By Holger Reinel | Updated on June 10, 2020
Let’s face it, moving homes can be stressful. That’s why we have created this step-by-step moving checklist. Our moving checklist is designed to help you stay on track, before, during, and after the move, while keeping things well-organized and one step closer to a stress-free move.
We get it – Moving your belongings from one place to another is hard. You’re relocating your life, but let’s not forget you’re moving to a new place, and that’s exciting.
The following moving checklist provides you with the best way to stay in control and avoid unnecessary headaches.
Understand that moving is a process of thoughtful planning and should not happen overnight.
Our moving guide is organized in an 8-week timeline explaining the actions you should take now, the month, week, and even the day of your move.
One key reason why many people get stressed during their move is because they underestimate the amount of work and time that is required. The thing is, even though some tasks may seem trivial now, staying on schedule will help you avoid losing your cool.
So start early and check off these tasks.
When moving houses, your options will most certainly fall under one of the below two categories or somewhere in between:
Do-It-Yourself (DYI) move: This is when you rent a truck, do the packing and unpacking by yourself or with the help of friends and family members.
Hire a Moving Company: With this option, you can relax while movers load the belongings to a track, move the items to your new home, and upload
This decision will impact other future tasks so be sure to know well in advance about what option you want to go with.
Create a budget for your moving expenses
Yep, we have to start with the money part because unexpected spending can quickly add up to big amounts that can leave you feeling disappointed in the end.
So, start thinking about what you can expect to spend and prepare yourself accordingly. Here are some of the mains moving costs you need to plan for:
Movers main base fee
Movers per hour charge
Truck per KM fee
Packing supplies (boxes, tape, plastic wrap).
Time off work
Packing supplies (boxes, tape, plastic wrap)
Knowing those expected expenses ahead of time will save you a headache or two down the line.
At this point, you’ll have to decide if you’ll move by doing the work yourself or if you prefer to hire professionals.
If you decide to hire movers, get quotes from at least three reputable moving companies. Don’t waste your time with mover companies you or people you know never heard about; call only reputable companies that are recognized for being trustworthy and that are known for providing great service.
You’re legally required to provide two months advance written notice to your landlord, otherwise, you’d be on the hook for the extra rent and might even lose your deposit money.
Avoid falling prey to mover companies scams
This is a real risk – a mover con can cost you thousands or worse, your worthy possessions could vanish or held hostage unless you pay unreasonable amounts.
You should get at least three estimates from mover companies, but don’t automatically go for the cheapest; instead, choose the company with the best reputation and that can give you the best value.
Get everything in writing well before the moving day; if you wait to sign the contract or quote on moving day, you’ll be at their mercy.
Plan your new home
This is the fun part. Planning your new home is most people’s favorite part because the process is full of dreams and promises for a better, more fulfilling future.
Perhaps you’ll be doing renovations, painting, or buying new furniture. Start by taking measurements of the size of each room or a mental picture of the size, so that you can begin creating a vision of what you want in each space.
You will need that information to start planning the decoration of the new place as well as to decide if you’re buying new furniture.
If you’ll be doing renovations, it’s best to get it done before the moving day, otherwise, you’ll risk moving into a construction zone, or living for a while with unpacked boxes lying around.
Avoid packing costs. Having the movers do the packing is expensive. You’d pay inflated prices related to packing, including labor. More importantly, most movers are not experienced in packing, so there is a risk your items will be tossed into unlabeled boxes which will make unpacking an unpleasant endeavor.
To cut moving costs, consider getting rid of excess belongings.
Choose a less expensive day to move.
It’s time to start getting rid of the clutter. Before even considering packing, get rid of stuff you don’t need by hosting a garage sale; whatever you cannot sell, think about donating the items to a charity shop. This way you’ll reduce the amount of stuff you need to move, and make some money on the side.
Keep in mind that packing and moving will become a lot easier when you’re not bogged down with things that you don’t want or need.
The key to stress-free decluttering is to do it in stages. A good strategy you can use to find out items that you don’t need is to visualize where you would want to place the specific item in the new home.
Keep an eye out for items that could be used for the packing such as old sheets and/or towels.
Stop doing weekly trips to the grocery store
With 6 weeks left, you should start planning your meals so that you can consume perishable items in the fridge.
Moving consumable items is complicated; most people end up throwing away perfectly good food because you don’t want to mess these up with everything else you’ll be moving.
Frozen food could quickly defrost and become spoiled during the move, so do yourself a favor and try to use up all consumables before the move; you’ll be saving money and lighten the load.
Book time off from work
Remember to book time off for your move well in advance to avoid scheduling conflicts with other employees requesting to be off the same day(s).
Consider taking off work a few more days after the move so that you’ll have the opportunity to get things organized before going back to work.
Hire a moving company
By this point you should have already received at least three quotes from reputable moving companies, so you’ll have to decide on what company you want to hire.
This is an important part of the pre-moving work. Make sure you give yourself enough time to research and schedule the moving company you will want to hire.
Make separate plans to move items such as pianos, fine art, or anything special to you.
The reason why you’ll need to make separate plans to move fragile items is that the moving company may need to have special insurance, and their employees should have special qualifications to move fragile or special items.
A small scratch on an expensive piano or a fine art item may easily cost thousands to repair.
All reputable moving companies offer liability insurance for the goods they transport. One simple way to avoid letting your move turn into a nightmare is to find out what kind of insurance the moving company offers.
Common moving insurance covers your belongings based on their weight while full value insurance covers what the items are worth.
Never sign a blank contract. Get all details in writing, such as extra fees, labor, pick-up, drop off, and mileage.
