The Ultimate Moving Checklist
Moving Checklist Let’s face it, Moving can be overwhelming. There’s a LOT to think about and keep track of. You don’t want to forget something that’s going to end up stressing you out at the last minute or send your budget spiraling out of control.
This is where a moving checklist comes in – it’s invaluable for planning and staying on task during relocation. Whether you’re moving out of state or into a new house around the block.
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We created the Ultimate Moving Checklist for everything you need to prepare for a big move from 8-weeks out to the big day itself, helping you stay organized, prepared, and as stress-free as possible.
Home Moving Guide and Checklist
This is a good time to note that every move is unique. That means the steps you need to take to make it a seamless transition are likely to vary based on your circumstances and needs.
With that said, consider this checklist to be a starting point. Add to it if you need to, and skip steps that don’t apply to your move.
8 Weeks Before you move checklist
Start preparing for your move at least eight weeks ahead of your scheduled moving day. This gives you two months of preparation — plenty of time to book services, and with room built into the schedule for a few setbacks.
With eight weeks until moving day, here’s what you need to do:
- Draft a plan to organize your move.
Moving requires a surprising amount of paperwork. Much of it will be digital, so create a digital “moving” folder on Google Drive or Dropbox. to store all the research, documents, and photos related to your move so everything is easily accessible when you need them, all in one place. You’re not going to be able to remember all of the details, so throw them in a document for easy reference.
- Create a budget for moving expenses.
Before you purchase anything for your move, at eight weeks out, you need a budget. Calculate how much you can afford to spend on the entire move, from moving supplies to gas and snacks for the drive. If you have a larger budget, you might add services to your moves like dish packing and furniture assembly. If you’re on a tighter budget, those and other services might not be needed.
- Research and compare services.
If you are considering hiring professional moving services, now is the time to begin researching options. For nearby moves, a locally owned company might be your favorite. For long-distance moves, it might make more sense to go with a national moving service that has teams and trucks all over the country. As you narrow down your options, make sure the moving services you choose are licensed, have good reviews, and offer insurance coverage to protect your belongings.
- Request time off work for moving day.
If you’re keeping the same job after your move, now is the time to reach out to HR or your supervisor and request days off around your move date, if you need them. Ask for days around a weekend; for example, if you need four days for your move, request Thursday and Friday off, rather than taking four workdays off. If you’re quitting your job, now is the time to think about when you should give notice that you’re leaving. It should be at least two weeks before your last day, but some workplaces require more notice than that.
- Give notice to your current landlord.
If you rent your current home, this is a good time to let your landlord know you plan to move out and won’t be renewing the lease. Two months gives them plenty of time to start looking for a new tenant, as well as arranging turnover services, like cleaning and maintenance.
- Explore your new neighborhood.
If you haven’t visited your new neighborhood yet, plan to do so before the move so you can get acquainted with the area before you move in. Book a hotel as close to your new home as possible, and spend a weekend exploring the local community you’re about to call home.
- Research nearby schools and the community.
If you have kids, start to get to know the schools in your new area. If you have a choice between multiple schools, research their ratings, curriculum, and parents’ stories to choose the best option for your family. If there are any community services you take advantage of, now is also the time to research those. Depending on your hobbies and needs, start looking into theaters, community centers, public parks, and any other services you use and enjoy. This is also a good time to start looking into finding a new doctor, dentist, and other important services.
6 Weeks Before you move checklist
When you’re six weeks out from a move, make sure you’re getting all your ducks in a row. If you’re moving out of town, you’ll need to do things like spend time with family and friends. Then of course, you need to begin to organize your belongings (and life in general). Dozens of tasks must be addressed during this time, so keep reading our epic moving checklist to discover all you need to do. Don’t worry, six weeks is plenty of time to get it all done.
- Schedule the movers.
Now that you’ve chosen a moving company, it’s time to officially hire movers and make your booking. Let them know your moving day and schedule, and if there are any services you need ahead of moving day (like packing), schedule those now.
- Buy moving boxes or collect free boxes from restaurants, liquor, grocery, office supply stores, or local bookstores. Now is the time to start the process of packing, so you’ll need moving boxes on hand.
- Order moving supplies.
You’ll need more than just boxes.
Create a list of what packing supplies you need. It may include packing tape, masking tape, markers, scissors, packing paper, cardboard dividers, and more.
- Make travel arrangements.
If you’re moving long-distance, this is the time to consider how your family will get from your old home to your new one. If you’re going to drive, look up the route and start planning logistics, like stopping points for breaks, gas, meals, and to spend the night. If you’re flying, book flights now and make arrangements to transport your car, if needed.
- Contact insurance providers.
From health insurance to home insurance, you might need to update your policies to reflect your new home and new location. If you need to change insurance companies for your new home, start shopping around and getting quotes now.
- Request school transcripts.
If you haven’t already, let your kids’ school(s) know you’re planning to move. This is also the time to request their transcripts if they’re moving schools. These can take time to retrieve and send, so asking early ensures you’ll have them in time to register your kids at their new school.
- Identify tax-deductible moving expenses.
