Checklist for moving: A complete timeline & guide

Whether you’re relocating down the street, moving across the country or shipping out halfway around the world, moving can be a massive task.

But a moving checklist can help prevent your move from overwhelming you by keeping everything in order before, during and after the move. Read on to see how exactly a little preparation can help you with your move. 

Key takeaways

  • Moving can be a lot of work. But with a little preparation, you can make it easier.
  • Do as much as you can in the weeks and months leading up to your move.
  • Make sure you have checklists not only for moving day preparations but after you move in as well.

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Moving out checklist

Before you move into your new place, you have to prepare for the move itself. And tackling things in stages over the weeks leading up to the move can help make all the preparations more doable.

Two months before your move

Consider preparing for your move at least two months ahead of time. It’ll give you plenty of time to get things in order before the big day.

Here are some things to consider a couple of months out:

  • Give notice to your landlord. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to inform your landlord that you won’t be renewing your lease.
  • Consider different moving options. Are you planning on hiring a moving company to handle the packing, loading, moving and unloading? Or are you thinking about handling the move yourself with the help of friends or family? Research the difference in cost between moving options, and consider which fit into your budget. If you’re moving for a job, keep in mind that your employer may cover some or all of the relocation costs.
  • Research schools near your new home. If you have children, look into potential schools and start the enrollment process. 
  • Start gathering packing supplies. If you’re handling the move yourself, you’ll need supplies like boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap and packing paper. And even if you’ve hired movers, there may be some things—like valuables, keepsakes and important documents—that you want to pack and move yourself.
  • Take inventory of your belongings. While you don’t need to go through every single thing you own right away, try to gauge what will go with you and what will be sold, donated and trashed. Try tackling one room, closet or drawer at a time—whatever works best for you.

One month before your move

With moving day a month away, now’s the time to prepare your current home for the move.

  • Start packing. Use the month before your move to pack up things you won’t want or need until after the move. Label boxes clearly so movers know exactly where they should go in your new home.
  • Plan for your new space. If you have a home lined up, take measurements so you can lay out your new space accordingly. There’s a chance some of your current belongings won’t fit well in the new home. Sell, donate or trash items that you decide not to bring in the move.
  • Schedule utility stops and starts. Contact the likes of your internet service provider and water and electric companies to let them know when you’ll be moving out. That way you don’t end up paying for utilities longer than necessary. You can also set up utilities for your new home so they’re ready to use when you move in.
  • Change and update address and contact information. Inform the likes of the United States Postal Service and your banks, credit card issuers and insurance providers about your change of address.
  • Finalize moving preparations. Iron out details and set firm moving dates. Get information on what you need to do if you’ve hired a moving company. If you’re taking a do-it-yourself approach, make sure you’ve reserved a moving truck and have enough help to get you out of your old home and into your new one. If necessary, request time off from your job for the move.

One week before your move

About a week out, you should only have last-minute moving preparations on your hands.

  • Get your moving essentials ready. Have a suitcase, backpack or duffel bag ready to go with your essentials, like a few days’ worth of clothes, toiletries, medications and other needs. Have this for everyone in your moving group. 
  • Clean your space. Depending on where you live, you might be responsible for cleaning your space before you leave it. With the majority of things packed up, you may want to fill in holes in the walls and paint. Vacuum, sweep, mop, scrub and dust as you go. 
  • Pack up food. Nonperishable items that won’t be eaten before your move should get packed away. You could even try “fridge clean-out” meals to eat up the last of anything you have in your refrigerator. Toss whatever you don’t plan on taking.

Moving in checklist

When the big day comes, make sure you’re ready for every aspect of moving out—and in.

  • Wake up early. The sooner you start means the sooner you’re done. If you have movers, friends or family coming to help, make sure everything is in order for them to get going.
  • Do a final walk-through. Make sure you haven’t forgotten to pack anything. And once you’ve gotten everything out of the home, do a final walk-through and clean anything that may need one last touch-up. 
  • Set up your new space. Head to your new home and get the movers situated to unload your belongings. Try to label each room to match what’s on your boxes so movers have an easy time putting everything exactly where you want.

Moving checklist in a nutshell

Moving is a big task for anyone and can be a lot of work. So the more preparation you can do in the months and weeks leading up to your move, the easier your move will be.

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