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The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Published by Chris Townsend

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Relocations are a lot of work. You have to do this and that, and things might become a little confused along the way. As a result, we've decided to compile a list of tasks to do when on the move. Don't worry, this is the ultimate moving checklist, and after reading it, you won't need anything else.

8 Weeks Before Your Moving Day

It's best to get started on your moving responsibilities as soon as you decide to relocate or as soon as you contact a moving company. The best course of action is to be well-prepared. We're not going to lie: there's a lot to do, so you'll be glad you got started early with this ultimate moving checklist in tow.

  1. Create a digital “moving” folder containing all of your documentation
    Quotes, receipts, and any documents connected to your move should be scanned or photographed. Other documents, such as IDs and permits, should be filed in the same manner. You may save them to Google Drive, Dropbox, or any other cloud-based file storage service that you can access from any device, anywhere.
  2. Schedule physical inspections with a moving company.
    Estimates based on an in-home assessment are far more accurate than estimates based on a phone call. You should get three estimates in order to compare and contrast them.
  3. Create a moving budget.
    That new refrigerator looks great, and that shed in your new backyard is perfect. However, you'll need to hire a professional moving company. Consider your priorities!
  4. Review and read about all of your moving documents.
    Look up what papers you could come across throughout your relocation on the internet. Take a look at what you're going to be doing. This way, you'll be prepared and less likely to feel intimidated.
  5. Plot your PTOs or leaves during your moving days.
    Plan your leaves many weeks ahead of time. You may arrange your relocation day on a Friday to reduce the number of days you have to plot. This way, you'll have your weekend free to take care of things following your relocation, and you'll be able to conserve your leave credits.
  6. Notify your landlord about your move.
    This is a good time to inform your landlord that you will be leaving and will not be renewing your lease so they'll have plenty of time to start looking for a new tenant.
  7. Find a good school for your kids.
    You may look up which schools in the neighborhood are good for your children online. Googling a bit might help you.
  8. Request your kids’ transcripts in preparation for their transfer.
    In preparation for your kids’ transfers, you should request the transcripts in advance to ensure that they will be ready to start the moment you arrive in your new home.
  9. Host a garage sale to sell the items that you won’t be bringing along.
    It's better if you classify your possessions into "piles" like To Sell, To Donate, To Bring, and To Dispose. This way, you'll have a clear idea of what goes where.
  10. Determine which items are fragile and will need special attention.
    Inquire about the services provided by your moving company. Some moving firms will not carry objects that require special handling, so you'll need to hire specialized movers to assist you.
  11. Verify if your moving company is licensed.
    Any proof of licensure will be readily available from a respectable moving business. Consider it a red flag if the moving company refuses to supply you with this information.
  12. Put a listing for a roommate.
    It's best to start looking for a roommate for your new house now if you need one. You may either utilize a roommate matching service or advertise room availability on the internet. Starting early will allow you to thoroughly screen applicants and select someone who will be a responsible roommate and a good match for the home.
Moving out of an apartment

6 Weeks Before Your Move

Two weeks after you started your moving journey has passed. It’s expected that you now have a good hold of what it takes to accomplish your relocation. Six weeks is still a long way to go but now, you’ll find out that things are getting more challenging. Keep this list in check so you’ll have a guide along the way.

