The Ultimate Moving Checklist

woman packing dishes as part of her moving checklist

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Moving to a new house is one of the biggest projects any person, couple, or family can take on. If you need a moving checklist that will help you cover every possible base and be ready to transition seamlessly from one home to the next, then you’re in the right place. Here is the ultimate moving checklist. Start eight weeks out so that you have a full two months to schedule everything you need week by week. Check it off online or print it out to carry around with you while you pack.

8 Weeks Left Moving Checklist

Your moving schedule starts eight weeks before you plan to move. That’s two months of preparation, which is enough to ensure everything is booked and scheduled with room for a few setbacks. You’ll have plenty of time to research and schedule anything that requires a bit of coordination. When you’re eight weeks ahead of moving day, start making plans with the following moving checklist items.

☐ Create a Place for Moving Files

  • Moving requires a surprising amount of paperwork. These days, it’s mostly digital paperwork, however. So make yourself a virtual drive folder to store all the research, documents, and photos that you’ll collect along the way. Then, all of your moving files are in the same place when you need them.
  • If you have physical files to store, create one clearly labeled folder for all of your paper moving documents.

☐ Research Moving Services

  • In every city, there are at least two local moving services (and often dozens), to choose between. For long-distance moves, you can also consider national moving services that have trucks and teams in every major city. Do your research into the best way to hire movers, and narrow down your options to those that are licensed, well-rated by clients, and offer insurance coverage.

☐ Designate Your Moving Budget

  • Determine how much your family can afford to spend on the entire moving process. This will give you a general budget for everything from moving services to gas and snacks on the drive.
  • Research or get quotes to determine the general cost of moving services. Determine your range of spending and which services you do or do not need, such as dish packing and furniture disassembly.

☐ Request Time Off for the Moving Week

  • If you are moving in town or transitioning locations with the same job, now is the time to arrange for time off. Put in the request with your supervisor or HR to clear the moving dates ahead of time and make sure your time is approved by moving day.
  • Ask for Thursday and Friday to get four solid days of moving using only two days off.
  • If you are quitting your job, give your employer reasonable notice. For many jobs, that means waiting until the two-week mark, but some positions require (or expect) longer notice periods. Think about it now, and schedule a reminder in your phone for the appropriate time.

☐ Give Notice to Your Landlord

  • If you’re moving from a rental home, it’s polite to give your landlord over a month’s notice that you won’t be renewing the lease. This gives them time to start arranging for turnover services (cleaning, appliance maintenance, etc.) and marketing the house for the next tenants.

☐ Plan a Weekend Trip to the Neighborhood

  • If you haven’t visited your new home’s neighborhood yet, get acquainted with it before you move in. Plan a weekend trip and book a hotel nearby so you can explore the local community and get a feel for your new home environment.

☐ Research Schools and Community Resources

  • If you have children, get to know the schools in the area. Look up their ratings, curriculum, and parent stories. You may have some choice of schools, so do your research to find out what the best option is.
  • If you enjoy local community resources like theaters, community centers, or public parks, now is a good time to start that research, too.

☐ Begin Roommate Searching

  • If you’re going to want a roommate in the new place, start looking around. There are many roommate-matchmaking services to choose from, or you can advertise for the open room yourself. Starting early will help you find a roommate by the time you’re ready to move in.

 

7 Weeks Left Moving Checklist

At seven weeks, you should be finishing up your eight-week moving checklist goals and ready to take the next steps.

☐ Talk to Your Kids About the Move

  • As the move approaches, it’s time to get your family ready to face the big changes ahead. If you haven’t already sat down and talked to your kids about the move, what to expect, and their feelings about moving, then now is the time.

☐ Sort Your Possessions

  • Before you start packing, sort through everything. Now is your perfect opportunity to decide what you won’t be packing so that it can be sold or thrown away instead.
  • Start a pile or box of items that will be excluded from the move.

☐ Consider Moving Insurance

  • Research moving insurance and temporary insurance to decide the right policy to cover this transition. Items inside your home are generally safe, and they’re protected by homeowners or renter insurance. But your items are at greater risk (and have less insurance coverage) when on the road. Many families get a little extra temporary insurance during a move.

