We know that home is where the heart is, but moving into a new home can also be a major stress source. In fact, more than 13% of those who participated in a 2,000-person survey said moving is more stressful than a week in jail. While that seems extreme, the idea of uprooting your life, packing your belongings, transporting everything you own, and then unboxing and putting it all back together can be enough for some people to think twice about making a move—but it shouldn’t be.

To help those of you feeling tense about an upcoming move, we’ve put together a list of six ways to make moving day less stressful.

 

1. Create a to-do list

One of the keys to a smooth move is making the most of the time you have (since so many of us feel like we have so little of it, to begin with). The best way to manage your time is through a to-do list that chronicles all of your must-dos in order and with dates that you need to accomplish tasks by. Creating this type of list can help you avoid dropping the ball on important tasks like turning on utilities at your new home or forwarding your mail to the new address.

2.  Start early and work in regular increments

Procrastinators, beware! Waiting until the last minute to get going on your move is bound to bring on the stress sweats. Whether it’s purging, cleaning, or packing, make sure that you’re working well in advance of your move. One tip to help with starting early, especially with packing, is to pick the rooms or areas of the home seldom used. Guest rooms, dining rooms, and game rooms are ideal starting spots, saving the rooms of your home that you most frequently use (like the master bedroom) for last.

Also, don’t expect to do everything at once. If you start early enough, you can dedicate a few hours each day to packing or labeling, rather than pulling an anxiety-filled all-nighter in advance of your move.

3. Stay organized

A little organizing upfront goes a long way, so while it may seem like just dumping everything haphazardly into a box is a good idea, you’re just going to make yourself stressed later on. Be sure to fill the boxes’ contents logically, labeling each box with markers or stickers appropriately to ensure it ends up in the right room of your new pad.

4. Keep tabs on important documents

We all have those important materials that we don’t want to lose. To make certain that documents like passports, birth certificates, and insurance policies aren’t misplaced, assemble them all in a secured folder or a lockbox and carry it over to your new place yourself.

5. Rest up and take plenty of breaks

Simply put, moving can be taxing—both physically and mentally. There’s lots of lifting, bending, and stretching that can cause pain in your joints on the physical side if you aren’t careful. Moving also tends to stir up plenty of emotions, particularly if you’re moving out of a home that’s sentimental to you. Stress and sleep are deeply linked, so make sure you’re getting adequate sleep throughout the moving process and letting your body rest and recover whenever needed.

6. Hire professional movers

Ultimately, the most effective way to reduce the stress felt during a move is to hire professional movers. Most professional moving companies offer various services beyond just transporting your goods, including providing boxes and handling the actual packing. Professional movers are trained to work efficiently and effectively, meaning they can probably pack, load, and unpack your boxes much faster than you can. You’re also less likely to have furniture or fragile items break in the process because professional movers are skilled at packing and organizing boxes in the truck.

Moving can be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life, so it’s essential that you not let stress affect what might be a momentous occasion. By following the six tips listed above, it should be smooth sailing for your next move (and your stress level).