Moving from one home to another is a stressful time. Keeping track of the dozens of small tasks you need to undertake in order to have a clean, headache-free experience can be difficult. With this in mind, we have assembled a timeline and a list of things to remember as you prepare for your move. With preparation and organization, you can have a successful–dare I say, effortless–moving experience.
Deadline: Two Months.
Getting started on your move extra early means saving yourself a lot of work and headache when moving day finally arrives.
- If you're planning on using a moving company, get quotes from at least three companies and compare them. Make sure the company does in-house assessments with a representative to ensure your quote is as close to the mark as possible. Be sure to consult with friends and family for suggestions, or do research via crowdsourced info sites like Yelp.com
- Predetermine what packing supplies you'll need, and designate a room where you'll begin storing boxes to move. Being prepared will prevent that stress flashpoint where you're moving in three days and nothing is packed (we've all been there).
- Research the community you are moving to in more depth. This is going to be your new home, and getting excited about local cafes or markets is a great way to make the moving process seem less tedious. Research schools, community groups, and local organizations so you can hit the ground running.
- Get an appraisal on expensive items, so you can insure them before you move.
- Sell, recycle, or donate things you don't need. Actively getting rid of things means less things to move. Consider having a moving sale. Fewer things to move means less to clean, less to carry, and less space to fill up in the truck.
- Create an inventory of your belongings, both for organizational purposes and to ensure you don't lose anything important.
- Contact your insurance agent to schedule a transfer for all your policies. Remember to change medical, property, fire, and auto policies to your new home. Be sure you are covered during the transit as well.
- Call both old and new schools to transfer any records for your kids. Register them early as well, just to be safe.
- Create a folder or binder where you collect receipts for any moving-related expense. A good percentage of your moving costs will be tax deductible, and you can save money in the long-term by being organized.
- Notify doctors, dentists, and vets of your move. Ask them if they have any recommendations for new caregivers where you're moving. Collect your medical records to bring with you early.
- Make travel arrangements for your family. If you are hiring movers, this is easier. If you are moving yourself, ensure there is someone to drive all the cars if you are taking the UHaul.
- Keep an eye out for old sheets, towels, and t-shirts you can use to pack fragile items when you move.
- Moving internationally? Make sure your passports and visas are in order way ahead of time.
Deadline: One Month.
Crunch time is approaching. Now is when you get the bigger gears rolling on your move. Getting your house in order is only the first part of the process, though. Making all the necessary arrangements will make your move as painless as can be.
- If you've elected to use movers for your move, you should have received estimates and hired someone by now. Check with your mover to ensure all the details are in order.
- Start packing small goods you don't use on a day-to-day basis in boxes. Label the boxes so you know what is where, and can easily find things if you need them.
- Schedule the transfer of your utilities–not just electric and power, but cable, internet, newspapers, magazines. Schedule a transfer of address with the post office.
- If you need new blinds, appliances, rugs, or anything else, arrange to have them shipped to your new home directly. There is no reason to add anything additional to your move.
- Start planning where you will put things in your new home. Label boxes accordingly, so when you're unloading, everything is where it needs to be.
- Look into moving insurance if you are getting a mover. Better safe than sorry, especially with expensive or irreplaceable goods.
- If you are moving appliances as well, pre-determine what you are going to do with them. Are you going to move the fridge yourself, or hire help? Take measurements to make sure they will fit in the available space in your new home.
- Hire a babysitter or petsitter for the day of your move. Managing boxes and children at the same time is a task you won't want to undertake.
- Develop a packing and unpacking plan for moving day. Everyone in the family should have a role if possible, and try to make it into a fun activity for kids.
- Make sure your bank has convenient branches near your new home. If they don't, consider switching accounts to avoid incurring ATM fees all the time.
- Tell family and friends your new mailing address. Switch your address for any utilities, magazines, or investments you may have missed.
- Look into DMVs if you are changing states. Many states require residents to change their drivers license within a period of time after moving, and you will eventually need to transfer your registration as well.
- If you have cleaners or landscapers, give them ample notice that you are moving.
- If you're making a long drive as part of your move, make sure your car is in the right condition to make the trip. Get a tune up, if needed.
Deadline: Two Weeks.
