Anyone who has moved before knows that it’s as much of an exercise in logistics and planning as it is a physical task. The first part of any good plan is to create a checklist of what needs to get done to accomplish a job. To ensure that you don’t leave something off of your list, we’ve compiled all the best moving tips into the only moving checklist you’ll ever need.
To make your moving checklist simple, we’ve broken the tasks into what to do before, during, and after moving day:
- Before the move
- 8 weeks before
- 6 weeks before
- 4 weeks before
- 2 weeks before
- 1 week before
- Final days
- Moving day
- After the move
- 1 Week after
- 2 Weeks after
If there’s a specific portion of the move where you want to dot your i’s and cross your t’s, feel free to jump ahead to the section in question. To those who are just beginning their moving process or who are looking to move in the near future, we recommend starting from the top. We’ve also ordered the steps within each section, though certain steps do not need to carried out in the exact order presented. Lastly, some of these steps only apply to specific circumstances, so skip a step if it doesn’t fit your situation.
What to Do Before the Move
Planning a whole move takes a lot more time than most people would expect. To ensure that your move is stress-free and affordable, we suggest starting this moving checklist up to 12 weeks in advance of your moving date. At a minimum, you should start preparing for your move eight weeks before move-in day.
8 Weeks Before
Create a Moving Budget
Setting up a clear budget will help you decide how to plan your move. A well-made budget will determine which tasks you can leave to movers and which you’ll need to handle on your own.
Build Your Moving Spreadsheet/Tracker
Using a spreadsheet like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, set up your checklist and inventory. These pieces of software can split into multiple sheets to help you track inventory, budget, costs and dozens of other pieces of information.
Request Time Off from Work
Getting time off work in advance will let you schedule your move for an off-season weekday date. These tend to be the cheapest moving dates, so requesting one will let you spend your moving dollars elsewhere.
Request Records from Schools & Medical Professionals
Getting a head start on records requests prior to the frenzy of moving is always a good idea.
Begin Researching Moving Companies for Quotes
Get official quotes from multiple moving companies. Ensure that each mover is verified and has a Department of Transportation number (DOT number) associated with their company. To get a free quote from Alliance Moving & Storage, click on the link in this sentence.
Sort & Trim
Start sorting through your belongings to see what you will and won’t keep. Mark the items you aren’t keeping for donation, sale or scrap.
Visit Your New Neighborhood
If feasible, take a quick trip to your new neighborhood. This gives you something to look forward to during the long packing process and can help get young children excited for what might seem like a scary change.
Provide Notice to Your Landlord
Most landlords require notice before you move out or they’ll charge an additional fee. Ensure that you’re talking to your landlord well ahead of any potential deadlines.
Begin Planning a Garage Sale
If you live in a house, start planning your garage sale now. Planning ahead gives you time to take out an ad in your local paper (this takes about two weeks) and put up signs. This means more shoppers and more sold items. If you’re struggling to determine what to leave behind, check out our list of items to leave behind during a move.
6 Weeks Before
Schedule Time for Friends & Family
Make sure you get in any last minute playdates and hangouts with local friends and family. This is especially important for children who are moving far away from their friends.
Contact Insurance Companies
Make sure your home, medical and auto insurance companies are aware of your new address. The last thing you want is to get in a car accident after your move and find out your insurance is invalid.
Create a Travel Plan
If your move is long distance, set up travel plans to ensure everyone gets to where they need to be. Be sure to build in extra time for anything that may cause a holdup.
Book Your Truck Rental
If you’re planning to tackle your move without a moving company, be sure to book your truck rental early. Reserving a truck well ahead of time ensures you can make adjustments easily.
Select a Storage Unit
You may need a storage unit if your move is going to happen in multiple stages. Be sure to set these up well ahead of time so you can load them before you head to your new home.
Collect Free Packing Materials/Purchase Packing Materials
Most liquor stores, grocery stores and retailers have boxes that they don’t do anything with. Check with some local stores to see if they have boxes they are willing to part with. If they don’t, head over to a packaging goods store and pick up plenty of boxes, stretch wrap, packing paper and other packing materials.
Create an Inventory Tracker
If you haven’t already, be sure to add a tracking sheet to your budget spreadsheet to keep tabs on your belongings. This will make it easy to tell where items are, and the last time you knew their exact location.
Host a Garage Sale
With all your for-sale items marked, set them out in your driveway for passersby and interested shoppers. Be willing to budge on your initial prices to make a sale. Chances are that getting anything for these items is better than the hassle of dragging them to your new home.
Donate Leftover Items
Donate anything that didn’t get sold in your garage sale. Charity organizations such as Goodwill will often take anything from clothes to furniture.
Decide Whether or Not to Leave Appliances Behind
Some appliances may be better left behind rather than taken with you. Decide whether you’d rather deal with the hassle of moving a heavy appliance versus purchasing a newer model.
