The secret to a less stressful moving day? Planning ahead.

Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, check out these tips for keeping your cool as you shuffle your stuff from one home to another.

Make a Timeline

Once you know you’ll be moving, you’ll want to set a schedule for when things need to be done. Make a list of tasks that need to be completed. Then spread the tasks out over the weeks and months between now and moving day. Some tasks should be done early in the process, like scheduling a moving truck or moving service. (If you’re moving during peak season, you may find that trucks and moving companies are booked up will in advance.) Other tasks will need to be completed on or just before moving day, like deep-cleaning your soon-to-be-vacant home for the next folks who will live there. Ideally, you’ve got some time to spread the to-do list out so that the process isn’t overwhelming. But even if it’s quick, last-minute move? Making a moving checklist for yourself right at the beginning will help keep your moving-related freak-outs to a minimum.

Set a Budget

Moving isn’t cheap. The budget can vary significantly depending on how far you’re moving, how much stuff you’ve got, and how much of the moving work you’re able and willing to do yourself.

There are full service moving companies that will pack, load, transport, and unload your belongings. Of course, the costs will probably be lower if you rent a truck, load it up with help from your family and friends, and drive your belongings to your new place yourself.

Look into the costs of moving trucks and services in your area. Decide on a balance of do-it-yourself and leave-it-to-the-professionals that works for you and your household.

Maybe you decide to mostly load the truck yourself, but hire help for carrying heavy furniture. Perhaps you hire a cleaning service to thoroughly clean your new place before you arrive to start unloading boxes. Remember to budget for packing supplies and take-out meals, for when your kitchen gear is all boxed-up.

Declutter

You’ve been meaning to clean out the garage for years, haven’t you? Well, now is your chance. Every single thing that makes it into a moving box is one more thing you’ve got to transport to and eventually unpack in your new place. Downsizing? Then it is absolutely essential that you make decisions about your belongings and weed out those possessions you don’t really need before you get to your new home. You don’t want to find yourself in a small home stuffed with boxes full of things that won’t fit in the new space.

But even if you’re moving to a larger home, moving time is an opportunity to get rid of junk and other things you don’t really need in your life.

You can get started on decluttering early in the moving process. Make a few dollars by hosting a yard sale or selling unneeded items online. Or you might donate gently-used household goods to local charities, or give things away to friends and neighbors. Remember too, some things you currently own may not be practical to move, like potted plants or perishable food stuffs. If you leave yourself enough time to find new homes for those impractical-to-move items, you’ll feel better about not taking those things with you.

Once you’re moved in and ready to go, you might want to check out our tips to prioritize home projects.