It’s happening. You have a moving date in mind and there’s no turning back. But what happens next?

Packing for your house move is by no means the only thing you’ll need to think about over the next few weeks, but it’s certainly one of the most important. If your packing goes smoothly, the whole experience will be smoother and less stressful.

We happen to know a little something about packing boxes, so we’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you along in your house move packing.

1. Sort out the clutter

Before you pack anything, you should work out what you definitely don’t want to take with you. If you can get rid of the clutter early, you’ll be able to plan everything else more effectively. Search your house from top to bottom and be ruthless. If you don’t need it, get rid of it.

There are many ways that you can dispose of unneeded items these days. Some stuff is just junk and needs to go to the tip or a recycling point, but there are a number of ways to get your stuff into the hands of a new owner.

The easiest methods are to see if you have any friends or family who want to take anything off your hands. Charity shops will also be more than happy to take books, DVDs, toys, clothes and more. You can also list many items, including furniture, on local community Facebook pages, where a neighbour may be very happy to pick something up.

If you think your items might be worth something, you can also try selling. It’s relatively easy to sell on eBay if you have products that will appeal to the secondhand market and be worth a bit of money. There are also websites that will buy things like books, CDs and DVDs in bulk - you won’t get much per item, but a collection could be worth a fair bit of money and it’s certainly easier than trying to shift each one individually.

Just remember, whatever you keep will have to come with you to your new house.

2. Have a plan

When you’re satisfied that you know exactly what you’re going to pack, the next step is to make a plan. If you dive head first into packing, you’ll have stuff in boxes all over the place and unpacking will be a nightmare.

You don’t need to categorise every item by box, but it helps to work out how much of your stuff is going into each room in your new house. This will help you to work out roughly how many boxes you might need and will help you ensure that items are packed with others that are going to the same location.

At this stage, it could also be helpful to start thinking about what you can afford to pack early and what you need to keep around until closer to the time of the move. Out of season clothes, books, non-essential paperwork and ornaments are all good candidates.

3. Get your packaging materials in

Before you can start packing, you’ll need to make sure you actually have boxes to put things in. If you have boxes lying around already you’ll be able to make use of them, but it’s also convenient to buy in a few good sized cardboard boxes at a low price.

When planning what boxes you need, remember that it’s better to pack multiple light objects together in larger boxes and keep heavier items apart in smaller boxes. It’s also possible to buy double wall boxes that are especially sturdy for your most difficult items.

Along with boxes, it’s a good idea to have some protective products on hand to fill in the gaps and stop loosely packed items from jostling around. Bubble wrap is a particularly versatile option, as you can use it to fill gaps and to wrap fragile objects.

4. Start early with non-essentials

While it’s helpful to have the right number of packaging materials from the get go, if you start packing early enough you’ll have plenty of time to buy in extras if you find yourself running short. By starting with the non-essentials, you’ll be able to start the process weeks in advance without causing yourself practical problems.

Clothes that you don’t need to wear this season are a good start. You can also begin to pack decorative ornaments, collections of books, DVDs and CDs, Christmas decorations and those boxes from the attic that you couldn’t convince yourself to part with. As you move closer to the time, you’ll be able to pack more and more things that you don’t need until the move.

5. Pack carefully and logically

As you pack, keep two things in mind: you want to make sure all of your possessions will remain undamaged and you want to make sure that it’s easy to unpack at the other end.

The first consideration will be easy enough if you have the correct packaging materials. With sturdy boxes and bubble wrap you’ll be able to safely transport bulky items and give fragile items adequate protection.

The second consideration takes a bit of planning, but doesn’t have to cause a headache. Remember to follow the plan that you made and group items together that are going into the same room in the new house. Also remember not to bury anything that you think you might need in the first few days after moving.

6. Keep important documents in one place

It’s worth specifically mentioning important items like passports, birth and marriage certificates, financial documents and the like. These items that you simply can’t lose should be kept together in some kind of secure, easily identifiable box or folder so that you can keep track of them.

7. Prepare a survival bag for moving day

Finally, as you get closer to the moving day itself you should think about packing a ‘survival bag.’ This should contain everything you need to get through the day, including any documents, medication, emergency supplies and snacks. Have this in a rucksack or some other kind of bag that you’ll be able to keep separate from the other boxes and make sure you keep it with you throughout the day.

You’re house move is an exciting time, but we know it can be stressful. We hope that by writing these tips on packing for a move, we can take a bit of that stress away from you and make the whole process that much more enjoyable.