You’ve carefully wrapped your china, padded your furniture, and hand packed your nick knacks. Everything is carefully loaded on the truck and you walk back in to do your final sweep. It’s then that you realize that the floor is covered in mud, or the wall has been gouged. Even worse, you sit down in your new home and realize that your couch is missing a cushion, or your antique lamp is in pieces in the trash.

You can take every precaution while packing, but if you don’t use the same care on moving day, you can be left with disaster. Here are our best tips for keeping yourself, your home, and your family safe during the move.

1) Animals and Small Children Need Not Apply

You don’t want any member of your family to get hurt, lost, or left behind. For peace of mind it is best to make sure that your pets and any younger children have a safe place to stay during the move. Not only will this free more of your attention up to supervise your move, but they won’t be bored or cooped up in a small area. They can have fun, and you don’t have to worry about any great escapes.

2) Know your Layout

The home you are leaving behind is probably as familiar to you as the back of your hand. You know every trick stair and deceptively low ceiling. Make sure you share this information with those who are helping you move! This can help to avoid tripping and dropped boxes.

It is also a good idea to scout your new home out with this in mind. There is nothing worse than your good china making the trip safely only to have someone trip on a loose floorboard and send themselves and your heirloom plates sprawling across the floor.

3) Tarp, Covers, and Rugs. Oh My!

Whether you are carrying items out of your old home or into your new one, you want to make sure to protect the walls and the floors. Put boxes on tarps near the door as much as possible, and use tarps and drop clothes to cover the floors where there will be a lot of traffic. This will protect hardwood from scuffs and dents, and carpet from tracked mud and dirt.

4) Measure Everything

Have you ever gone to move a bed and realized it’s not going to fit through the door? By measuring all of the furniture, stairwells, and doorways you can avoid scraping and damage from last minute hacks. Instead plan the path each piece of furniture needs to take to safely exit your home.

In addition, try to have a general idea about how heavy each box, suitcase, and piece of furniture is. That way, you can make sure not only enough, but the right people are carrying it. This will go a long way to avoiding pulled back muscles, dropped boxes, and hurt feelings.

5) Keep Your Friends Close and Your Movers Closer

It’s an age old tradition to send out a message to all of your local friends promising pizza and beer to anyone with a strong pair of arms or a pickup truck. While this seems like the cheaper option, your friends and family aren’t professionals. By hiring movers you know that the people handling your possessions are trained to not only transport everything safely, but in how to do it efficiently. In the long run, hiring movers will save you time, stress, and minimize the danger of damage to your home, possessions, and self.