Most everyone has moved at least once in his or her life, if not quite a few times. It’s not something you easily forget, generally because the process is often dirty, tiring, and nerve-wracking. Fun, right?

While you can’t entirely eliminate the stress of moving, you can quiet its roar to a low grumble with a little advance planning. Having a clear idea of what you want to happen – that is, something a little more detailed than “open door, push stuff outside” — is a good way to help you get through the oft-harrowing process.

1. Hiring movers is probably the best decision you can make. Avoid the sweating, heavy lifting, swearing, and fighting that might just accompany a move and let professionals shoulder the burden — literally. Treat the movers as though they are friends who have volunteered to help you – offer them water, a light snack, and clear directions for how you want things handled. You hardly need to be a dictator, but if there are items you’d prefer to move yourself, let them know. If a table has a loose leg, mention it. Poll your friends who’ve also used movers and ask them for advice, especially in the “I wish I had thought to…” category. Being well prepared will make things go smoother, which is in everyone’s best interest.

2. Make moving fun! (Really.) Let your inner organizing expert out and pack your belongings in colorful bins (whose sizes are often comparable to the boxes you’d ordinarily be using). If using cardboard boxes, label them with markers, stickers, or simply seal them with color-coded packing tape. The detail you apply before the move gets started will make things easier on the other end of the journey. Besides, walking around mumbling “blue kitchen” or “orange bathroom” is a good way to entertain your friends. Or just confuse them, which can also be fun.

3. Treat your animals well. Animals are often anxious in the wake of a big change like a move. While strangers are carting your stuff out to a truck, sit with your animals and comfort them. If you have to take care of other arrangements, leave your animals in a secure space with a piece of clothing that carries your scent to help keep them calm. Also consider giving them a few treats or a new toy. Allow them to build positive connections to moving.

4. Reward yourself with a little something when the move is all over. Whether you decide to download some new music, go to a movie in the theatre, or just buy a nice soap for that first shower in your new space, make it special to you. Much of your move will be focusing on putting energy out — make sure you find a way to bring yourself back to center.

Above all, give yourself time to adjust to your new space. Use the move as a chance to rid yourself of things you no longer need and make sure you bring something new and special into your next home, whether it’s a bud vase or area rug. Make moving an adventure instead of a nightmare.