When you’re moving, your life is inevitably in turmoil. All of your belongings are packed away in boxes, and even after you’ve unpacked, it will be weeks until you settle into your new “home.” But there are a few favors you can do for yourself to keep stressors at a minimum and to make the process go smoothly, quickly, and without extra expenses. Whether you’re one of the 5.4 million Americans buying a new home this year, or are one millions opting for the flexibility of apartments instead, follow these six tips for a stress-free move.

1. Reserve truck and movers ASAP.
As soon as you know your moving date, call to reserve your moving truck and/or moving company. Their pricing is often set by demand, so if you get your reservations made before availability is pinched, you could get a better deal. Even if prices stay the same, you’ll have peace of mind that come moving day, you won’t be stuck making dozens of trips in your sedan.

2. Make a timeline.
When do you need to start packing if you need to move on the 1st of the month? When should you be calling to transfer utility service, or have your mail forwarded? There’s a lot to be done in the days and weeks leading up to the move, and a timeline is an excellent way to be sure you’re on track for a smooth move. Depending on how organized you like to be, you could also include checklists in your moving timeline for tasks like cleaning progress, updating your address in various locations, or packing by room.

3. Gather supplies early on.
It’s finally time to start packing up, and you realize after packing three boxes that you don’t have any tape, and you’re already out of boxes. Now you need to waste valuable packing time running out to secure more supplies, pushing you behind schedule. Avoid this stress-inducing hiccup by gathering your moving supplies early. Pick up free boxes from retail, grocery, or liquor stores (for the sturdiest boxes), and supplement them with purchased boxes, tape, markers, bubble wrap, and whatever else you think you might need. Get it early, and you’re sure to have it when you need it all most.

4. Create emergency kit.
Instead of trying to keep part of your brain focused on remembering where your most important documents are — such as your new lease, timeline, or financial paperwork — gather them together and put them in your emergency kit and keep it with you at all times. Also pack some nonperishable foods, any necessary medications, a few sets of clothes, cash, and water in your emergency kit, just in case something goes awry or you aren’t up to the task of unpacking when you get to your new place.

5. Get rid of unnecessary items.
Whether you’re moving into a new apartment in Milwaukee or a LeBron James-like mansion in L.A., packing stuff you no longer need or want wastes your time and your moving resources. While you’re packing, think critically about whether you’ve used these items in the past six months or year. If not, why do you think you’ll use them this year? Gather up your unneeded stuff, sort them into trash and donation piles, and then free yourself from the burden of extra junk.

6. Organize your boxes.
While you’re packing room by room, number the boxes and keep keep a registry so you know what goes where and so you can double-check that nobox got lost in the shuffle. If you have a few belongings that are very important to you, make a note of which boxes they’re in so you can keep a close eye on them. If you’re really feeling tidy, you could also color code your boxes by room and tell at a glance where to unpack.

Moving is hectic and takes a lot of careful planning — but it’s also exciting. Don’t muddle up the new adventure you’re about to take by being overly stressed out. Instead, plan early, organize often, and cut out the excess.

Cynthia Lopez