Whether you’re moving across town, to a new city, or across the country, a moving checklist can help your transition go smoothly and limit the chances you’ll forget to pack something important. Below is a moving to-do list with steps to ensure you stay organized and on track during your upcoming move!
3 Months Before You Move
- Declutter your home so you can decide what you’re going to take with you, sell, donate, or trash.
- Create an inventory of every item you’ll be taking with you, categorizing by room.
- Budget for any moving expenses you’ll have (i.e., moving truck rental, packing supplies, etc.).
- Compare prices of rental moving trucks, and be sure to ask about any additional fees or charges.
- Research professional moving companies, and ask if there are any items they cannot move.
- Purchase moving insurance in advance to ensure your belongings are protected during your move.
- Put together a moving binder or create a moving spreadsheet to keep track of estimates, receipts, and your item inventory.
- Start gathering free boxes from grocery stores, department stores, liquor stores, etc.
- If you’re renting your home, talk with your landlord to determine your move-out day and when a written notice is expected.
2 Months Before You Move
- Reserve your moving truck rental or schedule your moving day with professional movers.
- If you need to travel while professional movers transport your items, make any necessary travel arrangements, such as booking flights, reserving hotel rooms, or finding short-term housing.
- Purchase packing supplies like boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, labels, moving blankets, etc.
- Arrange to have any records transferred to your new area (e.g., medical records, prescriptions, school transcripts, veterinary records, etc.).
- Contact your renters or homeowners insurance provider to set up your coverage change.
- If necessary, request time off at work to accommodate your moving schedule.
- Make a list of things you need to update before moving, such as mail forwarding, magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, etc.
- Take photos of any furniture, appliances, or home decor you’re going to sell, and post listings on sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay.
- If you’re asking friends or family help you move, talk to them and let them know the plan.
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1 Month Before You Move
- File an official change of address with the U.S. Postal Service.
- Set a start date with utility providers at your new address, and determine a stop date with your current utility providers (if you’re not transferring services to your new address).
- If you rent your current home, send written notice to your landlord of your intended move-out date, and include your new address to receive your security deposit and any correspondence.
- Set up a packing schedule so you can space out packing tasks over the month.
- As you pack items, remember to label all boxes and storage containers with the rooms they go with so you can stay organized while moving them into your new home and unpacking later.
- Plan meals that will use up any perishable food items in your freezer, refrigerator, or pantry.
- If you plan to drive your personal vehicle for a long-distance move, get your vehicle serviced.
1 Week Before You Move
- Confirm your moving truck rental, your pick-up and drop-off dates with your professional moving company, or your schedule with any friends and family who are helping you.
- Set up a time with your landlord or real estate agent to do a final walkthrough of your current home.
- Pack your suitcase with enough clothing to get you through your move.
- Put together an essentials box with toilet paper, nonperishable food items and snacks, paper dishes, scissors, and first-aid items that can be easily accessed during your first day at your new home.
- Store important documents like birth certificates, social security cards, and passports in a folder that you can safely keep with you while moving to your new home.
- Donate any items that haven’t sold to nonprofit programs like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore or Goodwill.
- Begin taking apart furniture you’re not using, and put corresponding hardware into labeled baggies.
- Properly dispose of any hazardous or toxic chemicals (e.g., batteries, light bulbs, household cleaners, etc.).
1-3 Days Before You Move
- Double-check your moving arrangements with your moving truck provider, professional movers, or friends and family to cover all last-minute details.
- Defrost refrigerators and freezers at least 24 hours before your move.
- Wash all bedding and towels, and pack into a box or storage container that you can easily access.
- Disassemble any remaining furniture, and move corresponding hardware into labeled baggies.
- Donate any canned goods or nonperishable food items you don’t plan to take with you to your local food shelter.
- Clean your current home as thoroughly as you can.
- Place carpet, floor, and door frame protectors throughout your home to prep for moving items out.
- Walk through all indoor and outdoor spaces to make sure you’ve packed everything.
- If you hired a professional company to move your belongings, verify that the truck and crew that shows up are from the company.
- When loading items into a moving truck, put heavy, large items (i.e., furniture and appliances) toward the back of the truck and bottom of stacks with small, light items toward the front of the truck and top of stacks.
- Do a final walkthrough with your landlord or real estate agent and return any keys (Note: If you can’t do a final walkthrough, take photos of the home to prove that you left it empty and clean).
- Make sure all windows are closed, lights are off, the heater/air conditioner is off or on a neutral setting, and doors are locked before you leave your old home.
- Before your professional movers leave, sign the bill of lading/inventory list to keep a copy for your records.
- If you have friends and family helping you move, order pizza or takeout after the work is done to say thank you.
- Most importantly, take time to get settled in your new home!