Moving Checklist: Everything You Need to Know for a Smooth Move

So you’ve navigated the housing market, found the perfect home, and signed on the dotted line. All that’s left now is moving into your new home. Well, we won’t lie to you — moving is no small feat. Between decluttering, packing, transporting your belongings, and bribing your friends to help — the whole process can seem overwhelming. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be. If you take the time to plan ahead and get organized in advance, you’ll have much less to worry about on moving day.

This is where a moving checklist comes in. Knowing when to do things – and in what order to do them – will put your mind at ease when details of the move begin to stress you out. So whether you’re just moving across the street or across the country, use this moving checklist to help you every step of the way.

Two Months in Advance

Forward medical records and transfer prescriptions. For long-distance and cross-country moves, you will need to find a new doctor and pharmacy. Talk to your current providers and ask that your medical records and prescriptions be forwarded.

Examine the floor plan of your new home. If you want to be happy with the decor in your new home, you need to know the layout. Now is the time to examine blueprints and measure furniture so you can visualize where everything will live in the new home.

Schedule painting and repairs. If you need to paint or make any improvements to your new home, make arrangements before your belongings are moved in. Scheduling the job(s) ahead of time will help you avoid stress later.

Request vacation. You will likely need time off for the move, so ask your boss now, before life gets hectic.

Complete change of address forms. Make sure to fill in the change of address forms and give your new address to friends and relatives.

Budget the costs. Depending on how far you are moving and how many items you have, a move can cost anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. You can save money by sourcing your own moving supplies like boxes, rope, and protective materials.

One Month in Advance

Take inventory. You will want to keep track of your stuff, so make a list of your possessions. If you prefer visuals, you can take photos on your phone or camera to help you remember.

Downsize and declutter. Hold that pre-moving yard sale, or take your stuff to the local Goodwill. Donate non-perishable food items to the food bank.

Shop for a great moving company. The right mover can make all the difference. So, compare and contrast moving quotes until you find the best fit.

Gather your documents. From insurance policies to appliance manuals, make sure you have all the documentation you need in your new home. Keep those documents in a safe place, and take them with you on moving day.

Start packing. If you have not already done so, gather empty boxes and start packing up possessions. Start with infrequently used items and continue packing in the weeks leading up to moving day.

packing dishes in boxes

Two Weeks in Advance

Continue packing and labeling. Pack as much as you can, leaving out only the items you use every day. Label each box with the room it is intended for and a list of contents.

Hire a dumpster or schedule disposal. Moving out can generate lots of trash, so make sure you are covered. Contact your local trash hauler and arrange for a special pickup. You may also want to rent a dumpster if you have lots to dispose of.

Arrange parking for the moving truck. Moving vans take up a lot of space, so make sure the driver will have a secure place to park on moving day.

The Week of Moving Checklist

Cats and dogs. When moving with pets, make sure they have a safe place to stay on moving day. Leaving pets with the local kennel or a trusted friend will also reduce moving anxiety and help you breathe easier.

Confirm everything. This is one of the most important steps in the moving checklist. No matter how many times you have confirmed your moving day plans, one more confirmation won’t hurt. Knowing everything is in its place will ease moving anxiety and cause less stress.

Pack a box with essential items. You likely won’t unpack every box by the first night of move-in. So you’ll want to pack a box of essentials such as snacks, a change of clothes, a toothbrush, clean sheets, shampoo, and a towel. Label this as your “First Night” box. 

Clean your old space. Don’t pack your vacuum and mop just yet — remember to clean your freshly vacated space. 

Defrost freezers and refrigerators. Once the fridge is empty, defrost those appliances. Make sure appliances are clean and in good condition before leaving for your new home.

woman packing boxes during moving checklist

The Day of Moving Checklist

Meet the moving team. Greet the movers and make sure that all workers are part of the moving company you hired. Be sure the moving truck’s U.S. Department of Transportation license number is the same as the number on your estimate.

Supervise the load-in. Assign a family member or helper to watch the moving crew as they stack your belongings inside the truck. Be sure to keep an eye out for any damage.

Keep valuables with you. Make sure the movers don’t mistakenly load boxes containing your laptop, jewelry, passports, and any other valuables. These should be kept near you at all times.

Take a final walk-through of your current home. Check whether all windows and doors are closed and locked up and that electricity, water, and gas supplies are switched off before you leave for good. 

Take inventory of moved items. Once everything has been moved into your new home, note any items that were damaged. Be sure to immediately inform your moving and insurance companies.

Settle in at your new home. Congratulations, you’ve made it to the final step in the moving checklist. It’s been a long 2-month process of moving out and in, and you’ve finally made it into your new home. Enjoy!

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