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Couple moving into their first homeFor Americans, relocating seems to be the norm. Whether it’s for college, a new job or just for the sake of starting fresh, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates a person will move 11.7 times in their lifetime.

If you’re anything like me, you dread moving. It takes time, energy and effort much better spent doing other things. Sometimes, though, there’s no way around it. For those times, here are some tips to help make your move as stress free as can be.

Create a List

Organization is key when it comes to moving. While it may be extra work for you in the beginning, it’ll be well worth it in the end.

Label every box by number, and then in a list, write down exactly what’s in each box. Either save the list on your computer or phone, or write it down in a notebook. It’ll come in handy on moving day. Instead of going from box to box, you’ll have a record of where every single item is located.

You’ll also give yourself a head start if you label the final destination of each box. For example, your pots, pans and dishes are obviously all going to your kitchen. Instead of just placing all your boxes scattered around the house, a little organization will go a long way.

Set Aside the Essentials

I’ve been living in my house for three years, yet I still have packed boxes in my basement. Why? Because moving day came and went, and I was too tired to unpack everything. Going three years without unpacking everything is extreme, but the point is that you’ll get tired on moving day, so pack a bag with a day’s worth of clothes, your toiletries and anything you’ll need for work in the next day or two.

Boxes, Boxes and More Boxes

When you know you’re about to relocate, start collecting boxes. When you think you have enough boxes, go after even more boxes. You can never have enough boxes. On my last moving day, I realized immediately when I began packing that I was going to be short boxes. That turned into me throwing stuff in garbage bags, which rip easily and aren’t easy to label.

Pack the Right Way

Much like shipping gifts or packing breakables for air travel, your items may not be handled with as much care as you’d like. It’s your responsibility to pack everything in a way that decreases the chances of anything being broken. Luckily, there are steps you can take to do just that. For example, use your socks to create extra padding for things like drinking glasses. When you’re packing dinner plates, don’t stack them on top of each other. Place them in a box vertically with padding in between.

Get Rid of What You Don’t Need

Everyone has a closet or two full of items they haven’t looked at in forever. Do you really need that sweatshirt you last wore in high school? What about the video game console you haven’t played since you were in college? I think back to my unpacked boxes sitting in my basement. I clearly could have left those behind.

The less you bring with you, the less work you’re creating for yourself. If you’ve got a bunch of unused items, they’ll just take up space at your new place. I recommend donating them or seeing if you can make any money by selling them, either online or at a yard sale. I don’t recommend hauling them along with you.

Change Your Address

Do people even get stuff physically mailed to them anymore? It seems like most of my stuff is sent via e-mail now. However, you’ll still want to make sure your address is updated. Make sure to pass it along to your family and friends.

Cancel Your Cable and Internet

Things that seem so obvious sometimes aren’t. When I moved out of one of my apartments in college, I completely forgot to cancel my cable and Internet. I got stuck paying an extra month’s worth of bills because of it. Don’t forget your electricity and gas, gym memberships and any other services you may have.

Find Friends to Help

Moving is no fun anyway you look at it. Recruit a few friends to help with everything. Pay them in the form of pizza and beer, or something similar. Be a good friend and return the favor when it’s their turn to move!

Take Photo Proof

I’m terrible with electronics, and my lack of patience doesn’t help. If I’m lucky, I can hook up my TV and cable in 10 minutes. In other instances, it takes me hours to figure out the million plugs. Use your phone to take pictures of how and where everything is supposed to be connected.

It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the place you’re moving out of (especially if you were renting) to make sure you don’t get charged with any damages that weren’t your fault.

Quit Grocery Shopping

Don’t waste food. Depending on how big your family is, make your last stop to the grocery store a week or two in advance. Eat and drink up everything you’ve got so you can start fresh at your new home.

Hopefully these tips will help with your next move. Looking back on my past few moves, it’s clear that I needed a list like this to help me out. Don’t be like me and forget to cancel your cable and Internet, or have a basement full of unpacked boxes.

Follow the above tips and your move will be easier than ever. Do you have any other tips to help with moving? Let us know in the comments below!

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