Moving Day looms. Are you ready? You might put off packing until the last minute, but some preparations need to be done in advance to avoid major hair-pulling stress.

Here are 5 things you must do before you move:

  • 1) Contact Utilities. This goes for both your current home’s utilities and your future home’s utilities. Make sure utilities in your current home are set to be disconnected the day after your move-out date (so you aren’t moving in the dark), and — more importantly — be sure your utilities are set to turn on in the new home by the time you arrive. There is nothing worse than moving into a dark, cold home.
  • 2) Make Travel and Moving Arrangements. You cannot wait until the last minute to reserve a moving truck or hire a moving company. Make the DIY or hire-it-out decision ahead a time and then make the call. Don’t fret too much about deciding on a truck size — use the rental company or moving company as a resource and let them guide you on this decision.
  • 3) Notify For Change of Address. Moving into a new home is stressful enough as it is. There’s no need to heap more stress on the process by failing to notify your bank, credit card company, etc. of your change of address. Lost bills and correspondence can lead to headaches down the road. Set aside an hour and make a list of everyone who needs to be notified of your new address and then do it!
  • 4) Lighten Your Load. This may not seem like a necessity, but it will add years to your life. Before packing (or as you are packing) take a hard look at your clothes, appliances, knick knacks — your “stuff.” When was the last time you used it? Wore it? A year ago? Toss it out. This move is your chance at a clean slate. Don’t take your clutter with you. Encourage every family member to do the same. Tip: If you do this far enough in advance, you might even throw a garage sale and pocket some extra cash!
  • 5) Pack! What, you didn’t think we’d include this? Disregard the second sentence of this post. DO NOT wait until the last minute to pack! Set aside one room in the house as the “holding area.” This is where packed boxes will go during the process. You can also store bigger items to be moved (kitchen table, dressers, etc.) in this room. Chances are there are items around the house that need to be disassembled before they get packed/moved. Do you really want to be fumbling frantically with the screwdriver as the movers impatiently tap their toes?
  • Moving is a big deal. No one is going to say otherwise. But it can be a lot less stressful with a little planning and a head start. Do a little bit each day and you’ll be thanking yourself later.