Whether you’ve purchased the deed to a new luxury condo in King West or have opted for a two bedroom townhouse on the outskirts of Toronto, one thing you can be certain of is that moving to your new digs can be stressful. From packing, to lifting, to unloading and sifting — setting the wheels in motion for your big move can take a significant amount of time, energy, and money. For this reason, we’ve compiled some handy tips and tricks to help equip you to maneuver the inevitable challenges that might come your way as you prep for the big day.

1. ENLIST HELP EARLY

The first thing on your to-do list should be to make a game plan for moving day as soon as you have the date set in your calendar. Do you have a good support network of friends and family who might be able to lend a hand? Are those friends reliable, or do they often bail at the last minute? Does it make more sense to hire movers, and how much will that set you back? Figure out which option will give you the most peace of mind and plan accordingly. If you do intend to reserve a moving truck, just make sure to do it as many months in advance as possible so that you aren’t left high and dry during busy seasons.

2. BECOME A MINIMALIST

Moving is a great opportunity to purge the excess. The key here is to be quick and ruthless: keep things that have sentimental value or are daily essentials but get rid of things you know you’ll never use again, but might be holding on to just in case. If you start this process a few months in advance of closing on your new digs, you’ll have a lot more time to sell those big-ticket items or organize a few trips to the Salvation Army for whatever still needs to go.

3. BOX UP ESSENTIALS AHEAD OF TIME

Anything you can manage to pack ahead of schedule will save you from scrambling to get everything into boxes at the last minute. Pack up as many trinkets and thingamabobs as you can until you’re left with just the bare necessities. You might be surprised at how much packing you can get out of the way before crunch time hits.

4. PACK STRATEGICALLY

When it comes to moving day, it will serve you well to figure out how you can cut corners to save time and energy; packing strategically is a good starting point. Take measurements for bulky items so you know the best route to get them out of the house. Pack heavy items in small boxes to avoid rips and tears (and unnecessary back strains). Utilize suitcases and dresser drawers to minimize empty space. Keep special track of screws and parts for furniture you need to disassemble. Keep in mind: the more strategically you pack, the easier it will be to unload on the other end.

PACKING HACK: For all of your clothes on hangers, grab a box of draw-sting garbage bags. Simply put 8-10 items in the bag as-is and tighten the drawstring around the neck of the hangers. Putting your clothes away in your new closet couldn’t be easier.

5. PURCHASE LOTS OF PACKING SUPPLIES

There’s nothing worse than being left high and dry right in the middle of an energetic packing spree. Save money on boxes by grabbing them over the course of a few days from U-Haul’s ‘Take-a-Box, Leave-a-Box’ program and don’t forget to invest in a handful of good thick markers, a few rolls of high-quality packing tape and a smattering of other materials like bubble wrap and tissue paper. If you want to be a bit more eco-friendly, you can also wrap valuables in towels and clean clothes.

6. LABEL METICULOUSLY

Figure out a system for labeling your boxes, whether that be numbering each box based on priority and the room it belongs in or simply writing the location and contents (ie. “KITCHEN – POTS AND PANS”) in big block letters on all sides so that your movers and shakers know where to put them and you know what to find in them. Make a note of anything that you think you might need straight away (like your shower curtain!) so that you can find the box in question in a hurry. It’s also a good plan to label boxes with fragile items, so that everyone will know to go easy on them.

7. PACK A SURVIVAL KIT

Pack one clear plastic tote with everything you might need on the first few nights in your new home. A set of sheets, a towel, shampoo, toothpaste, phone chargers, a change of clothes, toilet paper, lightbulbs, cleaning supplies, some plates and cutlery, etc. You get the drift. If you have a large family, it’s best to get everyone to pack their own overnight bag, and to make sure these bags are stowed in a safe place for easy access later.

8. FIND A PET/BABYSITTER

This might seem like a no-brainer, but many people don’t think about the way their children or animals might cope with a big move. Animals tend to get spooked and, especially for indoor pets, run the risk of escaping in a brand-new neighbourhood where they might not be able to find their way home. Children also have a knack for needing special attention during times of transition, so it’s often better to have them in a safe place and out from under foot.

These are just a few hints and tricks to make your move a little less dreaded. And just remember, when in doubttake a deep breath. Before long, you’ll be all settled in to your new home, wondering what the big fuss was all about in the first place.