If you donate items to charity before your move, or if you’re relocating for work, some of your moving expenses may be tax-deductible. Keep careful records of this in your moving file so you’ll be ready to take advantage of savings when you file your taxes.
- Label your moving boxes using different colored stickers/tape for each room. Once you arrive at your new home, this will make unpacking so much easier.
- Create an inventory sheet of your valuables before they go on the moving truck. Keep a private list of which boxes you packed your valuables in.
- Mark moving boxes that are fragile. You don’t want textbooks stacked on top of your grandmother’s china.
4 Weeks Before you move the checklist
Four weeks out — you’ve officially hit the one-month mark! Start gathering the important documents you’ll need to bring with you to your new place. Now is the time to also start selling and donating items. It will be a lot easier to complete items on your moving checklist when you aren’t bogged down by possessions you aren’t taking with you.
Here’s what to do with four weeks left:
- Conduct a change of address.
Run through a change of address checklist and set up mail forwarding to begin on your moving date. This is also the time to start taking note of any mail that arrives at your home and updating your address with all the businesses, entities, and accounts that send you things. That includes your bank, doctor’s office, insurance company, and credit card companies — make sure you don’t miss any important companies.
- Use or donate items that you can’t pack or sell, such as frozen foods, bleach, and aerosol cans. Some things can’t move with you, like cans of explosive gasses or flammable items. If you need to move something that can’t legally or safely go into a moving truck, then make separate arrangements or throw it away
- Gather all financial, legal, and medical (including dental and optical) records in one place.
- birth certificates and passports for everyone in your home. Then, carry important documents on your person during your move.
- your homeowners or renters insurance company of your upcoming move to your new home.
With regards to your insurance, the most important thing to do before your move is contact your insurance agent/company to discuss your upcoming move date, coverage, and insurance plan.
- Confirm with the moving company.
Call your professional movers and confirm all your upcoming dates and storage. If you’ve booked any separate services, like packing or storage, call to confirm those, too.
- Arrange temporary housing.
If there will be any time between leaving your old home and when you can move into your new home, now is a good time to decide on and book temporary housing for you and your family.
- Schedule utility cancellations or move requests.
Most of your utility services can be managed online. In this case, log into your utility accounts or call them directly and notify them of your upcoming move. If you’ll need to cancel your services, do so one month out so any cancellation fees aren’t a surprise. If you’re keeping your existing utility services, schedule your date for a transfer of services from your current home to your new home so your new place has utilities already set up and ready upon arrival.
- Book shipping for vehicles and special items.
If you’re shipping your car instead of driving it to your new home, a book that now. If you need any special shipping for certain items (like, say, a piano), this is the time to book that, too. If your moving company doesn’t move specialty items, they may be able to recommend a service they like to work with.
- Make a list of “Go Box” items.
When you move, you’ll want to create a “go box” — an essentials box containing all the things you need to live day-to-day, which will get you through the times while most of your belongings are packed away and inaccessible. This doesn’t need to be in a box either, luggage is great for packing the essentials you’ll need to have with you during your move. Your “go box” should include:
A few days’ worths of clothes.
Toiletries and medications.
Kitchen supplies to cook and eat basic meals.
Devices and chargers.
Anything else you need for work or day-to-day life.
Begin packing. It’s finally time to start putting everything into boxes. Once you have your “go box” ready, you can start packing up everything else. Make sure to label boxes you’ll want to unpack first at your new home, like the ones with kitchen and bathroom items.
2 Weeks Before you move the checklist
With just two weeks to go until moving day, you’re likely exhausted – but hopefully, excited as well! You’re almost there, so try to keep your energy up.
With only two weeks left until moving day, here’s a list of items to complete:
- Start packing up your home by boxing up the items you use less often (seasonal articles, books, etc.).
Start by packing things that you use less frequently like books, Christmas decorations, a waffle iron, or a croquet set. You may want to note down the value of each item you pack.
- Have rugs and draperies cleaned and leave wrapped when returned.
Get your rugs and draperies cleaned before you move into your new home. The cleaners usually return them wrapped. You may not want to take them out until you reach your new place and start unpacking.
- Obtain written appraisal of antique items to verify value.
When you are packing, make sure to note down the prices of items of special value like antiques. These items may require additional insurance from your moving company.
- Book the moving elevator and confirm parking arrangement for the truck, if applicable.
If you are moving to the upper floor of an apartment, you should book an elevator. This will pose a less hassle to the people living in the space already, on a moving day. Also, confirm parking for the moving truck and get prior permission if you are living in a shared space.
- Prepare a list of friends, companies, and personal accounts who should be notified of your upcoming move.
Prepare a list to alert the relevant parties that you are moving, especially, banks, brokerage firms, your company’s human resource department, magazines and newspapers you subscribe to, and insurance and utility companies.
- Address minor home repairs before moving out (especially if you’re moving from an apartment).
As soon as you find the time, address any minor home repairs before moving out. It is also easier to sell the space if the repairs are complete and the new occupants do not have to pay anything extra.
1 Week Before you move the checklist
It’s now the final week before your move. At this point, your schedule should be locked and loaded, and all that’s left to do is tie up loose ends. If you’ve followed the checklists leading up to this point, nothing has been left to the last minute.
