Like many major life events, moving tends to be a stressful process. Though there are bound to be some unforeseen hurdles, thorough planning ahead of time should greatly reduce your potential for headaches and ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible.

Use this handy pre-move checklist to set yourself up for moving success.

8 Weeks Out from the Date of Your Move:

Get organized by creating a document (or series of documents) to track all the necessary info to come in your move—between estimates, real estate documents, and other odds and ends, there is going to be a lot. Saving documents to Google Drive or Dropbox will keep everything accessible in one place across all your devices long after your computer has been boxed up.

Begin taking in-home estimates from moving companies. This is not something that can wait until the last minute, unless you want to overspend and blow your moving budget.

Declutter. The sooner you can begin the process of separating cherished keepsakes from things you can live without, the better. Thin the herd and get your belongings sorted down to just the things you intend to keep as early in the process as possible. A garage sale and/or a mass donation to the Salvation Army can be a big help during this step.

Once you have a move date set in stone, request time off from work. Moving requires 100% of your attention, so it’s best to let your workplace know you’ll be away with plenty of notice to tie up any distracting loose ends ahead of time.

6 Weeks Out from the Date of Your Move:

With some of the basics taken care of, now is the time to gather supplies for your move. Raid local retailers for leftover boxes and be sure you have plenty of packing tape on hand. Don’t forget the bubble wrap or some other means of securing fragile items.

If you have a stocked pantry or freezer, now is the time to begin depleting your supply of on-hand food. Use up what you can and donate any (non-expired) items you don’t think you’ll get around to eating to your local food bank. You’ll have enough to worry about while moving without a bunch of frozen leftovers to consider.

By now, you’ve received several estimates and it’s time to schedule the movers. Moving companies tend to book up weeks or months in advance, so it’s best to lock in a date with your desired company once you’ve received an acceptable quote.

Before the packing to come, you’ll want to make an inventory of your valuables. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your new space only to discover something has gone missing. Creating a detailed inventory can help cover bases with your insurance company should something go wrong with your belongings.

4 Weeks Out from the Date of Your Move:

With your inventory in-hand, now is the perfect time to purchase moving insurance. The peace of mind of knowing your valuables are accounted for will be a great relief throughout the moving process.

Next, make sure your vehicles are in top shape. If you intend to drive a long distance for your move, now is the time to schedule a tune up. If you’ll need vehicle movers, schedule those services now.

Give notice to utility and internet service/cable TV providers that you will be moving, ending service as needed. Set up new services at your new address ahead of time as well.

Begin packing what items you can now to save time later. Out of season clothes, holiday decorations, or any items you won’t need in the days prior to the move can be boxed up and set aside until moving day. Again, the sooner you can begin the packing process the better.

2 Weeks Out from the Date of Your Move:

With the finish line fast approaching, now would be a good time to apply for a change of address with the post office. You’ll want to update your billing information with you bank and other institutions to reflect your new address as well.

Take the time to double check the on-paper details of your move. Organize receipts of eligible expenses to claim on your taxes, confirm your reservation with the movers, and tie up any loose ends with your realtor, homeowner’s insurance company, etc.

Begin packing for real. Box up everything but the essentials, clearly labelling each box with its contents. Take steps to protect your more fragile pieces of furniture by shrink-wrapping protective foam to corners. Organize your boxes by the order you want items to go onto the truck.

Cancel any remaining services or subscriptions as needed. If you’re moving to a new city, that old gym membership needs to go. Update your address for Amazon Prime, and notify any publications you subscribe to of your new address.

The Days Just Before the Move

Clean the home you’re moving out of and take photos to prove you left things in good condition.

Get cash out of the ATM to tip the movers and handle any unexpected expenses during the move.

Pack the last of your essentials into a suitcase to take with you on the road or plane. Congratulations, you’re officially done packing!

On Moving Day:

You’ll want to keep your movers happy on the big day. These people are taking care of everything you own after all. Order some pizza, have cold drinks on hand, and don’t forget to tip!

Be available to offer direction to the movers. If they have any questions about what to do with your things, you’ll want to be there to make the call.

Hand over the keys to the agent handling the sale of your old home and hit the road. Congratulations! Your thorough planning has ensured the best chance possible for a stress-free move.