Moving house is considered one of the top five most stressful life events by health professionals, third only to serious illness or death, and divorce. Those who have experienced the process know that whether you have ample time to prepare or you have to rush, those few days leading up to the move are immensely challenging for your body and mind.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to mitigate that stress. While you may never accomplish an entirely stressless move, here are some smart strategies to get you as close to a stress-free moving experience as possible.

Create a Master Binder

Carrying around a binder may seem like something with control issues might do, that’s the person you need to be to get through a move, so channel your inner Monica Gellar.

Your moving binder should include everything pertaining to your move, including:

  • Contact information – create a list of contact information for your movers, realtor, and any other contacts.
  • Inventory – create a database of all your boxes, including the box number, room it belongs in, and a summary of contents.
  • Address change list – add a master list of places where you need to change your address, with a column for noting when each spot is complete. You may want one list for each person.
  • Master timeline – include a timeline of when things are happening, with smaller to-do lists for the months, weeks and days leading up to the move. This list should include transferring utilities, etc.
  • Area information – if you’re moving to a new area, include information and maps about your new home. Don’t forget to include information about local take-out spots for those first few days.
  • Other important documents – you can also keep other moving documents, such as closing documents, in this binder.

While there are plenty of app options online, having a physical binder that you can hold and refer to will help you keep everything structured and organized.

Hire a Professional Service

People often avoid hiring a moving service to cut back on moving costs. Keep in mind that handling everything yourself may not have a monetary cost, but it will cost your mental health and well-being. Furthermore, it could have a financial cost if anyone gets hurt or things get broken without insurance.

According to Move Day Movers, there are plenty of scalable moving packages to suit your budget and needs. For example, rather than having a moving company handle the packing and labeling, consider hiring them only for the move itself. If you need a storage facility during your move, you can save external costs by working with a mover who offers this option.

Pack Go-Bags

A “go-bag” is a getaway bag that has all your essentials in one place so you can make a quick escape. While your use of a go-bag may lack the drama and intrigue of this tool’s origins, it’s a must-have for moving.

Your go-bag should include everything you need to survive once your house is packed up around you. It should also include important documents that you don’t want to risk losing. A go-bag should include everything from clothes and toiletries to medication and entertainment.

Create a Realistic Budget

Take some time to research the costs associated with moving. Go beyond what you’re investing in a moving service and consider the other costs that will arise, such as fuel, take-out meals, temporary accommodations, etc. The more realistic your budget is for planning purposes, the fewer stressful financial surprises you’ll experience.

Start Decluttering Early

Decluttering should start well before you move; it should start the day you decide you might move. Think Marie Kondo and get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy. Downsize and prepare your home so that when it’s time to pack, you’re ready to go.

Start Packing Early

Finally, start packing as soon as you know you’re moving. You can even roll it into the decluttering process. There are plenty of appliances, decor items and seasonal goods that can be packed well in advance.

With these strategies, you can make your move less stressful and more efficient.