After you’ve scored your first post-college job and found the perfect apartment, the next step is getting ready for the big move. If, like most college students, you’ve moved more times than you care to remember in the last four years, you’ve probably had your fair share of packing advice. But if you’re looking for those magical packing tips for moving that will turn the experience of changing apartments from one you dread into one you look forward to, keep this advice in mind:

1. Plan Ahead

Once you have your move-in date set in stone, start formulating your packing game plan. The more organized you are, the less stressful moving day will be. Make a list of everything you plan on transporting to your new apartment and try to keep those things in a central location. Now is the time to start stocking up on boxes that your friends and family no longer need–they’ll be lifesavers when it’s time to pack.

2. Start Early

The sooner you start to pack, the easier the process will be. Try to pack a box or two a day, starting with non-essential items and things you don’t use on a daily basis, so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Don’t wait until a day or two before you move! With so many other logistics to worry about, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor by getting an early start.

3. Gather Packing Supplies

In addition to stocking up on boxes in the weeks and months before your move, you should try to get a hold of other packing supplies you’ll need, such as bubble wrap, newspapers, foam and packing tape. Garbage bags are also useful for transporting clothing.

4. Label Everything

If there’s any packing advice you remember, let it be this: label everything! If you pack similar items together based upon what room they belong in (e.g. kitchen, bathroom, bedroom) it will make the process of settling into your new apartment infinitely easier. You should also be sure to clearly label any boxes that contain fragile items to give your friends or movers a heads up.

5. Save the Best for Last

As you’re packing, set aside one box for everything that you’ll need to use the first night in your new apartment. Include items like your cell phone charger, toothbrush, medication, toiletries and a change of clothes so you don’t have to stress out about unpacking your apartment all in one night.

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