Home You’re moving to your first house! The day of the Big Move approaches. You’ve moved before, but a switch from multiple-dwelling to house has unique characteristics. It’s best to approach matters step-by-step, so here’s a list of suggestions and tips, arranged chronologically. To start, we’ll note some things to do before getting into the down-and-dirty logistics…

Preliminaries – Start a safe file box for things like your closing documents, the house inspection report, etc. Go through your new house with measuring tape and camera, record dimensions, take pics. Measure entryways, doors, hallways, etc. Back at the apartment, measure your furniture. Use digital planning tools to create a diagram, start deciding where everything will go.

Month before move — Inventory! Make special note of furniture that may be difficult to move from the old place or into the new because of size or shape. List separately items needing special packing — glassware, collectibles, etc. Set aside items you aren’t taking, and donate, recycle, sell or discard.

Hire a mover. Read online reviews, get references. Get free estimates, compare services offered. Have a budget and stick to it as closely as possible, but assess value of services as well as cost when you choose a mover.

Furniture services firms. Was it hard getting any current furniture into the apartment? Then you’ll probably have trouble getting it out. Look for furniture services companies who can make moving much easier by downsizing large pieces for transport, and expertly reconstructing them in the new home. They’ll do sofa disassembly and other large-item disassembly/reassembly, with written guarantees, and pack component pieces carefully for the move. You can also ask the furniture specialists about custom made furniture for your new digs. You now own a bigger space, and may (for example) find that custom modular storage is a good way to organize it.

Start packing. Gather boxes, tape, packing material, labels, markers. Label boxes indicating their location in new house. Use room color codes on your house diagram, code box labels to match.

Get change of address cards from the post office and notify periodicals, charge accounts, clubs, insurance providers, etc. of your new address.

1 to 2 weeks before move — If possible, reserve an elevator in your building for moving day. If moving long distance and you have pets, arrange for their transport. Minimize grocery purchases; use up what you’ve got on hand. If you pay for utilities and other services yourself, close your accounts, including, if necessary, banks, credit unions, etc. Stash some cleaning supplies for a final apartment cleanup.

Moving day — Withdraw cash to tip the movers. Put together water and snacks for them and yourself. Before anything is moved, go through the bill of lading to clarify everything before signing. Keep the moving paperwork in a safe, handy folder. Keep the movers’ and drivers’ phone numbers with you, along with contact info for the furniture services company, in case furniture repair is needed after the move.

Assemble items you’ll need for your first night in the new house. Walk through the apartment to make sure nothing’s forgotten.