It can be impossible to plan the perfect move. Lease or rental agreements often have varying move-in and move-out dates. If you’re buying and selling, you can never be certain when your old house will sell or when your new home will be ready. Unexpected delays are frustratingly frequent, even if you have specified dates in your contracts.

As you plan your move, having a plan in place for temporary quarters can save a lot of hassle down the road. Keep these five tips in mind as you work your way through the inevitable tangles of moving into a new home.

Keep it Simple With a Temporary Stay

Thanks to rental pioneers like Airbnb and VRBO, it’s easier today to find quality long-term temporary housing than it was even a few years ago. When looking for the best place to stay between homes, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Is it furnished? It may be cheaper to get an unfurnished sublet, but if you factor in the heavy lifting and overall exhaustion of moving your furniture, it may make more sense to rent a place that’s furnished and just bring the necessities.
  2. If you have kids, is the rental in the same school district as your new home? If you’re moving during the school year, renting within your new school district means you can make use of the bus system, and the kids can get used to their new school as you wait to move.
  3. Who is paying the utilities? Depending on who you’re renting from, utilities may or may not be included in the upfront cost. Make sure you are clear about your obligations before signing any rental agreements. 

Selecting Your Necessities

Even if you’re renting for longer than a few days, pack light. You probably won’t need to bring both your summer and winter wardrobes. If your rental is furnished, you also won’t need kitchen supplies or linens. Consider packing only what you need and storing the rest until you’re in your new home. Keeping it simple means less to lose, less to pack, and less to worry over.

Keep Essential Items Accessible While in Storage

If they are available, portable storage or self-storage are your best transitional storage options. With portable storage, the storage facility drops the container or containers off at your home, and you arrange to have them picked up when you’re done packing. When you’re ready to move into your new home, the containers are brought straight to your new address.

Whether you’re doing it yourself or going full service, keep in mind that you may need some essential items while you’re still in temporary housing. Pack anything you know you won’t need toward the back of the storage container, and keep necessities in the front where they are easy to access.

Opt For Pay-As-You-Go Internet

If your long-term rental doesn’t have Wi-Fi, or if the owner is charging you for it, pay-as-you-go internet is a good, inexpensive option. Since it can be available for purchase by the hour, week, or month, you can use it as much or as little as you need with no equipment required. If you have a smartphone with a good data plan, you turn your phone into a hotspot for your devices to connect to the internet.

Set Up Regular or Premium Temporary Mail Forwarding

Instead of filling out a Change of Address (COA) form twice with the United States Postal Service, you can opt for temporary mail forwarding. Choose between regular forwarding service, where mail is forwarded to you on a piece-by-piece basis, or premium service. With the premium service, your mail is held, packaged together, and shipped directly to you via priority mail once a week. The service also includes a notification of the expected delivery date and free forwarding of first-class mail.

Moving can be an exciting endeavor, but a temporary gap in living spaces can be disruptive to your day-to-day life. As you prepare for your move, keep these tips in mind to help minimize stress as you wait to move into your new home.

Kristin Hackler is a ghostwriter and serial freelancer. When she’s not writing, you can find her playing (or running after) her two free-range boys and baking up a storm.

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