Best Moving Checklist and Tips

Moving isn't something you do overnight - it requires planning, packing and other tasks that help you stay as organized as possible. Whether you are headed across town or relocating from coast to coast, there are many things you'll need to consider before moving day.

In order to keep all of the details together, you should definitely keep a moving checklist and timeline. This helps you know what needs to be done well beforehand so that there are no surprises or challenges down the road. Here's a guide we put together to help you craft your own list: 

Labeling everything is just one part of your moving checklist. Labeling everything is just one part of your moving checklist.

Two Months Out

1. Now is the time to decide what items in your home are staying, getting donated or tossed. Getting rid of clutter is always a good thing - and there's no better time to do it than before a big move.

2. Start thinking about what types of goods will need special shipping considerations or insurance.

3. If you will be hiring movers, start researching different companies in your area. Choose the one that best fits your needs, and then have a representative conduct an in-home estimate. That way, you'll have a rough idea of how much money your move will cost. Moving can get expensive, and making last-minute changes can increase costs. 

4. Read the moving rights for your state and make sure the moving company you choose abides by these regulations. For instance, if something valuable is broken or lost during your move, you'll want to know what your next course of action will be and what you are entitled to.

5. If you have kids in school, now is the time to request school records if they are changing districts or zones.

Request school records for your kids two months before moving day.

Six Weeks Out

1. It's important to put the finishing touches on any real estate agreement or rental lease at this time, and also to contact your insurance companies if to see if any changes need to be made to your existing policies. This step applies to any type of residential policy, including renters, homeowners and landlords insurance.

2. Gather medical and dental records for you and your family, and also ask doctors and dentists for any recommendations in your new location.

3. Book hotels and flights to your new location, if applicable. Securing arrangements this far ahead of your move might cost more than what you'd pay if you take advantage of a potential last-minute discount. However, waiting for such a deal puts you at risk of not finding an available room or ticket. It's better to book travel ahead of time so you're guaranteed a way to your destination.

One Month Out

1. Since most utilities operate on monthly payment cycles, now is the time to contact them and let them know that this is the last month you require their services. If you are staying in the same city, give these companies your new address so that your utilities will be fully functional once you arrive.

2. Contact and book a storage facility if you plan on using one during your move. While you are at it, arrange for your automobile transport if applicable.

3. If you are packing on your own, order boxes and any other packing supplies. Then, start to box up goods that you will not be using for the next month. It's better to pack incrementally rather than waiting until the last minute.

Two Weeks Out

1. Consider throwing a going-away party with friends if you are moving out of state. This is especially important if you have kids, as the move can be extra challenging for them.

2. Double check your travel arrangements. Review your tickets for seats and departure time, and check with the airline for information about traveling with pets if applicable. If you plan on driving, take your car for a tune-up. Check the windshield wipers and wiper fluid, oil levels, tire treads and battery.

Make sure your car has a tune-up before moving-day driving.

3. You'll be packing a lot at this time, so be sure to leave out items that you know you want to bring on the trip. Get rid of anything that you know will not be permitted to pack, such as certain cleaning materials, aerosol cans, propane tanks and matches. Check with your moving company to see what can and cannot be loaded on the moving truck to be sure. It's a good idea to start packing your travel bags at this time anyway to ensure nothing accidentally gets packed into boxes.

4. Have curtains and rugs cleaned before you pack them so they are ready for use once you arrive at your new home. However, according to United Van Lines, you should not clean upholstered furniture, as this can lead to mold. In the same vein, refrain from waxing or oiling wood furniture, as this can soften the wood during the move.

5. If your appliances need preparation for shipping, contact a service technician and arrange for these items to be disconnected and properly prepped for the move.

6. Arrange for someone to watch your pets on moving day, and also take your pets to the vet to make sure they have everything they need for travel. Some states and airline companies have special requirements for this, so it is important to check.

7. Return items to family and friends, and be sure to return your library books as well!

Make sure to return items to family and friends.

One Week Out

1. Call or email the moving company to ensure that all of the details are squared away for moving day. You should also be nearly done with most of your packing. The only items that should not be packed away are things that you absolutely need to use for the remaining week you have in your home.

2. Start labeling your boxes - this will make all the difference in the world both on the day you move and when you unpack. Labels also help you when checking inventory, making it easy to spot if anything is missing. A special label for boxes containing fragile items lets movers know to handle these with care.

The Night Before Moving Day

1. Unplug all of your electrical appliances the night before moving day to ensure that they are cool enough to load on the truck.

2. Record the total number of boxes you have and summarize each of their contents. This makes the process a little smoother once you are all loaded up and ready to sign the official paperwork with the moving company. 

Moving Day

1. The move itself will be pretty simple as most of the prep work has been done beforehand. You simply have to load up the truck, or if you hired movers, you oversee the process.

Designate time to say goodbye to family and friends with a party.

2. However, once everything is loaded on the truck, you will need to walk through one last time to check and see if something didn't make it into a box or your suitcase. You will also need to leave your keys with your real estate agent or landlord, and ensure that windows and doors are locked. Your water faucets, air conditioner/heater, lights and utilities should also be turned off before leaving.

After that, your job is done - that is, until delivery day arrives. Although moving and planning for the big day might be a tad stressful from time to time, keeping your checklist handy can definitely make the process easier.