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You’ve finally found the perfect home and now you’re ready to make the big move. But where do you even begin? After years of collecting knick-knacks, clothes, art, and other personal belongings, you certainly have your hands full. Luckily, a moving checklist can simplify the process and keep you on the right track so everything is ready when moving day rolls around.
Below, you’ll find a 25-step, eight-week checklist full of essential to-dos. Check each one off the list as you complete it to make your move as seamless and stress-free as possible.
Eight Weeks Out
Minimize stress and simplify your move by starting the process two months early. With moving day just eight weeks away, you’ll want to begin organizing your belongings and getting rid of whatever you don’t need.
You might also research a few moving companies or start looking for friends and family who can help you load and unload boxes.
1.Create a Digital Folder
Cross this item off of your moving checklist by keeping all receipts, records, quotes, and other documents related to your move in one place with a digital folder. Take photos of everything and put them in a storage system like a Google Drive or Dropbox folder so you always have the most important information at your fingertips.
2. Make a Budget
The second item to tackle on your moving checklist is making a budget. Hiring professional movers, buying a new sectional, and making last-minute upgrades will cost you a pretty penny. Making a budget will help you save money and stay organized. Set aside some cash for your top moving priorities and buy that new wine fridge only if there’s enough left over after you relocate.
3. Sort Your Belongings
Start emptying your closets, drawers, and cupboards and go through your belongings one room at a time. Consider how you might fill each room in your new house. If an item doesn’t complement your design scheme, set it aside to either trash, sell, or donate. Then, you can either put everything you plan to keep back where it belongs or start putting stuff in boxes.
4. Host a Yard Sale
If you’re downsizing or plan to replace old items with new ones, try hosting a yard sale. Make some money off your old household items and donate anything you can’t sell. Put signs up around the neighborhood and make an announcement on social media to let your friends, family, and neighbors know about the upcoming sale.
5. Research Moving Companies
Finding the right moving company can be daunting, especially when there are so many to choose from. However, if you pick movers that have a good reputation and don’t demand a large deposit before moving, you’ve made a good choice.
Ask friends and family for recommendations and avoid companies with a name switch, as they may have had a few run-ins with the Better Business Bureau.
Six Weeks Out
When you’re six weeks out from a move, there are a few more things you must add to your moving checklist. Most of them pertain to your personal belongings and how you might prepare to pack them away. While it may seem a bit early to begin packing, you’ll avoid major headaches if you start the process now.
6. Collect Supplies
If you haven’t yet begun to box up your belongings, now is the time to start collecting supplies. Ask your local liquor store or grocery store for empty cardboard boxes and gather pens, markers, packing tape, and labels. You might also begin collecting newspapers, bubble wrap, tissue paper, and socks to wrap fragile items and keep them safe during the move.
7. Take Inventory
Use this item on your moving checklist to create an inventory sheet and include every item you plan to move on the list. Separate items by room and create a separate sheet for valuables. Taking inventory will come in handy if anything goes missing on the ride over to your new place.
Plus, you’ll know exactly what you’re bringing into your new home so you can begin planning how you’ll arrange furniture and lay out each room.
8. Label Boxes
Additionally, mark boxes that contain breakable items so you know to stack them on top of heavier containers. You might even label all your boxes to make the unpacking process a little easier. Use colored tape to organize your belongings by room and put a label on each side so you don’t have to turn the box every which way to figure out what’s inside.
9. Take Measurements
Imagine transporting your grand piano to your new home only to find it doesn’t fit through the door. Avoid this major conundrum by measuring doorways, stairways, and elevators in your new house before hiring someone to move your largest items. If your couch or giant musical instrument won’t fit, plan to sell and possibly replace them before your move.
Four Weeks Out
Moving day is a month away and things are really coming down to the wire. Continue to make progress on your moving checklist by starting the packing process — if you haven’t already — and gathering all important documents. Now is the time to choose moving insurance, hire your movers, and make a visit to the post office to officially change your address.
10. Choose Your Mover
If you think you can transport all of your belongings in a few trucks or cars, ask — or beg — a few friends to help you make the move. Otherwise, you’ll have to hire professional movers or rent a moving van from a reputable company. Get quotes and compare prices before making a final decision.
11. Purchase Moving Insurance
Most renter and homeowner insurance policies won’t cover the cost of lost or damaged items during a move. Therefore, it may be wise to purchase moving insurance. Choose between full value protection, released value protection, and separate liability coverage to find a policy that will reimburse you if any mishaps occur on moving day.