Here’s what you need to do one week from moving:
- Set up utilities at the new house.
Call the utility companies for your new home and make sure accounts are up-to-date and everything is turned on. Make sure to check water, electricity, internet, gas, garbage, and recycling services.
- Check the forecast for moving day.
Be prepared for your moving day by knowing exactly what to expect from the weather. With less than a week to go, the forecast should be fairly dependable, but keep an eye on it as the date gets closer. Your moving truck is likely to arrive at your new home later than you will. If you need to delay your drive for a day or two because of bad weather, you probably can — but confirm this with your movers.
- Begin defrosting the fridge and freezer.
If you’re taking your fridge with you, make sure to give it at least a full 24 hours to defrost before being loaded onto a moving truck.
- Make a checklist for your house cleanup.
Now that everything is packed and you’re almost ready to leave, but all the boxes are in one room, and carefully check the rest of the house. Clean each room thoroughly. Sweep, mop, vacuum, polish, and otherwise make the house as spotless as you can. For renters, this will get your security deposit back. For homeowners, this will make your staging and selling phase much easier.
- Take outgoing photos or videos.
Before you leave, snap some photos or take a video of your perfectly clean home. This can be for a video tour for prospective buyers, or to protect your security deposit if you’re a renter. Outgoing photos and video are digital proof that the home was in excellent condition when you left it.
- Pack everything except your “go boxes.”
Everything should be packed by now, with no exceptions. You should be living out of your go boxes for the last few days until you leave to head to your new home.
- Do a final donation drop-off.
Now that everything is packed and everything hazardous or unusable is thrown away, anything that is left that you don’t want to take with you can go in a donation box. Make your final run to your nearby donation drop-off at this time.
Moving Day Checklist
The big day is finally here! You’re in the home stretch for a seamless and organized move. All your moving prep has led you to this very moment. You’ve checked off more than 50 items on this moving checklist to get you to this point. On the day of your move, make sure you get an early start. The earlier you move in, the more time you will have to start unpacking and settling into your new home.
Here’s a final checklist of essential tasks on moving day:
- Determine which boxes and items are last to load.
Have a close look at your inventory and tick all the things as they are loading. You can set priority for the items to be loaded first and last, according to their value and necessity.
- All loose items are packed in boxes.
Kitchen utensils, cutleries, and decorative items should be appropriately packed in cardboard boxes.
- All pictures are removed from the walls.
Make sure to remove all pictures and pack them in the boxes or wrap the bigger ones to be loaded in the moving truck.
- All boxes are labeled with their destination room in your new home on the top and sides of each box.
Make sure to label the boxes not just with the category of things in them, but also with the room you want that item to be placed. This makes it easier for things to unload, unpack and get to places you want.
- Load the moving truck.
It’s time to move all those boxes and furniture pieces out of your home and onto the truck. Oversee the movers if you hired them to pack the truck for you, or move the boxes yourself if you’re making a more DIY move. Make sure everything is well-packed and secured on the moving truck.
- Pack the car.
Pack your vehicle with all your go boxes, leaving room for any family members who need to ride in the car. If you’re moving with pets, make sure to load them up last.
- Coordinate with your movers.
Confirm one last time that the movers are scheduled to arrive at the new house on the right date. Make a plan to keep in touch with them for updates and in case of problems or changes. This is also a good time to make sure you have cash on hand to tip your movers.
- Do a final walk-thru of your old home.
Go through every room, closet, and cupboard, making sure you haven’t left anything behind. If anything got dusty or scuffed during moving, clean it up.
- Get your new keys.
When you arrive at your new home, know how you’re going to get in. If you haven’t picked up your new keys yet, have a plan to receive them as soon as you arrive.
- Close and lock up your old home.
Make sure every door and window is closed and locked before you load up your family to head out. If you’re leaving your old keys with someone, do that now.
- Travel to your new home.
Whether it’s a quick drive across town, or a multi-day, cross-country road trip, be careful on the drive. Take breaks anytime you feel tired, and don’t plan to drive more in one day than you can handle.
- Wait for the movers.
You’re likely to arrive at the new house before the moving truck. Now, live out of your go boxes and wait for the truck to catch up. This can feel like a fun camping activity for the family.
- Unpack and settle in.
You did it! The move is complete, and now it’s time to unpack and enjoy your new home after moving.
Once You Move to Your New Home
- Unpack, then flatten and donate the boxes.
You can engage your moving company for unpacking and setting up your new home for a stress-free move. Once you take out all the moved items from the boxes, make sure to flatten them and donate the boxes to the nearby charity or the people who may need help with moving.
- Change the address on your driver’s license & car insurance.
You must change the address on your driving license, car insurance, government insurance program, and such.
- Leave a review of your moving company.
Your review will help the moving company build more trust with the new clients. Tell me what services you liked the most or what part you did not like. This will help the company improve its service and customer experience.
- Plan a housewarming party!
You are finally in your new home, and it is pretty exciting. Invite friends, family, and coworkers to your new home for a cozy housewarming party, and have tons of fun!