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Moving is never an easy task, but certain things can make already stressful situation even more of a hassle. Many people make major moving mistakes they could have easily avoided. Here are a few of the most common and most unfortunate moving mistakes and how to dodge the bullet:

Winging It

Many people make the mistake of thinking they can improvise on the day of their move. They put off packing, don’t call a moving company, aren’t organized and haven’t cleaned. Moving will be very frustrating for these people. The irony is that many put off getting ready because they fear the stress of the move. This is counterproductive, people!

Instead of leaving future you a whole pile of headache, be proactive. Two months before your move, create a timeline for when you want to complete certain moving tasks. We recommend starting with a purge, then taking inventory. That way, you’ll have a good grasp on how much stuff you have and whether you’ll need to hire movers.

If you plan on hiring a moving company, start doing your research as soon as possible. The sooner you find and book a reputable company, the less stress you’ll have to deal with in the coming months.

Not Purging

Moving provides an ample opportunity to get rid of belongings you don’t need. You’re pulling everything out anyway, so why not spend some extra time going through it? People who fail to clear their clutter end up paying to move things they never use, and what’s the point of that? You either pay more to a moving company or spend gas on extra trips. Either way, you’re better off purging.

Before you move, sort through everything you own and decide whether you actually use the stuff. A general rule is to get rid of anything you haven’t used in the last year. This could be clothing and old DVDs—or even larger items like furniture and appliances.

If you’re downsizing, your new apartment probably can’t fit the same amount of furniture you had in your old place. Talk to the other people you’ll be living with (if you have roommates, that is) to see if you have any doubles. You don’t need a ton of dishes, duplicate appliances or several sofas.

The best part about purging is that instead of spending money to move the items, you can make money. Anything you don’t sell could be donated to charity or thrown out (recycling is always preferred).

Not Packing an Open-First Box

Imagine you’re moving in and you realize you have to take a door off its hinges to get your sofa through. You look for your tool set to complete the task only to realize it’s stuffed in a box, and you don’t know which one. Now imagine you’re ready to go to sleep—but you can’t find your toothbrush, or your bedsheets, or your contact solution. Sounds like a pretty frustrating scenario.

You can avoid not having what you need while moving by packing an open-first box to get you through the first night in your new apartment. Start by packing the items you think you’ll need during the move, like a tool set and extra light bulbs. Next , pack personal items like bedding, toilet paper, a couple of dishes, toiletries and shower supplies.

Keep your open-first box in an easy-to-access spot, whether that’s up front in the car with you, or at the top of your box pile. Once you’re in the new place, set it away from the rest of your boxes so you can get inside when you need to. Don’t forget to the label the box, just in case it does get misplaced.

Ignoring the Weather

Snow, wind, hail and rain are all real issues when moving—they may put a damper on your day if you aren’t prepared. Check the weather forecast a few days before your scheduled move and plan accordingly. For instance, you can bring tarps and plastic sheets to cover your belongings.

Original article found at Forbes.com

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