We finally did it. After what seemed like an unending process of searching and going through all of the inspections and paperwork that comes with it, my husband Scott and I finally bought a house. Now, our goal is to pack up and get settled before our second baby arrives.

We are planning to use this move as an opportunity to pare down and start fresh. If you are moving too, consider some of these timeand sanity-saving tips for packing up:

•Start with a purge. Before you start packing up, grab two big boxes and designate one for donations and one for trash. We started our boxes weeks ago. We keep them out in the open, which is an eyesore, but also makes it easier to toss things in as we come across them. Getting rid of items from the get-go means less that you will have to pack later.

•Schedule a pickup. You know those handouts you get in the mail that advertise free pickup? Use them! Set a date and work backward from there. This will force you to get moving and ensure that you stay on task.

•Keep the hangers. This is not exactly space saving, but it definitely saves time. You can completely skip taking all of your clothing off the hangers, folding the articles into boxes and then unpacking and re-hanging. Instead, keep them on the hangers and place them in boxes or suitcases slightly folded instead. You may need to stagger piles so that they fit. When you get to your new home, simply hang them back up.

•Use movers. Yes, this comes at an added cost. However, you can save money by doing the packing yourself and having the movers simply carry and unload your stuff. Plus, if anything breaks along the way, the movers will often cover the cost of repair or replacement. Do your research and ask your friends and family for their advice. Read reviews online. If you are using Yelp, do yourself a favor and sort the reviews by “newest first” or “lowest rated.” There has been some skepticism over the “Yelp sort,” which is the default.

•Mind the boxes. Place heavy items, like books, in small boxes and lighter items, like linens, in big boxes. Fill in the gaps with smaller items like clothing or towels. This will help to keep items from shifting during transport. Label as you go, and use labels that movers will understand rather than cute names. For example, write “Bedroom 1” instead of your daughter’s name.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisin@ gmail.com.