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Whether you’re moving into a new home, swapping offices or boxing up a chunk of your belongings to put in storage, packing can seem like an overwhelming task. Aside from finding time in your busy schedule to actually get to it, you might also be worried about forgetting something, damaging an item or scrambling to find boxes in the first place. What’s a person to do? Keep these guidelines in mind to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Start early. If you have a move-in day locked down, take advantage of it by starting your packing early. Even if your move-in day is months ahead, these things have a way of sneaking up on you. There are so many details involved when it comes to moving, and you’ll have enough to coordinate as the date comes closer as it is. To avoid having to unpack and repack multiple times, you can start by packing things you know you’re unlikely to use before you move.

Begin with seasonal items or things you don’t use on a regular basis. Make the process easier at the beginning by boxing up seasonal items that you won’t need to access, like swimsuits and camping gear or winter jackets. Anything you keep in storage or the garage is a great place to start. Things you either don’t use regularly or know you won’t need before you move can also be packed ahead of time. Do you only use your expensive dishes during the holidays? Only use your humidifier during the winter months? Pack ‘em! You can whittle your way down, saving the items you use on a daily basis—like your favourite coffee mug or hair dryer—for the day of.

Make a list and label as you go. You know what happens when you head into the grocery store without a list, right? You end up buying tons of extra things, except the one item you actually went there for in the first place! Similarly, making lists before you start packing is a great way to stay organized. You can do this by theme (for example, “clothing” or “glassware”), or by the room itself.  It’s also a good idea to label your boxes by room. This helps you (or your movers) know exactly where to unload them and makes it easy to check things off on your checklist as you go.