A move is one of the most chaotic times in life, and with kids, pets and a spouse in the mix, important tasks can easily slip through the cracks. Here are five tips to help make sure your move goes off without a hitch.

Get Organized

The first step in any big project is planning, and moving is no exception. Before you start packing the first box, put together an easy-to-use system for keeping records. Make sure you have plenty of boxes and other supplies on hand, and use color-coded stickers to designate boxes that go in each room.

Pack in Advance

Don’t wait until the weekend before your move to start packing up; anything you can pack ahead will save you time — and significant stress — on the big day. Box up any extra toiletries, clothing you’re not wearing and cooking utensils you don’t use every day.

Get the Kids Involved

Moving is a great time to pare down kids’ clutter, including discarded toys and clothing that no longer fits. Ask the kids to help you go through every room identifying items you could donate to people in need. To help get the youngsters excited about your new home, make plans for their rooms — including decorating options. And be sure to give them a chance to say their farewells to friends with a “See You Again Soon” party.

Plan for Pets’ Needs

On moving day, put cats and other small pets in their carriers, and let large dogs stay in one room or in a fenced yard — better yet, have a neighbor watch them until the stressful chaos is over. Be sure to pack a separate bag for your pets with their food, medications, plenty of water, treats, favorite toys and current health certifications. Add temporary ID tags to your pets’ collars with information for the new home.

Keep Your Cool

Most importantly, you’ll need plenty of patience on hand — for your own sake and for your kids, pets and spouse. Soon, the stress of moving day will be a memory, and you can start enjoying the new place as a family.

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