Hurray for moving day! Although it’s exciting to take ownership of your first home, it can also be a time of anxiety – there’s so much to do, and the clock is ticking! Fortunately, there are ways to smooth the process: hire help, get organized early and pack smarter. While we can’t promise you a zero-stress move, here are 10 tips for a lower-stress move.

GET PROFESSIONAL HELP

Sure, the fewer pros you hire, the more money you can save. But if you’re not moving again any time soon, the convenience and expertise of pros can trump any cost savings.

Stress-busting tip No. 1: Hire a reputable moving company

Not your brother-in-law who has access to a cube van. Or that super-cheap Craigslist-ad guy. Horror stories of moves gone wrong abound – save yourself the hassle of hidden fees, ransomed furniture and worse by paying a bit more (more than $2,000 on average, for a three-bedroom house) to hire a reputable moving company that’s upfront about its pricing and has a solid Better Business Bureau rating.

TIP: Book at least two months in advance to secure the slot you want.

Stress-busting tip No. 2: Consider hiring a boxer

If work and family life have you stretched, why not hire someone to pack your possessions for you? Most major movers provide packing services, and it costs less than you may think – about $15 per box and up. And no more schlepping to the supermarket in search of boxes, or hitting up apartment building recycling bins for old newspapers, either!

Stress-busting tip No. 3: Book babysitting and pet care

While it’s smart to prep your kids for the move beforehand, moving day will be more hassle-free if you can focus on logistics, not child safety. Cut your anxiety by having your kids stay with a trusted caregiver on moving day. And don’t forget about your pets – R&R time at doggy daycare (or a cat hotel) will be way less stressful for them, too.

ORGANIZE YOUR LIFE

Plan ahead so you can get a jump on things well before you take possession of your new home. The more work you can get done ahead of time, the more smoothly moving day will flow.

Stress-busting tip No. 4: Whittle away at that to-do list

Use a checklist to keep on top of pre-move and moving day tasks, and streamline chores between household members. Our comprehensive moving day to-do list starts three months out. Ready? Get cracking!

Stress-busting tip No. 5: Edit, edit, edit

We’re talking furniture, clothing, paperwork and more. Declutter mercilessly so there’s less to pack and less to move. You can even offset some of your moving costs by selling some of your preloved furniture.

Stress-busting tip No. 6: Budget for closing costs

Be prepared for the thousands of dollars you’ll be spending in closing costs. While it can sting, knowing they’re coming is half the battle. Don’t forget that as a first-time homebuyer, you may qualify for the First Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit and regional land transfer tax rebates.

FOLLOW BEST PACKING PRACTICES

Even if you hire a moving company to pack for you, chances are you’ll be doing some of the wrapping and packing yourself. Here’s how to lighten the load.

Stress-busting tip No. 7: Pack in the right order

Start with less busy rooms, such as your storage area – anything you haven’t already purged (you’ve already completed Tip No. 5, right?) can be boxed up. Then, move to less frequently used spaces, like the dining room, if you tend to eat in the kitchen, for instance. Kitchens, bedrooms and baths tend to be packed last, though you can get a head start by packing out-of-season clothes or lesser-used small appliances and moving them to a storage room or low-traffic corner.

Stress-busting tip No. 8: Upgrade your packing supplies

Although used cardboard boxes are free, they take effort to procure, and there’s also the risk of bugs. Brand-new cardboard boxes, on the other hand, cost money – as does packing tape – both of which will be thrown away afterwards.

An easier alternative that’s neater and eco-friendly, to boot? Plastic moving boxes – just Google rentals in your area. (Or invest in heavy-duty plastic storage boxes, as you’ll probably be needing them for your new home, anyway.)

Stress-busting tip No. 9: Photograph everything!

Besides capturing those memorable new-homeowner moments for Instagram posterity, your phone can also save you money and headaches.

Snap pics of your old apartment once it has been emptied and cleaned, to ensure you get your damage deposit back. Your photographs will also come in handy in the event of damage to your new home or belongings during the move. (Don’t forget to keep a charger handy at all times during moving day.)

Stress-busting tip No. 10: Get the bath ready beforehand

If you have possession of your property before moving day, clean and set up your bathrooms the day before the move (stash pyjamas and a change of clothes, too). That way, you’ll feel more comfortable on a crazy-hectic day, without having to guess where your essentials are before taking a relaxing shower and heading out for a celebratory dinner – or collapsing into bed!

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