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A Simplified Moving Checklist

Things to Do When Moving

Moving is often considered one of life’s most stressful moments, but planning it shouldn’t be the cause. With so many other things to worry about — finding a house, securing a job, uprooting your life — getting your stuff from point A to point B can’t be the only concern. To help you keep track of all the little details, we’ve created a simplified moving checklist. So you can focus on what’s really important.

Want to keep track of this off-line? Download our printable checklist

Need to move in a hurry? Skip to the highlights for last-minute moving     

download the printable moving checklist

10 Step Moving Checklist

You don’t have time to read over 100+ steps, so we’ve summarized all the to-dos into 10 main points. This way you can still get everything done without feeling overwhelmed. 

  1. Create a Move Plan
  2. Choose a Moving Service
  3. Sort Your Stuff
  4. Start Packing
  5. Prepare Yourself and Your Family
  6. Take Care of Your Home and Car
  7. Make Important Updates
  8. Make a Plan for Moving Day
  9. Go Over the Trip Details
  10. Get the New House Ready  

Create a Move Plan

The first step in planning a move is creating a detailed plan. You’ll need to know when you want to move (or at least when you’ll need items delivered), what your budget is, and how you plan on traveling to the new home. All of these things can impact the rest of your decisions. As you gather information, it’s helpful to keep a move file so nothing gets lost. Use it to keep track of quotes, receipts and other important documents.

Not sure what your budget is? Check out this guide on moving prices for more info.

Choose a Moving Service

Each type of moving service has different things to offer. Some provide a completely hands-off experience, while others give you more control. If you’re not sure which to use, check out this moving service comparison. Once you’ve made a decision on the type of service, it’s time to research individual companies, get quotes and reserve the move. Keep in mind that the more the company does, the more heads-up they’ll need to get you on the schedule.

Have a unique moving circumstance like limited parking or a tight deadline? Explore options to find the right solution to your situation

Sort Your Stuff

Compare where you’re currently living to the new place — is it bigger? Smaller? In a new climate? Are you just starting out? How it differs will determine what to look for as you go through your belongings. If you’re downsizing, set aside unwanted items to donate or sell. If you’re moving to a new environment, think about what items you’re missing.

Related resources:

Start Packing

If you chose a DIY moving service, you’ll be responsible for packing your own items. Start as early as possible to avoid unnecessary stress. Begin by ordering boxes and other supplies, and be sure to read this ultimate guide to packing. It provides step-by-step instructions for every item and room in your home.

Prepare Yourself and Your Family

Moves bring up a lot of emotions. Whether excited or sad, you’ll need to be prepared to handle the adjustment. Children can be especially affected by changes in schedule and environment, and may require some extra help and attention during the transition. Similarly, pets can get stressed in new situations, so be on the lookout for changes in behavior.

Help everyone adjust with these articles:

Take Care of Your Home and Car

While you focus is likely on your new home, your current one will still require a little attention. Be sure to complete tasks like deep cleaning, getting deposits back and canceling services like landscapers and pest control. Call utilities services at your current and future locations to cancel and set-up service around your moving day. Learn how to transfer utilities here.

Your car is another item that needs attention before a move. If you’re driving to the new home, you’ll need to schedule maintenance to make sure it’s up for the trip. If you’re flying or have multiple vehicles, it may be necessary to ship or tow one or more cars. 

Make Important Updates

Virtually every service you use has your address on file — either for mailing or billing. And while forwarding your mail will keep you from missing anything (at least for a while), it’s still good to change the address at the source. It’s also a good time to cancel any non-transferable services (or ones you’ve just been putting off). Contact these offices:

  • Banks/finance companies/credit cards
  • Insurance agencies
  • Gyms/fitness centers
  • Magazines/newspapers
  • Monthly memberships/subscriptions
  • Pharmacy
  • Doctor
  • DMV
  • Social Security
  • Post office
  • City/county tax assessor
  • IRS
  • Veteran’s administration

Not sure how to forward your mail? Check out this how-to guide for changing your address

Need a post office box? Here’s how to get a PO Box in another state

Don’t know your new address? Learn how to move without a forwarding address

Your address isn’t the only personal information you’ll need to update. In order to get seamless care, speak with doctors about referrals and go through the process of transferring your medical records. Don’t forget about records for other family members (especially children) and getting paperwork from the vet. And be sure to change voter registration before the next election!

Make a Plan for Moving Day

You’re in the home stretch! Now you just have to confirm that all the details line up. Make sure everything goes off without a hitch by:

  • Arranging for parking for the equipment (and any moving help) at both ends of your move
  • Alerting credit card companies or banks about upcoming charges (for the move and travel)
  • Figuring out where kids and pets should stay on moving day (it may be best to arrange for off-site care)
  • Scheduling any loading help for after the equipment arrives (to avoid paying for downtime)
  • Knowing the ins and outs of the moving company (and any day-of procedures they may have)

Go Over the Trip Details

Getting everyone to the new home is no small task. And while you may be tempted to drive straight through, it can be more memorable to have some fun along the way. Use this road trip guide to get tips on planning stops and staying entertained in the car. Not driving? Don’t forget to book flights and arrange for transportation to and from the airport. No matter how you’re traveling, be sure to pack a bag with anything you’ll need until your belongings arrive (clothing, medication, important documents, etc.)

Get the New House Ready

Before your stuff arrives, the home is a blank slate. Take this opportunity to make any repairs/upgrades or just deep clean. It will make settling in so much easier! One area to focus on is home safety. Change locks, install exterior lighting, fix damaged windows and fences, and consider adding a security system.

Related resource: How to Check Neighborhood Crime Rates

Last-Minute Moving Tips

If you’re short on time, don’t sweat it! Some things can wait until after the move. Speed up the process with these tips:

  • Get the Move Scheduled ASAP. The longer you wait, the more availability becomes a concern. And you really can’t make other plans until you nail down this detail. Call the moving company; you’ll feel better.  
  • Just Pack. Paring down items makes unpacking easier, but sometimes you just need to get stuff in boxes. Instead of spending time sorting through everything, focus your energy on packing items correctly. Don’t think, start packing.
  • Power through the Planning. Some details have to be handled up-front (like transferring school records, connecting utilities and arranging for parking). Set aside a couple of hours to tackle these all at once. And do as much as you can online. Less time on hold is always a plus.
  • Be OK with Spontaneity. With such short notice, it’s impossible to think of everything. Whether it’s choosing a hotel on your way to the new home or running to the store for more packing supplies, sometimes you have to roll with the punches. Make decisions and don’t look back.   

Take a deep breath. You’ve got this! But if you need more help, we’ll know what to do. Explore all of our expert moving advice here or give us a call at 877-453-7274.

Still looking for a moving service? We’ve moved more than 1 million families since 1997 (and we’d love to add yours to the list). Get a quote or call to speak with a helpful moving consultant.