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Moving Checklist

Published by Chris Townsend

Moving Checklist

Get A Printable Moving Checklist ( PDF File )

Are you planning to move to a new home? Good for you––it's always exciting! But then again, it's also a considerably complicated thing. The result feels great, while everything in between tends to be quite stressful, especially if you're not organized.

That is why when it comes to moving house, we recommend a period of eight weeks, leading up to the day you move, for accomplishing each and every task. In line with that, we've created this comprehensive moving checklist, which covers every small but crucial task or errand that just cannot be overlooked. It's the only checklist you'll need.

8 Weeks Prior

Create A "Moving" Calendar

It all starts here. A "moving" calendar will help you keep track of all relevant, important dates that include your move-out date, move-in date (if different from the move-out date), packing schedule, dates for certain trips and errands, lease termination date, and other deadlines.

Do Research On Professional Moving Services

Why should you consider hiring professionals to help you move? Because they can do it professionally and, more importantly, safely. They have the experience and presence of mind to handle all your items with utmost care.

Ask Moving Services The Following Questions

  • Do you have proof that your company is fully licensed and insured (most likely, these certifications are displayed on their website)
  • How many years have you been involved in the industry?
  • How many will be working together on the day of moving?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • What is your liability coverage?

Get A Quote/Estimate From Companies

This will help you foresee how much you'll have to set aside for your moving expenses, and it'll likely help you in deciding which company to go with. To avoid surprises, ensure they conduct either an in-person inspection or a video survey of your belongings before giving you an estimate. Moreover, it's important to confirm whether the estimate is non-binding, binding, or binding not-to-exceed.

Note that during this stage, you'll be asked some basic questions like where you will be moving to, what categories of items you need to move are included, as well as whether you require packing assistance. The more details you provide, the more accurate your initial estimate can be. Also, make sure you clarify with the company what is included in your base price. Ask your estimator any questions related to costs, delivery timeline, and the actual moving process.

Research Schools

If you have school-age children, it's best to research schools in your new community early on. There's no need to make a final decision for your kids yet, but list down a few candidates you could potentially arrange to visit later in the following week (more on that below).

Give Your Landlord Notice

If you're renting, remember to give your landlord due notice about the move. Many leases require tenants to provide a minimum of 60 days' notice when moving out.

7 Weeks Prior

Finalize Moving Date With Movers

When choosing the moving date, take note that the specific day, week, and month of your selection have an impact on the cost. For one, you'll likely be charged more for moving during the peak months, May to September, than moving at another time of the year. The same goes for moving on a weekend or holiday instead of a regular weekday. So if you're on a tight budget, aim for a weekday move during the off-season period.

Order All Moving Supplies

This is where you must select the right types of sizes of boxes, as well as strong tape, packing paper, and bubble wrap, all of which ensure that your stuff arrives safely in your new home. While your budget may be tight, think twice before choosing the cheapest options, as broken valuables due to a poor-quality box will end up being a more expensive situation.

Make Necessary Travel Bookings

If your move is long-distance, make it a point not to wait until the last minute to book airline tickets, a car rental, or hotel reservations. Booking all travel arrangements early on to keep those costs down.

Talk To The Kids About Moving

Yes, moving can be hard for some children, especially if they've made friendships in your current neighborhood. But it's best to tell them about it this early, so they have more time to adjust and be put at ease during the whole transition.

If Possible, Visit Your New Community As A Family Beforehand

Set up a time to visit your new home and area with the family, so they can start getting acclimated to the new location. Being there in person helps everyone get a better feel for the area's different spots, amenities, and overall environment.

If Possible, Visit Potential Schools For Your Children

See what you can to schedule in-person visits at the schools you're considering for your kids. If the kids have the opportunity to come along, this might help with both the adjustment process as well as the final decision on which school.

6 Weeks Prior

Contact Your Health, Homeowners & Auto Insurance Providers

This step ensures you and your family maintain seamless insurance coverage both during and after the move. If you're moving to a new city or zip code, you may have to purchase a new plan. But if you're moving for work, and your company has multiple locations throughout the U.S., your health insurance coverage, in particular, may be able to stay as it is. It's also good to contact both your auto and home insurance agents and ask if they do business in your new location. If not, it's more likely that you must change insurance providers before moving day.