At one month before your move, the countdown has officially begun; there is still a lot to do but that’s not a problem because you’ve got the basic things out of the way.
Now is the best time to start packing. Get enough packing boxes, tape, and markers. As you’re packing, clearly label them with what’s inside and where they should be unloaded in the new house.
If you don’t do this now, you will forget what’s inside each box.
You can start packing non-essential items such as books and none-seasonal clothes as well as items that you won’t be using within the next 30 days. For example, if you won’t be baking a cake within the next 30 days, you can go ahead and pack the dough mixer.
Discontinue service from utility suppliers & other home service providers
Inform utility providers that you’re moving and request to discontinue service at your existing address on the moving date.
One easy way to list those companies is to think about the bills you pay regularly.
Home phone service provider
Cable or Satellite TV
Provide suppliers with at least 30-days-notice to discontinue service. This will allow you to time the day of the move with the day home services will be disconnected. The last thing you want is to end up paying for service after you have moved out.
Contact Financial Institutions
Contact banks, credit card companies, and lenders to ensure you keep your personal information safely coming to your new address instead of to the old one.
Credit card companies
Local stores with loyalty programs
Car loan companies
Update your address with your car insurer
Moving houses also affects your car insurance. This is a must; you’ll have to call your car insurer to let them know your new address. If you move and don’t update the address information with the insurer, it means your insurance policy may be invalid.
The reason why this is important is that insurance premiums are tied to the address you live in. Some neighborhoods are rated differently depending on reported clams from that area.
Contact companies providing family or leisure activities
Make sure to update your new address with services you have subscribed to such as the following:
Charities you support
Newspapers & magazines
Gym, clubs, and other clubs
Registered pet microchip databases
Set up mail forwarding with the post office
If you’ve been living at your current address for many years, there will be many companies to update your address with. You can make that process easier by setting up mail forwarding at the post office.
It will take about 2 weeks for mail forwarding to come into effect, so make sure you set this up no later than 2 weeks before the big day.
Pack like items together. Include a padding layer such as a towel or a blanket, and then the pack items and then put the largest and heaviest items first. We cannot emphasize this enough, label each box immediately after you’re done with each box.
Pack a box of essentials. This includes family essentials like toaster, utensils, etc. as well as personal essentials like toothbrushes, toiletries, medicine, etc.
Avoid packing super heavy boxes. Movers charge an extra fee for each super heavy item, and there is a risk that the box could break, dropping and potentially damaging your items.
Have a backup plan: Not to sound paranoid, but this does happen. It’s possible the moving company won’t show up on moving day.
If that happens, what’s your plan B? Where will you sleep? Every rational decision has a plan B. Make sure you have a back-up plan.
Confirm with the moving company
Call your moving company to make sure they still have your booking scheduled.
Reconfirm their arrival time and contact information of someone you can call in case you have questions and don’t forget to inform them about important information such as where to park or elevator use.
Clean the rugs
You don’t want to roll out dirty rugs at the new house; so, clean them and roll them up so they are ready for moving day.
Forward medical records
Contact your doctor, dentist, and opticians to let them know about your move. If you haven’t selected a new doctor, ask for a referral; once you have selected a new doctor, make arrangements to have your medical records transferred.
Pay it forward
Help future residents by gathering in a binder, warranty information, user manuals, receipts for appliances and electrical devices.
Have a backup plan. If the movers don’t show up, make sure you have someone to call.
Enlist family and friends to help; also get free boxes from nearby grocery or liquor stores.
Separate your valuables
Items such as jewelry, passports, and important documents should be packed on a separate box. Then take this box with you in your car, so that you can move it personally to the new home.
Mark boxes that are fragile
You don’t want heavy things stacked up on top of fragile items.
Take a photo of how electronics are wired before unplugging them
Tech-savvy or not, take pictures of the way electronics are wired. Having those pictures will save you a lot of time when it is time to connect back the wiring at the new place.
Back up important computer files before the move
Back up your computer files on a memory drive and take this with you in your car. Exposing computer systems to hot or cold temperatures could result in files getting damaged or corrupted.
Return borrowed booksto the library or any rental you may be holding.
Get back your clothes from the dry cleaner
Get kids involved in the process to help pack and label boxes.
Empty the lockers at the kids’ school and your gym
Take inventory before the movers arrive
Create a list of all your belongings so that you can keep track of what the movers will be taking to the new place.
You can also use this list to determine how much moving insurance you may need.
Collect valuable items such as jewelry, money, and other valuables; pack these separately and move them yourself in your car.
Make a list of all your belongings to keep track of everything.
It’s now 24 hours before the big day; do a final walk through the home to make sure nothing is forgotten. Go through the cupboards, the drawers, and cabinets to make sure you don’t leave anything behind.
Charge your phone, check that boxes with fragile contents are properly labeled, and say a final goodnight to your old home.
If you are getting help from family and friends, confirm with them that they are coming in case they have conveniently forgotten.
Do the laundry for next week
Prepare cash or your checkbox to pay the movers
Take pictures of all the boxes and belongings that will be moved.
On the day of moving, when emotions can run high, you can have the confidence of having a well-constructed plan.
Start early and have a full breakfast so that you can be ready to greet the movers, explain your expectations, and the way you want things done.
Remember not to sign any new documents in a rush
Some companies get their clients to sign the contract on this day; this is wrong. You should have gone through the contract a month ago.
However, if you must sign the contract on moving day, make sure to take your time to read and understand what you’re signing.
Knowledge is power! To succeed in the home buying process you’ll need to know what to expect at every step of the way. You should check out our Home Buyer’s Online Course.
This is an interactive course designed in an easy to understand format; you will learn the eight steps you will need to take to achieve a successful homeownership.