Moving Checklist: Tips for a Stress-Free Move

You’re moving! It’s an exciting time of fresh starts, new relationships and adventures. It’s also an opportunity to sort belongings so that when you unpack in your new home, you’re more organized than ever before.


  • Sort and purge.  Go room by room and put unwanted items in boxes marked trash, recycle, donate, and sell.  Update your home inventory as needed.

Moving Tip: Price sale items as you go.

  • Plan a moving sale (or virtual sale) about a month before your move.
  • Get on-site estimates from moving companies (they’re more accurate than phone estimates).  
  • Create a folder on your computer to store estimates, packing lists, and other documents.  If it’s available on your mobile phone or tablet as well, you can easily refer to it while moving.


  • Start collecting boxes and packing items you don’t use often (seasonal clothing, outerwear, recreation items and bedding).
    • Develop a labeling system. For example, use the room where the box is going and a number (Kitchen: 1, Kitchen 2, etc.).
    • List each box’s contents in your digital folder. Count similar items (“13 movies").
  • Set up a visit to your children’s new schools, if changing districts. Get records from their current schools.


  • Get the measurements for your new house and plan your furniture layout. Scan and store it in your moving folder. Pick up or order window treatments you’ll want right away.
  • Contact your agent to discuss your home insurance for your new home. Also check on additional moving coverage you might need. If your home will be empty for a while, talk to your agent about vacant home Insurance.
  • Start using up food, cleaning and personal care products. When moving, less is more.
  • Deliver donations. Don’t forget to scan and store your receipt in your moving folder.
  • Create an ‘essentials box’ to open immediately at your new home.
    • Moving Tip: Include scissors, flashlight, trash bags, aspirin, pet food and bowls, phones and charging cords, pens, tape, medication, toilet paper, tissues and paper towels, important papers (real estate and moving documents, titles, insurance certificate, etc.), and cleaning supplies.  
  • Create a ‘valuables box’ for items you want to transport yourself to your new home – jewelry, art and important paperwork.  Get updated appraisals on expensive items so they’re properly insured.
  • Schedule time off from work (and school) for the move.


  • Room by room, start packing. Label each box and add the list of its contents to your folder of moving information.
    • Moving Tip: Dig into the garage early since it can need the most work. 
  • Get the movers’ written confirmation of the estimate and policies (will they move plants, perishables, propane tanks?). 
    • Ask for a copy of its insurance certificate to ensure they’re properly covered.
    • Scan paperwork and store it in your moving file.
    • Put hard copies in your essentials box.
  • Start changing your address on your mail, utilities, insurers, phone companies, etc.  Don’t forget magazines and newspapers!
  • Use the IRS Web site to download and file IRS Change of Address Form 8822. Get a copy of Form 3903 to use for deducting moving expenses.
  • Set up service transfers for cable, telephone, trash, recycling, gas and electric services.  
  • Make travel or storage arrangements you, your family, your belongings and your pets might need.


  • Enlist the help of friends or family to help you clean your home.
  • 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 aren’t changing schools). 
  • When changing veterinarians, update your pets’ shots, if needed, and have their records transferred.
  • Clean out your car and take care of any needed maintenance.
  • Get ahead by catching up on any laundry and cleaning outdoor furniture and grills.
  • Get rid of all items you’re throwing out or recycling.


  • Confirm details with the moving company: their arrival time, special packing materials you need and the address and travel time to your new home.
  • All packed? All you really need is your computer, critical bedding, toiletries and clothes.
  • Refill any prescriptions.
  • Order checks with your new address if you’re keeping the same bank. If not, empty your safe deposit box and safely store those items in your valuables box.
  • Work with your family to determine moving day and unpacking assignments so everyone knows their role. Arrange for childcare or pet sitters, if needed. 
  • Cancel newspaper, produce and other deliveries.


  • Repot and water all plants.
  • Get prescriptions from your vet if your pets need them to travel distances.
  • Make it fun for your children to pack up their school supplies and clothes.
  • Write a check to the moving company and get cash for tips and other expenses. Store them in your essentials box.
  • Store snacks, medication, pet food, water and other necessities in your essentials box.
  • Transfer your moving folder to your tablet or phone. Print a map to your new home, your packing list and a home diagram for movers and helpers.
  • Pack your computer with power cords, printers and accessories.
  • Confirm closing times with your real estate agent.
  • Put equipment manuals, garage door openers, keys and security codes in a folder for new owner/real estate agent.


  • Lock the valuables and essentials boxes in your car before the movers arrive.
  • Pack up any food in coolers.
  • When the movers arrive, confirm it’s the correct company. Introduce yourself and remember names. Get their cell phone numbers and give them yours so you can communicate during transport.
  • Take inventory and, before the movers leave, sign the bill. Put a copy in your essentials box.
  • Clean up.

Need help unpacking? Our Post-Move Checklist can help you get on your feet a little faster in your new home.


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Related Topics: At Home