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Moving Checklist

Moving is hard. There’s a lot you need to keep track of, packing your whole life up and taking it to a new location. You also probably won’t have the chance to go back if you missed something, so you need to make sure to get it right the first time. With a good moving checklist, you can do a lot better. A lot will vary based on how much time you have, how far you need to go, and any number of factors. Adjust what you need to do and when based on your circumstances, but use this list as a guideline for what you need to do. Don’t try to keep it in your head - print out or write all this down, and you’ll have to deal with a lot less stress.

As far in advance as possible

  • Create a file/folder (physical or digital) to keep track of everything - this checklist, documents, receipts, everything else.
  • Create a budget for the move, including the cost of renting a truck/hiring movers, packing supplies, travel costs, etc.
  • Decide if you’re handling the move yourself or hiring a moving company.
  • Start searching for new services/professionals in the area, such as schools/doctors/childcare/veterinarian/etc.
  • Request time off work for moving day.
  • Start purging (selling off, giving away, throwing out) as much of your stuff as possible.
  • Create an inventory of your most valuable possessions.
  • Come up with an organizational scheme for your stuff (preferably based on where it’ll be in your new home, not where it is now).

A month before moving

  • Collect boxes and order packing supplies.
  • Start packing items you can do without for now.
  • Mark the boxes for what room they’ll go to in your new home.
  • Collect your most important papers/documents (financial records, IDs, etc.) so you know where they are later.
  • Notify any services/utilities of your moving date, arranging for transfer or end of service. These include:
    • Electricity
    • Internet
    • Cable
    • Phone
    • Water
    • Renters Insurance
    • Security system
    • Subscription to magazines/newspapers/etc.
  • File change of address with the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Get records from medical professionals to take to the next place.
  • Make sure your friends and family know that you’re moving, and send them your new address.
  • Throw a going away party at your current place.
  • Take pictures of how electronics are set up currently, to make them easier to set up later.
  • Measure your furniture and compare to your new apartment’s dimensions to start to plan arrangements and get rid of what you can’t keep.
  • Make travel arrangements for yourself, your family, and don’t forget your pets.
  • Do a little bit each day, rather than all at once in a frenzy at the end.
  • Review the moving budget to make sure you’re staying on track.

Two weeks before moving:

  • If driving to your new place, take your car in to get serviced.
  • Confirm details of any travel arrangements.
  • Resolve anything tied to your location, such as clearing out safety deposit boxes, returning library books, and picking up dry cleaning.
  • Start assembling a “survival kit”, with everything you’ll need for the first couple nights, such as bedding and toiletries.
  • If using friends and family to help you move, confirm that they’ll be able to help on that day.
  • Continue packing up, this time targeting things you won’t need in the next two weeks.
  • Review your moving budget (yes, again - it’s really important).

The week before moving:

  • Make sure you’ve changed your address with anyone who uses it (government, employer, insurance, bank, Amazon, etc.).
  • Stop buying groceries to use up what you have around you.
  • Back up everything on your computers, both to external hard drives and an outside backup service.
  • Research your new daily routine and the area around your place more closely
    • What’s your route to work/school?
    • Where’s the nearest grocery store? Gas station?
    • Where will you stop to get your morning coffee?
  • Take cash out of an ATM, in case it’s needed.
  • Confirm arrangements for moving out with current landlord.
  • Confirm arrangements for moving in with new landlord.
  • Finish packing up your “survival kit”, adding a few days’ worth of clothes and medication to it.
  • Finish packing up things as you stop needing them in the short term.
  • Make last-minute repairs.
  • Inspect your current place to make sure nothing was missed.
  • Review your moving budget again (you’re near the end, if you’re doing well you’ve kept it close to what you budgeted for).

Moving day

  • Run through your home again to make sure you’ve left nothing behind - pay special attention to drawers, cabinets, and cupboards.
  • Pack up the final items that you needed overnight.
  • Set aside really important items (such as your important documents) to keep with you personally throughout the move.
  • Take out the trash one last time.
  • Work with the movers/volunteers to get everything loaded in the truck.
  • Lock the place up, give keys to landlord/manager.
  • Travel to the new place.
  • Unpack the truck and make sure everything is accounted for.
  • Put all boxes (which should be labeled) in the rooms they’re going to be living in.
  • Pay the movers or return the moving truck.
  • Start unpacking what you need right away (usually bedroom and bathroom items).
  • Make sure you’re not forgetting to eat, drink water, and take the occasional moment to rest.

You may need to add things, adjust the timing, or find that some of these things aren’t necessary. Whatever you need to do with it, use this moving checklist as your guide to keep the move on track. You’re not going to keep it all in your head, so save yourself the stress that trying to do that would cause.

Categories: Moving, Renters

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About the Author
Zac Kandell Headshot

Zac Kandell is a freelance writer based in Atlanta. In addition to contributing to Rentals.com, Zac has previously written for Apartment Guide and AT&T. During his spare time, he enjoys reading comics and spending way too much time listening to podcasts.