For something that I’ve done a lot, moving still manages to confound me. The experience of packing up everything I own and getting it up, down, and around any number of obstacles to my next destination makes me want to throw most of my earthly possessions into the lake and find a higher power beyond flat packed furniture.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. Here’s how to get your stuff to its next location with a minimum of mayhem.

Figure out how to forward your mail. Those student loan cheques will follow you anywhere.

Do not leave it until the last minute. This is what the experts qualify as setting yourself up for failure. Not only will you feel every nerve in your body start to hum with stress, you’ll miss an opportunity to reap all of the rewards that come from moving: self-reflection, re-examining what your needs are and how to meet them, sneaking a beer in between batches of boxes. The more time you give yourself to do all of the organizational tasks related to moving out, the better.

Pare down. If you end up in your new place with every single item from your previous place still surrounding you – good! However, you live in the same consumer society that I do and the material expectations that surround us still emphasize that we keep buying a lot of stuff in order to keep the cogs in this machine turning. Those old New Yorkers? Read them, chuck them out or use them for mulch. Your closet could probably stand to be purged, due to the punishing pace of fast fashion and all those camisoles you bought when they were hot but then you realized that they were made for people with cleavage situations that differ vastly from your own. There are so many different ways to ditch your stuff:
-She Does The City favourite, Bunz Trading Zone.
-Any thriftstore.
-Got any unopened cosmetics or toiletries? Shelters are always looking for these items.
-The Toronto Star put up this comprehensive list – it’s got options for books, furniture, and baby stuff.

Pick a box. Your stuff can’t be floated to its next destination. You’ve gotta put it in something to get somewhere. If you’re doing a small move – consider rifling through the discarded supplier boxes at your local LCBO or grocery store. The dividers are terrific for glassware and other delicate items. Beyond that, the rental model is gaining in popularity. Check out Frogbox or Green Box rental for stackable eco-friendly options.

Get a system. Adding an organized structure to the whole affair sounds like ugh, no fun. Ask me how you feel when you’re trying to find your rolling pin six months into your new habitation. Tackling the giant wave of stuff will seem less daunting if you try establish some sort of system. Do you want to have themed boxes for room or type of item? What needs to be wrapped up? Do you have a bag for various screws and nails for when you break furniture down and re-assemble it in a new location? I’ve done the “toss whatever fits in a box until that box fills up and then seal it up and get a new box and start the whole damn thing all over again” method before and it made me feel scattered and dumb.

Isolate your essentials. You’ve still got to brush your teeth. And make coffee. And buy slices of half-off cake at the end of a long day hauling dusty furniture around. Pretend that you’re camping or taking a trip: pack comfortable clothes that you can move in, a book or magazine, and chargers for each device you use daily.

Most of all – good luck!