At this point, the moving process should be in full swing. If you started early, everything should be progressing smoothly. Keep up a good pace, and your move will be a breeze.
- Clean the rooms in your house that you've begun to empty. Don't forget to clean up attics, basements, and garages. This is a great opportunity to make sure you didn't miss anything.
- If you are planning on hiring cleaning services or painters to spruce up your old home (or prepare your new home), now is a great opportunity to line them up. Trying to move with painters around is a big mess, and getting those things taken care of early gets them out of the way.
- Transfer any prescriptions you may have to a pharmacy in your new hometown. Don't wait until the last minute, especially if you have daily medications.
- Make sure all of your important documents are in one place. Wills, passports, birth certificates, financial statements, deeds, and more. Make copies of each and pack them securely with your belongings. Carry the originals personally.
- Remember to collect valuables and pack them with extra care. Keep them on the side, and move them yourself in the event you are hiring movers. Don't risk losing them.
- Got library books or DVD rentals? Remember to return them before they get lost in the move.
- Make sure your pets are ready for the move, too. Get their transportation in order if you are going a long distance, and make sure they are up to date on their shots. Moving can be stressful for pets, so be prepared to accommodate them.
Deadline: One Week.
Moving day is approaching quickly. Now is the moment when you dot your i's and cross your t's one last time. By now everything should be nearly ready for the truck to roll up to your house.
- Double check all your arrangements, first. Make sure the movers are scheduled, the truck is rented, and anything else that could derail your moving day. Write out a list of everyone you may need to contact in a pinch on the big day, and a second list for the movers themselves with your contact information.
- Put together a survival kit with snacks, water, toilet paper, and a few days worth of clothes. Pack as though you were going camping. In the event that something comes up and you're stuck in a hotel for a night or two, having a kit packed can make the transition considerably easier.
- Pack any items you haven't had the opportunity to pack yet. Don't push this back until moving day, if you can help it.
- Don't forget to clearly label any boxes that you are fragile, or that you will be loading yourself.
- Be sure to have a cash tip on hand for your movers. $20-25 per mover is around standard.
- If you are buying a house, confirm closing/move in dates with your realtor to make sure everything is clear.
- Come up with a back-up plan in the event that you are unable to move into your home as planned. Have a local hotel in mind. Better yet, if you have a welcoming friend nearby, reach out to them in the event that something comes up.
- If you are moving yourself, consider asking friends or family members to help. Buying a pizza or two will warm people up to the idea.
- Get your kids on board for the move. Explain to them what is happening and get them involved in the process. Make it fun for them, if possible.
- Eat all perishable foods that will go bad during the move. Minimize waste as best you can. Pack up dry goods and non-perishables.
- Start touching up the walls and carpets in empty rooms of the house you're leaving. Save yourself time and effort further along the road.
Deadline: Moving day.
The big day is finally here! What now? Moving day is stressful, but if you've been keeping up with everything in the months prior, you should be in good shape. This is a special day, and you should remember to enjoy it.
- Double check your inventory list and sign it. Put it in your moving folder with your important documents. Be sure to keep this with you!
- When the movers arrive, read the Bill of Lading carefully and sign it. Make sure you have the moving company's contact information with you in your moving folder.
- To make the moving process easier for movers, label the rooms in your new home so they can easily coordinate which boxes go where. This will also help you when it comes time to unpack.
- Clean up your old house as each room empties, if you aren't hiring a professional cleaning service. That way you don't have to go back and clean the entire house after you've been moving all day.
- Remember to mow the lawn at your old house before you leave, especially if the home will be vacant for a period of time.
- Double check to make sure your utilities will be on when you arrive at the new house.
- Empty, clean and defrost your refrigerator and freezer. Wash out with cleaning solution, and leave a box of baking soda to prevent stagnant odors from developing.
- Be sure to have cash on hand the day of your move, just in case. You never know when you might need it.
- Complete a final walk through of your old home with your real estate agent/landlord.
- Lift with your knees, not with your back. Remember good form to prevent injury.
Once you're moved into your new home, settle in with the family and enjoy the unpacking process. Remember to explore the town and meet your neighbors, and get acquainted with your new life in this new place. Congratulations, you're home!