Packing for holidays definitely is fun, but packing up when moving to a new house is a different story altogether. The charm of moving to a new place sadly fades away when you have to shove your belongings in boxes to protect them from getting damaged on the way to the new location.

Luckily, you can make the transition easier on yourself by employing the right tools and accessories before you even consider starting packing. Here are some of the most important items for your packing arsenal:

1.   Create a master to-do list

First, give your packing and moving operations a home base. When you move homes, whether it’s across the state or down the block, you inevitably end up having a thousand different things to do and remember. And if you don’t write it all down, chances are that something will go wrong somewhere. So, why risk it? Put the reminders and ideas on the Notes app on your phone, download apps like Wunderlist to organize your packing, or use an old-school legal pad.

2.   Get good boxes

If you don’t want to pay for boxes, check out Craigslist or your local liquor store where sturdy packaging is given away for free. U-Haul even has a service where it connects customers so they can exchange boxing and packing supplies for free! But beware of free boxes and only accept them if they are relatively new and clean because cardboard is an excellent place for pests to live. So, paying for packing may be worth your peace of mind and family’s health after all.

3.  Specialty moving boxes are a thing!

You also have the option to purchase specialty moving boxes that are built to protect artwork, cutlery, glass surfaces, and mirrors, etc. Most of them come complete with frame protectors to secure the corners of these high-priced items. You can find these for mattresses, rifles, lamps, guitars and even baby cribs. A little expense on these boxes now can go a long way in safeguarding your favorite possessions during the long haul.

4.   Don’t forget the cleaning supplies

When you get to your new home, the last thing you want to do is start dusting and washing everything just hauled in. So, it’s a good idea to clean stuff up before you pack so you can just set it in place when you get there and start your new life without any hassle. Your future self will thank you for your farsightedness. So, make sure you have the cleaning supplies handy and plenty before the packing begins.

5.   A label marker

Your movers may or may not keep an inventory of what they are moving, but they will toss all the boxes on to the truck in hopes of getting everything to the new home, in one piece. The onus falls on you to mark all the boxes correctly and know what’s packed and where. Yes, you could label the boxes with a plain marker too. But a label maker makes things legit, and there are some super cute labels in the market also, so why not?

6.   Essentials for a ’First Night’ package

By the time everything reaches your new home, you will be all exhausted and in need of a quick bath and food. So, build an ‘essentials only’ box with toiletries, a change of clothes for each member of the family, phone chargers, snacks, and cooking essentials. And don’t send it with the movers! Keep it with yourself, so you can make a home out of the new house as soon as you get there.

7.  A sturdy packing tape

No, any duct tape won’t do when packing for the move. You need heavy-duty brown packing tapes that are insanely sticky and have the power to hold together your entire life. You won’t ever have to worry about the moving boxes falling apart while moving. Just add this high-quality packing tape to the list of your packing must-haves.

8.  Packing paper

You can buy ink-free, lead-free, acid-free packing paper to put away the fragile items like glassware and collectibles. You can also stuff this paper into the empty corners of your packing boxes, so the stuff in there doesn’t move around. And the kids can use the leftover paper for their drawing and art projects. So, don’t be stingy when buying it!

9. Bubble wrap

Old keepsakes, sports equipment, and memorabilia require more than usual care when moving. Get bubble wrap to ensure that your sweet memories survive the haul to the new home. Layer each item carefully and then secure it with the brown packing tape, then place in the packing box. Fill up any empty corners in the box with packing peanuts or packing paper and you are good to go.

10.  Scissors and a box cutter

Invest in a quality pair of scissors, as well as steel blade box opener. Keep these things handy, preferably in the ‘essentials only’ box so you won’t have a panic attack when it’s time to unpack everything at the new place.

11.   Keep Ziploc bags handy

Ziploc bags are great for carrying small servings of snacks for the kids. But they can serve one more purpose when you are moving. Keep a stash of Ziploc bags handy when the movers are packing up the furniture etc. Use these bags to put away the doorknobs, brackets and screws, locks and keys, etc. These are small items which are easy to misplace and forget, that is until you need them.

Find the best possible packing supplies online, and you might just be able to survive this move and have plenty of stories to tell!