So you’ve navigated the housing market, found the perfect home, and signed on the dotted line. All that’s left now is moving into your new home. Well, we won’t lie to you — moving is no small feat. Between decluttering, packing, transporting your belongings, and bribing your friends to help — the whole process can seem overwhelming. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be. If you take the time to plan ahead and get organized in advance, you’ll have much less to worry about on moving day.
This is where a moving checklist comes in. Knowing when to do things – and in what order to do them – will put your mind at ease when details of the move begin to stress you out. So whether you’re just moving across the street or across the country, use this moving checklist to help you every step of the way.
Two Months in Advance
Forward medical records and transfer prescriptions. For long-distance and cross-country moves, you will need to find a new doctor and pharmacy. Talk to your current providers and ask that your medical records and prescriptions be forwarded.
Examine the floor plan of your new home. If you want to be happy with the decor in your new home, you need to know the layout. Now is the time to examine blueprints and measure furniture so you can visualize where everything will live in the new home.
Schedule painting and repairs. If you need to paint or make any improvements to your new home, make arrangements before your belongings are moved in. Scheduling the job(s) ahead of time will help you avoid stress later.
Request vacation. You will likely need time off for the move, so ask your boss now, before life gets hectic.
Complete change of address forms. Make sure to fill in the change of address forms and give your new address to friends and relatives.
Budget the costs. Depending on how far you are moving and how many items you have, a move can cost anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. You can save money by sourcing your own moving supplies like boxes, rope, and protective materials.
One Month in Advance
Take inventory. You will want to keep track of your stuff, so make a list of your possessions. If you prefer visuals, you can take photos on your phone or camera to help you remember.
Downsize and declutter. Hold that pre-moving yard sale, or take your stuff to the local Goodwill. Donate non-perishable food items to the food bank.
Shop for a great moving company. The right mover can make all the difference. So, compare and contrast moving quotes until you find the best fit.
Gather your documents. From insurance policies to appliance manuals, make sure you have all the documentation you need in your new home. Keep those documents in a safe place, and take them with you on moving day.
Start packing. If you have not already done so, gather empty boxes and start packing up possessions. Start with infrequently used items and continue packing in the weeks leading up to moving day.
Two Weeks in Advance
Continue packing and labeling. Pack as much as you can, leaving out only the items you use every day. Label each box with the room it is intended for and a list of contents.
Hire a dumpster or schedule disposal. Moving out can generate lots of trash, so make sure you are covered. Contact your local trash hauler and arrange for a special pickup. You may also want to rent a dumpster if you have lots to dispose of.
Arrange parking for the moving truck. Moving vans take up a lot of space, so make sure the driver will have a secure place to park on moving day.
The Week of Moving Checklist
Cats and dogs. When moving with pets, make sure they have a safe place to stay on moving day. Leaving pets with the local kennel or a trusted friend will also reduce moving anxiety and help you breathe easier.
Confirm everything. This is one of the most important steps in the moving checklist. No matter how many times you have confirmed your moving day plans, one more confirmation won’t hurt. Knowing everything is in its place will ease moving anxiety and cause less stress.
Pack a box with essential items. You likely won’t unpack every box by the first night of move-in. So you’ll want to pack a box of essentials such as snacks, a change of clothes, a toothbrush, clean sheets, shampoo, and a towel. Label this as your “First Night” box.
Clean your old space. Don’t pack your vacuum and mop just yet — remember to clean your freshly vacated space. Or better yet, hire a professional cleaning service to clean out your old space for you.
Defrost freezers and refrigerators. Once the fridge is empty, defrost those appliances. Make sure appliances are clean and in good condition before leaving for your new home.
The Day of Moving Checklist
Meet the moving team. Greet the movers and make sure that all workers are part of the moving company you hired. Be sure the moving truck’s U.S. Department of Transportation license number is the same as the number on your estimate.
Supervise the load-in. Assign a family member or helper to watch the moving crew as they stack your belongings inside the truck. Be sure to keep an eye out for any damage.
