About 12% of the U.S. population moves each year according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you’re planning a move soon and want to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, a moving checklist can help you keep track of everything you need to do, including hiring movers, packing your items, and changing your utilities from one location to the next. Using a checklist also gives you the peace of mind that you didn’t forget to do any important tasks.
In this article, Part 1 talks about what you need to do two months before you move, Part 2 describes what you should schedule for six weeks out, and Part 3 zeroes in on one month before your move. Part 4 focuses in even further to two weeks before your move, Part 5 covers the week of your move, Part 6 details what you should do on the day of your move, and Part 7 tells you what you need to do once the move is over.
Part 1 of 7: Two months before moving
Two months before you move is a great time to research the area where you are moving for local resources, set a budget for the move, and get quotes from moving companies. More detail about each of these items is below.
- Research the area: You need to explore the location to get a feel for where you can find everything, including gas stations, grocery stores, or child care if you have kids. This also includes determining your child’s schools, what utilities service the area, and the location of other important services, such as healthcare.
- Create a budget: Before you get too deep into your move, you also need to come up with a budget. This provides insight on exactly how much you have to spend on certain items, such as a moving company, meals out while you do not have access to a kitchen, and a hotel while you wait for your furniture to arrive at your new location.
- Get quotes from moving companies or rent a truck: If you are hiring movers, you should call a few moving companies to get quotes on how much the company expects it to cost to move you.
Most companies send out a representative to get an idea of how many personal belongings you have so they can plan for space on a moving truck. If you are moving long distance, consider scheduling your move with the moving company even more in advance to ensure the moving company’s availability. If you are moving yourself, rent a truck for your move date.
Part 2 of 7: Six weeks before moving
Six weeks before your move, start thinking about what you want to move and what you want to get rid of. The following section offers advice for helping you decide what you want to take, what you want to get rid of, and what you want to use up before you move.
- Use up perishables: Anything that has an expiration date should be used up before you take off. You should finish off any frozen foods and refrigerated items, especially if you won’t have access to a refrigerator while moving. You should also leave some cleaning tools behind so you can do a final cleanse of the house once you move out.
- Inventory your personal belongings: You should also take an inventory of all of the items you have. At this time, decide what you want to move yourself and which items you want to leave for the movers. You should consider moving smaller, more valuable items yourself.
- Start packing: At this time, you can start buying storage boxes, tape, and labels. Start by packing items you do not expect to use before your move date, and save often-used items for packing until right before the move.
Part 3 of 7: One month before moving
At the one month point before your move, you need to confirm plans and start making the switch from your old home to the new one. The following section covers this process in more detail.
- Check with the moving company: Check with the movers you decided to hire, if any, to make sure nothing has changed and everything is still on schedule. If you rented a truck to move yourself, make sure the truck is still available. At this point if there is a problem, you still have time to make last-minute arrangements.
- Change over utilities/update address: At this point, you should notify your old utility companies and other services you use that you are moving locations. You should also make a phone call to the utility company or service at your new home and let them know you are moving in.
Keep in mind, if you are moving to an area close by, you may only need to switch locations as opposed to canceling the utilities or service altogether. Also remember to change your address with your bank and other companies. The specific utilities and businesses you need to contact include:
- Bank (especially if you use debit cards)
- Car lender
- Cable or satellite
- Cell phone
- Credit card companies
- Insurance company
- Magazines and newspapers
- Any monthly memberships (such as a gym, Netflix, or other subscription services)
- Pest control or other service
- US Postal Service
Part 4 of 7: Two weeks before moving
At two weeks before your move, plan what you want to do when the move is going on. The section below details this crucial time period during the move process.
- Arrange for parking at the old/new location: Decide where to park the moving truck for the day of your move. You might need to talk to your neighbors so that they know what is going on. You may also need to obtain any parking permits or permission from authorities so that you don’t encounter any problems.
- Plan meals: Finish up any remaining perishable food and other items. You should also make a meal plan for what you will eat during the move.
Part 5 of 7: One week before moving
As your moving day draws closer, it is time to finish your packing and other final tasks. The section below talks about what you need to do a week before moving.
- Finalize packing: At this point you should start to finish sealing up boxes, leaving out essential items you plan on using right up to the move, and packing everything else away for moving day. You should also prepare any appliances you plan to take with you at this time. This allows for appliances, like the refrigerator, to defrost properly. Also, remove any gas from lawn equipment, grills, or heaters you plan to take with you.
- Measure for size: Measure any doorways you expect to move appliances and furniture through to make sure you have enough space to do so. If not, now is a good time to choose an alternative route or consider a contingency plan.
- Pack your clothing: Pack away your clothing, making sure to pack a suitcase with the items you plan on wearing during the move. You should also bring enough toiletries to last you until you get settled in your new home.
- Create an essentials box: An essentials box contains anything you might need right off the bat at your new home, such as a toolkit, utensils, trash bags, and other useful items. Load the essentials box onto the moving truck last so that you have easy access to it once you get to your destination.
Part 6 of 7: The day of your move
The day has finally arrived, and it is time to move! The section below goes into more detail on this important day.
- Clear a path: Make sure you have a clear path between the moving truck and your house. This keeps anyone from getting injured and can speed the loading process. If you are moving yourself, make sure you have plenty of help when loading.
- Load the moving truck: If you are using a moving company, this part of the process is easy, as the movers from the company should do all of the work for you. You might want to stick around to remind them of any particularly breakable items they should handle carefully.
If you plan on moving yourself, remember to keep heavier items toward the front of the moving truck, with lighter, more fragile items and boxes on top. Also, make sure to use plenty of straps to keep items from shifting in the track during the move.
- Complete a final walkthrough: After all of the items are out of the house, complete a walkthrough to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Make sure to check every room and closet.
Part 7 of 7: After the move
Once you arrive at your new location, you have a few tasks to do. The following list outlines the tasks you should complete first after arriving at your new home.
- Clean your new home: If you have time before the movers arrive with your belongings, clean your new home. You should also make sure everything works properly and get it repaired if needed.
- Unload the moving truck: If you hired movers, they should do all of the heavy lifting for you, but you might want to direct them where to place specific items or boxes. In addition, appoint somebody to control the door, opening and closing it as the movers move back and forth from the truck.
- Notify important agencies: After you have become settled, make sure to notify important government agencies of your new address. These agencies include:
- City/County Tax Assessor
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Social Security Administration
- State/Federal Tax Bureau (IRS)
- Veterans Administration
As you can see, a move is a long and involved process. But by having a detailed plan beforehand, you can simplify and streamline the process to save yourself time, money, and stress. Using a checklist when moving to a new home also keeps you organized and on top of what needs to get done, and ensures that you don’t forget something along the way.