☐ Get In-Home Estimates from Local Movers

  • If you haven’t already, start calling your final list of local movers to get quotes. When they ask if you want an in-home estimate, say yes. This will get you a far more accurate assessment of the time and cost it will take to move your home.
  • Remember to designate whether you expect packing services or will be doing all (or most) of the packing yourself.
  • When you’re getting estimates, have questions to ask. In fact, sit down ahead of time and write out things you want to ask so that all your bases are covered. Here are a few examples:
    • “Is furniture disassembly and reassembly extra?”
    • “How do you handle large breakables?”
    • “Do you offer moving insurance?”

☐ Select a Moving Company and Services

  • Once you have estimates and answers to your questions, choose your moving company. Then select from their list of services to complete your moving plans.
  • Let your chosen moving company know they are the winners and begin coordinating.

☐ Ask Friends to Help with the Move

  • If you’ll be asking friends or family to help you with the move, seven weeks gives you (and them) plenty of time to plan and coordinate. Now is the time to ask around to see who has a few spare weekends to help you pack.

☐ Decide How You’ll Move Breakables and Electronic Items

  • The most challenging items to pack and move are your breakables (dishes, glass sculptures, etc.) and your electronics. You will need to know how to wrap and pack these items. Also, have a plan for their safe transportation. Do your research, and start setting aside towels and T-shirts to pack with.

 

6 Weeks Left Moving Checklist

Six weeks is an important milestone on your moving checklist for counting down to moving day. Begin making concrete arrangements now for both your old home and your new one.

☐ Schedule the Movers

  • If you haven’t yet, lock down your schedule with the movers. Let them know you’re six weeks out and your intended moving day. If you need any services that take place before moving day (like packing services), then schedule those now.

☐ Get Free Packing Boxes

  • There are tons of places where you can find free sturdy boxes to pack in. Any grocery store, department store, big-box store, and shipping facility may have boxes they were just going to throw into the recycle dumpster anyway.

☐ Order Your Moving Supplies

  • Now that you’ve collected free boxes, determine what all additional moving supplies you need. Packing tape, masking tape, sharpies, scissors, and packing paper are essential. You may also want to pick up some cardboard dividers so you can easily pack kitchen breakables.

☐ Begin Travel Arrangements

  • Start planning your travel arrangements. If you’re taking the family on a road trip from one house to the next, then look up your route and begin thinking about logistics. If you’re flying to the new place, it’s time to book those flights and make arrangements to transport your car separately.

☐ Contact Insurance Providers

  • Insurance is often very locational in terms of price, availability, and local service providers. From your health insurance to your home insurance, check in with your insurance providers. Applying for a new quote might become part of your moving checklist, depending on your company’s specific requirements.

☐ Request Your Children’s School Transcripts and Inform the School of the Move

  • If your children are changing schools, they’ll need their transcripts from their current school. However, schools can take their time retrieving and sending these transcripts, so it’s best to ask before you need them.

☐ Identify Your Tax-Deductible Moving Expenses

  • If you have any tax-deductible moving expenses, like donating items to charity or making a work-related relocation, take note of them now. Keep careful records for anything that will go into your tax return.

 

5 Weeks Left Moving Checklist

When you have just five weeks left, it’s your chance to take care of everything that didn’t happen in the previous week. Complete plans that you’ve been making, build your packing strategy, and prepare for the one-month countdown on your moving checklist.

☐ Initiate Any File or Financial Transfers

  • If you need to transition your files or finances because of the move, take care of that now.

☐ Start Clearing Out Your Fridge and Pantry

  • Try to plan your meals so that your refrigerator is empty of perishable foods by moving day. Also, try to make your pantry light and easy to pack. The best way to achieve this is to eat down your supplies and restock as little as possible for the next month.
  • Challenge yourself and your family to come up with recipes to use everything up.
  • Nonperishables that you just can’t cook can be donated to the local food bank.

☐ Build Your Packing Strategy

woman labeling boxes for her move

  • Every move should have a packing strategy. Consider what strategy will make it easiest for you to pack now and then unpack later. Here are a few best practices:
  • Pack room by room.
  • Use colored tape to clearly label and color-code boxes.
  • Label in detail and list everything in each box so that it’s easy to find later.
  • Stack packed boxes in an emptied room.

