Ultimate Moving Checklist 2020

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

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

The Ultimate Moving Checklist | Moving Tips | Infographic

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.

The Ultimate Moving Checklist Free PDF Download

Getting Ready

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 & MembershipsTransfer (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 itemsPick 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 freezerNobody wants to move a block of ice
Washer & DryerIf 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
Band-Aids Deodorant
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. 

More Moving Checklist Items on the Next Page

10 thoughts on “The Ultimate Moving Checklist”

  1. Great checklist to keep you organized for your move! It’s definitely not about just shoving everything into boxes, you also have to think about transferring your utilities over to your new home and forwarding your mail. It’s also super important to make sure you get a reliable moving company that knows what they’re doing. it saves so much headache!

  2. Very helpful and informative. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This idea would make you think about what to do next, although I am all in favor of hiring professional movers!

  3. Thanks to the author for sharing such a great post. The article was very well written and the checklist is really great for people like me who are looking for more information.

  4. Moving is always a hassle 😉 But it is definitely worth the effort. Recently, I helped to move my friend to a suburb of New York City from downtown. He had his own checklist to make sure he didn’t forget anything, as well as many different tips that helped a lot, some of which I think he may gave gotten from you! 🙂 My friend was madly happy to move, because the proximity of nature and the lack of noise made his life better and calmer.

  5. We really like this article. As a moving company providing a furniture removal services, we can tell that you know what you’re talking about!

  6. Hello! Thank you for the excellent blog post, our customers need to read this and I’ll point them to it. I wish there was more straightforward information about moving out there like this. Thanks again!


  7. Robertsons Removals

    This kind of job really needs appreciation and yes thanks for sharing this with us. Your blogs are always great and I love reading them. I am about to move to my new place and this checklist will be very helpful for me… thanks!

  8. This article is incredibly helpful. I am familiar with the rigorous task moving can be, I recently moved this past summer and wish I had this article as a resource at that time. A couple buddies and I had to move our piano ourselves and in order to bring it into our basement it would not fit down the stair so we had to take it around the house by our lake and it was frankly terrifying. Moving our upright is the one thing I would say with 100% certainty I will never do again. If you’re going to do the moving work yourself, you’ll definitely want to look into a piano moving service in your area. Its worth paying someone else do for you. Thanks for writing this article, I’m sure anyone in the middle of this process will greatly appreciate it!

  9. Thank you for sharing this. This is so helpful and informative. It will really made sorting and packing stuff a whole lot easier. Saving this for future reference.

    1. I’m so glad you found our Moving Checklist helpful! Hopefully it makes your next move super easy! (Well, as easy as moving can possibly be…)

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