  1. Check your home if there are repairs that need to be done.
    If you're trying to sell your home, this might be the deciding factor for the sale. If you're moving out of an apartment, this will affect whether or not you receive your security deposit.
  2. Look for moving boxes in your area.
    Bookstores, supermarkets, liquor shops, restaurants, and recycling drop-off stations are all places where you may acquire free cardboard boxes. Check out Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, which are both online markets. UsedCardboardBoxes.com and BoxCycle.com are examples of online markets specialized in the sale and purchase of old cardboard boxes.
  3. Look into packing hacks and strategies to make your move go more smoothly.
    There are many resources available to you regarding packing hacks and tips, including this PopSugar blog.
  4. Color-code the labels you put on moving boxes.
    This will make unloading and categorizing your belongings easier upon reaching your new home.
  5. Write an inventory list to keep track of your belongings.
    Aside from your moving manager's inventory list, it's a good idea to keep a private list of your personal things.
  6. Properly mark the boxes that contain fragile items.
    It's especially important not to stack items on top of fragile-marked boxes.
  7. Take pictures of your equipment and the connections between them.
    This will come in handy when you're connecting your devices, such as your TV and stereo.
  8. Keep your hardware in easy-access bags.
    Furniture reassembly in your new house will be faster if you keep your hardware supplies in easy-access bags.
  9. Use socks, linens, towels, and t-shirts as packing supplies.
    Did you know that you may maximize most of your packing space by repurposing your sheets, towels, and other clothing items?
  10. Check with your prospective apartment's landlord to see if there are any requirements for moving day.
  11. Throw a little gathering.
    With your relocation less than two months away, it's a good idea to throw a little get-together for your family and friends to make some more memories in your current house. Because you will be quite busy in the month leading up to your relocation, now is the best time to do so.
  12. Getting your vehicle transported during a cross-country move is a smart move.
    If you choose an auto transport service, especially if you're moving across the country, you can ensure that your vehicle is secure.
  13. Now that you’re getting your car transported, make sure you leave nothing in it.
    Some items can go missing during the move.
  14. Look for things of interest in your new neighborhood.
    Look through Yelp and Foursquare to see what places are worth visiting. You can explore new restaurants and hangout areas in your neighborhood!
  15. Make sure all of your furniture will fit through entrances, stairwells, and elevators.
    Measure as much as you can!
  16. Start packing a little bit every day.
    You may begin packing your belongings right now. Start with the stuff you won't need for the remainder of the month or the items that are seasonal.
Many moving firms provide basic insurance

4 Weeks Before You Move

It's only a month till your big move! As you can see, things are starting to become busy now. Keeping this ultimate moving checklist with you will be a lot easier!

  1. Get moving insurance to guarantee that you are fully protected.
    Many moving firms provide basic insurance to all of their customers for free, but it does not cover all of their belongings. If you want to be completely insured, most, if not all, moving firms provide this as an add-on option.
  2. Arrange parking for your moving truck.
    For your moving day truck, you may require a parking permit. If you're considering a do-it-yourself move, you'll want to figure out how much it will cost to rent a moving truck.
  3. Items that you can’t sell or pack such as perishables or spray cans should be used or donated.
    Frozen food and other perishables, as well as spray cans and bleach, should be given away or consumed as soon as possible.
  4. All of your records (legal, financial, and medical records) should be kept in one place.
    This should be done so that you can quickly retrieve your documents if you require them.
  5. Gather the important documents (Birth certificates and passports) for everyone in the household.
    This should be kept on you at all times so that you can access it quickly.
  6. Notify the appropriate authorities, such as your insurance company, of your impending relocation.
    The most crucial thing to do before your move in terms of insurance is to call your insurance agent/company to discuss your planned relocation date, coverage, and insurance plan.
  7. Find out which cable and internet providers serve your new home address, place an order for their services, and set up an installation appointment.
    It's critical that you do this as soon as possible because spots tend to fill up quickly.
  8. Check with your dry cleaner if you left some items there.
  9. Look for new physicians, dentists, and veterinarians in your area.
    Check out local doctors, dentists, and veterinarians since, as much as you'd like to stay with the same doctor for a long time, it's just not feasible or safe for you to travel every time you need to.
  10. Your voter registration will have to be updated.
    If you move into another state, you will have to update your voter registration. The process takes time to complete, so if you want to vote, plan accordingly.
  11. Plan your trip and arrange accommodations if you're moving long distances.
  12. Make sure that your pets will be easily identifiable with ID tags.
    In the event that your pets become separated from you, they may simply be reunited. ID tags will allow you to be readily reached.
  13. Obtain copies of your pets' vet records and any essential pet medicines.
    If you're moving overseas, make sure your dogs are up to date on their vaccinations.
  14. Create a moving playlist that you’re going to listen to when you’re packing or moving.
    Throughout your relocation, good music may make even the most arduous tasks appear simple. Choose music that is lively and dynamic to keep you moving.
Less than a month until your move

