No one said downsizing in a city this size was easy, but it just requires a little planning. Following are just a few ways to simplify the process:

If you’re accustomed to moving to another city within a few days of your formal move-in date — or, heaven forbid, waiting until months later — it’s hard to know how to pack efficiently. The first step is to know what you’re packing, so begin mapping out your locales far in advance. This spring, I planned five trips around possible destinations I’d found on travel blogs. I’ve got a solid address list for the foreseeable future, which I refer to while packing. Next, have your household bills, important documents, and insurance just in case your move disrupts any plans and perhaps your energy consumption, too.

Being ready for all that advance planning is a great way to get your wheels spinning. (Remember to tuck that battery into the top of your suitcase, with the outlet to the right.) It’s easy to travel when you know you’re organized and don’t panic when you can’t find your train ticket or a ticket stub from your mother’s wedding. Be brave and pack what you’ll actually use — there’s a ton of luggage rental, sale, and club coupons online. They can help! This is really important: When unloading the suitcase to the train car, don’t toss everything in the trash. Instead, try smaller items in a large dry bag — yes, you can use dry goods just like that old trick: Throw some asunder bread into your bag, then put the bag in the trash bin to use during the trip.

You don’t even have to travel far to begin with a packing plan. Before you leave, consider what you’ll be bringing, and begin planning outfits well in advance. You might want to clip and pin items to your clothes, or stick them to the top of your suitcase with Velcro; don’t forget your favorite bag of nuts or coupons for that local farmer’s market! Whenever I leave the United States, I skip my regular set of clothes (because some day I’ll get sick) and go without darning, possibly for six months. I write my itinerary and packing instructions while I’m still in the country, and then revise as I get closer to my destinations. (But don’t forget to remember the date.)

In terms of packing that’s simple and environmentally-friendly, luckily plastic bags are available in most grocery stores and are generally accepted as a good choice. If you want to go a step further, a load of decorative, biodegradable Ziploc bags made by San Francisco-based biodegradable packing material company Project Blue can be purchased at any Whole Foods store. You can’t buy $1 worth of groceries in Whole Foods, but you can stock up on paper, cardboard, and plastic grocery bags at their cash registers.

Another waste-free solution for packed luggage is to put things in zippered sleeves or shoeboxes, or a similar boxy container. I chose my TSA-approved Schoellkopf stationery and 5-foot-long ribbons that fit in a zippered suitcase once a month to be shown at the peak of packing. These sleeves help you pack more items, which leaves fewer to throw away or rummage through for on the way.

If you have young children, consider using removable rather than removable items. For example, if your toddler seems bored or annoyed after unloading her suitcase, stick a garbage bag in her room to keep her occupied. For older kids, a quick book, an old book or a games/safari blanket. A stuffed animal or toy can also keep kids occupied during the visit. (I picked my dog, Bernice, because I thought he might be chattering away, so that’s good enough for me!) But whatever you choose to pack, pay close attention to expiration dates and expiration-free products.

In my capacity as a colleague for (and h/t to my colleague Emily Steel for her article), I have a tendency to forget all that information that I’ve packed. And my packing aggravates my parents’. But it’s all worth it when I see the young ones running around during the afternoon after having played a few hours with their friends back home. That, I’ll always say, is the true value of packing light and packing everywhere!