A Complete Moving Checklist & Guide
Six to Eight Weeks (Two Months) before Moving Day
Know the Rules – Start by Finding a Mover, Getting Estimates and Signing a Binding Agreement
- Is your company paying for your long distance or local relocation? If so, your first step will be to check your company’s moving policy to discover what moving services will be covered.
- Contact USA Moving Companies and schedule a time when movers can visit your home and give you free online quotes of how much your move will cost.
- To receive a proper quote, prepare for the movers’ visit by making a list of and having available for an evaluation everything you want to be moved. The more information you provide USAMovingCompanies.com at this visit, the more accurate instant estimate can be given leaving no room for unpleasant surprises later.
- Ask as many questions as you can think of during the initial estimate visit. Ask for any discounts that may apply, do you plan on packing and loading/unloading the boxes yourself or do you want the moving company to handle everything.
- Read the company’s rules and regulations before signing to make sure you understand the terms completely before asking for a binding estimate.
- After you have asked detailed questions, pursued all available discounts and determined what is expected of the national or local movers and what work you will do (if any) it is time to sign a binding estimate. Make sure you ask for the name and contact information of the sales person before ending the initial estimate meeting.
- Order moving supplies if you plan on packing anything yourself.
- Contact your child’s school to notify them of your upcoming move and prepare records for the upcoming transfer. Also, find out information about schools in your new location.
Four to Six Weeks before Moving Day
Time to Clear Out and Make the Announcement
- Stop buying new things now until after you are settled into your new place.
- Start to clear out items you don’t need to move. Begin in the pantry by opening up canned goods and clearing out closets full of clothing items. Donate items to charities and get a receipt for a future tax deduction. If your house has not yet sold, this is a great time to host an open house.
- This is a great time to have a garage sale to lighten your load from needing to move unnecessary bulk.
- It’s time to let the post office know that your address will be changing. Stop by your local post office or log onto usps.com and fill out a Change of Address form.
- Also, notify newspaper, magazine and professional journal subscriptions to change your address.
- The post office is not the only place that needs to be notified that you are moving. Use the following checklist as a guideline to ensure you have properly announced your upcoming change of residence:
Who to Notify Checklist
- City/State/County/Community Tax Agencies
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Social Security Administration
- Insurance Agents
- Pharmacy (transfer prescriptions)
- Banking/Credit Card/Auto Loans
- Lawn Service
- Cable/Satellite Company
- Gas (or Fuel/Propane)
- Post Office
- Cell Phones
Two to Three Weeks (One Month) before Moving Day
Updates and Household Items
- If your purging efforts and garage sale were a success, you will now want to notify your mover of the items you will be taking off the list to move, along with any you may have added. During the call, make sure your mover has your new address and phone number along with any cell phone numbers or other numbers where you can be reached and verify any additional pick-up/delivery spots along the planned route.
- Prepare household items that will be moved and those that will be discarded. Federal law requires that flammables be properly disposed of and not loaded onto the truck or transported to your new location. This will include fireworks, matches, cleaning fluids, acids, chemistry sets, aerosol cans, ammunition and poisons such as lawn-care products. Drain gas from mowers, discard partially-used containers of bleach, paint thinner, cans of oil. Discard propane tanks (such as those used for BBQ grills).
- Make plans as to how you will get your vehicles from your current location to your destination. If you plan to drive, now is the time to get your car serviced and ready for the trip. If you are sending your vehicle ahead, now is a good time to make a reservation for a rental car and plans as to where you will pick up your vehicle when it reaches your destination.
- Have all electronics serviced, including computers. Any electronics that are not serviced before the move will likely be loaded onto the moving truck but marked as “un-serviced” as the movers are not responsible for any un-serviced electronic item.
- Make arrangements for securing and moving major appliances such as washer and dryer. If the movers are not handling this for you, contact an experienced service technician.
- Contact utilities to set a date for shut off to ensure you have the use of needed utilities through your moving day.
- Know what your items are worth before they take a trip on a moving truck. Get a written appraisal of any valuable or antique items you plan to move.
- Let your family members say goodbye by visiting the local places you will miss most, host a going away party or use up some propane from the grill and invite friends over for a farewell BBQ.
- Make hotel reservations, secure airline tickets or any other travel plans necessary for your move.
- Do not clean your upholstered furniture before moving as moisture could cause molding during storage.
- Have draperies and rugs dry cleaned, and leave them in the professional cleaner bag for the move.
- Do not wax or clean wooden furniture before the move as the polishing products will leave the wood soft and susceptible to imprint damage during the move.