2 Weeks Before You Move

It's less than a month until your move, and things are becoming busier by the minute. Now that you've completed the majority of your preparations, it's time to polish your plans. Our checklist's next few items will inform you what you need to do.

  1. Keep your receipts and invoices in one binder or clear file.
    You should retain a file of moving-related costs in addition to your digital "moving" folder, and check with the IRS to see whether you may deduct your moving expenses on your tax return.
  2. Corrosives, flammables, and hazardous goods should be recycled or disposed of.
    These are items that will not be loaded by your movers. You should dispose of them or give them away before your move.
  3. Prepare two weeks’ worth of meals and start to use everything from the freezer.
    During your relocation, you will not be able to bring frozen food or other perishables. You should begin consuming them unless you want them to go to waste.
  4. Return the things you’ve borrowed from friends, family, and neighbors.
    It’ll be hard to return them in the chaos of your moving process in the next coming days. Best to start doing it now while you have some extra time.
  5. Don’t forget to back up your computer.
    You'll be glad you have everything stored in an alternate location if something goes wrong during your relocation.
  6. Cancel or transfer your gym, yoga studio, or CrossFit facility membership.
  7. Notify your current service providers about your transfer.
    Because some service terminations take time, it's ideal to let your service providers know when you're relocating so they can arrange your service termination when it's most convenient for you.
  8. Set up garbage and recycling services for your new house.
  9. Refill your prescriptions.
  10. Remove light bulbs from all lamps you plan to move.
    Keep the light bulbs in a box labeled "fragile" so that your movers know how to handle them carefully.
  11. Clean out your safe deposit box and any gym or community center lockers you may have.
  12. Prepare a list of emergency service technicians and preferred providers in your new neighborhood.
    You don’t want to do last-minute googling if you suddenly need plumbing services.
  13. Arrange for a babysitter or a play date to keep your children safe while you relocate.
  14. Find a secure place for your pets to stay during your relocation.
    If you won't be able to take your pets with you during the first few days of your move, consider putting them in doggy daycare or enlisting the help of a friend to watch them for the day.
  15. Announce your move!
    Notify everyone you want to notify about your new address.
  16. Contact loan providers, credit cards, banks, and your company's payroll department to update your contact information and address.
  17. Your mail should be forwarded to your new address.
  18. Update your address for Social Security benefits within 10 days of moving.
    You should notify government agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Internal Revenue Service of your relocation.
  19. Water, electricity, natural gas, and other utilities should all be transferred to your new location.
  20. Update your driver’s license with your new address.
  21. If you have any monthly subscription boxes, newspapers, or magazines, you should update your address.
  22. It is important that you update your address for online marketplaces like Amazon.
  23. Change your auto insurance and registration address.
  24. Clean outdoor furniture before having them loaded.
    Because outdoor furniture is frequently soiled and exposed to the elements, you should clean it before loading.
  25. If required, transfer your prescriptions to a different pharmacy.
Reduce food waste and fight hunger

The Week of Your Move

It’s the week of your move! It's time to organize your belongings, finalize packing, and clean your previous home. Accomplish all of this as soon as possible to ensure a stress-free moving day. This week, after refining your plans the previous week, you should be able to carry out your final plans.

