Moving is hard. I know this because I have moved more times than your average person. This Moving Checklist is being shared with you after many, many, many, years of trial and error.
Moving can be VERY stressful, and there’s always that nagging feeling that you forgot something. After handling more than a dozen moves in my lifetime, I’ve learned some hard lessons about moving dos and don’ts. To that end, I have created what I believe to be The Ultimate Moving Checklist.
The Ultimate Moving Checklist: A Preview of What’s Included
There are so many possible types of moves, that it’s impossible to cover every different scenario. Long distance moves will have different needs than short hauls. Apartment and condo moves will have different needs than houses. Renter will have different needs than home buyers. And so on.
However, it is our hope that this Moving Checklist will cover the essentials for nearly every time of move.
Before you can really get started, one of the obvious “need-to-knows” is when and where you are moving.
That will help you determine some of the key elements of getting a move organized, including your budget, if you’re hiring movers or doing it yourself (with the help of friends and family).
Plus, a clear understanding of WHAT you are moving will help you figure out if this is even something you can tackle on your own. For example, if you’re trying to move a piano or hot tub, you may want to consider hiring professionals who know how to handle bulky or overweight items.
When setting your move date, keep in mind that mid-week moves tend to be cheaper for moving companies than weekend moves. If you can do so, aim to move in the middle of the week but book the remainder of the week off so that you have those days and the weekend to get your new home organized.
|Pick move date||Set the big day so you something to work toward|
|Set a moving budget||Packing materials, moving costs, insurance, etc.|
|Create a moving file||All moving related documents in one place!|
|Hire movers / rent truck||Depending on what your moving budget allows|
|Purchase moving insurance||Optional, but can provide peace of mind|
|Arrange child and/or pet care||Keep them safe and out of the way during the move|
|Book time off for move||Some companies offer time off for moving|
|Announce move date||Let friends, family, & co-workers know you’re moving|
|Schedule helpers||Even if you have movers, helpers can be handy|
|Clubs & Memberships||Transfer (or resign if not active in your new neighborhood)|
|Confirm moving requirements||For loading and unloading your moving truck|
|Book elevator for move day||If moving into/out of an apartment or condo|
|Confirm parking for moving truck||You may need a permit for moving day|
|Determine load-in points||What will fit, and how to get it into the house|
|Return library books & rentals||You don’t want to move these things with you|
|Retrieve loaned items||Pick up what you loaned to others|
|Medical records||Gather important documents in a safe place|
|Fill Prescriptions||You don’t want to run out mid-move|
|Plan your route||Especially if you’re moving long distance|
|Take a photo inventory||Take pictures of your belongings in case things get lost|
|Back up computers||Just in case…|
|Cook meals||Use what’s in the fridge and freezer instead of moving it|
|Donate non-perishables||Donate canned & dry goods to the local Food Bank|
|Take pictures of your electronics||As an easy reference for what cord went where|
|Research the new neighborhood||Find stores, restaurants, services, etc. near the new you|
|Moving day playlist||Music helps to motivate!|
QUICK TIP: Make sure you understand HOW you will load your larger items into your new home, especially if they won’t fit through the front entrance. Measure twice, Move once!!!
Get Your Packing Supplies in Order
Nobody – including friends, family, or professional movers – wants to move a home that has not been properly packed. To make sure your move goes smoothly, make sure you have the right supplies to get the job done.
Some of the items on this moving checklist can be store bought (such as packing tape and markers), some of these items can be reused (from the local liquor store), and some of these items can be things you already have at home (socks, scarves, and towels make for excellent packing material).
|Packing boxes||New or used from local stores|
|Bubble wrap||For your most fragile items|
|Packing paper||Kraft or newspaper will do for most items|
|Packing tape||To properly seal boxes|
|Garment bags||Heavy Duty trash bags will often do|
|Plastic baggies||For all loose screws, batteries, etc.|
|Thick felt markers||For labeling boxes with room & contents|
|Moving labels||Optional, but very handy|
|Plastic wrap||For wrapping up loose items|
|Egg cartons||Perfect for packing jewelry|
|Rubber bands||Useful in hundreds of ways|
QUICK TIP: Consider searching on Craigslist for free, used moving boxes. Flatten and put your moving boxes back up on Craigslist when you’re done your move.
