How to Develop a Moving Checklist

PackingThe process of moving can be a very stressful one, even when you know the move is a positive thing and you’re excited about it. One big reason that moving is such a headache is because there are so many things to coordinate. You have to deal with the physical process of packing up everything you own and transporting it to a new location. On top of that, there are many other tasks, large and small, that go along with a move: notifications, paperwork, utilities, and so on.

If you want to make your move a smooth one, the best way to do it is to create a master moving checklist before you start. Having everything in writing will allow you to keep track of everything you need to do so you can be sure not to miss anything. The tips in this article will help you do that.

The Planning Stage

About eight weeks before you move, you should start making your plans. You need to include time to do all of the following:

  • Research moving and storage companies
  • Sort through your existing belongings to decide what you want to bring with you, what you want to store (if necessary), and what you want to donate or discard
  • Make a list of logistical issues that you need to address. These may include:
    • Booking a moving company
    • Getting packing supplies
    • Informing your child’s school that you’ll be leaving and getting copies of school records
    • Researching enrollment requirements at your child’s new school
    • Obtaining copies of your family’s medical records
    • Transferring insurance policies or getting new ones when necessary
    • Notifying utility companies that you will be moving
    • Contacting new utility companies to set service up at your new home
    • Giving notice to your landlord if you are renting and discussing your security deposit
    • Notifying friends and family about your move

It may help to have a notebook or binder that you dedicate to your move. That way you can keep all of your paperwork and research in one place so you can find everything when you need it.

The Early Stage

After you have made a plan, your preparations should start in earnest. Seven weeks out, you should be doing the following:

  • Sort through as many of your existing belongings as you can and donate or throw out what you don’t intend to bring with you. You may want to consider having a garage sale or yard sale too.
  • Buy packing materials (boxes, tape, bubble wrap, markers, etc.)
  • Begin to pack non-essential items, such as off-season clothing, holiday decorations, and so on. Label everything clearly, and if you plan on storing items, store them now to make room in your house.

Six weeks out, you should:

  • Book the moving company
  • Rent a storage space if you need one and have not already done so
  • Notify your child’s school of the move and notify utility companies
  • Get copies of your family’s medical records.

The Last Month

New HomeThe four weeks immediately before you move are going to be action-packed. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Take an inventory of all food in your home and make a plan to use anything perishable before you move.
  • Pack the rest of your belongings. Make sure that each box is clearly labeled so you know what is inside it, and include a designation so you know which room it should be in when it gets to your new home.
  • Keep valuable items and essential papers separate from the rest of your items. These things should be kept out of the truck – you should transport them yourself to ensure that they are safe.
  • Notify utility companies that you are moving and make arrangements with companies who need to come to your house (cable and internet providers, for example).
  • Set up utilities at your new home.
  • Make arrangements to transport pets to your new home if necessary
  • Go online and change your address with the post office
  • Notify your insurance carrier(s) of your move and where possible, transfer policies to your new address. In some cases – for example, if you are moving to a new state – you may need to find a new carrier.
  • If you are moving to a new state, research all of the following:
    • Insurance requirements
    • Car registration and licensing requirements
    • Taxes
  • Arrange for a cleaning company to come clean your home after your belongings have been moved.
  • Send out cards or email notifications to let your contacts know about your move.

The Last Minute

The final week before you move is when everything will come together.

  • Pack a suitcase for each family member with essential items that you will need as soon as you move. Like your essential papers and values, these should travel with you and not in the moving truck. You should include several changes of clothes, pajamas, basic toiletries, essential medications, and any comfort items that you may want. If you are doing a long-distance move, it’s also a good idea to pack bed linens and towels.
  • Confirm with your moving company and any other service providers to ensure that everything goes smoothly
  • Dispose of any cleaning products or chemicals in a safe way.
  • Defrost your refrigerator and freezer and get rid of any remaining food.

Having a detailed checklist will help you avoid many of the common problems that come with moving, and ensure that you and your family have a smooth and enjoyable transition to your new home.


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