Moving Checklist: Tips for a Stress-Free Move
Moving means fresh starts, new relationships and exciting adventures — you’ve got a lot to look forward to! It’s also a great opportunity to sort belongings and get rid of the ones that are weighing you down, so that when it comes time to unpack in your new home, you’re more organized than ever before.
We know that moving can also be a tad overwhelming, which is why we’ve created the ultimate moving checklist. Check each task off as you go and give yourself a pat on the back for being proactive about your move!
2-3 Months in Advance
Sort and purge. Go room by room and put unwanted items in boxes marked trash, recycle, donate, and sell. If you decide to have a garage sale before the move, price each ‘sell’ item as you go. Then, update your home inventory as needed.
Research movers. Get on-site estimates from moving companies, since they’re more accurate than phone estimates.
Collect documents. Create a folder on your computer to store estimates, packing lists, and other documents. Consider making the folder available on mobile phone or tablet as well, so you easily refer to it at any stage of the move.
2 Months in Advance
Stockpile boxes. Start collecting boxes and packing items you don’t use often like seasonal clothing, outerwear, recreation items and bedding.
Develop a labeling system. Use the room where the box is going and a number (for example, Kitchen 1 of 5, Kitchen 2 of 5, etc.). Then, list each box’s contents in your digital folder, grouping similar items.
Get in touch with schools. If you have children that are changing school districts, set up a visit to each of their new schools. Be sure to get records from their current schools.
6 Weeks in Advance
Plan your new home. Get the measurements for you new house and plan your furniture layout. Scan and store it in your moving folder. Also, pick up or order any window treatments you’ll want right away.
Contact your agent. Get in touch with your agent and discuss home insurance for your new home. Also check on additional moving coverage you might need. And, if your home will be empty for a while, you may want to check out vacant home insurance.
Clear house. Drop off any donations, making sure to scan and store your receipts in your moving folder. Then start using up food, cleaning and personal care products.
Check the calendar. Schedule any time off from work or school for the move, as needed. Also make travel or storage arrangements you, your family, your belongings and pets might need.
1 Month in Advance
Start packing. Going room by room, label each box and add the list of its contents to your folder of moving information.
Seal the deal. Get the movers’ written confirmation of the estimate and policies, and be sure to ask for a copy of its insurance certificate to ensure they’re properly covered. Then, scan the paperwork and store it in your moving file.
Do the paperwork. Start changing your address on your mail, utilities, insurers, phone companies, newspapers, magazines, and other subscriptions. Then, set up service transfers for cable, telephone, internet, trash, recycling, gas and electric services. Lastly, use the IRS website to download and file IRS Change of Address Form 8822, and get a copy of form 3903 to use for deducting moving expenses.
2 Weeks in Advance
Clean house. Enlist the help of friends or family to help you clean your home for the next owners. Catch up on laundry and clean outdoor furniture and grills. Then get rid of all items you’re throwing out or recycling. Lastly, clean out your car and take care of any needed maintenance to get it all set for moving.
Update your info. Email change of address notifications to your doctors’ offices, employer’s HR department, brokerage firms, banks, credit card companies and your children’s schools (if they’re not changing schools).
Take care of Fluffy. If you’re changing veterinarians, update your pets’ shots, if needed, and have their records transferred.
1 Week in Advance
Confirm details. Contact the moving company and confirm their arrival time, any special packing materials you need, and the address and travel time to your new home.
Tie up any loose ends. Refill any prescriptions (pets included!). Repot and water all plants. Cancel newspaper, produce, and any other deliveries. If you’re keeping the same bank, order checks with your new address. If you’re switching banks, empty your safe deposit box and store the items safely.
Talk with the family. Work with the family to determine moving day and unpacking assignments so that everyone knows their role. Then arrange for childcare or pet sitters, as needed.
2 Days in Advance
Create a moving box. Store snacks, medications, pet food, water, phone chargers, laptops and other necessities in a box that’s easy to access. Also, put hard copies of any forms, packing lists, and home diagrams you’ll need during the move. Write a check for the moving company and get cash for tips and other expenses and place it in the box.
Pack overnight bags. Make sure each family member has an extra pair of clothes, along with any toiletries needed for the night packed in an easy-to-reach bag. If it’s during the school year, have your kids keep track of their school supplies as well.
Prepare for the next owners. Put equipment manuals, garage door openers, keys and security codes in a folder for the new owner or real estate agent. Also, be sure to confirm closing times with your real estate agent.
Morning of the Move
Empty the house. Lock the valuables, your box of necessities and overnight bags in your car before the movers arrive. Also pack up any food into a cooler and stash it in your car.
Meet the movers. When the movers arrive, confirm it’s the correct company. Introduce yourself and remember names. You should also get their phone numbers and give them yours so you can communicate during the transport.
Give a final sweep. Take inventory of the movers’ load before they leave, and sign the bill. Then check the house to make sure it’s completely empty, and do any last minute cleaning.
Need help unpacking? Our Post-Move Checklist can help you get on your feet a little faster in your new home.