Packing Up Your Home
How furiously you need to pack depends on how long you have before you move, but try not to leave it to the last minute and end up panic-packing, as you will regret that after the move.
Our moving checklist assumes that you have a reasonable amount of time to pack, but if you have to pack in a hurry… just accelerate your progress through the list.
Even if your current home is on the market, you can still pack. Just stack boxes neatly in one corner of the room but try to keep them out of line of site from the front door.
And keep in mind that not everything needs to be “packed”. For most local moves, you can leave the clothing in the dresser drawers. This will also help reduce wasted space inside the moving truck.
However, you should pack up any small, loose, or valuable items that could get lost if the dresser drawer tipped over during the move.
|Create an inventory list||To track each box and its contents|
|Number your boxes||You’ll know how many you have if one goes missing|
|Set up a packing supplies station||Keep all your supplies in one place|
|Create donate pile(s)||Moving is a great opportunity to purge, purge, purge|
|Pack other belongings||Gym locker? Safety deposit box? Etc.|
|Create “Unpack First” Boxes||One for each key room – Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedrooms|
|Create “I Will Move This” area||Put things you will bring by yourself in this space|
|Separate hazardous items||Some things need special handling|
|Pack off-season items||Get these packed up an out of the way|
|Pack collectables & knick-knacks||You’ll be fine without these for a few weeks|
|Pack guest room(s)||Unless you are expecting company before the move|
|Pack storage room(s)||And purge as much as possible while doing so|
|Pack cold cellar/pantry||Keep a few essentials, if you must|
|Pack china cabinet||You won’t be needing those fancy plates right now|
|Pack family photos||Photo albums & framed photos can all be packed early|
|Pack books & movies||You can live without these while you’re moving|
|Pack any “Collections”||Be it comic books or stamps, pack ‘em now!|
|Pack decor accents||Organize these by color or category, not room|
|Pack linen closet||Use these items as padding while you’re packing|
|Pack yard/shed||Keep a couple of essentials to do yard cleanup|
|Pack files & records||Put these in the “I Will Move This” area|
|Pack dishes||Dishes should be packed vertically (like vinyl albums)|
|Pack a suitcase||Enough to get each person through the first few days|
|Balance the weight||Light items in larger boxes, heavy items in smaller boxes|
|Wrap hanging clothes||Keep on the hangers and cover with garment/trash bag|
|Pack room-by-room||Tackle what’s left, one room at a time|
|Defrost the freezer||Nobody wants to move a block of ice|
|Washer & Dryer||If moving them, disconnect and drain the washer|
|Disassemble beds the night before||Sleep on just the box spring and mattress for one night|
|Keep older towels and sheets out||These can be used to wrap and protect furniture|
QUICK TIP: Label boxes on the top and 2 sides, so that you can easily see what’s in the box while you’re carrying it or if it’s buried in a pile of boxes.
Create a Move Day Essentials Box
A Move Day Essentials Box helps you put all of the critical things you may need in one handy place, so that you’re not frantically searching through all of the boxes to find the one that has the toilet paper.
We discovered this trick after moving into a new house to discover, as the sun began to set, that the former owners had unscrewed and removed every single light bulb in the entire house.
|Toilet paper||Cleaning spray|
|Pain medication||Dish soap|
|Light bulbs||Hand / body soap|
|Paper towels||Toothbrush & toothpaste|
|Hand sanitizer||Phone charger|
|Basic tool kit||Cash (for tipping, coffee, etc.)|
|Bottled water||Batteries (a few of each type)|
|Snacks||Pet food (if you have a pet)|
|Box cutters / utility knife||Lighter or matches|
QUICK TIP: Put the Moving Essentials box in the front seat of your car or the truck cab so that you know EXACTLY where it is at all times.