If you’re new to the moving game, you’ve probably heard some helpful tricks from friends, family and colleagues. Add these key tips to your mental checklist and you’re well on your way to a smooth and easy move.

Plan It!

If you’re using a professional mover, you’ll want to invest the time to research the company so you can make a well-informed choice. Get answers to all your questions, check out the supplied references, and ensure the firm is experienced and established in the industry. If your move schedule is flexible, find out if booking on a certain day of the week can get you a helpful discount. Depending on the day you select, you’ll need to consider traffic patterns, rush hour and even special events that may affect transportation to your new digs. Make a map so everyone involved knows an efficient route – either the pros or your accommodating friends and family who agreed to pitch in – and that they take the quickest path between the two locations, especially when multiple trips are required.

Mark It!

Label, label, label! Even though you think you’ll remember that you packed the mixing bowls with the silverware, go ahead and write it on the box (the side of the box) just for kicks. When the time comes to load up the new kitchen cabinets – or make your inaugural meal! – you’ll be thankful that you were so meticulous. It also helps to think big: Make sure each box is labelled clearly and in LARGE LETTERS with the appropriate room so movers know instantly where to place it. Use specific terms like “Bedroom 1” and “Bathroom 2” in your labels, then tape corresponding signs to the doors of the rooms in the new house so you don’t have to be available to give directions.

Protect It!

Head to a liquor store and grab some wine boxes that contain cardboard grids. You’ll be able to safely transport items like your delicate drinking glasses. Bonus: These boxes often sport convenient, built-in handles that can make them easy to lift. Also, keep in mind that your sheet sets, blankets and tablecloths can pull double duty: Use them as additional protective material between breakable items. They have to get packed up anyway – why not have them provide more protection to your packed goods?

Document It!

Walk around and take pictures of specific details in your current home so you have a quick reference when organizing your new place. If you like the way your bookshelves are staged, snap a few photos to ease setup. And, it will help take the guesswork out of hanging your new picture galleries too. If your framed artwork or photos are presently arranged a certain way and you plan to duplicate the design in the new pad, why not capture it? This is also a great practice for electronics, so before you box them up, take a pic of the hookups – which cords fit where – to make your computer, gaming system or TV hum and come back to life hassle-free.

Bundle It!

Pack a separate box of the items you will need immediately – such as light bulbs, power strips, extension cords and chargers. Keep that box handy (along with your overnight bag of clothes and toiletries) for easy access. You’ll have one standard go-to spot and won’t waste time digging around in several scattered cartons. And, you won’t want to pack certain items until your actual moving day. Designate one shelf or corner for necessities like a heavy-duty marker for last-minute labeling, extra rolls of packing tape, large trash bags, a few rolls of paper towels and standard cleaning supplies.

Make sure you keep all of these handy tidbits in mind when planning the ins and outs of your next move!