1. Get an Early Start
Avoid leaving anything until the last minute. Unless you have to pack up and leave in a hurry, chances are you have between 30 and 60 days to make a plan and ensure that moving day runs smoothly. Create a countdown list and itemize everything you need to accomplish week by week.
2. Make your move strategy
How are you going to get from point A to point B on moving day? For shorter moves, you'll either need to assemble some very nice friends with trucks or consider renting a truck for the day. If you have a big family to move or you'll be moving a long distance, you'll want to price out moving companies.
3. Get Good Boxes
You can score good, quality boxes from your office or from local businesses like liquor stores and bookstores without paying a dime. However, the downside to getting all of your boxes for free is that you don't know what comes with them. All manner of pests love to hitch a ride on cardboard boxes and would be happy to make your belongings their new home, so if you are willing to pay, it may be worth it for your peace of mind. It's more important that you get quality boxes than that you get free boxes.
4. Clean While You Pack
The last thing you'll want to do when you get to your beautiful new home is clean while you or your movers are bringing everything in. They'll want to know where you want your bookshelves, and you'll be busily trying to wipe off years' old dust that you could have handled before you left your old place. Clean as you go, your future self will thank you past self when moving day shows up.
5. Keep your movers in the loop
Boxes are one thing, but when you get to the big, heavy stuff, it's important to let your movers know what to expect. "Communicate with your moving company and explain all the requirements and expectations prior to booking." Your mover has to be aware of all those minor details in order to estimate your total move time and cost, and have proper equipment available. That includes informing the company about any overweight items (i.e. a piano or fridge), access restrictions (small elevator, walk-up only, narrow driveway) and whether you'll need help with disassembly or assembly of furniture.
6. Seize the opportunity to purge
Moving is a great chance to organize your belongings and get rid of items you no longer use. If the time of year permits, hold a yard sale. Or, take the time to sort and donate gently worn clothing to Goodwill, put furniture up for sale, recycle old magazines and catalogues and shred old documents.
7. Take inventory
This is especially necessary if you're hiring a moving company. Having a record of your household items is useful if something goes missing. Consider keeping a spreadsheet of the contents of each box. Then, assign each box a number and all you have to do is write that number on each side (maybe with the appropriate room listed, as well).
8. Label everything
Label all sides of the box (avoid the top). Whoever is carrying in your boxes might not make sure all labels are facing one way for your easy retrieval. Try labeling each side in marker so you can easily find what you need in a stack.
9. Save Your Important, Necessary Items for a "First Night" Box
Save the items that you think are most delicate or that you'll need sooner rather than later when you arrive in your new home, and put them in a "first night" box.
10. Treat your movers
Whether hired movers or friends and family, be sure to have food and drinks readily available for everyone. "On a hot summer day, your crew will appreciate a cold drink."