Locate Setup Instructions for Electronics & Furniture
Keeping owner’s manuals in a single folder on a cloud drive or on your computer will make it easier to set up items when you arrive in your new home. If you can’t locate the guides, take a picture of what the items look like when set up.
Service Your Vehicles
No one wants to deal with a breakdown during their move. Make sure your vehicles are in working order before you hit the road.
Measure Entryway Spaces at Both Residences
Make sure that your large items will fit through the doorways in both homes.
Begin the Packing Process
Start to pack away items you know you won’t miss for the next month and a half. Some great starting points are books, records, DVDs and any clothes you can live without.
Start Using Perishable Food Items
If you don’t want to toss a bunch of food when you move, start trying to work through the frozen goods you’ve been holding onto along with any perishable items that won’t survive the move.
4 Weeks Before
Decide on a Moving Company
After comparing all your quotes, make sure you have a moving company locked down at least a month ahead of your moving day.
Perform Necessary Software Updates
Make sure all your computers and phones are up to date with the latest software so that you don’t get thrust into a last-minute update at an inopportune time.
Make Arrangements for Pets
If you have pets, start to arrange a pet sitter or a transportation option for your furry, feathered and scaly friends.
Clearly Label All Boxes
As you continue to pack boxes, make sure to clearly label them. Be sure to indicate the contents of the box on its label and on your inventory tracking sheet.
Change Your Address & Set Up Mail Forwarding
Accomplishing these tasks early ensures that any last-minute purchases make it to your new home.
Dispose of Hazardous Materials
Items such as pool cleaning chemicals and lighter fluid will need to be used or disposed of before travel. Be sure to check your local guidelines on the disposal of hazardous materials before you just toss them.
Decide What to Do With Plants
Some plants cannot cross state lines due to laws and ordinances about pest control. If your plants can’t come with you, try to find a new home for them.
Gather Important Documents
Make sure you have all your important documents (immunization records, passports, social security cards, immigration documents, etc.) in a single place where only you can access them. If you have a safe, that is the perfect place to store these items.
Update Voter Registration
Updating your voter registration to your new residence is especially important if you happen to be moving near an election or polling date.
Schedule an Appointment with the DMV
Those moving to a new state will need to get an in-state driver license within a set amount of time (this varies from state to state). Setting up an appointment with your new DMV will keep you from having to wait in line.
Confirm Time & Date with Moving Company
Double-check details with your moving company a few times before your move to sort out any wrinkles.
Set Up Temporary Housing
If you’re going to have to wait to move in, make sure your temporary living arrangements are booked before you get packed up.
Confirm Parking Options for Your Truck
Most movers charge an additional fee for long carry distance. Determining a nearby parking location for the moving truck will save you time and money in the long run.
2 Weeks Before
Return All Borrowed Items
No one wants to be an accidental thief. As you pack, keep an eye out for any items you’ve borrowed and set a reminder to return them to their owners.
Set Up & Shut Down Utilities
Begin setting up water, power, internet, cable and gas service in your new home. Also set a shut-off date for the utilities at your old home. Doing this ahead of time will prevent any unexpected utility charges for a house you no longer occupy.
Arrange for Child Care
Depending on how young your child is, it may be easier to have them with a relative or in daycare during the move.
Back Up Computers & Phones
Make sure to back up all your data to an external hard drive or to a cloud storage service in case anything happens to your electronics in transit.
Remove Light Bulbs from All Lamps
Any lamps that are coming to your new home should have their bulbs removed to avoid any potential injuries from broken glass.
Having full prescriptions prior to your move is a good idea in case there are any hold-ups when it comes to transferring your existing medications to a new pharmacy.
Research Local Maintenance People
Get an idea of who you might call if something goes wrong in your new home.
Share Your New Address
Friends and family may wish to send housewarming gifts. Also make sure to share your new address with your neighbors so they can forward any packages that end up at your old home.
Order New Furniture & Appliances
Place your orders so that these items arrive on the day of or shortly after the move. It’s much easier to maneuver furniture and appliances in a house that is mostly empty.
If you’re repainting rooms in your new home, schedule the painters to come before you move in.
Update Billing Addresses
Give your new billing address to credit card and other types of companies you do business with. Do this ahead of time to make sure you don’t end up dealing with the hassle of your card being declined.
Update & Purge Subscription Services
Now is a great time to cut subscriptions you never use while updating your credit card info for those that you do.
1 Week Before
Double Check Moving Company Arrangements
One last check-in with your moving company will help alleviate any concerns you may have.
Inspect Home with Landlord
Walk through your packed home with your landlord to ensure everything is in working order.
Toss & Pack Kitchenware and Bathroom Items
Determine which kitchenware and bathroom items to keep and which to toss. Leave the bare essentials unpacked until the day of the move.
