According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 40 million Americans – about 1 in 9 – move each year. Are you planning to move?

Take it from someone who moved 12 times in 32 years – the best thing you can do is start packing as soon as you know you are moving. At Moving.com, you can order boxes and have them delivered. Use the handy calculator to help you figure out how many boxes you need. Or look for free boxes at Freecycle.org or Craigslist.org. You’ll also need packing paper and good-quality packing tape plus a tape gun.

Start packing as soon as you know you are moving...but don't pack everything! Click To Tweet

Start packing items you are not currently using which might include out-of-season clothing, footwear, and linens as well as books and infrequently used kitchen wares. Label each box with the room it will go to in your new home. Write the room name on all four sides of the box. And do yourself a favor that will save your back – use smaller boxes to pack heavy items like books and dishes. Save the larger boxes for lighter items such as bedding and decorative items.

But don’t pack everything! Take this fantastic opportunity to pare down your belongings to those things you love and use (and can use in your new place). Why waste time packing and paying to move stuff that will just clutter up your new home?

Forget about having a yard sale – it’s time-consuming and rarely worth the effort. Instead, search for “[insert your city or region] online yard sale” on Facebook where you can list items for sale. Or try selling items on the OfferUp or LetGo app. Or make it really easy on yourself and donate everything you decide not to take with you. Go to DonationTown.org to find a local charity that will even come and pick up your stuff. What could be easier?

Be sure to pack a “move day” box or or small suitcase for things you want to keep handy on move day, such as a box cutter, snacks, phone chargers, maybe even your toothbrush and pajamas so you don’t have to open a gazillion boxes to find them that first night. I always unpack bedding and make my bed first so I don’t have to do it at the end of an exhausting day.

Here are a few more tips on how to ensure a smooth move – thanks to A & C Brothers Moving & Storage in Phoenix, Arizona!