Woman Posing with Her New Headboard

The Ultimate Moving Checklist to Conquer Your Big Move

Preparing to move out is a daunting task. There are so many things to keep track of during the moving process and it can take weeks of arrangements to make sure you are set to move into your new house. If you’re feeling stressed, calm your nerves by reviewing the ultimate moving checklist below for the tasks you need to complete and a time frame of when you need to complete them after you set a moving date. This is also a printable moving checklist, so be sure to print it out and check things off as you complete them.

Downloadable Moving Checklist

Download our moving checklist in PDF format. No email required.

Download PDF

Eight Weeks Out

  • Sort and Purge: Before you start packing, make sure everything you’re taking with you is a forever item. Sort through your closets and crawl spaces and divide items out into “wants” and “don’t wants”. Maybe even plan a garage sale or donate those unwanted items to give new homes. In addition to this, be sure to mark any fragile or expensive “keep” items that may need special packaging or extra insurance coverage.
  • Create a Moving Budget: Once you’ve sorted through your home, it’s smart to set a budget for your move and decide if certain items are essential to take with you.
  • Hire Movers: Whether you want to hire professional movers or handle the move yourself is entirely up to you. However, if you do decide to hire professional movers, be sure to thoroughly research several moving companies and their policies. Some important information to look for: the mover’s U.S. Department of Transportation license number; if the company is bonded; if the company is licensed for interstate moves. You may also want to request an in-home estimate to make sure you’re receiving the best prices.
  • Obtain Your Records: Contact your doctor/dentist/etc. to notify them of your move and request copies of your family’s medical records. They might even be able to provide you with recommendations for new physicians once you’re moved in. Don’t forget to do this with your pet’s records as well! Also, if you have children, be sure to contact their school to receive their transcripts and initiate transfers of their school records to their new school(s).
  • Take Time Off: Once you know your move date, it’s smart to plan ahead and take time off work so you can move with less added stress.

Moving Tip: Read through contracts thoroughly. They may seem intimidating or look like a headache to read through but, you want to be aware of your moving company’s policies and prices.

Six Weeks Out

  • Solidify Travel Arrangements: Find lodging if you need to break up a drive over a long distance or if your new home won’t be ready as soon as you arrive. Schedule and confirm flight plans if your traveling by plane to your new city or town.
  • Collect Packing Supplies: Cardboard boxes in various sizes, specialty packing boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper, packing tape, you’re going to need it all! Moving tip, check with local grocery stores or book stores for boxes they are getting rid of before buying new ones. Not to mention, towels, socks, rags, all make great moving supplies that will keep breakables safe in boxes without costing you more money.
  • Insurance: As the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Look into getting moving insurance, especially to provide coverage over your valuable items. In addition to this, it’s smart to contact insurance agents to see if your move requires alterations to your medical, vehicle, or property insurance.
  • Start Packing! It may feel like the move is far off but, it’s better to pack a little each day than to rush through it all last minute.

Packing Tips:

  • Label: Mark your boxes with specific moving box labels such as different colored stickers or tape that corresponds to the different rooms in your house. This makes it easier to determine where things going when you’re moving into your new house. Also, mark any boxes that are filled with fragile items so they can be stacked appropriately in the moving truck and handled appropriately on moving days.
  • Inventory: Keep a list of each box, the items it contains, and the room it belongs in so you can later match it to your moving company’s sheet. This makes sure all items are packed and will end up in their proper location. Also, it’s important to keep a private list of all your valuables and which boxes they are in to ensure they all make it safely to your destination.
  • Take Photos: Before you pack up electronics, take photos of their wires for easy set-up once you’re in your new place. Also, put any hardware or electronic equipment into labeled baggies for quick arrangement and reassembly.
  • Keep Important Documents On You: Documents such as birth certificates, passports, and other records, out of boxes and by your side.

