Maybe you’re downsizing due to COVID-19 cutbacks, or perhaps you’re buying your first home. Moving is one of life’s most stressful events regardless of the circumstances because you have to remember a ton of details. You often don’t realize the things you’ve forgotten until they cause headaches.

Knowing what to expect can make your relocation a smoother process. What do you need to keep in mind when moving? Here’s a list of ten items you must address.

1. Changing Your Address

It doesn’t take much effort to change your address through the postal service. You can do so online, and the process only takes a few minutes.

However, you might be one of many who belong to recurring subscription services. Make sure to log into your accounts and update your shipping address. You don’t want your pet’s monthly food stash or Tea of the Month order to end up in Colorado after relocating to Arizona.

2. Enrolling Your Child in a New School

Transferring schools can sometimes cause headaches for parents and kids alike. Before you depart, request a copy of your child’s complete academic record. That way, you can streamline the registration process at your new district. It also gives administrators the information they need to place your child on the right academic track and provide any specialized services.

3. Making Arrangements for Pets

You won’t need much effort to get Fido to leap into your vehicle, but kitties present unique challenges when moving. You’ll need a secure carrier for each feline, and it helps to acclimate them several weeks before the relocation date by placing them inside periodically. If you have anxious cats, ask your veterinarian for advice.

If you have an established aquarium, you’ll need the right supplies to transport your fish safely. You’ll need plastic baggies for smaller fish or large, unused buckets with lids. It’s best if you carry them in your vehicle rather than entrusting them to movers.

4. Handling Utility Setup

If you telecommute, you’ll need to set up internet access in your new home quickly. Many cable companies are swamped with demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so make arrangements for setup as early as possible. You’ll also need to transfer your electric, water, natural gas, sewer and trash services. If you’re moving into your first home or apartment, understand that you may need to pay deposits to establish service in your name.

5. Keeping Box Weight Manageable

Are you the type who will loop 20 grocery bags around their arm versus making two trips to carry everything inside? While this technique may work with lightweight pasta, you can do severe back damage if you pack moving boxes too heavily. At worst, you end up with a pricey chiropractor’s visit, and at best, in desperate need of a massage.

Smaller, 1.5 cubic foot moving boxes work for heavy objects like books and china. Save the larger boxes for items like blankets, towels and throw pillows that won’t strain your spine when you lift them.

6. Getting an Early Start

The best way to handle what seems like an impossible task? Dive right in — get started on moving early. If you wait until the last minute, you get sloppy with your packing, resulting in lost or damaged items.

Make a schedule and tackle one room at a time. Start with the most grueling challenges, like attics, basements and storage closets. These areas tend to gather seldom-used items you must sort to decide whether to keep or toss.

7. Incorporating Minimalist Principles

If you are downsizing, get ruthless. Trying to fit too much in your new home will make it look cluttered. As you prepare to pack each item, ask yourself the following two questions:

  • Have I touched or used this in the past year? Those skinny jeans you bought with high expectations? If they’ve lingered in your closet for a decade, donate them. The same goes for unused food scales and exercise equipment.
  • Does it have sentimental value? Even if you said “I do” 20 years ago, you probably don’t want to part with your wedding gown. However, unless that gag gift you got at last year’s white elephant holiday party represents your only memory with a friend, it can find a new home with someone who can use it.

8. Labeling and Organizing Boxes

Buy a Sharpie — or 10. Clearly labeling each box’s contents makes unpacking a breeze. Get specific with items you know that you’ll need soon after move-in. When it comes to necessities like medications or your toothbrush, pretend you’re flying and take them in your “carry-on” — even if you’re driving.

9. Finding Trustworthy Help

If you want to exacerbate your pre-move jitters, do an internet search for moving company horror stories. Be wary of companies that give you a low-ball estimate via computer or phone without seeing your goods in person. Some unfortunate souls have reported unscrupulous businesses who hold your property hostage until you pay an additional and often pricey fee.

Rarely, an illegitimate moving company takes your goods and takes off to parts unknown. If possible, ask people you know for recommendations of companies who served them well.

10. Inspecting the Property

If you’re moving into your first apartment, you probably can’t wait to start your new independent life. As anxious as you are for quiet enjoyment of your property, inspect it first. Do a walk-through with property management and note any preexisting damages. If your landlord isn’t available, take photographs of any scratches or dings so that you don’t end up paying for them when you move out.

Keep These 10 Tips in Mind on Your Next Move

Moving is one of life’s most stressful events. There is a lot you need to remember, but the ten items above should help you with the most vital details.