Inform Neighbors & HOA of your Move
If you haven’t already, inform your neighbors and HOA of where the truck will be and any street blockages that may occur during the day of the move.
Final Days before Your Move
Pack Suitcase & Essentials
Make sure you have your documents, medications and clothing with you. It’s also a great idea to bring something for entertainment in case there are delays.
Withdraw Cash to Tip Movers
Movers work hard to save you time. Take out some cash beforehand so you don’t get caught without a tip on the day of the move.
Toss or Donate Excess Food
Donate any canned food or nonperishables to a local foodbank and then toss or give away any food that you won’t be able to eat before the move.
Fridge & Freezer Maintenance
Unplug and defrost any refrigerators and freezers. Also make sure to detach the waterline from your fridge and clean it out.
Double-check all Areas of the Home
Make one final walk-through to calm the nerves before it’s time to hit the road.
Clean Your Home
Make sure your old home is nice and tidy for the landlord or its future residents.
Take Photos of Clean Home
Have photos of the empty home on hand as proof that all checks were completed and that the home was undamaged when you left.
What to Do on Moving Day
Ah moving day! The moment when all of your planning finally turns to action. If you’ve followed the moving checklist and planned thoroughly, your moving day should go off without a hitch. But just because you’ve got everything set up for the big day doesn’t mean you’re done. Here’s a list of what’s left on your plate during the move itself:
Protect Floors & Carpets
Lay down plastic floor protectors before the movers start loading boxes and furniture into and out of your homes.
Let the movers know where you’d like the boxes to go in the truck and if any boxes contain fragile materials.
Complete a sweep of the empty house to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind.
Walk through the house and recount fond memories of your time there. This is especially important if you have young children who need closure.
Turn Over the Keys
Hand the keys off to your landlord or to the new residents of the house.
Let the movers know where you want furniture and boxes to go in your new home.
Tip Your Movers
Tell your movers you appreciate their hard work with a cash tip.
Unload Essentials from Boxes
Start unpacking the things you’ll need that day and in the coming days right away.
Set Up Bed & Shower
After an exhausting move, now is the perfect time to unwind with a shower and a nap.
Set Up Curtains & Shades
Window coverings are essential to making your home feel like a safe and private space.
Plug In Your Computer & Update Your Inventory
Once you’ve taken a rest and gathered your bearings, start to update your inventory spreadsheet with the items you’ve unpacked.
Determine which boxes will be the first that you unpack within each room.
What to Do after You Move
Now that you’re all done moving your items, it’s time to start unpacking! Like anything, you can plan your unpacking process to save you time and stress. Your first few weeks are also the perfect time to explore the neighborhood, ensure everything in the house is in working order, and meet new friends and neighbors.
Here are some of the basic tasks you have to look forward once you’ve completed your move-in.
1 Week After
Leave a Review of Your Moving Company
Most moving companies pay close attention to their online reviews. A detailed review can show how much you appreciated the company, or help them improve their services for their next customer.
Dispose of Packing Materials
See if anyone you know is moving or is in need of packing materials. These items can also be posted on Craigslist or other community forums.
Check All Electrical Outlets, Thermostat & Plumbing
Make sure that all of the outlets and plumbing areas in your house are in working order. If any issues are present, it’ll be easier for a technician to take care of them in a less set up house.
Install Home Security System
This includes installing any home security doorbells and locks that you intend to use.
Most unpacking will take place within the first two weeks of having moved in. Be sure to keep updating your inventory sheet so you don’t lose track of anything.
Set Up Pet Routines
Pets can take a while to adjust to a new home. Start to train them to get used to their new bathroom and eating areas.
Set Up Playdates
If you’ve met neighbors who also have small children, this is a great time to combat post-move sadness by introducing your child to a potential new friend.
2 Weeks After
Try to have a majority of your house unpacked within two weeks, or it can start to feel like the boxes are part of the décor.
Review Your Inventory & Follow Up on Any Lost Items
With your inventory list complete, check in on the last time you saw any missing items to try and track them down.
Get Your New Driver License
Time to follow-up on your DMV appointment and get a brand new, valid driver license.
Schedule any Necessary Maintenance
If you’ve found any issues with how your home utilities work, schedule some tradespeople to come by and take a look.
Make Key Copies
Hand out keys to your partner, children and any other parties who may need access to your home.
Congrats! You’ve finally moved in. It’s time to kick up your feet, read a book, catch up on the latest TV show, or simply bask in the glory of your brand new home.
Ready to Start Crossing Items Off Your Moving Checklist?
As you can tell, moving is a long and complicated process. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the size of your moving checklist, Alliance Moving & Storage is here to help. Our reliable movers can pack your belongings, transport them to your new home, take them to a storage location, and perform dozens of other helpful services. To find out how we can help you start ticking off boxes on your checklist, head over to our free quote page to get a verified quote in minutes.