Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, there are plenty of things to consider. It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you’ve compiled a list of everything to do, the task becomes much more manageable. The key to a successful move is preparation, and we’ve compiled the top 10 tips to help you get started.

1. Select the right movers.

Before you begin packing, take the time to purge items that don’t need to make the move with you. This will reduce the amount of items you have to pack, the total cost of your move and the amount of clutter that ends up in your new home. You can hold a garage sale, post items online or donate unwanted clothing, toys and other items to a charity such as the Salvation Army.

2. Choose a moving company that’s licensed and insured.

While you can save some money by packing your own boxes, it’s best to enlist professional help to ensure your belongings are properly packed and protected. Check out a moving company’s credentials and reputation by searching the internet for reviews and checking their USDOT number, which is usually located on their website. You can also run a background check on a moving company before hiring them by looking up their business information at the Better Business Bureau.

3. Start packing early.

Start packing your belongingsĀ mack’s moving weeks or even months in advance of your move date. Begin by packing items you don’t use on a daily basis, such as off-season clothes and books. Then, move on to items you use more frequently until you’re left with the essentials: toiletries, a few changes of clothes and food items for your first week in your new home.

4. Label your boxes clearly.

One of the most important packing tips for moving is to clearly label your boxes so you know what’s inside them when it comes time to unpack. It’s helpful to use color coded labels and include the room they belong in at your new home. Adding an extra label with the contents of each box can save you lots of time and stress when you’re trying to find your toothbrush or other necessities after a long day of moving.

5. Give your home a deep clean.

If you’re able to, schedule a cleaning crew to come to your home the week after you move in. This will give your new home a fresh start and help you feel settled in your new location. If you’re unable to get a cleaning service in for that time frame, be sure to do a thorough vacuum and dusting of your entire home. It’s also a good idea to change the locks on your door and replace any light bulbs before you move in, as well as transfer your utility accounts. This will help your move go smoothly and minimize the chance of any hiccups down the road. If you’re a homeowner, you can also use this opportunity to upgrade your home’s appliances and features to increase its value.