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Moving Checklist: Tips for a Stress-Free Move
Getting organized for the big move means you’ll need to start packing as soon as you seal the deal. Take a look at these great tips for moving without all the anxiety and stay ahead of everything that needs to be done in the coming weeks.
2-3 Months in Advance: Stay Organized
Get organized by putting pen to paper and creating a high-level inventory of what you want to keep and what you can do without. There are also things you’ll want to tackle well in advance that’ll help come moving day. Use these tips to help you get started:
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.
2 Months in Advance: Dive into Details
It’s at the 60 day mark where you really need to make daily progress on your preparations.
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
With a month and a half left, remember to get the measurements for your new house and plan your furniture layout. Manage your window treatments now as well. Here are a few other reminders:
Contact your insurance company. 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 the 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 that you, your family, your belongings and pets might need.
1 Month in Advance
You’re quickly approaching go time at 30 days out. It’s a good idea to go room by room, labeling each box and adding the list of its contents to your folder of moving information. Then follow these steps:
Lock in the transfer company. Get the movers’ written confirmation of the estimate and policies, and request a copy of their insurance certificate.
Do the paperwork. Start changing your address on your mail, utilities, insurers, phone companies, newspapers, magazines and other subscriptions.
Remember the utilities. Arrange service transfers for cable, telephone, internet, trash, recycling, gas and electric services.
Prep for tax time. Get online at the IRS’s website and manage the important documents. 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
With 14 days until takeoff, it’s time to 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. And take on the following:
Take out the trash. Get rid of all items you’re throwing out — including recycling. Clean out your car and take care of any needed maintenance to get it all set for moving.
Update your info. Get online at the United States Post Office website and file a change of address. Email and update your doctors’ offices, employer’s HR department, brokerage firms, banks, credit card companies and your children’s old and new 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
Seven days out, it’s time to contact the moving company and confirm their arrival time. Here are a few other things to keep in mind:
Tie up any loose ends. Refill any prescriptions, including your pets. Repot and water all plants. Cancel newspaper, produce and any other deliveries.
Manage your money. 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
With 48 hours to go, put hard copies of any forms, packing lists and home diagrams you’ll need during the move. It’s time to tie up the loose ends:
Create a moving box. Store snacks, medications, pet food, water, phone chargers, laptops and other necessities in a box that’s easy to access.
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.
Morning of the Move
All your hard work is about to pay off. Take a few deep breaths and embrace your moving day:
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 to save money on the road.
Meet the movers. When the movers arrive, confirm it’s the correct company. Introduce yourself and remember names. You should also exchange phone numbers 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? We’ve got a checklist to help you get back on your feet a little faster. Congrats on the new home!