By Lori Melton

If you’re a millennial on the move, you’re not alone. With college back in session and recent grads getting jobs, this time of year is typically busy for renters. Whether you’re grabbing an apartment near campus or relocating to a new city for your dream job, moving can be an exciting but stressful time. Consult this guide to get prepared and get the most out of your upcoming move.

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Clear Out Clutter

Purging your closet, cupboards, basement storage and any other place in your current space that holds clutter is the first thing you should do before you even consider packing. It’s a good idea to have three bins, one marked “Keep,” one marked “Donate” and one marked “Sell.” Ultimately, it would be great if you could have a yard sale or sell stuff you no longer want or need online to defray some of your moving expenses.

Make A Moving Budget

Speaking of reducing expenses, it’s helpful to have a clear understanding of what it’s going to cost you to move. Compile a list of moving supply costs, truck rental fees, first and last month’s rent, gas for trips between households and any other expenses you can think of. Keep track of what you spend in a moving binder that can also hold moving-related receipts (you may get to write them off at tax time).

Secure Renter’s/Homeowner’s Insurance

Renter’s or homeowner’s insurance will help protect your possessions in the event of fire, theft or other types of loss. It’s always a good idea to carry this kind of protection. If you already have insurance in place, be sure to contact your agent to get transfer guidance.

Reserve Equipment/Hire Help

It’s a good idea to do some online research or place some calls to get price quotes for any equipment you need from dollies to trucks, or a professional moving team. Once you settle on a plan for transporting your possessions to your new home, make any necessary reservations and then mark any confirmation numbers, deposits made, etc. on your calendar or in your moving binder.

Pack Over Time/Label Boxes

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Packing up one room at a time, as far in advance as possible, will be less overwhelming than trying to do it all in one night or one weekend. If time allows, start around eight weeks out. Pack less-needed items first. Pack a box of kitchen supplies and other first-night essentials in boxes marked “First Night,” so you can get to what you’ll need right away on move in day. Always label boxes, typically by room name, so you can put the boxes in the right place for when you start to unpack.

Make Service Transfers/Change Of Address Notifications

About one month out, call your utility company, cable, internet, and phone service and schedule the date and time to transfer service to your new address. Likewise, fill out a change of address at the post office (or online) to direct your mail to your new home. Next, contact your doctor and dentist office, bank, credit card companies and DMV to notify them of your new address.

Confirm Reservations

A few days before move day, confirm your truck, movers, or any other equipment that you are using for your move. Doing this will help prevent any unwanted “surprises” on your moving day.

Clean Your Old Space

Once you’ve emptied your old space, it’s a good idea to clean it — especially if you’re moving from one rental to another. You’ll want to make sure you leave a clean place and make any needed repairs, to get your rental deposit back.

Change Locks/Make Extra Keys/Clean Your New Place

Once you take possession of your new place, you should change locks (if landlord permits) or make extra keys in case you lose or misplace yours. If possible, clean your new place before you move any boxes or furniture in, as it will be easier to work in a big, open space.

Unpack Over Time And Enjoy

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Just like packing, don’t try to unpack in one night. Schedule time to do it over a series of days or weeks if needed. Now that you’re in your new home, the most important thing is to make time to kick back and enjoy it!