Once you’ve secured your new home, all that’s left to do is pack up your things before moving day. Whether you’re a big family, moving in with your partner, or a single professional on the up and up, moving to a new home is always an exciting part of life.

However, while it’s easy to get carried away by the excitement, chances are you have a mountain of stuff to move from one home to another.

Of course, you’ll want to hire professionals to do the physical moving for you – but you can still follow these five steps to make the process as smooth as possible.

1. Declutter Before You Start

Packing is not something you want to leave for the last minute. In fact, the sooner you start, the better – ideally, when you begin house hunting. By starting the moving process early by decluttering, you can save yourself a lot of stress down the road.

Start by sorting your belongings into four categories. You should go through all your knick-knacks, clothing, books, CDs, DVDs, etc., and decide what you will keep, sell, donate, or throw away.

By selling any items you don’t need, you can generate some quick cash to offset some of the moving costs. If an item is still in good condition but isn’t worth selling, donate it to a charity organization. By decluttering and keeping what’s essential, you can reduce the number of items you have to pack before moving day.

2. Make a Plan

Create a plan and list what items you need to pack and when. This way, you know exactly what still needs to be done, and you can keep everyday things out until the last day. Once you have the list, you can go room by room or categorize items by theme.

For instance, you might want to pack all your belongings from one room in the same box, or you might want to pack them by object type – so you’d pack all your toiletries and cosmetics in one box and have a separate box for your towels, bedding, and clothes. You should keep all boxes at a manageable weight to make transporting them easier and make sure fragile items are adequately wrapped – so don’t pack them too tight.

3. Label Boxes as You Go

Labeling each box appropriately is essential when packing all your belongings into boxes. By labeling your boxes correctly, you won’t need to unpack all your boxes to find something. You’ll also be able to unpack the most essential items first when you arrive at your new home.

By creating a strategic packing plan, you can only unpack what you need to be comfortable while you unpack the rest of your items.

4. Disassemble What You Can

Although not all pieces of furniture are designed to be taken apart, you’ll probably be able to disassemble your bed and wardrobe.

Disassembling your furniture well in advance will make moving it to your new home much easier. Another pro tip is to invest in a few movers’ blankets so your pieces of furniture don’t get damaged when you take them apart.

5. Hire Professionals

Once you’ve done the hard work of packing and labeling your boxes, you need to hire a professional moving company to do the physical moving for you.

Professional movers will transport your belongings and furniture to your new property in the most efficient and safe way possible – and you won’t have to do any of the heavy lifting yourself.