Whether you’re moving from one coast to another or borough to borough, the right preparation can make all the difference. Here are some tips on how you can best prepare for your upcoming move.

1. Plan Ahead of Time

Giving yourself more time in the lead-up to your move allows you to plan better and avoid any last-minute issues. It’s best to create a moving checklist about three months before your moving date. The checklist should have everything you need to do up to and including your move, such as hiring movers and changing your address. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you don’t forget anything important pre-moving checklist.

2. Avoid Peak Moving Periods

If you can, avoid the most popular times to move. Most people move on weekends, holidays or in the summer months. Moving on a weekday in the spring or fall would be ideal, but even if you can’t manage that, simply opting for a weekday instead of the weekend can make a big difference. Make sure you also take traffic into account when picking the time and date of your move.

3. Find Free Boxes

While you can buy or rent boxes, there’s really no reason to do so since it’s easy enough to get some for free. Ask around, as a friend, neighbor or coworker may have moved recently and still have some extra boxes that you can take. Grocery and liquor stores are also great sources of boxes, and since the boxes are used to transport food or bottles, they tend to be very strong. However, using new boxes is always the best option as you never know when a used box could give out. FlatRate offers moving box kits for any and all moving needs.

4. Keep Things Organized

You’ll make your life much easier if you label all your boxes as you pack them and keep similar items together. All you need is a black marker to clearly label everything, and then you’ll know what’s in each box when you unpack. Keeping your items organized makes the first night in your new place much easier as you can immediately find and unpack your essentials once you get to your new home.

5. Switch Your Services in Advance

Don’t leave setting up your power, internet, and any other important utilities until the day of the move. You don’t want to end up without utilities for a day or two, and you should also make sure to set the right cancellation date for the utilities at your old place so you don’t pay them any longer than necessary. Internet and cable service often need to be scheduled well in advance, so you should handle that as soon as you have your move-in date set.

When you prepare for your move, it goes much more smoothly. You can do one thing at a time so you don’t need to cram everything into a few days. A full-service mover like FlatRate can take the bulk of the moving weight off of your shoulders.