Moving day can be a stressful time; there’s so much going on, so many things to think about and remember, and lots to take care of. You may feel pulled in too many directions at once, which can cause anxiety, or you may be overwhelmed with the amount of tasks you need to complete before the big day arrives. This is normal during the moving process, but luckily there are several ways you can simplify things and help the move go as smoothly as possible.

One of the most helpful ways to figure out how to make moving less stressful is to make lists of everything that needs to be done. Sit down with your spouse or a loved one who can help and write out all the most important items on a checklist. These might include hiring movers, acquiring packing materials, figuring out what to do with your pets on the big day, and how to downsize your belongings, which is especially important if you’re moving into a smaller home or an assisted living facility.

After that, it’s a matter of learning how to handle all the tasks before the big move. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

Downsize


This part of the process is time-intensive, so it might be best to get started with it well in advance of moving day. Depending on the size of your new home, there might be space issues that will require you to rethink what you should keep, such as large pieces of furniture. Ask for help from friends or loved ones and go through closets, attic spaces, garages, and basements. Pare down as much as possible by putting everything into piles: donate, keep, throw away, sell. Additionally, plan for a yard or garage sale, which can help you earn extra money to help with the move. Think outside the box when it comes to what you want to keep; you may not be able to hold onto several boxes full of photographs, but if you scan them on the computer you’ll be able to keep them forever.

Think about your pets


Cats and dogs can become anxious when a big change occurs, so take them into consideration when you’re packing. Leave their belongings — favorite toys, blankets, bedding, etc. — for last and, if possible, bring them to the new place before the move so they can explore and sniff around. On moving day, ask a friend to watch them so they’ll be out of the way and won’t become stressed from all the commotion. For some more tips on making moving day easier for pets, check out this article from the ASPCA.

Clean up


Both your current home and your new one will need cleaning before everything is done, so make time in your schedule to get everything in order. If you need to have your belongings out of your home by a certain date/time, it might be advantageous to hire a cleaning service to help you out. In Kansas City, the average cost of a house cleaning service is about $100-$185 and takes about six hours; look here for more details and for a list of companies and their prices.

Self-care


One of the best ways to keep stress and anxiety to a minimum is by practicing self-care. You’ll have a lot of things to check off your list, so it’s important to tend to your needs and make sure you’re getting enough rest. On moving day, make time for plenty of breaks and remember to sit down and eat. Stay hydrated and ask for help when you need it.

It can be emotionally draining as well as physically difficult to make a move as a senior, so don’t forget to lean on your support system when you need to. Having friends and family around you at this time is important. Take your time, plan well, and remember that no one can do everything on their own.