After months of touring homes, playing phone tag with your mortgage lender and researching school districts, you’ve finally closed on a house. Congratulations!

Now the hard part begins.

Moving is always a pain in the neck (and back), but if you plan ahead and stay organized you can certainly reduce your stress level. Here are some tips and reminders:

1. Book furniture donations weeks in advance…
Although many donation companies will happily pick up furniture, many require you to schedule an appointment, and they can be backed up for weeks at a time.

2….as well as your friends.
Your friends are there for you for the good times and moving day, but no one is going to cancel their plans last minute for the opportunity to haul furniture, even if you promise beer and pizza.

3. Avoid mystery boxes.
Label everything – and be specific! In the first few days of unpacking, you won’t want to sort through boxes of heirloom china when all you need is a spoon.

4. Rethink categorization.
Box things up according to what, not where, they are. For example, you’ll likely rearrange furniture before putting away any décor. Keep artwork together so you aren’t stumbling over a box of decorative vases while reassembling your bookcase.

5. Have the essentials ready.
Pack these basics together so you can be somewhat civilized while putting everything away at your new place: Trashcan, dishtowels, toilet paper, hand soap, shower curtain and bathroom rug. 

6. Be conscious about weight.
Don’t pile everything into one box that will be impossible to lift. It’s much easier to make several trips with light boxes than to carry a bulkier item between two people.

7. Yes, you need a dolly!
If you have the option to rent a dolly, do it! It will make your life 100 percent easier.

Moving is difficult enough – finding your dream home shouldn’t be! Qualified agents are ready to help: