Your Complete Moving Checklist

Posted On: September 9, 2021
Woman moving checklist

There is so much to do when you’re getting ready to move — especially if you’re moving to a new city. This checklist won’t reduce your to-do list, but it can make it easier to avoid forgetting important tasks.

As you prepare for your move, keep these tasks in mind.


Eight Weeks Before

__Make a budget for your move. Ask friends for recommendations of local movers, then get estimates to see what your planned budget allows for. Will it be a DIY move, a move where you pack and the movers load the truck and deliver your items, or the full deal where the movers pack, too? Do you have special items, such as a piano, fine art, or safe? Make sure the movers you interview can handle them. Confirm that professional movers have proof of insurance and are actively registered with the DMV. If moving across state lines, movers must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

__Start looking around for boxes. See if you have any of the original boxes and packing materials for your electronics. Liquor stores, grocery stores, movie theaters, and coffee shops can be good sources of boxes of varying sizes. If you have a large television to move, consider asking bike shops for boxes — those can fit larger flat screens.

__ Create an inventory sheet of your valuable items. You don’t have to list every item, but you should cover the biggies. Take photos of the items in their current condition. If possible, you should personally transport heirlooms, legal documents, and valuables like jewelry. Decide whether you need moving insurance to ensure that you have your valuables covered if they don’t arrive safely in your new home.


Six Weeks Before

__ Confirm your reservation with your chosen movers. If those movers are your friends, you may want to reconfirm a few times before the big day.

__ Color code your moving boxes. Give each room a color, and make sure you have an explanatory page for the movers so they can follow the system. You can use labels, colored markers, colored tape, and other visual cues to make it easy to ensure that the movers put the boxes in the correct rooms.

__ Start packing. It might seem a little early, but your moving day will sneak up on you, and it’s better to start now than having to stay up all night packing in the days before you move.

__ Choose belongings to sell or donate. Moving is one of the best times to narrow your possessions down to what you love and need. Prep the ones you don’t want to move to sell or give away.

__ Do you have kids? Direct them to information about your new neighborhood or city so they can get excited about the move, too. Help them figure out how they want to decorate their new room. Also, find the nearest parks and other fun spots.

__ Label and photograph electrical cables, so it is easy to set your electronics up in your new place.


Four Weeks Before

__ Gather your important documents. These include financial, legal, medical, and educational records, birth certificates, and passports.

__ Join Facebook groups or scan Pinterest boards for your new city or neighborhood. These are great resources for finding plumbers, auto shops, healthcare professionals, and other important services.

__ Find a local bank. When you’re moving to a new city, having a local bank can really help. If you’re currently using a big bank, consider switching to a local bank to assist in supporting your new community. Start narrowing financial institutions down by the range of products they offer. Proximity to your new home or workplace is helpful, but also look at reviews and feedback from current and former customers on social media and the bank’s own website.

__ Set up the installation of your utilities, internet, and other services at the new address.

__ If you’re moving school-age kids, get to know your new school. Visit their website and social media pages with your kids to see what it will be like and address any concerns your kids have.

__ Find a new daycare if you have children who need care. You can ask your new co-workers for recommendations or check social media and apps for advice.

__ Hold a garage sale or ensure that you have listed all your items to sell online. Anything that you don’t sell, you can give away through your local Buy Nothing group or donate to a charity shop.

__ Plan for pets on moving day. If it’s a local move, consider moving your items first and then the pets after. It will likely be a smoother transition for them as they will recognize the scents of your belongings after the move.


Two Weeks Before

__ Back up your computer(s). Take photos of any wire and cord configurations as-is so you can set it up quickly after moving.

__ If you’re moving to a new city, ensure that everything is out of your safe deposit box, pick up all clothes from the cleaners, and make sure anyone who has borrowed something has returned it.

__ Refill prescriptions for you, your family members, and any pets.

__ Forward your mail and change your address with financial institutions, government offices, employers, and insurance providers.

__ Cancel your current services and transfer utilities.

__ Plan to use up food in your freezer.


One Week Before

__ If you have access to your new house or apartment, take photos of the empty rooms. If you’re renting, this step is critical to ensure that the landlord doesn’t charge you for any damage that occurred before you moved in.

__ Clean your old and new homes.

__ Got deliveries coming? Either cancel or redirect them, so they don’t sit outside your old home.

__ Donate any unused food items to a food bank or shelter. You could also donate pet food to a worthy animal charity or shelter.

__ Make sure you have cash to tip your movers. Many people give 5%-10%, but if you have complicated or large items, consider giving more.

__ Give your place one last look, checking all the shelves, drawers, nooks and crannies where your stuff might be hiding.


Moving Day

__ Get up early and be ready when the movers (or your friends and family) show up.

__ Once you have loaded all your items on the moving van, take photos of your empty home to prove you are leaving it in move-out condition.

__ Tip your movers — or provide that promised pizza and beer to the folks who helped you out.

__ Unpack your bathroom items and make the beds so you can feel clean and comfortable after a hard day’s work.


One Week After

__ Thank your real estate agent or broker. You don’t have to do anything fancy, but a thank you to the person who helped you find your great new home is always appreciated. Also, consider referring friends and family members to your agent in the future.

__ You should do the same with anyone who helped with the move. Send a nice thank-you note, too.

__ Meet with your new banker to ensure that everything is set up correctly and to see if they offer any other programs or services that make sense for you.

__ Explore your new neighborhood. Get to know the restaurants, shops, and gathering spots.

__ Meet your new neighbors. Be on the lookout for kids playing around the neighborhood so your kids can find their new set of friends.


Two Weeks After

__ Offer your empty boxes up to someone else who is moving. Local Buy Nothing groups or Craigslist are great places. (Are you done unpacking? If not, try to finish soon. The items you don’t unpack now are likely to sit in boxes for months, annoying at least one family member).

__ Find an activity or cause to participate in. This will cement you in your new neighborhood or city and could net you some new like-minded friends.

Finally, sit down and take a breather in your fabulous new home. You did a lot to get here!


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How Much Should You Tip your Movers: