You can relieve much of the stress and solve many of the challenges of a move by simply following an organized checklist. Having a moving and packing checklist helps you break even a major move down into easily doable and incremental steps – while it also ensures that you don’t overlook an important detail. The best way to create the checklist is by setting dates that serve as milestone markers. The following checklist offers guidance regarding some of the most important tasks that a successful move involves. Use it as your blueprint – and feel free to add others tasks if you think of any that are not included that may apply to you.
Download this article as a printable checklist here.
90 Days Before Moving Day
- Solicit recommendations from friends and colleagues for reliable moving companies, and then request price quotes from 3-4 movers.
- It is a good idea to have them visit your home to clarify the logistics, since the volume of cargo you want to move as well as ease or difficulty of accessing your home with a large truck can influence the cost.
- Will you need to have an automotive delivery service move one or more of your vehicles? If so, follow the same procedure to get recommendations and quotes from vehicle moving companies. Some of them move the vehicles on an open-bed truck, and others use a closed truck – which is best if you have a rare or especially pricey vehicle that you do not want to be exposed to the elements.
- If you will need to rent storage space when you arrive at your new destination, begin doing research to find secure and available space. Select a climate-controlled storage facility if what you are storing items that need to be kept away from humidity or extreme temperatures and temperature fluctuations.
- Begin estimating how many packing boxes and other supplies you’ll need, and try to set aside a room to stash and organize those and to make it more convenient to perform packing projects such as bubble-wrapping, taping, and labeling items.
- One way to free-up space, and to help make your move easier, is to pare-down your possessions. Have a yard sale and/or donate non-essentials to a charity such as Habitat for Humanity.
- Once you have done that, take a video inventory for insurance purposes, and contact your insurance agent to ensure that all of your policies will be transferred with you, and that you will have coverage throughout the whole moving process. You may need to find a new insurance company if moving out of state, and be sure to confirm any changes or commitments made by your agent in writing, so you have proof and documentation that you are, in fact, insured.
- Notify the IRS that you are making a permanent move, using the official IRS change of address form, Form 8822. That form is available free by calling (800) 829-1040 or via download from the IRS website. Also track your expenses because moving expenses are tax deductible.
- Start communicating with schools near your new home, so that your children will be able to have their transcripts forwarded, complete their registrations, and enroll without unwanted delays.
- Solicit referrals from professionals such as dentists, doctors, veterinarians, attorneys, and real estate agents so that you can have professionals ready to assist you once you move to a new town, city, or state.
- You will also need to move your family and pets, so make those travel plans as soon as possible – including such things are airplane, rental car, hotel, and pet lodging service reservations.
30 Days from Moving Day
- Reconfirm dates with the mover, and notify utility companies including your phone, cable, and Internet provider if you are going to disconnect and subscribe to a different service once you arrive at your new destination.
- Fill out a change of address form at the post office, and submit address changes or cancellation notices to parties such as your Netflix and Amazon account, and any magazines or newspaper you subscribe to.
- Also finalize contracts with local contractors such as house cleaners and landscape services.
- Make sure your children are compiling an up-to-date address book so that they can stay in touch with their friends, school teachers, and others from the old neighborhood.
14 Days from Moving Day
- You should now be finishing up the last of the packing, finding new homes for houseplants or making necessary arrangements to safely move them, and setting up services like utilities on the other end, at your new home.
- Transfer any pharmaceutical prescriptions or get extra supplies so that there is no gap in taking medications you need, and make copies of all vital documents such as financial papers, passports, and family photos.
- Don’t send critical documents or items of value such as jewelry with the movers, but carry them on your person as you move.
- Check to be sure that file cabinets and other items being sent with the movers do not contain any confidential documents or information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account information, or birth certificates.
7 Days from Moving Day
- Clean out gym and school lockers, office desks at work, and pick up any stray dry cleaning.
- Return library books, and make sure you only have enough perishables and groceries to last you through moving day – so you don’t wind up with food you cannot use.
- Reconfirm with the movers to make sure they are on track, and get some cash from the bank to tip the movers.
- Consider a Plan B in case there is an emergency and the movers do not arrive on moving day – by making alternative arrangements to spend the night with friends or family members or in a local hotel.
- Make sure all deliveries to your old home have been discontinued, and put necessities such as house keys and garage door openers in a large envelop to leave behind for the new owner.
- You should be packed with enough clothes in your suitcases to tide you over until you are in your new home. If needed, pack lunches, games, or other items for the trip.
- Give your home and property a final once-over to make sure you didn’t forget anything, and withdraw enough cash from the bank to cover you in case of on-the-road emergencies.
- Make sure your confidential records and valuables you’re carrying on your person are packed and within arm’s reach, and bid your old home farewell.
Since a big move takes time to arrange, it’s best to start 90 days ahead, if possible. If you don’t have 90 days, then set things into motion using this checklist as soon as you possibly can. Try to accomplish the preliminary tasks before you hit the 30-day mark, so that you can then follow the checklist as it is written, hitting the 14-day, 7-day, and moving day objectives in a timely fashion.
Your new home may need a good cleaning, to make your arrival easier and more pleasant, and be sure you have window coverings and essentials such as cleaning supplies, toiletries, and groceries on hand to greet you. Then relax, celebrate your successful move, enjoy the journey, and get ready for your life’s adventure to continue in your new home – wherever that may be.