12. Start Packing
By now, you should have put at least a few belongings in boxes. This week, however, you must buckle down and pack up most everything else.
Take photos of electronics before disassembling them and put all hardware in labeled bags for easy furniture assembly after your move. Pack away pantry items and any other belongings you don’t plan to use over the next two weeks.
13. Gather Important Documents
Collect birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports, tax records, and other important documents and put them in a single folder. Then, keep it in your car or on your person on moving day to ensure nothing goes missing or sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Plus, if anyone is hurt or injured during the move, you’ll have personal info on hand to make a claim or prove your identity.
14. Update Your Address
Make sure your mail moves with you by updating your address at the local post office. Contact the DMV, IRS, voter registration office, and Social Security Administration to let them know about the move as well. Remember to switch your utilities to your new address and update your banking information so your bills go to the correct house.
Two Weeks Out
The big day is right around the corner, which means you should be tying up as many loose ends from your moving checklist as possible. Use this week to prepare for the final week of packing and cleaning. Service your car, request time off from work, and meal prep for this final week in your old home.
15. Request a Day Off
Submit a time off request to make sure you’re free on moving day. Plan for a Friday move so you have all weekend to unpack and reorganize things. You might even let your boss know about your weekend plans so he isn’t tempted to send extra work your way over that three-day period.
16. Service Your Car
Whether you’re traveling cross-country or moving a few miles, it’s wise to service your car before stuffing it full of belongings. The last thing you want is a breakdown mid-move, so get an engine check and oil change and encourage anyone lending a helping hand to do the same.
17. Share Your New Address
With moving day just 14 days away, it’s time to let your friends and family know where you’re headed. Announce your move on social media and ask people to direct message you if they want your new address. You might also send an email blast or group message to anyone you think might be interested.
18. Confirm Moving Dates
Call the moving company — or your helpful friends — one final time to confirm moving dates. Discuss parking options and consider getting a parking permit for your movers if you live in the city. If you’ve yet to secure movers, look into renting a moving truck.
19. Plan and Prep Meals
Almost everything will be in boxes the week before you move, including most pantry items. Therefore, it’s important to plan and prep your final meals this week so there’s nothing left in your fridge on moving day. Bookmark your favorite take-out menus and keep a pan or two out to make fast, easy frozen meals.
One Week Out
You’re down to the last seven days, and this week is all about completing last-minute to-dos. The final push should be relatively easy thanks to all the hard work you put in weeks prior, so give yourself a pat on the back — and welcome the final stretch.
20. Pack a Weekend Bag
Make moving slightly less stressful by packing a weekend bag for you and your family. What would you typically bring with you on a short vacation? Make room for an extra outfit, phone chargers, snacks, toiletries, medications, and pajamas so you don’t have to go digging through boxes for essentials during your first weekend in your new home.
21. Clean Both Houses
One of the last things to do before moving out is to give both homes a thorough wipe-down. Clean countertops, light fixtures, handles, windows, and floors so you can make your old home more attractive to potential buyers. Then, get to work on your new home so you aren’t vacuuming around boxes after moving in.
22. Take Photos
Once you’ve finished cleaning, take photos of your old house. You’ll want proof that everything was in good condition just in case buyers make a mess or cause damage to score a lower price. Remember to make any last-minute renovations before snapping pics and make note of any broken or deteriorating elements you simply don’t have time to repair.
23. Identify Unpacking Priorities
When you finally move everything into your new home, the last thing you’ll want to do is wonder where you put your forks or toilet paper. Look out for future-you by packing an essentials box for each room and clearly labeling them. This way you know which boxes to unpack first.
24. Take Out Cash
Your movers may have given you a quote a few weeks ago. However, this price doesn’t include a tip. If you have lots of heavy items and the guys are good at their job, you may consider tipping each one up to $100, so remember to withdraw enough cash to properly thank them for all their hard work.
25. Turn In Early
Finally, remember to set your alarm early and hit the hay at a decent hour. You don’t want to wake up groggy and grumpy on moving day, so turn in early and get your beauty sleep the night before.
Congratulations! You made it to moving day, but there are still a few things you have to do. First, wake up early and clear a path for the movers. Then, order food and refreshments so everyone has enough energy to keep chugging along. When the sweat starts dripping and the heave-ho’s start, they’ll be thankful for the pizza and ice-cold lemonade.
Last but not least, do a final walkthrough to make sure the place is empty. Then, haul everything over to your new house. Once all your belongings are inside, take a breather and celebrate with takeout and drinks. Tomorrow, you can start unpacking and begin the process of making your house a home.