☐ Begin Packing Long-Term Items

  • With your packing strategy ready, you can start putting all of your long-term possessions into boxes. These are things you won’t miss in the next month so they can be packed away confidently.

☐ Confirm Doorway and Stairway Measurements

  • If you are moving bulky furniture, make sure that it can fit through all the right doors. Measure the doors, turns, and stairways both in your current home and the new home.

☐ Identify and Schedule Minor Home Repairs

  • As the month countdown approaches, get ready to fix every minor problem with the house. Inspect your home and look for every paint scuff, loose handle, and dripping faucet. Then schedule the necessary repairs.

 

The One Month Milestone on Your Moving Checklist

It’s one month until moving day, and you’re in the final countdown. It’s time to get yourself, your possessions, and your family together so that at the end of this month, you’ll be able to move to the new house confidently without looking back.

☐ Update Your Local Memberships and Online Accounts

  • If you have any memberships to local gyms, clubs, or grocery stores, cancel them. There’s no need to keep paying for memberships that you don’t live near anymore.
  • For online accounts, start changing your address. Everywhere your address is listed (or might be listed), log in and add the new details.

☐ Set Aside Your “Go Box” Supplies

  • Your go box supplies includes things you’ll need to live minimally for the next month. Pare down your kitchen, bathroom, and personal supplies to living one week at a time. Put these things aside to pack last and unpack first so you can live comfortably in both houses when they are mostly empty. These items include
    • Nonbreakable dishes and cups
    • One or two pots and pans
    • Basic toiletries
    • Devices and chargers

☐ Determine Your Box Labeling Plan

  • If you haven’t already, decide how you’re going to label all the boxes. We suggest color-coded tape and detailed labels to help you sort and unpack boxes in the new home more efficiently.
  • Don’t forget a special label for breakables and electronics.

☐ Pack Everything

  • Finally, it’s time to start packing everything into boxes. With your go box items set aside, pack everything else in the house using the methods you’ve already learned or recently researched. Stack complete boxes based on what room they were packed from and what they contain.

☐ Throw Away Hazardous and Unwanted Items

  • Some things can’t move with you, like cans of explosive gasses. If you need to move something that can’t legally or safely go into a moving truck, then make separate arrangements or throw it away.

☐ Confirm Moving and Storage Scheduled Services

  • Call the moving company back and confirm the upcoming dates. If you have any personal storage booked, make sure that it is still in place and ready, too.

☐ Arrange for Temporary Housing

  • Some situations call for temporary housing between moving out and moving in. If necessary, research and book your family’s temporary housing a month ahead of time.

☐ Book Shipping for Vehicles or Special Items

  • If you have something like a piano or a vehicle that needs to be transported to the new house but can’t take a moving truck, there are special services for this type of transportation. Your movers may also have a recommendation for who they tend to work with in these situations.

 

3 Weeks Left Moving Checklist

Now that you’re partially through the final month before your move, you will be crossing final items off your checklist and beginning to tie up all the loose ends. Keep going:

☐ Cancel Regular Deliveries and Services

  • If you have regular deliveries or services that come to your house, cancel them. For services that have been good to you, consider parting with a special thank you and possibly a bonus tip for making your time in the current house more pleasant.

☐ Transfer Local Accounts to the New Location

  • From bank accounts to grocery delivery accounts, make the shift. If you’re staying with the same company, then simply transfer your account location and services to the new home address.

☐ Send a Moving Message to Friends and Family

  • Send a helpful message to all your friends and family that your address is changing. Include a new phone number if you have one and the address if you want them to have it. A mass email or text is usually all you need for this step. But you can also choose to use this as an opportunity to throw a moving party with your favorite locals.

☐ Get Your Vehicles Serviced

  • Take your car in for a check-up and tune-up, especially if you’ll be driving a long distance to the new house. Ensure that your vehicle is up to the task of carrying you, the family, and your bags safely.

 

2 Weeks Left Moving Checklist

You have just two weeks left until moving day, and you’re either buzzing with energy or nearly exhausted from the preparations. Don’t worry — we’re almost done.

☐ Reserve a Storage Unit

  • Logistics aren’t always perfect. If you’re going to need to store a few things during the moving process, just book some personal storage near the new house. Now is the time to make sure that it is in place.

