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Research shows that people decide to move only a couple of times in their lifetime. What’s the reason behind this? The answer is simple: it’s not an easy move to make. Especially if it’s a long distance move. People are usually afraid of the very process, or they think it’s too stressful to indulge in. Saying goodbye to your old memories and leaving everything behind is never simple, but it doesn’t have to be complicated either.

Even though organizing your home for a move is a difficult chore, whether you are relocating a few hundred miles or traveling across the world, there are certain things you can do to make it easier for both you and your loved ones. In order to do this, you need to be aware of the key parts of the process of moving that will allow you to be headache-free. Before we mention anything else, the first thing you need to do is to sit down, make sure to organize well and know where you start. Knowing where to start is proven to be the number one helpful thing you can do.

Long distance and relocation may seem like the ideal storm for a mental breakdown, but they don’t have to be. To make it as painless as possible, we made a list of things you should focus on. Follow these long-distance moving planning tips.

Create a Plan in Advance

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Even if you’re just moving to a nearby city, there are still a lot of daunting tasks you have to do. And while closer moves allow you to plan one or two months ahead, a long-distance move requires more of a cushion. You should start planning three to six months in advance to give yourself time to iron out all of the details. Do you think it’s a lot of time? You’re wrong. According to numerous surveys, the sooner you start planning, the better. But anything you do has to be done purposefully.

To begin, create a simple timetable and stick to it. While the preparations should begin at least three months before (or as soon as you find out you could be moving), you need to keep in mind that the packing step should wait until three weeks before the relocation itself.

North Dallas Moving and Storage suggests making a list of everything that has to be done and assigning dates and times to each item. If you have a strategy to follow, you will feel more in control of the situation and therefore less stressed out. The main goal of this step is not to get surprised by anything that happens along the way. Things don’t always go as planned. Your mission should be to plan out as many things as possible.

Declutter Items You Don’t Need

When moving, there is one thing that is essential for a smooth experience. It is vital to declutter and clean your house before relocating. Simply said, if you have fewer items and you’re using professional movers, the whole process will be a lot easier — and less expensive — if you declutter and organize ahead of time. People usually hate decluttering and organizing stuff, but the best option is to do it yourself, because if you let the moving company do it for you, they might throw away something you find important and valuable. And vice versa. You can get some extra help, but you need to do the majority of work yourself.

That being said, it takes only a second to dig in the closet and find that bulky sweater that you last wore two years ago. Not to mention all those sets of mugs and plates you got from a neighbor but never really used or liked. It’s past time to get rid of them! If you really find them valuable, then make sure to at least save less pieces, so that you can free up at least some space.

To be able to do this effectively, try to sort your belongings into three piles: donate, sell, and keep. Sort through all of your items before packing to get a good idea of how much stuff you’ll need to move to your new house. Also, knowing what your stuff looks like when they’re all sorted out will help you determine what kind of transportation system you will need.

Take Inventory

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There is one thing that you should be careful and cautious about. That is losing your personal stuff along the way. Even if you start preparing on time, there’s still a high chance you’ll lose items during a long-distance move (and an even higher chance of being continuously stressed about the possibility of losing them). Can this be prevented? It most certainly can.

The best thing you can do when it comes to your inventory is to make a list of your belongings to make sure you don’t realize there’s a lost item months after you settle into your new home. You don’t have to use traditional methods if you don’t like them, such as a piece of paper and a pen, but you can rather download and install an app of your choice that will help you make quick notes, and even add pictures and voice notes, so that you could organize in a much better and effective way.

Writing it all down will also help you sort out and plan which belongings should go in which room. This means that not only will this help you with moving, but it will also help you when you arrive at your new home, and start organizing things there (which is also something people are not happy about).

Hire a Moving Company

You have to deal with so many little tasks with a regular move, and that stress is only multiplied by ten when you have a long-distance move. A great way to relieve a bit of that stress is to hire a moving company to help you out.

Professional moving companies offer a variety of services. Full-service movers will load, wrap, and transport all of your belongings so you don’t have to lift a finger. Of course, it may get expensive, but it all comes down to your priorities.

Do your research before signing any contract, and always request a pricing estimate beforehand. You don’t want to be startled when you get your bill and see all the extra charges.

Pack Essentials for Your Trip

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When going a long distance, it is crucial to prepare an overnight bag. Based on the duration of your travel, a small duffel bag or a full suitcase will be needed. Pack all of the essentials, such as a change of clothing, shower gel, food, chargers, and everything else that you need close at hand.

Pack some snacks and easy lunches as well, which will reduce stops along the way. A light and fun book is also a good idea if you’re one of those lucky ones who doesn’t get nauseous when reading in a vehicle. If you do get nauseous, there’s always the option to prepare a great road trip playlist.

Have a Less Stressful Move

Depending on how well you plan it, embarking on a long-distance move may be either exhilarating or stressful.

You won’t have to worry if you prepare ahead of time, gather all needed supplies, seal your boxes, and pack according to travel requirements. Just keep in mind that the best time to cope with any anxiety is before it gets overwhelming. If you notice yourself becoming overwhelmed, take a moment to breathe and relax. But remember that once you’re settled in your new home, it will be well worth it.

And to make the whole process a lot easier, follow these tips!