One to Two Weeks before Moving Day
Tying Up Loose Ends and Don’t Forget Your Pets and Plants
- Return library books and return any other household item you have borrowed from a friend. Likewise, ask for items you have loaned to others to be returned to you before you leave.
- Empty out safe deposit boxes, gym or school lockers and make sure you regain possession of any dry cleaning or other items out for repair.
- Decide what plants to move. Some states do not allow all plants to be brought in from outside the area and plants cannot be guaranteed to arrive safely in a moving van. This is a good time to make someone’s day brighter by donating any plants you cannot move. Give them to a friend or relative, donate them to a nursing home, hospital or other charitable organization.
- In addition to being an unofficial member of your family, some states require health certificates, such as proof of rabies vaccination. Your pets are part of your family and this move will affect them as well. Schedule a veterinarian visit for them before you leave and arrange for their transportation, either with you in a vehicle or by air, train or bus. Some pets do not adjust well to the hustle and bustle of movers they do not know coming in and out of the house. If this is the case, boarding them in a kennel (both during your packing/loading and again at your new destination until you get settled is a good option to consider.
The Day Before Moving Day
The Movers Arrive and Last Minute Details
- Unplug all appliances the night before movers arrive (with the exception of plasma TVs as they need to be at room temperature on moving day).
- Have everything packed in preparation of the mover’s arrival the next day.
- Be sure to mark all boxes and items clearly including those items that are fragile or you do not want moved or packed into the truck.
- Mark the boxes in the order you will want them unloaded when you arrive at your new home.
- Place boxes in groups of like items, such as clothing, children’s clothing, kitchen items, etc.
- Double check closets, cabinets, the attic or any enclosed space to make sure you do not leave anything behind.
- Do your best to get a good night’s sleep.
The Day Has Finally Arrived
- Be on hand to answer any questions the movers may have and to make sure all your items are loaded.
- Walk around the house to make a final inspection to ensure the truck is loaded with everything you intended to on it. Then, make sure the moving van operator has the proper address of your new destination along with a number where you can be reached. Check and sign the Bill of Lading/Freight Bill and the Inventory forms and get a copy from the moving van operator for your records.
- After the moving van pulls out, take a look around. Make sure you have not left anything. Then do a walk-through of the house.
- Shut and lock all windows
- Turn off furnace or air conditioning
- Shut off the water (Make this one of your last tasks to leave room for last-minute cleanups or potty stops, especially if you have children or pets)
- Don’t forget to unplug your landline phone and bring it with you.
- Turn in your house keys
Arrival at Your New Home
- Before the movers arrive, prepare a floor plan of your new house that you can post at the entrance to make it easy for the movers to know where to place the boxes.
- Be sure to answer the phone when the mover calls and be at your new destination (either personally or arrange for another trusted adult to take your place) before the movers arrive and to remain until the last item is delivered and unloaded from the truck.
- Watch as your household items are unloaded. Check for any damaged or missing items and report them before you sign the inventory sheet.
- Direct the movers where to place each piece of furniture as it is unloaded and delivered. It is helpful to place your visible floor plan of your new home by the entrance. Keep in mind that they are movers and not interior decorators. They are not responsible for rearranging furniture. Depending on the service you paid for, the movers might begin to unpack, lay down large rugs and even reassemble furniture items like beds (you are responsible for the mattress and ensuring that major appliances are installed correctly).
- Stop! Before you start plugging in major appliances it is important to know that some television sets and major appliances can be damaged if they are not first allowed to adjust to room temperature.
- File all of your moving documents in a safe place for future reference when it comes time to file your income tax returns or for verification purposes.
The Day after Moving Day
The Morning after Your Move
- Take some time for yourself to get adjusted. If your schedule allows, sleep in and take your time getting used to your new house.
One Week Later – Getting Settled
All Moved In, Now What?
- Visit your new post office to pick up any mail they are holding and to start delivery to your new address.
- Register your vehicle in your new state and obtain a valid driver’s license.
- Talk to locals and get recommendations for a new doctor, dentist, attorney, accountant.
- Update documents such as Wills, investments that require transfers of property, insurance regulations, inheritance laws, taxes and other details that need to be updated with your new place of residence.
- If you have school-age children, register them for their new school.
- Make new friends. If you haven’t received an introduction from your new neighbors, go out of your way to introduce yourself to them. Maybe even bring a small affordable getting to know you gift, like a fruit basket.
You can also download a printable moving checklist here that you can use as a template or a reference to make your move easier.