Keep valuables with you. Make sure the movers don’t mistakenly load boxes containing your laptop, jewelry, passports, and any other valuables. These should be kept near you at all times.
Take a final walk-through of your current home. Check whether all windows and doors are closed and locked up and that electricity, water, and gas supplies are switched off before you leave for good.
Take inventory of moved items. Once everything has been moved into your new home, note any items that were damaged. Be sure to immediately inform your moving and insurance companies.
Settle in at your new home. Congratulations, you’ve made it to the final step in the moving checklist. It’s been a long 2-month process of moving out and in, and you’ve finally made it into your new home. Enjoy!
Considerations when moving in
Setting up cable can wait – don’t put off the important things
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is to book the flight on the day of the move. Somebody has to be present when movers come to load the truck. Here’s an anecdote: We had clients who booked a move, and when we came to the address they told us they are already in Europe, waiting for their things, and that we help ourselves with keys under the mat and just ship it all to them. They didn’t even sign the necessary papers needed to continue the move or sign the necessary papers! Another mistake that happened is when clients packed their passports with the rest of the things and then we had to unload the entire truck so they could find it and load it back again. – I Love Moving
Many times customers wait until the last minute to pack their boxes. This is a mistake and generally results in a variety of issues: 1) boxes aren’t full and closed 2) boxes aren’t labeled and 3) there are many miscellaneous items that aren’t packed in boxes that should have been. These issues lead to damages and inefficiencies when moving. We recommend that our customers start packing all of their boxes early on, or better yet leave it to the professionals and hire a moving company to pack all of your belongings with care. – Best of Utah Moving Co
Disorganization and excess (don’t forget your kids)
Every drawer must be emptied out before the move, or our movers would have to do that themselves. The furniture (especially Ikea) is not meant to be transported with the stuff inside, as it might break due to additional weight. Plus, pretty often movers would have to flip the dresser or a cabinet on the side or place it upside down while stacking the truck, which will create havoc inside every flipped drawer and will result in broken, missing items. – BestMoversLeague
Regular movers know the insider tips and tricks to moving. The best tip we can give you to save on moving costs is to declutter. Most people have so much stuff they never use. Selling things we don’t use is a good way to get rid of some of the heavy or bulky items that take up space and cost money on the moving truck. At the same time, you can recoup some money that will come in handy during your move. Also, remember to keep a moving-day box handy with everything you will need first on the day you move to your new home. The box should contain bedding, and kitchen- and bathroom essentials so that you don’t have to rifle through several boxes when you’re already tired. – Nationwide Auto Transportation
Don’t pack your belongings in trashbags or different size boxes. These are not stackable and take more time to place into the truck, which makes the bill higher! Spending a few bucks at Home Depot for boxes will save you a lot. – Best Movers Service
Taxidermy, mass spectrometers, and cats: Tell movers about your important items
Sometimes folks underestimate the stress moving puts on their pets as they are living beings and are used to a structured routine as well. Even moving company staff doesn’t take this into consideration when helping the customers with their relocation.
An older couple once planned their entire move around their 2 cats! Everything had to be done in a manner not to stress out their cats! The move couldn’t start too early because the cats needed time to wake up and be calm before the movers got there. We had to send quiet movers to decrease the stress on the cats. The couple had a very small move but the accommodations we had to make were out of the ordinary. However, that being said the couple gave us an excellent 5-star review on yelp.com. – West Coast Moving Systems
Passports, toothbrushes, and an umbrella: Don’t lose track of important items
A lot of people forget to consider the weather and assume the weather on moving day will be nice. They forget to leave out an umbrella, a raincoat, or a small light windbreaker in the summer, and a heavy jacket and boots, gloves, scarves in the winter. Then they must spend a lot of time opening the boxes to find those items. When working side by side with a client, we will often create a box of ‘ very important items’ This will help them to leave out essentials on move day.