One Month Out

  • Contact Utility Companies: You do not want to be paying a water bill for water you’re no longer using. Make sure to notify your utility companies of your move so they disconnect services the day after you’re gone. That being said, be sure to also contact the utility companies in your new city to ensure things like water and electricity will be functioning when you arrive.
  • Clear Out Food: In a month, you’ll be out of your current house and into a new one so start using up the food stored in your freezer, pantry, and refrigerator. Consider donating unwanted items to local food banks.
  • Check Your Car: Especially if you are traveling across states for your move, bring your car in for any necessary oil changes, tire fixes, or other tune-ups to ensure it survives the trip.
  • Change Your Address: Visit USPS.gov or your local post office to officially change your address by filling out an address form. Also be sure to notify banks, credit card companies, subscription services, memberships, etc. of your move and your new address. It might be useful to leave your forwarding address with a neighbor in case bills or packages get sent to your old address by mistake.

Two Weeks Out

  • Double Check Your Plans: This is the perfect time to double check your moving checklists to confirm the movers, that you have insurance coverage for valuables, that you have obtained all records, that all moving expenses are covered, etc.
  • Moving Binder: Now is the time to pay it forward to the future residents of your current house. Make a binder with warranty information, manuals, and other house-specific information to pass along to its new owners.

One Week Out

  • Trash/Recycling Services: Now is a good time to cancel your current trash and recycling services and plan them for your new place.
  • Prescriptions: Fill any last-minute prescriptions you might need while moving and be sure to transfer them over to the pharmacy in your new location.
  • Finish Packing: Pack your travel bag and finalize any general household packing you might have. Make sure everything you need is in your travel bag. Here’s some essentials to keep on you and off the moving truck:
    • change of clothes
    • important documents
    • credit cards
    • medications
    • all chargers
    • toilet paper and other toiletries like toothpaste
    • basic tools
    • a tape measure
    • trash bags
    • paper towels
    • basic cleaning supplies
    • cash
    • any valuables you kept off of the truck.
  • Unplug and Clean: Unplug appliances and clean your house! Whether it’s because you’re taking your appliances with you or leaving them to the new residents, take this opportunity to get these appliances in good, clean shape. Moving tip, make sure to let your freezer thaw and completely dry refrigerators if you are taking any with you for the move.
  • Confirm the Movers: It seems tedious but be sure to call your moving company once again to go over final price estimates, a phone number for day-of contact, and to confirm the crew’s arrival time for moving day.
  • One Last Donation:  You have been sorting through your house for weeks so now is the time to make your last donation of clothing, furniture, food, or any other unwanted items.
  • Disposal of Prohibited Items: Most moving companies don’t allow boxes that contain paint, aerosol cans, matches, alcohol, and other chemicals. Make sure to properly dispose of these items or plan to move them yourself.
  • Get the Keys! You’re so close to being in your new house. Be sure to arrange a way to obtain the keys to your new home prior to arrival or schedule a time to meet the realtor when you move into your new home.

Moving Day: Moving Out

The time has come to move out of your old house and turn the key to your new one! Here are some things to remember on the big day:

  • Meet the Movers: Confirm that the moving truck’s U.S. Department of Transportation license number is the same as the one on your estimate. Also, be sure to supervise the load-in to ensure no damage is done to your furniture and other items while they are being hauled into the moving truck or moving van.
  • One Final Walk-Through: Check cabinets and rooms for forgotten items, tidy up each room, lock windows and doors, turn off lights and ceiling fans, and lastly, say a final goodbye to your old house.

Moving Day: Moving In

You’ve arrived at your new home, but the work is not done yet! Here are some things to remember when setting up your new place:

  • Clean: Before setting down furniture, be sure to sweep, mop, and dust your house so no extra work comes once the furniture is in.
  • Roll Out the Carpet Protector: Be sure that plastic carpet protector is laid out in your new house to protect your floors while moving in boxes and furniture.
  • Supervise the Move-In: Show the moving crew around and point them in the direction of which boxes belong in which rooms. Also, the moving crew will having an inventory sheet called the “bill of lading,” that notes the condition of your items including any damage. Be sure to check this over with them.
  • Pay and Tip the Movers: Pay the movers what you owe and if they did a good job, a 10-15% tip is customary.
  • Start Unpacking and Assembling Furniture: You have arrived and facilitated a successful move. Now it’s time to make this house, your home!

About the author
Katee is a lover of language and is in awe of the power it holds. Read more articles from Katee on Thought Catalog.

Learn more about Thought Catalog and our writers on our about page.

Related