The average American will move 11 times in their lifetime, according to data from The U.S. Census Bureau. Whether you’re moving across the country, around the world, or just down the street to a new home, moving always involves some hassle.

From packing everything you own into boxes to coordinating moving trucks and everything in between, there’s a lot to manage. If you want to make the entire moving process go a lot more smoothly, keep reading to check out a few to-dos to remember to check off your list.

Gather All Important Documents Ahead of Time

One big thing you’ll want to check off your to-do list before you even start packing is to gather any and all important documents in one place. Do this before you start packing so that nothing winds up misplaced in the process. Important documents you’ll want to have on-hand include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Insurance paperwork
  • Passports
  • Titles or loan paperwork for your vehicles
  • Kids medical records
  • Vet records for your pets
  • Copies of your previous and new lease/mortgage paperwork

Transfer Your Utilities

Don’t leave yourself in the dark in your new home. Transferring your utilities before your move will mean having internet, cable, electricity, water, and other services when you arrive.

Figuring out how to transfer each individual service can be time-consuming. But learning how to transfer utilities before you need them will eliminate any disruptions. In many cases, you may be able to schedule your utilities to be moved on a certain date, allowing you to check this item off your to-do list ahead of time.

Update Your Information

Much like failing to transfer your utilities will leave you disconnected in your new home, failing to update your information could lead to lost mail, confusion, and perhaps even some trouble. There are a variety of places you need to update your contact information for ahead of your move.

Tax agencies, the post office, and, if you receive any benefits, the Social Security Administration are some of the most pressing entities you’ll need to update about your address change. But there are plenty of others, such as your credit card companies, insurance providers, and loan providers, that are also important.

Pack a “First Week” Bag

The first few days and weeks in your new home often involve plenty of digging through boxes in search of pots and pans, sheets, towels, and other day-to-day items. Just as gathering your important documents in one easy-to-find location can prevent having to dig through endless boxes, packing a duffel bag or suitcase for each member of your family to use for the first week or two can alleviate some headaches.

Each person’s bag should include the clothes they’ll need during your first week, as well as some towels, toiletries, sheets for their bed, and any other items they’ll want to have access to, like a favourite toy for your kids and a book for the grown-ups. Don’t forget tablet and smartphone chargers!

Prepping for a Big Move

Prepping for a big move can be stressful. But crossing a few items off your to-do list early can ease some of your stress, and ensure that nothing gets lost, misplaced, or forgotten as moving day gets closer. From transferring your utilities to gathering important documents to updating your address, get a jump on these tasks sooner rather than later — your future self will thank you.

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