Most families make a decision to move with at least some level of trepidation. This is true, even when the move is for a positive reason, such as a better job, a more favorable area, or to be closer to extended family and friends. In most cases, it is the actual packing and moving process that is more likely to cause heightened stress during a relocation. If you are facing an upcoming move and want to do it with as little stress as possible, following these 6 steps can help get you off to a great start. 

Set a realistic timeline

The first task for any size or type of residential move should always be to create a realistic timeline for the process to follow. Ideally, the timeline should be created 60 to 90 days ahead of the actual move so that ample time is allowed for booking the moving company, prearranging utilities and services for the new home, taking pets to the vet for updating their vaccinations, and other necessary pre-move tasks. 

Reserve a moving date early

Once the timeline has been created, it is important to immediately seek bids from moving companies in the area so that you can select the one you find most comfortable to work with. It is important to also set a firm moving date and confirm it with the moving company as far in advance as possible. Keep in mind that moving companies are typically busiest during the summer months when families are hurrying to meet school startup dates in their new location.

Reduce possessions

Instead of struggling to pack every item in your current home, it can be very helpful to sort through them carefully, eliminating all items that are no longer used or wanted and those that have been stored away because they need repairs or no longer work. Chances are, items that you are not currently using will also not be needed in the new home, so it makes sense to dispose of them before packing begins. 

Begin packing early

If you have hired a full-service moving company, their packing professionals will handle most of your packing chores. However, items that are used rarely or those that are out of season — such as some types of clothing, sporting goods, lawn furnishings, and gardening tools — can be packed early in the process and even transported to the new location or placed in storage to save time later. 

Engage the entire family

Moving is a lot of work, but the process is sure to be much easier when every family member gets involved. Little ones can help to gather specific items, such as toys or books, while older kids can be responsible for sorting, packing, and labeling their entire rooms with only basic oversight from parents.

Preteens and teens can also help with necessary chores such as holding a pre-moving yard sale to reduce the amount of stuff to be moved. Additionally, older kids can also assist with packing common areas, such as living areas, and help with packing up stored items in garages, attics, and basements. 

Use a full-service mover

While it is understandable to feel that using a cut-rate mover or hiring and driving a rented moving truck is a good idea, it rarely works out that way. This is especially true on moves that are more than a few miles in duration.

Hiring professional moving services means that your furnishings are possessions are properly organized, packed, and labeled to both protect them and to make unpacking as fast and easy as possible. In addition, reputable professional movers are properly trained, insured, and bonded to make sure that all your possessions arrive safely to your new address and on time.

Using these tips provides a workable moving plan that will help to reduce stress, but problems and questions can still arise. When this happens, remember that contacting your moving company's customer service professional is the best way to get help in dealing with unexpected issues so that your move stays on track and as stress-free as possible.