May is National Moving Month, and, not surprisingly, the kickoff into the busiest time of the year for moving. As soon as the kids are out of school, it’s all systems go for turning over new leaves.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 43 million people move every year, which means that a whole lot of people are starting to have some anxiety right now.

After all, moving is widely considered one of life’s most anxiety-producing activities. There are some great ideas for proper moving preparation and checklists to keep yourself organized in the weeks leading up to and throughout your move. But whether you are the type to do as much as possible yourself (and with the help of a few fit friends), or would gladly pay for the privilege of letting the experts pack it up, move it, and set it all up in your new home, a few tips can make all the difference between a stress-FUL and a stress-FREE move.

1. Do Your Research

Almost everyone has a bad moving story, ranging from the inconvenient (they broke my set of dishes) to the potentially criminal (they high-jacked my truck-full of belongings and held it hostage for months). The No. 1 key to a successful move is finding a trustworthy mover.

There were more than 1.4 million “moving-related inquiries and more than 9,300 complaints against movers nationally” in 2012 according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).  To weed out the questionable ones and land on the right resource, consult sites like Moving Scam, Angie’s List, or Yelp for reviews on different moving companies.

You can also check with your real estate agent to see if they can make any recommendations. Finally, ask friends and family to weigh in. Some companies work only from word-of-mouth and don’t market themselves in any way. These can often be the best choices, combining great service with reasonable costs—because they depend on the reviews of customers to keep their business going.

2. Make a List and Check it Twice

Things get lost during a move. It happens. You can protect yourself and your things by ensuring that you know what you have and where it’s going.

Start by assigning a number to each moving box and label all boxes with their contents and the room they are going to. Create a matrix using the same numbering and labeling system and contents list, and make sure it is provided to your moving company and insurance company. The time spent will be well worth it if there are any discrepancies after your move.

3. Get Insured

You should have a few different choices for insurance with your moving company. Full coverage will give you the deepest protection, but there may still be limits on replacement values if something is lost or damaged.

If you are moving, a conversation with your homeowner’s insurance company about existing coverage and changes you need to make in your new residence is probably already on your list. You have probably also planned to hand-carry or securely store any smaller items such as jewelry and paperwork that are of great importance or value to you. Asking your insurance company about adding any necessary coverage for your move can help give you the peace of mind you need and lower the stress level.

Do you have any helpful tips for moving?  Share in the comments below!