Is moving day fast approaching and you have yet to start packing? Maybe you have started packing but the growing pile of stuff in front of you seems overwhelming and insurmountable. Or maybe you’ve moved several times and you’re wondering if there are more efficient ways to pack and prepare for your next move.

Whatever the case, you should consider hiring movers to help with this process. These professional movers will take care of the manual labour in moving, allowing you to focus on the logistics of the move.

Speaking of logistics, we prepared six tips for making sure packing – and your move in general – goes as smoothly as possible. Here is what you need to know about how to pack for a move:

1. Pare down your possessions

When learning how to pack for a move, you need to understand what to pack and what to leave behind, throw out, or donate. Trust me – you’ll be far less stressed as you pack if you leave your options open. You may be surprised at what you view as nonessential when you get down to the nitty-gritty of packing.

While there will almost certainly be belongings that you can get rid of and never miss, you may also want to consider donating some of your more common household supplies and kitchenware. Yes, you might need them one day but many kitchen items (dishes, serving spoons, glasses) are relatively inexpensive and can be easily replaced.

Cut down on all the extras you would otherwise pack to make your moving experience more relaxing and minimalistic.

2. Create a labeling system right away

While it’s certainly tempting to throw everything you own into random boxes and call it good, a little bit of planning will go a long way toward relieving moving day stress. You’ll need to make a list of items that need to be packed – but that are also essential to unpack the first day or two after your move is completed. This can include dishes, silverware, lamps, or even a favorite book or throw blanket.

Figure out what’s important to you and then pack accordingly. You’ll want to group essential items together and label the boxes containing those items as ‘necessities’ or ‘important’. Doing this will help you to find needed items with greater ease, allowing you to settle comfortably into your new home that much faster.

3. Utilize every available space

One of the issues some people have with packing is that wasted space in a packing box is just that – wasted – but the boxes also can’t be too heavy. How do you get around this, especially when you’re packing items with no give (like books or dishes)?

Get your hands on as many blankets, sheets, pillows, clothes, and even stuffed animals (if applicable) and shove them into every empty space in each packing box. It’s so important to not waste space during a move because you are literally paying for every inch (and ounce). See how few boxes you can get away with using by employing this packing tactic.

4. Make sure your valuables are appropriately cushioned and protected

It’s a good policy to always lay down some newspaper, plastic bags, or bubble wrap at the bottom of a packing box before filling it. If you are packing dishes, sculptures, and other breakables take extra care to wrap each one in protective layering as well. Bubble wrap is often the most popular choice but you can also utilize t-shirts or even underwear.

Additionally, non-breakable valuables like jewelry, rare coins, important documents, and precious metals should be placed in a secure safe or lock box. It’s up to you to make sure nothing goes missing or is stolen (always hire reputable movers). You need to safeguard those items in every possible way.

5. Think about your electronic devices

No one wants to see their large flat-screen TV smashed beyond repair on the steps of their new house. And you definitely don’t want your Blu-ray player rained on. You want to keep your valuable electronics safe and secure, but sometimes they’re awkward to pack. (Especially TVs and desktop computer set-ups.)

The best solution? Hunt down any original packaging you still have for your devices. That packaging is specifically designed to keep your electronics safe during travel so it’s your best bet. If you don’t have any original packaging, contact your moving company to find the best and safest way to transport your delicate devices. And from now on, just remember to save all the original packagin!

6. Pack dressers this way to make your life easier

Other blog posts about packing for a move may say to remove every single thing from your clothes dressers and drawers to make life easier for the movers. But you know what? Lightweight clothes, organizers, and other small items aren’t really going to make a difference in the dressser’s weight.

Instead, leave lighter items inside the drawers (use your own judgement and maybe a ‘pick-up’ test to figure out what items are too heavy). Then wrap each drawer securely shut with bubble wrap and duct tape…and it’s ready for the movers. This will simplify your packing and leave you with more time to get your house in order.