#1 CREATE A LIST.
Before you pack even one box, create a list. Use your phone, your computer or a notebook to detail what needs to go where, as well as when and how it will get there. You might keep a numbered system, organize items by room, or color-code your stuff; but find the system that works best for you and keep a record of it somewhere. Your list should also include a schedule of when you'll pack each room, when the movers are coming, when you'll clean up the house, and so forth. It helps to keep everything organized and on schedule for the move.
#2 PACK BEFORE THE MOVE.
Pack anything you can before the movers come to save time and stress on moving day. You can pack up all of the clothes you won't need at the time, for example. And you can also pack up knick-knacks, items in the basement and attic, and anything else you won't be using. You only need to keep out any essentials you use on a daily basis, which you can then pack the night before. Everything else should be ready to go and in the garage for the movers.
#3 KEEP DOCUMENTS CLOSE.
Birth certificates, school records, bank records, bills, realtor info, maps -- all of these documents should be with you and stored somewhere with easy access. Don't pack them in a box and have the movers take them. It could be days before you find them again at the new place, if they don't somehow disappear in the move.
#4 CLEAN UP THE OLD HOME.
Once you've got the last box of essentials packed the night before, it's time to make a last pass through your home and start getting everything cleaned up. The list of things to do include:
Check every room for anything you might have missed.
Check for damages and make quick repairs if needed.
Write down your meter readings for the final utility bill.
Clean everything quickly -- vacuum, dust and run a quick mop over the floors in the bathroom and kitchen.
Defrost your refrigerator so a power outage won't cause flooding.
#5 CHECK AFTER THE MOVE.
Make sure all the boxes from the move go into the right rooms, so you aren't searching through kitchen boxes that end up in the bedroom. You should also check for damages to your furniture or fragile items, as these could fall under the mover's insurance coverage. Make sure all of the boxes you moved out of your old home made it to the new place. Then, it's time to start settling into your new home and getting everything unpacked!