If you’re getting ready to move, whether you’re moving to a new city or just to a new home within your town, there are a lot of things to do to prepare your house. Without a plan, the entire process can seem overwhelming so use this guide the next time you’re preparing to move.

Step 1: Make A Checklist

As soon as you know that you’re moving, sit down and make a checklist of all the things you need to do. Unless you’re planning on moving everything yourself, you’ll need to get quotes from a number of different companies. Consider whether you’ll be using a moving company and local movers to pack everything up or whether they’ll just be picking up furniture and boxes you’ve already packed. When interviewing companies, don’t rule out commercial movers. Commercial movers might be willing to handle your move, especially if business is slow. Also ask about storage for your belongings if you’ll be living in temporary housing. If you do decide that a moving company isn’t for you, you will still need to arrange to rent a truck so don’t forget to include that in your checklist.

Try to be as detailed as possible with your checklist and don’t forget to include things like returning library books or picking up dry cleaning. This is especially important if you’re using local movers to come pack up your belongings. They won’t be able to determine whether a book on your shelf belongs to the local library or in your own bookcase.

Step 2: Purge, Purge, Purge Before Your Local Movers Arrive

Chances are good that you have items you rarely use or pieces of clothing that you never wear anymore. Instead of loading everything up in boxes and transporting it to your new home, get rid of it. Items that are in good condition can be donated to a charity resale shop (don’t forget to keep the receipt so you can claim the donation on your taxes!). If you are going to a smaller home, consider tagging furniture that won’t be coming to the new house. Some people prefer to sell bulky items through online classifieds, but if you’re just hoping to be free of the extra pieces, simply placing them on your curb usually does the trick.

Step 3: What To Do With Pets

Pets are part of the family, but they can be in the way during the move. Keep pets safe by putting them in travel kennels or into a small room such as a bathroom or laundry room. Many pets go missing each year because they slip out of the door so take precautions to keep them safe.

Whether you’re going to a new house in the same city or transferring to a completely different area, hiring a moving company can be a great help. However, before you ever get to this point, you should make a checklist to ensure you’re not forgetting anything. Make a point to go through all your belongings and purge anything that you don’t want to move and don’t forget to keep pets safe on the big day. Using these tips can go a long way towards a smooth move.