Moving Checklist

Planning a move is a lot like planning a wedding: there are checklists of things to do for weeks before the event, and you’re just hoping that everything goes smoothly on the big day. If you approach your upcoming move as meticulously as a bride tackles her wedding day preparations, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor as pieces of the puzzle fall easily into place. Nothing will be forgotten, and everything will roll along just as planned (fingers crossed!).

8 to 10 Weeks to the Move

  • Get yourself a 3-ring binder with a few sheet protectors and begin filing all the documents, receipts, lists, etc., that will be created as part of the moving process. Include a folder for moving van and equipment rental, household inventories, moving company and other estimates, and other important details.
  • Start pricing the cost of moving: get estimates from a moving company (if you’re using one), van rentals, and moving equipment rentals. Store estimates and contracts in your moving binder.
  • Start rounding up packing boxes from liquor stores, grocery stores, shipping companies, and home improvement stores. Enlist family and friends to help collect boxes.
  • Schedule the best time for utility disconnection at your old home and utility connection at your new home, including Water, Electric, Garbage Pickup, Internet and/or Cable, Gas, and Landline Phone services.
  • Visit your doctor, dentist, and children’s schools to obtain records or to arrange to have them sent to your new physician, dentist, and schools.Begin mapping out a plan for what to pack first (least needed items) and what to pack last (most needed items).
  • Declutter your home to get rid of trash and stuff you don’t want to take with you. If you are in the process of showing your home, consider hiring a home stager to help you de-personalize rooms and use furniture strategically to show off your home to its best advantage.
  • Move unnecessary furniture to a storage unit.
  • Give your home a deep clean to make it pleasing to potential buyers (do this yourself or hire a maid service to make the job go more quickly).
  • Start making home repairs. Either gather the materials and start the job now or hire a contractor.

6 to 8 Weeks to the Move

  • Retrieve items you have lent to friends and return items you have borrowed. Return items you are renting unless you still need them (if you still need them, arrange for a return date and see if the rental company will pick up the items).
  • Sketch up a floor plan of your new home and label rooms. Use the same labels on boxes so that movers can easily drop boxes into the right places for easy unpacking.
  • Start boxing up items you don’t need right now, e.g. seasonal clothing, knick-knacks, family photos, extra dishes and serving platters, extra pots and pans, books, and holiday decorations.
  • Identify the large appliances that you will be taking and which ones will stay: Refrigerator, Washing Machine, Dryer, Dishwasher, etc. Clean and repair them, if necessary.
  • As you move things to your storage unit, carefully inventory each box and its location in the unit. Put unneeded items at the back and items you may need toward to the front.
  • Inform your insurance company and your credit card company of your upcoming address change.
  • Make a plan to set up a new bank account if your current bank or credit union is not available at your new home.
  • Cancel automatic payments from your bank account and memberships to local businesses.
  • Fill out a Change-of-Address form at

4 to 6 Weeks to the Move

  • As you continue to pack, keep a special box or carton available for valuable items such as jewelry that you will keep in your personal suitcase.
  • Mark a box for cleaning tools and one for items that you will need up until the day you leave and right away when you move into your new home. Clear plastic bins are a good idea so you can easily see the contents.
  • Essentials: Shampoo, conditioner, razor, shaving cream, makeup, comb, brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, feminine hygiene products, bedding.

2 to 4 Weeks to the Move

  • Confirm with your moving company or van rental company so there are no last-minute surprises.
  • Start using up food in the refrigerator and pantry to reduce how much you need to pack. Plan menus around items in your fridge, pantry, and freezer.
  • Call your bank and credit card company to notify them of the date you will be moving so that they do not accidentally put a stop on your debit card or credit card due to questionable activity.
  • Begin packing linen closet and laundry room supplies that are not immediately needed.
  • Schedule carpet cleaners to come in as soon as you have vacated the house but before the electricity is shut off. You can also schedule carpet cleaners for your new house if the current owners have not already done so.
  • Continue cleaning as you pack.
  • Set cancellation dates for services such as newspaper delivery, regular bug spraying, lawn care, pool care, HVAC, oil and propane, and other services.

1 Week to the Move

  • Begin packing up children’s rooms.
  • Check to make sure all remaining clutter has left the house—donate it, give it away, or throw it away.
  • Pack up dishes and buy paper or plastic plates, cups, and utensils for meals. Leave the bare minimum of utensils, pots, and pans in the kitchen for cooking.
  • Check your binder to make sure you have covered the bases from all other weeks.
  • Disassemble as much as possible any remaining furniture.
  • Defrost the fridge and freezer. Clean.
  • Finish any home repair projects that are lagging.
  • Pack a bag for the trip to the new house if the journey will be long.

Moving Day

  • Pack the last of the children’s things, being sure to keep essentials in their designated boxes or suitcases.
  • Remove bedding and take beds apart.
  • Move any remaining boxes to the rental truck or leave for the movers.
  • Do a final inspection and quick clean, including sweeping and light mopping after everyone has left the house.
  • Turn off all the lights and faucets.
  • Check that all windows and doors are securely locked.

At Your New House

  • Put up signs to designate each room. This will make it easier for movers and volunteers to know where each box and piece of furniture goes.
  • Check on utilities and make sure you have electricity, heat, air conditioning, and water.
  • Unpack your vacuum and cleaning supplies in case there are spots that need a quick cleaning before furniture goes in.
  • Upack children’s beds and essentials first (to help them start settling in) and then move to the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Reward your movers or helpers with a snack and drinks.

Day and Week after Your Move

  • Have exterior door locks replaced and make sure you have enough copies of your new key for all who need them.
  • Visit the post office to make sure they are delivering your mail to your home. Also check on the status of your change-of-address form to make sure your mail is forwarded from your old address.
  • Double-check with your old utilities company to make sure utilities to your old home have been discontinued in your name.
  • Take photos of any damage in your new home.
  • If you will need to change license plates and drivers license, visit the DMV and start the process.
  • Set up new services for lawn care, pool, newspaper delivery, etc.