Thinking ahead or staying organized continue to be all-important strategies. Begin by taking a household inventory and decide what to move, sell, discard, or donate. Then start marking off the items on this checklist. Finally, make a list of friends, relatives, and business associates. Or save a step by putting each name on a mailing label you can use for the “We’ve moved” cards you’ll be sending out soon.

If you are moving yourselfCouple Moving

Reserve a rental truck well in advance, avoiding weekends or the end of the month, if possible. Sketch out a plan of action that includes driving directions, which rooms will be emptied first, and where furniture will be placed in the new location.

Begin collecting suitable moving containers and packaging materials, such as sturdy cartons of various sizes, paper, and cloth cushioning for breakables, strong tape, twine, a box cutter, and felt-tip markers.

Pre-pack and label whatever you can. Number the boxes and write what’s inside and where it goes. Keep a master list of numbered boxes and their contents.

If you are hiring professional movers

Your moving cost will be based on the total weight of the items and distance they are being moved plus the insurance coverage you buy. For your protection, get a binding cost estimate, in writing, from the moving representative, and discuss damage and liability insurance. Agree on what items you will pack and what items the company will handle. Have cash on hand for tipping movers.

In both cases

Prepare a special box for valuable and irreplaceable items such as jewelry, family photos, legal, medical, and insurance documents. Place these in the care of a family member or friend until after you move.

If you have children or other dependents, talk to them as they can express their feelings before, during and after moving. Take them on a special tour of the new home, neighborhood, and school, if applicable, in advance of the move.