There’s nothing like a long-distance move to generate maximum anxiety and stress. Take a deep breath and use this guide to help ensure that everything goes right during your long distance move.

1. Hire a moving company well in advance.
Especially if you’re planning to move during the busy summer months, it’s important to get booked with a good moving company as soon as you know what your moving date will be. Scheduling ahead of time will ensure that you will be able to use the company you prefer for your important move.

2. Get rid of as much as you can before you go.
Some people feel that they should move all of their items and see what they need once they arrive at their new home. This will make things more cluttered and stressful on both ends. Have a garage sale or donate gently-used items that you rarely use.

3. Give away treasured houseplants.
It’s one of the sad truths of moving, but plants simply don’t travel well. Ask around and see if nearby friends and family members would be willing to take on a new plant as a going-away present to you.

4. Get in-home estimates from moving companies.
“We have five rooms full of stuff to move.” What does that mean, exactly? How big are those rooms? How packed are they with belongings? How much large furniture is there? Without actually visiting a home, a moving company can’t estimate how long your move will take.

5. Find out what all is included in that estimate…
As you get estimates from each moving company, ask what all that number includes. Will the movers use pads to protect your floors or to wrap around large furniture items? Will you be charged if you need a few extra boxes? Is there an extra fee to navigate stairs or move items up and down an elevator?

6. …and get it in writing.
If you speak to one person to get your estimate and that person isn’t part of the team that shows up to move, there’s always the potential for a discrepancy in price. Get all estimates and details about what they include in writing so you have them for reference later.

7. Don’t forget to change your address.
Make sure you time this so that you don’t miss out on important mail. You can always have your old post office forward any stray items that arrive after you’ve moved. Make a list of all the places with which you need to change your address and mark each one off as you proceed.

8. Ask around for boxes.
Moving supplies can be a huge expense. To save on boxes (so you can apply that money towards hiring a reputable Toronto-area mover), see if friends, family and neighbours have used boxes you can use. You can often get boxes from department stores who dispose of cardboard boxes every day after stocking their shelves.

9. Separate out essentials and important items/documents.
Set aside two bags before you pack everything up: one for items you’ll need during the first few days and another one for important documents and valuables. In the essentials bag, pack a few changes of clothes, toiletries and medication. In the second bag, pack passports, sensitive documents and valuables such as heirloom jewelry. Keep these two bags with you during the move.

10. Get rid of as much as you can as you unpack.
Just because you’ve arrived doesn’t mean that the decluttering is over. As you unpack and get organized in your new place, do another round of the “Do I Really Need This?” game. You may find that those throw pillows you brought really don’t fit into your new decor, or you might decide to further condense the contents of your closet. Less is more.

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