People who relocate often for jobs or the military tell stories about unexpected developments turning the best-planned moves into daytime nightmares. Traffic wrecks, bad weather and incompetent movers can all contribute to making one of life’s most anxious experiences even more stressful. The soothing news is that you CAN take steps to prepare and take the mayhem out of moving your household possessions. Save Grandma’s china and your sanity with these smart strategies.

Get Organized.

You’ll end up paying much more than you expect if you don’t draw up a realistic moving budget or if you wait until the last minute to make an appointment for your move. Give yourself time to plan your move carefully or you may not be ready when the movers arrive. Having movers show up at your door when boxes aren’t packed is the biggest packing mistake you can make. You’ll lose time and a lot of money if you ask movers to wait around while you pack or ask them to help finish packing. You’ll be billed for the extra unplanned service.

Another big mistake is giving movers an estimate that understates the number of items you’ll be moving or asking them to take items that can’t be loaded on the truck. You’ll create confusion at your new home if you fail to label boxes properly, and you’ll find yourself hunting fruitlessly for essential items if you don’t prepare an “essentials” box.

Poor planning can make life on a stressful moving day even more chaotic. If you forget to turn on the utilities, you won’t have electricity, gas, and water at your new place. If you delay changing your address with the post office, you won’t have your mail delivered to your new home.

Research Movers Before You Hire.

Investigate moving companies before you hire them. You want to find reputable, licensed and experienced professionals. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraudulent movers refusing to deliver belongings until the customer agrees to pay an extra ransom “fee” or disappearing with your deposit money and never show up. Invest some time and effort in finding movers you can trust.

Investigating can help you avoid the stress and wasted time that results when movers are late or don’t show up at all. Good information will help you steer clear of movers who ignore your estimates and arrive in a smaller moving truck than needed or without the proper equipment to make the move efficient and safe.

Look for a moving company with experienced drivers and moving trucks in good condition that won’t break down on the road and delay your move.

Buy Moving Insurance.

Buying appropriate insurance for your belongings is also a good idea. Traffic accidents happen, and you could receive badly damaged belongings if the moving truck is involved in a crash. You could lose valuable possessions if thieves break into the truck.

Make the move go smoother by reserving a parking space directly in front of your old home and your new location. Waiting for movers to search for nearby parking wastes time that can add to your bill. The cost of your move can also climb if movers have to charge an additional long-carry fee.