Create a countdown list and itemize everything you need to accomplish week by week.

Plan Your Move: Plan the move in as much detail as possible and put it in writing. How are you going to get from point A to point B on moving day? For shorter moves, you’ll either need to assemble some very nice friends with trucks or consider renting a truck for the day. If you have a big family to move or you’ll be moving a long distance, you’ll want to price out moving companies.

Talk To Your Movers: Unless you’re handling the move personally you’re going to be using professional movers. If you know who you will be using keep them in the loop in regards your moving day plans. Boxes are one thing, but when you get to the heavy stuff, it’s important to let your movers know what to expect. Communicate with your moving company including informing them about any overweight items such appliances, safes and pianos. Also let them know if there is going to be some form of access restriction such as an elevator.

Get A Truck That’s Big Enough: If you’re moving a short distance, you may be able to get away with making more than one trip. But if you don’t have that luxury, you’ll need to make sure you have the right size of truck to cart your belongings in one trip. Choosing the right truck is essential for a long distance move.

Get Rid of Things: Moving can be a great excuse to organize your belongings and to get rid of things you no longer use. If the time of year permits, hold a yard sale. Or, take the time to sort and donate gently worn clothing to Goodwill, put furniture up for sale on a site like craigslist.org, recycle old magazines and catalogues and shred old documents.

Design A Packing Kit: If more than one person is packing, remain organized by establishing a system. Have blank inventory sheets prepared so one person can tackle each area or room. Arm each packer with a pen, black marker, and packing materials, like newspaper, a packing tape dispenser and boxes.

These are just a few ideas, every household and every move is different. But by remaining calm, careful planning (including not forgetting to eat and get enough sleep), your move should be as smooth as it can be. Nothing is perfect, and issues always seem to creep up, but by sticking to your moving day plan the journey could be as much adventure as it is trial.