Make Note of Tax Deductible Moving Expenses

Start keeping a running tally of all tax-deductible moving expenses. These might include household donations made to charities or all expenses for moving due to job-related relocation.

Contact Your Kids' Current And New Schools

Notify the school authorities of your move. Ideally, by now, you've made your decision on the new school and can begin the enrollment process for your children. Do let the officials know of any special needs your child might have, and they'll surely be accommodating.

Notify Friends And Family

Have you yet to tell friends and family that you're moving? Now is about the right time to do so. You can try sending a group email or giving each person a quick phone call. Or why not take advantage of this digital age and announce it on social media?

Arrange For A Car Shipping Service If Needed

If you must ship your vehicle to your new house, contact a car shipping service one month in advance to make necessary arrangements. This is not something to sort out in the eleventh hour.

5 Weeks Prior

Sell And Donate Excess Items

Here, you want to decide which belongings to donate and which ones to sell. For all stuff you'll be donating, call your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, or Habitat for Humanity and arrange to either drop off or have them pick up the items (especially larger ones).

From outdated furniture to clothing that no longer fits, most consignment stores will gladly accept items that still work and look fine. You can also try selling these through an online marketplace like Facebook or Craigslist.

Arrange For Moving Your Appliances

If you plan to move appliances, contact an appliance service company that can come over to the house prior to moving day so they can prepare all appliances accordingly.

Use The Blueprint Of New Home To Plan Where Everything Goes

Take a close look at your new home's blueprint to figure out what goes where on the big day. By planning ahead of time all furniture arrangements, you'll help the movers place everything in its right position and avoid having them repeat any heavy lifting.

Order New Furniture & Decor

Having looked over your blueprint, you should also decide what items you still have to buy. Big-ticket furniture items like a bed or a couch should be ordered at least two weeks in advance, as that ensures they'll be delivered during your first month in the new house.

Service Your Vehicle

If you'll be moving to another state and you'll be driving your car on moving day, have it serviced as early as now. Call your local dealership or car repair shop to schedule a time to check the brakes, fluids, and tires.

4 Weeks Prior

Start Packing, Referring To The Following Tips

  • Have all basic packing supplies in one single place. This includes packing tape, markers, padding, baggies, scissors, and other tools.
  • Create an inventory of your belongings. Group them according to their respective boxes.
  • Use t-shirts or linens to pad boxes as you pack to keep all items securely in place.
  • Label your boxes by room on the side of each box. Also, make a clear note if the box contains fragile items.
  • Pack all non-essential belongings first. There are items you surely won't need in the weeks before you move, including seasonal items like winter coats, sports gear, home decor items, books, and electronics. Worry about the essentials in the week leading up to the move.

Protect Important Documents

Whether you're moving or traveling, always protect your sensitive documents by creating copies where possible and securing the originals. Try storing scanned copies to the cloud if you're able to. Birth certificates, passports, social security cards, and financial statements should all be kept in a sealed plastic envelope. Do NOT pack them in a box.

Dispose of Hazardous Items Properly

You won't be able to move flammable or hazardous items like paint, aerosols, and certain chemicals. These should be discarded at your local hazardous waste facility.

Have All Health Records Transferred

Arrange to transfer any medical, dental, and optical records from primary care physicians and specialists to new service providers. Likewise, prescriptions must be transferred to your new pharmacy.

Complete Documentation For School Registration

Transfer the required documentation, including transcripts and medical records of your kids, to the new school. This prevents delays in successfully registering them.

Cancel or Transfer Local Memberships

Remember to either end or transfer your memberships of facilities like your local community gym at this stage. Most monthly memberships require at least 30 days' notice before an account can be canceled or frozen.

3 Weeks Prior

Confirm Date & Time With Movers

Touch base with your move coordinator so that everybody's in sync regarding the date of the move, and ask them to confirm their arrival date and time, if possible.

Secure A Parking Spot For The Moving Truck

Before moving day, determine the best place to park the moving truck. It's good to contact the company once you've secured this spot and give them the parking details. Note that those living in a busy city may also need to obtain a special parking permit.

