It’s a bit odd to me to think that moving is often considered one of life’s most stressful events, on par with death of a loved one, divorce, and job loss. If I remove the rose-coloured glasses for even a second though, I remember moves of the past and I cradle myself like an infant, saying “Shhshhshh, it’s over now.” If you’re in the midst of putting all your worldly possessions into small containers, I’m sending you a stiff drink, big hug, and a few things to consider:

Prepare thyself

Apartment-hunting is a competitive sport. Photocopy the following and have them at the ready when applying for a new place: a list of personal and professional references, your credit report (some helpful tips here), and, ideally, a letter of employment from your boss. It’ll (hopefully) put you in the front running.

Find the Caveat

The ink was still drying on the lease to my friend’s dirt cheap Montreal apartment when the trouble started. He wasn’t getting his mail, had to endure loud late-night sex marathons from his neighbours and then, bedbugs. When possible, go visit the place around dinnertime when your neighbours are likely to be home—that’ll give you a much better sense of how thin the walls are. Also, check out this helpful (though not foolproof) site.

Consider Your Commute

Whether you’re getting kicked off a short-turned streetcar during December deep-freeze or dealing with ill-informed condescending public transit employees when all you want to know is why your transfer isn’t valid, there’s nothing quite like showing up to work already exhausted. When looking for new apartments, it’s a good idea to input the prospective new address and your work address into GoogleMaps to see how much daily travel time you’re looking at.

Assemble an A Team

I cannot overstate how invaluable it is to have a group of people helping with this most hellish of enterprises. I recommend assigning tasks based on strengths. My mom was great at figuring out how to get the most use out of each box. My dad loaded the truck like a Tetris genius. My brother helped me get rid of a lot of objects since he didn’t get bogged down with sentimental attachment when considering them. My sister made fantastic chili, coffee, and opened the windows to help us deal with ensuing farts. I pity the fool who tries to do this alone.

To Thine Own Habits Be True

Well-meaning folks are going to be giving you lots of recommendations about where to live. To this, I advise you to smile, say “Yeah, for sure” and then do your own thing anyway. Some people want to be close to the hustle of downtown. Some people want more of a community vibe. Some people need lots of quiet green spaces to decompress while others need a healthy choice of bars and restaurants. Scout locations. Test the waters. Do you and don’t apologize.

Follow Erica on twitter @ericaruthkelly.