Moving checklist

moving checklist

A Checklist for your big move

Moving can be a stressful thing. But planning ahead can greatly reduce your stress.
Here is a checklist to make sure that you planned your move ahead of time and that the move will go as smoothly as possible.

We’ve split things up based on the time it takes to get things done. This is just a guideline. Don’t panic if you forget to do something 2 weeks ago.

6 to 2 months before your move 

  • Research the area you are going to. Make appointments to the services you rely on. If you have kids, you probably already looked for schools. But have you thought about their hobbies? Maybe you need a piano teacher or a karate dojo? You could also make a map of the area marking all the critical locations, such as emergency clinic, nearest pharmacy, the local doctor and so on. When you get closer to the moving date, you won’t have time for these things, so reduce stress by doing research in advance.
  • Look for a moving company. Choose a moving company ahead of time. They can help you with many things regarding your move and often also give free advice. You found this website so you’re already on the right track 🙂
  • Think about a moving insurance. Maybe your moving company offers an insurance included with the moving package, but not all companies do this. Make sure you ask about this. If you already booked a company that doesn’t offer insurance, you can still take an insurance from a third party.Get the Bed Ready
    Designate one drawer of a dresser for sheets and towels so that you won’t have to rummage through boxes for these essentials the first night in your new home.
  • Make travel arrangements. If you’re moving a longer distance, don’t forget to make hotel and possible also airline reservations. Tickets won’t get cheaper if you wait.

6 weeks before your move

  • Notify change of address. Start making a list of people and businesses that will need your new address. Look at the mail you are getting. Now is a good time to cancel subscriptions that you don’t need anyway. A nice touch is to print some postcards with your new address to send to your friends and family.
  • Get rid of stuff you don’t need. Moving is the perfect time to get rid of all the things you don’t need anyway. Buy some stickers (red/yellow/green) and give a package to all your family members. Red means Out, Yellow is Doubt and Green is Keep. Let them mark all items with stickers so you get a first view of what can go.
  • Sell or Donate. Things you don’t really need anymore is often still useful for others. Sell stuff on ebay or donate to charity and you can earn yourself a buck or make other people happy! You could also organize a yard sale to get rid of some things.

1 month before your move

  • Start food planning. Plan your upcoming meals and try to eat as much food that is left in your kitchen cabinets. When grocery shopping, think about your upcoming move and don’t buy thinks that you won’t have time to eat before the move. The goals is to move or throw away as little food items as possible.
  • Get your boxes. Before you can pack things, you need the boxes to put your stuff in. You can buy cardboard or plastic boxes in your local hardware store, but you could often also rent plastic containers from your moving company.
  • Start labeling. The easiest way to labeling your boxes is to have a label for each room. Be smart and label them for the rooms in your future home, not the home you’re moving out. 
  • Do a first packing round. Now that you have your boxes and labels, you can already start packing the things you won’t need in the next month. Seasonal clothing and gear, stuff in your cellar or attic that you’re not using but still want to keep, they can already put into boxes. Everything you can do upfront is less stress in the critical weeks before the move.
  • Get vacation time for your move week. If you haven’t already, now would be the time to request your vacation days for the week of the move. Make sure you also have some days after the move for unpacking and taking care of basic things, like setting up the rooms and furniture.
  • Request mail forwarding. Now would also be the time to request your mail being forwarded to your new address. You can request a specific date when they should start forwarding your mail, so don’t worry of mail getting forwarded before you actually move.
  • Make inventory of your valuables. List your most valuable items and decide which you want to move with the rest of your stuff. You could decide to move small valuable items yourself or keep them in a bank safe for a while. Make sure you take photographs of your valuables just in case they get damaged during the move. This way you can prove the scratch or dent wasn’t there before the move.

3 weeks before your move

  • Double check everything. Go over this checklist again for the items above this paragraph to make sure you didn’t forget anything.

2 weeks before your move

  • More packing. Now is that time to pack everything except the bare essentials that you will need in the last 2 weeks.
  • Start cleaning. Start cleaning all your appliances. You won’t have time for this in the final week.
  • Take copies of manuals. Make electronic copies of your manuals and installation guides. Not only for your electronic devices but also instruction for (dis)assembling your furniture and other tools. Maybe the box with all the paper instruction manuals gets misplaces after the move. In that case it is great to still have an electronic copy of that manual on your tablet or phone.
  • Check your utilities. Make sure you’ve arranged with your utility companies to turn off service like water and electricity only a few days after you have moved out. Likewise make sure you will have basic utilities in your new home on the day you move in or even a few days before.
  • Return borrowed items. You might have some library books or some garden equipment you borrowed from a friend or neighbor. Now would be a good time to return it.
  • Check the movers policies. Not every moving company allows all items to be moved. There might be specific regulations concerning weapons. But also flammable liquids, compressed air cans and sometimes even plants are not allowed by some companies.

1 week before your move

  • Pack essentials separately. Make a list of things you need during and right after your move. Pack them in a separate bag and keep it with you during the move. It might be medication or some fresh clothing or anything else you can’t live without for a few days. Don’t forget to pack some toilet paper, coffee, soap, a flashlight and some tools like a screwdriver.
  • Defrost your freezer and refrigerator. Remember it takes about a day to defrost and some more to dry. Clean after drying. You can put a sock filled with fresh coffee inside to keep a fresh smell.

On moving day

  • Collect all keys. Label them and put them in a box. Give the box to your neighbor so he can get in the house in case of emergency or to the new house owners or real estate agent.
  • Give your cellphone number to the driver. Even though he should have all data, make sure he can reach you. Give a backup number in case you aren’t reachable. Double check if he has the correct address for your new place.
  • Do a final walk-through the house. Make sure you didn’t forget anything.
  • Enjoy the help. Leave the rest to the professionals. You can join them while they do inventory. But leave the loading up to them. They are trained and experienced and know exactly how to load a truck.
Things to do before moving into your new home