  1. Donate any food that you haven't had a chance to eat or that hasn't been opened.
    Moving companies work with Move for Hunger to eradicate hunger across the United States. It is a sustainable way for the relocation industry to reduce food waste and fight hunger.
  2. If you have any scheduled deliveries, make sure that they are redirected to your new home or canceled.
  3. Make sure that your current home is ready for the next tenant.
  4. Defrost your fridge a night before your move.
    Make sure you've cleaned it out the night before so your moving crew won't have any issues. Using a towel to wipe the water leaks is advisable.
  5. Drain your washing machine and ice makers before your move.
  6. Grills, heaters, lawnmowers, and snow blowers should be cleaned of firewood or coal (if they’re using that) and should have all have their oil or gas tanks emptied.
  7. Clear out shelves and closet corners.
  8. Prepare for your landlord’s final inspection.
  9. Prepare an essentials package with everything you'll need for the first 24 hours at your new house.
    Unpacking your boxes to hunt for basics won't help you get through the first 24 hours in your new house, which will be tiresome right after a full day of moving.
  10. Take photos of your house to show that it is ready for the next tenant.
  11. Prepare cash for tipping your movers.
  12. Check the weather on the day of your move so will be prepared for anything.
  13. Create a plan B just in case your movers are delayed.
  14. Make sure that your new home is ready to move into.
Prepare for your move has gotten you to this moment

On Your Moving Day

The big day has here! Everything you've done to prepare for your move has gotten you to this moment. Before arriving here, you had to go through about a hundred items. We're glad our ultimate moving checklist has gotten you to this point! Now, there are only a few things left to do to ensure that your transfer is as seamless as possible.

  1. Get up as early as you can on Moving Day.
  2. During the relocation, be sure to protect your flooring and carpets.
  3. Because your movers have done all of the labor for the day, now is the time to tip them.
  4. After your movers have finished their work, you should unpack your essentials package to start getting settled.
  5. Take a walk around the neighborhood to get to know your new neighbors.
  6. Start shopping for groceries.
  7. Cover your windows with sheets that you presumably included in your essentials package for the first night.
    Since your curtains are in one of your many unpacked boxes, unpacking them right away won't help you after a long day of moving tasks.
  8. Give your real estate agent or broker a little thank-you note.
    A simple gesture of gratitude can go a long way.
Ultimate moving checklist

A Week After Your Move

You've finally moved in after all of your hard work! But it doesn't end there; you must ensure that the work you've done will be permanent. Our ultimate moving checklist has got a few more things for you to do, so keep it on hand for now.

  1. Reviews are important for businesses. Leave a good one for your moving company if you’re satisfied with their service.
  2. Recycle or repurpose your cardboard boxes,
    by selling them on online marketplaces like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or BoxCycle.
  3. Make sure your utilities and service providers are set up and ready to go in your new house.
  4. Clean the flooring, tiles, and carpets in your new home.
  5. If you have a chimney and you intend to use it, clean it before doing so.
  6. Since you are new to the neighborhood, make sure that your home address can be visibly seen.
  7. Install a home security system.
    Chances are the last owners uninstalled theirs before moving out. Be sure to install a new one for your household to ensure that you are safe and secure.
  8. Look around the neighborhood.
    Time to get familiar with the neighborhood and know where the local shops, supermarkets, and other establishments are.
Two weeks after your move

Two Weeks After Your Move

Finally! You’re almost done with the ultimate checklist. To make sure you’ve completely settled in, here are a few points to check out.

  1. Finish packing within two weeks of moving in.
  2. Throw a housewarming party, if you can.
    This is good for your transition into the neighborhood. You will meet people in a more intimate setting than running into them on the street.
  3. Have duplicate copies of your keys.
    You now have a new set of keys. In case of losses, you have extra keys to use. You can also give these duplicates to your babysitter, nanny, or dog-walker.

Wow! That was quite a ride! We know that there’s nothing as stressful and as tedious as moving, but we hope that our ultimate moving checklist has helped you with everything you could possibly need. Now, enjoy that new life of yours in your new home!

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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