☐ Paint and Surface Touch-Ups

homeowner repairing minor wall damage as part of her moving checklist

  • Inspect the house from top to bottom now that it’s mostly packed up. Find all minor damages like scrapes and nail holes, and touch them up with a little color-matching paint. Polish the counters, oil the wood floors and railings, and shine the doorknobs.

☐ Pack Your Bags and Go Boxes

  • Two weeks ahead, you’re ready to actually pack the bags and boxes that will keep the family comfortable during the transition. If you don’t already have suitcases, invest in a family pack of duffel bags, as they are easy to pack, transport, and load into the car.
  • Those household items you set aside for the go boxes should now be tentatively packed (but keep the boxes open).

 

Final Week Countdown

It’s the last week before the move, and everything is almost ready to go. Your schedule should be locked down and aligned, and you’ll even have a good idea of what the weather will be like on moving day. Here are your final tasks:

☐ Turn On the Utilities in the New House

  • If you haven’t already, call the utility companies for your new house and make sure everything is turned on. Water, electricity, Internet, and gas (if you need it) should be on your moving checklist. Also, check on garbage and recycling services.

☐ Live Out of Bags and Go Boxes Until Moving Day

  • Everything but one week of clothes, shoes, and your immediate lifestyle go boxes should be completely packed up right now. This is the week when you live out of your luggage and wash everything one last time before the drive. It can be a fun house-camping experience for the family.

☐ Set Up Mail Forwarding

  • Make sure all mail addressed to you at your current address is sent to the new address. You can do this for approximately $1 on the USPS website.

☐ Check the Weather Forecast

  • What will the weather be like on your moving day? Will it be rainy, icy, or clear skies from here to your new house? Look it up and make plans accordingly. It’s okay to delay your drive by one or two days as long as the moving truck is still coordinated.

☐ Final House Cleanup

  • Near the end of your final week in the house, stack all of your possessions in one room, and do your last thorough cleanup. Sweep, mop, vacuum, polish, and otherwise make the house spotless as you can. For renters, this will win security deposit points. For homeowners, this will make your staging and selling phase much easier.

☐ Take Outgoing Photographs

  • Lastly, snap photographs of the empty, perfectly clean home. Whether you’re preparing to post a video tour or just protecting your security deposit, outgoing photos are digital proof that the home was in excellent condition when you left it.

 

The Moving Checklist for Moving Day

Finally, you’re ready for moving day. The movers have packed the truck, and you’re prepared to take that one-way road trip to the new house. Whether you’re alone or with family, here’s your moving day checklist:

☐ Pack the Car

  • Get your bags and go boxes into the car with enough room for the passengers.
  • Pets, naturally, should be loaded in last.

☐ Load the Truck

  • Oversee the packing of the moving truck, or pack it yourself.
  • Ensure every box and piece of furniture is packed and secured.

☐ Coordinate with Movers

  • Make sure you know when you will arrive and when the movers will arrive, and have a plan to keep in touch.

☐ Do a Final Check for Belongings

  • Do one last walk through the house, opening every cabinet and closet, to make sure you’ve left nothing behind.
  • Have the tallest person check the high shelves throughout the house.

☐ Final Sweep and Cleaning Session

  • If anything got dusty or scuffed during the move-out, polish it one more time.

☐ Make Sure You Have the New Keys

  • Do not depart without keys to both the old and new houses in your pocket. You’ll need the new house keys when you arrive, probably exhausted, at the end of this road trip.

☐ Close and Lock Up the House

  • As you load yourself and the family into the car, make sure every window and outer door to the old house is locked.
  • If you need to leave the key with someone, do so. Alternatively, leave the key in a prearranged hiding spot.

☐ Get Yourself Safely to the New Place

  • Travel safely, and stop whenever you feel restless or tired. Make sure you and your family get to the new house with minimal stress and fatigue.

☐ Wait for the Movers

  • Finally, you’re ready to chill in the new house and wait for the moving truck to catch up. Your bags and go boxes will come in handy once again if you’re camping in an empty house for a day or two.

Planning for a move doesn’t have to be hectic or stressful. With this two-month countdown moving checklist, you can get everything done and have your new home comfortably ready to move in precisely as your moving day arrives. For even more ideas, check out our list of moving and packing tips.

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