Schedule A Painting Service For Your New Home

Unless you plan to paint it yourself, you'll need to hire professionals to paint the new house. Like everything else, scheduling this ahead of time can save you a lot of trouble.

Transfer All Utilities

Contact all utility service providers to inform them of your move. Utilities include cable and internet, gas, electricity, water and sewage, phone and security system. For those moving within the same city, you may be able to arrange transfers of these utilities. But those moving elsewhere must research utility companies in the area and schedule installation dates before the big day.

Request Time Off From Work So You Can Move

This may be necessary if you're moving on a weekday. Hopefully, by requesting a personal day off from your employer this early, you'll be able to plan for a colleague to cover for you or some work to be accomplished ahead of time. This should improve your chances of approval.

Arrange For Child Care On Moving Day

On the day of moving, you'll likely be far too busy to worry about your small children. Therefore, it's wise to have a babysitter watch them on the day.

2 Weeks Prior

Forward Your Mail To The New Address

Forwarding your snail mail is actually quite easy, and it can be done online.

Have Your Medical Records Transferred

Contact the offices of your doctor, dentist, and other health professionals and inform them of your move. If you haven't decided on new doctors, you can ask for referrals from your current doctors. Once you've made your selections, arrange to have your records transferred.

Have Your Prescriptions Transferred

It's time to transfer your prescriptions to a pharmacy located near your new house. You should also bring one month's supply of medications with you on the move, which ensures there is enough to get you through the first couple of weeks.

Update Your Mailing Address For The Following

  • Bank and credit card billing
  • Employment record (for your employer and payroll department)
  • W-2, 1099 and IRS/Property Tax
  • Medicare benefits
  • Social Security
  • Subscriptions including online shopping, streaming services, food delivery, etc.

Notify Your Service Providers

Let any regular service providers for your current home, such as landscaping, housekeeping, and pool maintenance, know of your plans to move. And if you have the time, start researching companies that provide these same services for your new home.

Settle Any Unpaid Parking Tickets

Check with your local parking administration regarding any unpaid parking tickets. Most cities do allow you to pay for these tickets online or by mail.

Sell Or Give Away Your Plants

For those embarking on a long-distance move, find new homes for your plants. The fact is it's difficult for moving companies to transport your plants to a new state due to regulations that concern the potential spreading of diseases and pests.

Start Using Up Refrigerated Food and Pantry Items

Cleaning out the fridge and pantry is no single-day affair. Therefore, you want to start using up the contents of your fridge and pantry gradually. Also, consider donating the excess of your non-perishables to a local food bank.

1 Week Prior

Clean Your Current Home

The effort spent cleaning your house could save you an unexpected or unwanted charge against your security deposit. Cleaning here includes the fridge, pantry, bathtub, and shower cubicles.

Have The Landlord Inspect Your Home

For those renting, allow your current landlord to conduct a final inspection within the week, if not on the day before you move. Discuss any damages that may be deducted from your security deposit. Any disputes are better negotiated in person than over the telephone.

Start Packing Essential Items

Continue the packing process by boxing up all essential items and kitchenware. These boxes should be labeled as clearly as possible to avoid losing track of them during the move.

Disassemble The Following To Prepare For Moving

  • TV sets and mounting systems
  • Computers, scanners and printers
  • Garden hoses and lawn care equipment (with ample time to have them dry out)

Pack Smaller Appliances Carefully

Pack up any smaller appliances with care, and these appliances include your microwave, pressure cooker, air fryer, as well as lamps with the light bulb detached and wrapped carefully. Boxes containing these appliances should be padded well to minimize the chances of any breakage.

Return Any Items You Borrowed

This includes any tools you borrowed from neighbors, books from the local library, etc.

Arrange To Deep-Clean Your New Home

It's good to freshen up your new house and have all walls, ceilings, hard surfaces, windows, and fans thoroughly cleaned in order for your family to move in and immediately get comfortable. If you have the budget for it, consider hiring a move-in cleaning company to get this done.

