Moving Checklist - The Ultimate Guide

Checklist for Moving

If you're preparing to move, you know just how hectic this time can be whether you have an organized moving checklist or not. In fact, British power company E.ON found in a study of 2000 people that 62% of participants rated moving as the number one most stressful event in their life. The event even ranked above divorce and starting a new job. That's pretty telling!

Sticking to an organized moving plan can keep you from becoming too frazzled and overwhelmed.

I've been there. The truth is, no matter how well you plan ahead there is always something unexpected to deal with or last minute issues that come up. I can't promise you that this guide will mitigate every possible circumstance, however, I can promise you that it will help you get your ducks in a row before the big day. Having an organized moving plan goes a long way toward easing the stress of relocating your entire household. I've broken this moving checklist down into weekly tasks so you have a guideline for when to do which ones.

Moving Checklist - The Ultimate Guide

Moving Checklist - Weeks 8 and 7

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Before this point, you've certainly already checked out the best real estate websites to find your new home. Two months before your planned moving date you should gather estimates from at least three of the best moving companies in your area. The most accurate way to do so is to get in-home estimates so that the companies can calculate the weight and volume of your items as closely as possible.

If you're concerned about heading off any problems, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) has a website called Protect Your Move. The site is dedicated to educating people on their rights and responsibilities with regards to moving companies.

Start a list where you can write down the names of companies with which you'll need to change your address. Don't forget internet accounts such as shopping websites that have your shipping information.

Other tasks for these weeks:

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  • Set up a folder or file to keep all of your move-related information and documentation in.
  • If your company is paying for your relocation, find out exactly which expenses they cover and how the process works.
  • Decide how your vehicles will be transported.
  • Look into insurance for your valuables.
  • Start investigating schools, doctors, and financial institutions in your new location. Begin gathering necessary documentation and arranging for the transfer of records from your current service providers and schools.
  • Start collecting packing supplies and designate a dedicated area in your home as a staging area (if you're packing some or all of your own belongings).
  • Begin sorting items for donation or a garage sale as you go through your house.
  • Start a list where you can write down the names of companies with which you'll need to change your address. Don't forget internet accounts such as shopping websites that have your shipping information.

Moving Checklist - Week 6

By this point in your moving checklist you've chosen your mover and should be thinking about a cemented date so you can sign the contract. Be sure to verify what they're responsible for and what you're responsible for. It's also time to:

  • Get in touch with your insurance agent to talk about transferring all of your policies. Check out the best home insurance companies in your new area. If you're not buying your new home, you might want to look into the best renters insurance companies.
  • Contact your gym and any other businesses with which you have a membership so you can transfer or arrange to cancel.
  • Start purging - plan a garage sale or begin transporting unneeded items to a donation center.
  • Begin packing with things like seasonal clothing you won't need before the move, holiday decorations, and items in the basement or attic.
  • Start using up anything that you don't want to transport or that the moving company is not permitted to transport - cleaning supplies, flammables, etc.
  • Arrange for storage if you won't be moving everything into your new place right away.

Moving Checklist - Week 5

During this phase of your moving checklist, you're going to keep up with the momentum you've built getting rid of unwanted goods and packing up things you don't need out like specialty kitchen gadgets, books, and home decor items.

  • Start using up food, particularly perishables like frozen items.
  • Continue your purge - and be sure to check with your local garbage removal service to see if there are specific days they pick up things like appliances, paint cans, and furniture.
  • Continue packing items you don't need right now, and be sure to have a system in place such as color-coding, numbers, or simply writing the room names on the sides of the boxes (don't write them on top because you won't be able to see them when stacked).
  • Start notifying friends and loved ones of your move. Send out a card in the mail or even an email alerting everyone of your relocation date.
  • Make a plan to transport your pets, as well as a plan for keeping both your children and your pets safe and out from underfoot on moving day. Ask a friend or family member if they can act as a babysitter that day, or arrange for daycare and pet boarding.

Moving Checklist - Week 4

Now you're getting closer and the pace will pick up. If you've been staying organized thus far you should be able to get through this next month fairly smoothly.

