If you recently bought a house, you are probably packing up your belongings and getting ready for the big move. Moving is a task pretty much no one wants to do. There are several ways you can make moving work for you so that it doesn’t break your back.

Get started now

The second you know you are moving, don’t wait, get started with organizing, purging and getting boxes. Waiting until the weeks before your move is only a recipe for disaster, where you’ll be scrambling to get everything done before the move date. If you don’t plan on buying boxes, you’ll want to start searching for them now, especially if you are moving in prime moving time (July), as stores typically don’t hold on to boxes any longer. The local dollar store and liquor store are your best bets for good boxes. Meet with a manager there and ask them to put some aside for you each day, that you’ll pick up.

Have a strategy

Just tossing everything into boxes means after you move in, you’ll be completely lost. Start by looking for movers (either hiring or friends) and have a backup in place. Decide what time you’ll start moving on moving day and what time you hope to finish (then add a few hours). Ensure you are choosing the right people and truck(s) for the job, based on what you actually have. Don’t forget to look in closets, the garage and the shed.

Get rid of it

Inevitably, a move is the best time to get rid of things you don’t need. Have a spot where the entire family can place things as they are packing. Three piles would work best: to donate, to sell and to throw out. Once you’ve made your piles, you can put items on kijiji, have a garage sale and decide where to donate the rest.

Have a packing system

You don’t want to be searching for something weeks after move-in day because your boxes are still unpacked. Figure out a good system for keeping everything organized. For example, you could devise a numbering system based on what should be unpacked first (i.e., essential kitchen tools) and what can be unpacked last (i.e., seasonal items). You could also devise spreadsheets that list what is in every box, so you can refer to that sheet and then go to that box when you need something.

Have a moving day kit

This kit will include anything and everything you’ll need on moving day and will stay with you. It can include all important documents like passports, but also cleaning supplies, a box-cutting knife, toilet paper, snacks, clothing and garbage bags.