I’ll be honest with you: There are few things I hate more than moving (losing my phone charger and falling asleep before the pizza arrives being two of them). That said, I’ve done it many, many times in the past five or six years. That’s the beautiful thing about renting— you can move every year if you’d like, and I usually do.

While my first attempt was a massive fail (let’s just say it would have made a really great sitcom), I’ve gotten pretty good at it. So good, in fact, that I’ve collected all of the legit tips and tricks I’ve absorbed along the way and listed them here. Without further ado, here are the 14 most legit packing tips:

1. Cut Your Own Handles

Take your box cutter, and slice a triangle into both sides of each box. Voila. You have handles, and you didn’t even have to pay for them. Here’s how it breaks down:

  1. Close box

  2. Tape box

  3. Cut 4 inch slit about 3 inches from box top

  4. Cut 3 inch perpendicular slit down center to create a T

  5. Score (lightly cut) along diagonals to form two triangles

  6. Fold these flap inward

2. Pack Jewelry Without Tangles

Getting your jewelry from point A to point B is a constant struggle. Tangles and mysterious knots are an uphill battle that can leave you frustrated and short an accessory or two. Good news jewelry lovers– you never have to deal with tangled jewelry again if you follow these steps:

  1. Get an empty ice cube tray (or a few if you have a lot of bling)
  2. Fill each section of the ice cube tray with your rings, necklaces, earrings, etc
  3. Cover tray with plastic wrap
  4. Voila! No more tangles!

3. Remember That You are Not the Hulk

Despite our best intentions (and all those squats at the gym), you can’t lift infinitely heavy things, and you will probably forget this while you’re packing. Keep this guideline in mind when you’re taping up those boxes: Keep it under 50 pounds. Even if you hire movers, there are some things that just can’t be picked up.

A good alternative for your heaviest items? Pack them inside a suitcase, which you can wheel right in and out of the room (and into the moving van).

4. Don’t Un-hang Your Clothing (Ever)

Your closet can be one of the most daunting rooms in the apartment to pack up, thanks to your hangers. You know what I’m talking about– you try to stash them nicely in a box, and they come out connected like monkeys in a barrel.

Fear not! There’s an easier way to handle this. Simply leave your clothing on your hangers and use a large garbage bag to collect as many pieces as will fit inside, fitting it over the bottom of your clothing and moving up while your clothing is still hanging. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Group together 10-15 hangers

  2. Cinch bottom of clothes, put trash bag over

  3. Pull hangers off bar, criss cross thing around top of hangers to secure

  4. Replace on closet bar

5. Collect Boxes Early

The 14 Most Legit Packing Tips - Collect Boxes Early

A week before the big move, call up every store you can think of in your area. Yes, all of them– furniture stores, department stores, art supply stores, you name it. More often than not, they have tons of leftover boxes that they recycle or throw out.

Many stores will give you these leftover boxes for free, diminishing your moving costs by a landslide. (OK, that might be an exaggeration, but you get the idea.)

It’s important to start doing this early, though. I’ve tried to collect boxes the night before a move and ended up with approximately four. Needless to say, this did not do much for me.

6. Buy Snacks

The 14 Most Legit Packing Tips - Buy Snacks

One thing you will definitely forget to do on move-in day: eat. Lest you want to turn into the angry wakeboarding Godzilla from the Snicker’s commercial (or whatever that thing is), you should bring snacks with you– preferably with a protein content. You’re welcome.

7. Clean the Stove

The 14 Most Legit Packing Tips - Clean the Stove

Before you move out, you’re going to have to clean the stove. I only tell you this now because you will be very angry with yourself when you inevitably forget to do it until you’re loading up the moving van. Cleaning the stove takes a good half hour and a lot of elbow grease– do it the night before and save yourself a major headache (or a bill from your landlord).

8. And the Fridge

The 14 Most Legit Packing Tips - The Fridge

What’s even easier to forget to clean than your stove? Your refrigerator. This takes even longer and is infinitely grosser.

9. Take a Picture of Your TV

The 14 Most Legit Packing Tips - Take a Picture of Your TV

This might sound odd, but hear me out: The back of your TV has a million cords plugged into it right now, especially if your Roku, Xbox, laptop, or karaoke machine is attached to it. (Don’t judge.) Even the most technologically savvy of us have difficulty remembering where those cords go, so having a photo to refer to at your new place will help immensely.

10. Start With an Overnight Bag

The 14 Most Legit Packing Tips - Start with an Overnight Bag

The first thing to pack (and tuck into the passenger seat of the moving van) should be an overnight bag of sorts, as it will probably take you a few days to totally unpack. Your toothbrush, shampoo, face wash, makeup and a change of clothes are a good start, but feel free to personalize it to fit what works for you.

Any expensive electronics (like a tablet or a laptop) should also go in this bag so you don’t crush and/or lose them. Pro tip: Do not, under any circumstances, forget your phone charger.

11. Then Put Together an Unpacking Box

The 14 Most Legit Packing Tips - Then Put Together an Unpacking Box

This moving hack will change your entire unpacking game once you’ve dumped everything into your new place. Scissors, small tools, tape, a duster, a box cutter, and other unpacking tools all go in here (along with your snacks), expediting the process and ensuring that you don’t just haphazardly shove things into corner, promising you’ll put them together later.

12. Skip the Bubble Wrap

The 14 Most Legit Packing Tips - Skip the Bubble Wrap

Let’s face it: Bubble wrap is expensive, confusing and loud. Instead of investing in this strange puffed-up plastic wrap, just use old T-shirts and sweatshirts to safeguard your breakables.

Not only does this probably keep them safer in the long run, but it also eliminates the need to find– you guessed it– more boxes.

13. Group By Rooms

The 14 Most Legit Packing Tips - Group by Rooms

The best possible way to confuse yourself when you’re unpacking is to include items from multiple rooms in the same box. Don’t do this. Instead, focus on one room at a time while you’re packing up your old place, keeping in mind how you’re going to set up your new apartment.

14. Label Everything

The 14 Most Legit Packing Tips - Label Everything

After you pack up one of these boxes, throw a label on it. You can be specific (e.g., “old magazines and CD collection from the 90s”) or you can just go with the name of the room.

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The 14 Most Legit Packing Tips

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