1. Use the right boxes and pack them carefully. Professional moving companies use only sturdy, reinforced cartons. The boxes you can get at your neighborhood supermarket or liquor store might be free, but they are not nearly as strong or padded; therefore, they can’t shield your valuables as well from harm in transit.

2. Use sheets, blankets, pillows and towels as packing materials. These make an excellent cushion for delicate items.

3. Let your mover know which boxes contain fragile items, especially if those items are exceptionally valuable. Some moving companies won’t cover damaged items if the boxes were not packed by them, so be sure to check the replacement coverage with the moving company you choose.

4. The heavier the item, the smaller the box. If you can’t lift the box easily, it’s too heavy.

5. Make sure to label your “Me First” boxes, especially the ones containing sheets, towels, necessities, snacks, coffee, tool box, etc. so you can find everything you need to get going in your new home.

6. Make moving a family affair. Have your family clean out their closets and drawers and dispose of unwanted or unneeded items, before the move. Let your children write the new address on the boxes you have packed.

7. For the safety of your pets, plan on them staying with a friend, or board them for the move. This will keep them out of harm’s way and prevent accidents.

8. When you unpack, let all your electrical gadgets return to room temperature before plugging them in.

9. Give the mover’s foreman alternate numbers to stay in contact with you. Make sure you keep all your business numbers with you during the move, should you need to reach a handy man, etc.

10. Read the inventory form carefully, and ask the mover to explain anything you don’t understand. Make a note of your shipment’s registration number, and keep your bill of lading with you.

11. If you’re moving long distance, be aware that your property might share a truck with several other households. For this reason, your mover might have to warehouse your furniture and belongings for several days. Ask your mover whether your goods will remain on the truck until delivery. If they have to be stored, ask whether you can check the warehouse for security, organization and cleanliness.

12. If you can’t take your houseplants with you, give them away.