After weeks or months of searching, that dream home is finally yours. The deal is closed, the home inspection is done and everything's coming up roses. The only problem now: you need to move all your stuff. Moving is a notoriously stress-inducing ordeal, but it doesn't have to be so bad with enough knowledge and planning. Whether you're a relocation expert or getting ready for your first move, take these tips into consideration before going crazy.

Plan (way) ahead

The anxiety brought on by moving only gets worse as the deadline approaches, especially if you keep putting things off. As soon as you know you will be moving, start looking into the details of hiring movers, getting a truck and everything else you will need. Packing should begin as soon as possible too, but this can be hard to do too far in advance. Even if your move is a few weeks away, you can start prepping by tidying up around the house, organizing and cleaning things, and procuring boxes. Gather any items that are taking up space - including clothes, appliances and furniture - to bring to a donation center like Goodwill. They may be able to give you some spare boxes as well.

Budgets pay off

Moving is often an expensive ordeal, especially if you are traveling long distances and/or hiring professional movers. As you are researching the various components of your move, start recording costs as you go. This will help you shop for the best prices on trucks and personnel if you need them. wrote a comprehensive guide to planning your move, which includes a moving costs calculator that can be used to estimate distance and weight surcharges. Other major expenses to consider include insurance, vehicle transit and plane tickets if any of these apply to your plans.

Pack smart

Zillow said a common mistake made by relocating homeowners is packing improperly. One common oversight is neglecting to keep track of essential items that you will want to have on hand as soon as you arrive at your new home. Put together an "essentials box" or bag with toiletries, nonperishable food and important documents. This will make it easy to get by for a couple of days without having to root through all your stuff. For the remainder of your belongings, take extra precautions with fragile items. Glass should be wrapped in a soft material and not stacked with any other glass or metal items. Extra blankets, clothes or newspapers make for great packing material if you don't have the budget for yards of bubble wrap.

If you are hiring movers, choose a good insurance plan to protect your belongings, especially if you have many valuable items. Insurance coverage will often require an inventory of items worth $100 or more, so make this list as exhaustive as possible to ensure coverage in the event of loss or damage. Zillow notes that while most companies include liability insurance at no additional cost, these policies typically only cover 60 cents per pound per damaged item. The full insurance coverage is probably a good investment because of this. In addition to maintaining a list of important items, don't forget to label boxes as descriptively as possible to make unpacking painless.

Everything else

Don't let the little things slip by the wayside. Good Housekeeping compiled a useful moving checklist that sets firm deadlines for necessary tasks up to eight weeks in advance. As soon as you know your move-in date, call to set up or move your utilities at your new residence. This includes electric, gas, water and cable service for most people. You may also need to set up trash pickup, depending on local ordinance. Don't forget about your mail and newspapers, either. If you're using a moving company, it doesn't hurt to periodically check in on the status of your truck rental or moving appointment as the day draws closer. If you're moving into a brand new property, ensure that a move-in inspection has been conducted, or look into setting one up in advance.

Once you've done all you need to do and successfully moved in, sit back and take a much-deserved break. Not for too long, though - those boxes won't unpack themselves.