Transitions in life can be difficult, even when you’re opening the door to a wonderful new beginning. Of all the changes you will make over the course of a lifetime, uprooting and moving from one home to another has to be one of the most challenging.
Getting everything you own organized and packed into boxes is no simple task, and when you’re up to your elbows in packing peanuts, it can feel like you’ll never have a place to hang your hat again.
Take a deep breath. Moving is a lot of work, but you can cut your stress by following our simple checklist. The secret to success? Get a big head start. Our checklist starts two months ahead of moving day to give you as much breathing room as possible. You won’t have to worry about all the details at once — all you have to do is commit to getting started and take each task one step at a time.
Relax! You’ve got this.
Two Months Ahead
Hire your mover. If you’re planning to hire a professional moving company, price alone isn’t always the best way to choose. Get recommendations from friends and read reviews online to help you decide. Make sure your mover has great references and is fully-insured. If you’re planning to do your own moving, reserve your truck now.
Start a moving folder. Designate a folder or binder to hold all of your important paperwork so it will stay handy during your move. This should include paperwork from the movers; your lease, mortgage and insurance paperwork; and any other contact information you’ll need during the process.
Do a deep clean. Give your current house a thorough cleaning, making any repairs required for the new residents and discarding items you won’t want to take with you to your new place. You can donate items in good condition or sell them at a garage sale within the next two weeks. This is also the right time to throw away things that are beyond repair or simply no longer wanted.
Six Weeks Ahead
Gather packing supplies. If you’re moving your own items, gather boxes, Sharpies, packing tape, newspaper and bubble wrap so you can start packing. If you can source some items for free, do it! Grocery stores often have sturdy boxes, and you can collect old newspapers from friends and neighbors.
Take measurements. If possible, visit your new home to measure the width of the doorways to make sure all of your furniture will fit. If not, you’ll have some decisions to make about what you’re keeping and what you may need to replace.
One Month Ahead
Pack. It’s never too early to start packing up items you don’t need on a daily basis. Start with out-of-season clothing, collectibles and decorative items. Focus on just one room at a time, and give yourself permission to take more than one day for each room — it’s a big job!
- Pro tip: To make your eventual unpacking easier, label each box with the room where the items belong, followed by a brief description of its contents.
Take care of your valuables. Pack very valuable items and paperwork, like deeds and property titles, in a separate lockbox or safe that you can move yourself. It’s also a good idea to check your insurance policy to see if you need extra coverage for items in transit.
Notify important contacts about your move. Visit your mail carrier or go online to fill out a change of address form so your mail gets forwarded to your new address. This is also the time to inform your bank, utility companies and anyone you pay a regular bill to about your new address to transfer services and billing. One easy way to do this is to scroll through your online bill pay account and copy the list of companies you pay regularly so you know you haven’t skipped anyone. If you’re moving far away, have school and medical records transferred as well.
Check in with your homeowners’ association. Check to see if you have any duties to fulfill before moving out or if there’s a specific check-out procedure. It’s also a good time to touch base with your new association to learn about moving day rules, such as where to park and where to discard packing boxes.
Two Weeks Ahead
Deal with repairs. If your car needs an oil change or other servicing, take care of it now — it will easily get lost in the shuffle for the next several weeks as you complete your move. The same is true for major appliances like your washer, dryer, refrigerator and anything else you’re planning to take with you. Being without these items while you’re busy setting up the house will be a major stressor — one you can avoid with a bit of planning.
Polish off your food supply. If you have a collection of canned or dry goods in your kitchen or a fridge full of condiments, start planning your dinners around them so you can use up the majority of your ingredients before you move. You’ll have less to pack, and less will go to waste if you’re traveling too far to take perishable items with you.
One Week Ahead
Pack a suitcase. Make it easy to get dressed for the first few days at your new place by packing a suitcase of comfortable clothing and pajamas to keep handy in your new bedroom — or on the road, if you’re moving across the country. You should also include a bag of toiletries like your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and any other essentials to keep you fresh and clean.
Check your meds. Refill any prescriptions, and make sure you have some basics like Tylenol and TUMS handy as well. Keep your medications in your suitcase so you know exactly where to find them — you don’t want to have any gaps in your medical care while you move.
Eat a healthy breakfast. It’s going to be a long day, so be sure to fill up on a protein-packed breakfast and plenty of coffee before diving into last-minute packing. Grab a bottle of water to stay hydrated throughout the day, too.
Supervise the movers. Be on hand to make sure all of your items end up on the truck, and be sure to get a copy of the inventory paperwork. Double-check contact and tracking information. If you’re packing your own truck, start with large appliances and furniture, then fill in with smaller boxes and oddly-shaped items. Strive to have the weight distributed evenly around the truck.
Take a last look: Don’t forget to do a final walk-through to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything that you’ll miss on your way to life in your new home. Turn out the lights, lock the door, and start your brand new adventure.
Happy house warming!