If Possible, Assemble The Following In Your New Home Beforehand

  • All beds
  • Shower curtains in bathrooms
  • Basic installations to baby-proof your new home (for those with a newborn)

24 Hours Prior

Pack All Remaining Essential Items

With just a day left, now is the time to pack all the necessary suitcases that you plan on taking with you. These should contain a full week's essentials for the family, including clothing, toiletries, pajamas, medications, shoes, baby necessities, as well as an envelope containing all important documents. Furthermore, it helps to pack a special "moving day" box for items that you'll definitely need to take out the minute you're settled in the new house: toilet paper, bed linens, towels, scissors, flashlights, trash bags, and other tools.

Inform Your Neighbors

Any neighbors nearby who may be somewhat affected when you move should be given a heads-up. It's the courteous thing to do, as this will give them ample time to move their cars.

Buy Water Bottles For Everyone

Moving is an exhausting activity, and you wouldn't want anyone in your family or a mover to get dehydrated on moving day. Therefore, have water bottles ready by the end of the day.

Prepare Cash For A Tip

Head to the ATM to get the cash for tipping your movers. You can do this as you're heading out to buy water bottles.

Moving Day: While In Your Current Home

Check The Inventory Of All Your Belongings

This way, you can keep track of what you have and is being carried off or handled by the movers. Check your driver's inventory sheet as well. If anything is missing or damaged, make a note of this beforehand.

Take Photos Of Fragile Items

This helps in the event you'll be dealing with liability coverage and insurance claims.

Give Your Current Home One Final Sweep

Avoid leaving anything behind by checking every corner and room of your house one last time. Check the dryer, bathtub, kitchen drawers and cabinets, and all other easy-to-miss spots.

Hand The Keys Over

Unless you intend to come back after the move for other matters, this is the point to return the keys to your landlord.

Moving Day: In Your New Home

Tip The Movers At The End

Your movers worked hard and pulled their weight doing a job that no one really finds enjoyable. So tip them––it's a small but amazing gesture.

Unpack The "Moving Day" Box

If you followed the previous step of allotting this special box, it's the first box you want to empty.

Finish Baby-Proofing The Home

For those with a baby to ensure they won't be at risk of harm before everyone gets settled. First, remove all potentially dangerous packing materials right away. Next, you can set up baby gates to block stairs and place outlet covers over electrical outlets near the floor.


Congratulations! You've officially moved into your new house. Take a moment to celebrate that you're getting somewhat of a fresh start. It's a new chapter to fill with many good memories, hopefully.

Within One Week From Moving Day

Take Your Time Unpacking

Unpacking everything doesn't have to be quick, so don't be overwhelmed. Start with the clothes inside your suitcases, the essentials and kitchenware, and also your bed linens and other essentials. Following these important belongings, you can go room by room until you're done unpacking the rest of your stuff.

Explore The Neighborhood

Walk with your family around your neighborhood and become familiar with where everything is located, including the schools of your kids, nearby parks, libraries, supermarkets, hardware stores, pharmacies, and recreational centers.

Introduce Yourself To The Neighbors

You're more likely to be welcomed by neighbors with a smile than otherwise. So don't be afraid to knock on some doors on a pleasant afternoon during the weekend and say hello. Most people appreciate that kind of effort, and you might make new friends right off the bat as a result.

Schedule Electrician Services

Arrange to have a reputable, local electrician come to your new home so he can check any outlets that are overheating or not working. They also should be able to assess whether the electrical panel is in good condition or may need an upgrade.

Schedule Pest Control

Arrange for a local exterminator to visit the house and conduct an inspection for any potential bug infestations or pest problems.

Change The Locks

It's good practice to keep your new home extra secure soon after moving by changing the locks. Bear in mind that there's no telling who the former residents might have given their keys to. If changing all the locks seems inconvenient, you can install an additional deadbolt instead.

Bonus: Tasks To Sort Out One Month After Moving

⃞ Update Details On Your Driver's License

⃞ Register Your Pet

⃞ Establish Domicile (If You Have Moved To A New State)

⃞ Register To Vote (If You Have Moved To A New State)

⃞ Check On The Return Of Your Security Deposit, Ensuring The Landlord Knows Of Your New Address

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Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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