  • Now is a good time to hold your garage sale if you're not donating your unneeded goods.
  • Take a photographic inventory of your belongings so that you know exactly what should be arriving at your new home.
  • Obtain measurements of the windows at your new place and arrange for window treatments to arrive in time for moving day. Preparing for this ahead of time will pay off - you won't get stung by the realization that you have no privacy on your first day in your new home.
  • Arrange for time off work for the few days around your relocation date, if possible.
  • File a change of address with the USPS. You can have your new post office hold your mail until you get there.
  • Notify your internet and TV companies of your move date, and begin looking into the best internet providers and best cable providers in your new location. Don't assume that you'll be able to have the same service even if you're only moving across town. Some companies only serve parts of a city, with another cable company, for example, servicing the rest. If you're moving into a rural locale, research the best satellite internet and best satellite TV providers.
  • Contact your utility providers, such as gas, electric, and water. Schedule a date for transfer or shut-off.
  • Notify your security company of your move. If you'll need new service in your new home, read up on providers of the best home security systems in your new area.

Moving Checklist - Week 3

Under a month left until the big day! Time to start getting down to the nitty-gritty of planning on your moving checklist.

  • Make a plan for moving any plants you want to take with you, including any you might want to transplant from your yard. Moving companies don't typically transport plants so you'll have to take care of this task yourself.
  • Make arrangements to change the address on your vehicle registration.
  • Plan for how items will be arranged in your new home. Once your movers put everything into place, you're on your own if you change your mind so it's a good idea to have things planned out ahead of time.
  • Make an unpacking plan. Even if a company is doing your packing and relocating, you will still be responsible for unpacking your own items. Assigning tasks to every member of the family - including the kids - will make those first couple of weeks that much less stressful.
  • Make sure your vehicles are road-worthy by doing oil changes and routine maintenance ahead of time. If you're moving a good distance away, you may want to consider shopping for the best roadside assistance just to cover all possible scenarios.

Moving Checklist - Week 2

Last minute tasks abound - in both the areas of documents and home prep. You're no doubt tired and busier than ever right now, but your efforts to stay organized during your move will drastically improve your experience.

  • Cancel things like landscaping services and newspaper delivery.
  • If you're moving in wintertime, make sure that any snow is removed from your new driveway and sidewalks so there are no unpleasant obstacles.
  • Notify relevant government agencies such as the Social Security and Veterans Administration of your move.
  • Clean out any appliances you're taking with you. This includes defrosting the freezer if the refrigerator is going with you.
  • Arrange to have your old and your new homes cleaned.
  • Arrange for your pharmacy to transfer your prescriptions to a new one.
  • Put together a packet of pertinent info about your current home for the next occupant. Include things like warranties, maintenance info, and your contact details in case they have questions.
  • Check to see if any appliances require the gas company to disconnect them and schedule a date to have it done.

Moving Checklist - Week 1

Down to crunch time! The week before the big day is when your moving checklist is really going to pay off. Just a few last-minute tasks and you'll be ready to go.

  • Confirm and review the details with your moving company. Give them any necessary details such as unusual driveway configuration or anything else that might complicate things upon their arrival at the new location.
  • Make extra copies of your BOL (bill of lading - the moving equivalent of a packing list) and put them in the file you created way back in week 8.
  • Confirm utility shut-off and turn-on dates and details.
  • Back up all computers and disconnect all wires and equipment.
  • Return library books and other borrowed items.
  • Use paper plates and plastic flatware so that you don't create dirty dishes right before you leave. This is a great time to use some of that money you made with your garage sale to buy takeout over the final few days.
  • Make sure everyone in the family has a suitcase with about two weeks' worth of clothing, toiletries, and other personal items.
  • Make sure the gas and propane tanks are removed from all outdoor equipment like lawnmowers and grills.

Moving Checklist Recap

This weekly moving checklist should give you a solid handle on taming the stress of this chaotic time in your life. There are a few other things that are useful to keep in mind throughout the process. As you're researching services for your new location, like the best internet deals (can't go long without being online!) be sure to take advantage of information from the BBB (Better Business Bureau).

Another thing you can do to make your move go smoothly is to involve your kids every step of the way. This helps minimize the effects of this huge change in their lives and gives them a chance to gradually prepare for what's to come.

Even though your moving checklist may seem long and intimidating, breaking it down into chunks as I've done for you above makes each week seem a little more manageable. Sticking to an organized moving plan can keep you from becoming too frazzled and overwhelmed. Although once all is said and done, I do highly recommend looking into the best travel sites. You might want a vacation after all that hard work!

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