Preparation is Key
The better prepared you are, the smoother your move will go. It’s hard to think of everything on your own, so we’ve prepared this timeline/checklist to help you plan your move and avoid any last-minute surprises. Click here to download/print a copy.
8 Weeks Out
- Choose a moving company: Ask friends or family for a recommendation, do research online, and call to ask questions. If you’ll need storage, make those arrangements now, too.
- Get organized: Create a folder or binder for all moving-related paperwork. Save your receipts for tax deductions, or if your move is employer-sponsored.
- Stay, or go: Start thinking about what you’ll keep, sell, donate or discard. Get the exact measurements of your new living quarters if you haven’t already. Consider having a garage sale, or selling unwanted items online.
6 Weeks Out
- Get supplies: Buy packing materials, boxes, tape, markers and bubble wrap. Don’t forget the wardrobe boxes, and think about any fragile or bulky items you’ll need to make special arrangements for.
- Spread the news: Make a list of everyone you need to notify about your new address: family, friends, DMV, service providers, creditors, subscriptions.
- Get familiar: Subscribe to the print and/or digital newspaper in your new town.
5 Weeks Out
- Get Coverage: Contact insurers (auto, homeowners or renters, medical, life) to update your coverage.
- Notify schools: If you have kids, tell the staff at their schools of the impending move. Get copies of their school records and check into the enrollment process in your new location.
- Medical records: Get copies of your family’s medical records and consider asking for a referral in your new area. Do the same for your pets.
4 Weeks Out
- Change your address: Submit a Change of Address form to the post office.
- Make travel arrangements: Flying? Consider getting a ticket you can change/refund, in case something comes up. Driving? Get a tune-up and an oil change.
- Pet plans: Make any special arrangements necessary for your pets to travel or board during your move.
- Start packing: Box up the things you won’t need for the next several weeks. Make sure you label the boxes!
- Give notice: If you rent, let your landlord know you’re moving out. Begin any work (painting, cleaning carpets) you’ll need in order to get your security deposit back.
3 Weeks Out
- Turn it off, turn it on: Contact utilities and other service providers to cancel your current service and set up new accounts.
- Have your garage sale: Make arrangements to donate or discard whatever doesn’t sell.
2 Weeks Out
- Eat with purpose: Use up food items that you don’t want to move. Plan ahead to have nothing left by your move date.
- Pack, pack, pack!: Set aside only the items you’ll need to use in the next 2 weeks, and pack everything else. Don’t forget to clearly label every box.
- Valuables aside: Carefully pack up any valuables, jewelry or heirlooms and put them in a safe place to transport yourself.
- Clean up: Think about hiring professionals to do the final cleaning at your old place, and to ready your new place for your arrival.
- At your disposal: Properly dispose of any items that can’t be moved, like cleaning materials, propane, or paint.
1 Week Out
- Confirm: Check in with your mover to confirm the time and date of the move.
- Get your stuff: Withdraw contents of safety deposit box, pick up any outstanding dry cleaning, return any rented items, etc.
- Pack the essentials: Prepare a suitcase with items you will need right away at your new place, and put it aside to take with you.
- Collect important papers: Make sure any documents you’ll need during the move or immediately thereafter are set aside, easy to access, and safe.
- Leave the liquids: Drain gas and oil from any power equipment (snow blower, lawn mower) being moved.
2 Days Before
- Empty and defrost your fridge/freezer: Be sure you block the doors open, so pets and children cannot become trapped.
- Don’t touch: Check one more time to ensure any items you’re bringing with you personally are separate from what’s being packed into the moving truck.
- Work with your movers: Be there when movers arrive, and point out any large or fragile items right away. Stay until the movers are done, and have left. Give them a list of telephone numbers and/or addresses where you can be reached throughout the moving process.
- One final sweep: Before the movers pull away, do a final check of your home to make sure nothing was left behind.
- Make a note: Record all utility meter readings before you leave.
- Check your bill: Read the paperwork from the moving company carefully, and keep until all charges and claims, if any, have been settled.
Items That Can’t be Moved
Not everything can or should go on the moving truck. Make other arrangements for the following:
Perishable goods: frozen or open food items, plants, produce, refrigerated items
Hazardous or flammable materials: aerosols, chemicals (ammonia, cleaning solvents, bleach, paint thinner, nail polish remover, etc), ammunition, batteries, lighter/matches, fireworks, gasoline/kerosene/propane, pesticides/poison/weed killer, charcoal
Valuable/sentimental items: travel documents, photos, medication, financial/medical records, keys, schoolwork, jewelry