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What to Do When Preparing to Move

8 Weeks Before You Move


1. Create a “moving” file or folder on Google Drive to store quotes, receipts, and records related to your move. Create a realistic budget for moving expenses. 

2. Schedule in-home estimates with a moving company. Make sure you hire someone you feel you can trust. Confirm that your moving company is licensed and insured by verifying their Department of Transportation number (also referred to as a DOT number).

3. Read over all documents from movers before signing anything. Don’t let contracts intimidate you by learning about the documents you’ll be receiving ahead of time. We can’t emphasize enough how important this is! 

4. Request time off work for moving day. If you can, plan to take off and move on a Friday. That gives you the rest of the weekend to get yourself organized. Nice tip, right? 

5. Arrive prepared so your kid(s) don’t get left behind. Request transcripts for your kids from their old school for their new school. Regardless of how far you are moving, the new school your child attends will need these.

6. Plan a garage sale. Then, donate anything left that you couldn’t sell. 

7. Plan how to move fragile or unusual items, such as guns, pianos, fine art, pool tables or safes. The movers you hire may not be qualified to move some larger (or more expensive) items, so you may need to hire a specialty mover to do the job. Make sure you’re aware of exactly what the movers you hired will and will not move.

6 Weeks Before You Move


9. Make time for friends and relatives before moving day. Squeeze in a few last memories is your current home by throwing a simple dinner party. It doesn’t have to be elaborate to do the trick. 

10. Collect free boxes from restaurants liquor, grocery, and office supply stores. You can also pay a visit to your local bookstore. They have more boxes than they know what to do with and will be more than happy to hand them over for free. 

11. Research packing hacks to make moving day easier. Label your moving boxes using different colored stickers/tape for each room. Mark moving boxes that are fragile. You don’t want textbooks stacked on top of your grandmother’s china. This will make your life a ton easier when you’re all moved in and ready to start unpacking. 

12. Create an inventory sheet of all your valuables before they go on the moving truck. Also, keep a private list of which boxes you packed your valuables in. Take photos of all electronics before unplugging them. This will help jog your memory when you’re reconnecting things such as your TV and stereo. Put all your hardware in labeled baggies for easy furniture reassembly. 

13. Mark moving boxes that are fragile. You don’t want textbooks stacked on top of your grandmother’s china.

14. Gather socks, t-shirts, towels, and linens to use as free packing supplies. Wrapping water glasses in dish towels? Why didn’t we think of that!  

15. If you’re moving into an apartment, find out if there are any moving day requirements. 

16. Address minor home repairs before moving out. If you live in an apartment, this might be the difference between getting your security deposit back, or not. 

17. If you’re moving cross country, have your vehicles serviced. The last thing you want is to deal with a breakdown mid-move! Or, if your move requires shipping your car, don’t leave anything in it! Spare tires and jacks might go missing. 

18. Measure doorways, stairways, and elevators to make sure all your furniture will fit. Measure twice – move once! 

19. Last but not least, pack a little every day. You don’t want to find yourself packing all of your belongings the night before.

4 Weeks Before You Move


20. Purchase moving insurance to cover all your belongings during the move. 

21. Confirm parking options for your moving truck – you may need a permit for moving day. 

22. Use or donate items that you can’t pack or sell, such as frozen foods, bleach, and aerosol cans.

23. Gather all financial and legal records in one place. Gather birth certificates and passports for everyone in your home. Then, carry important documents on your person during your move.

24. Return library books, return movie and video game rentals, and pick up any clothes from the dry cleaners.


25. If you’re moving out of town, find a new doctor, dentist, and vet in your new neighborhood. 26. Make sure your pets have ID tags for their collars. Request copies of vet records and get any necessary pet medication. If you’re moving out of the country, make sure your pets have all necessary vaccinations.

27. Update your voter registration!

28. If you’re moving long-distance, plan your route and book hotels.  

29. Shop around for cable, internet, and phone bundles. Then, schedule installation and/or cancel your old services

2 Weeks Before You Move


30. Recycle or dispose of corrosives, flammables, and poisonous items. Make sure you’re disposing of toxic items properly

31. Prep two weeks' worth of meals and use everything in the freezer. Check out some great meal prep ideas

32. Return borrowed items from friends and family. 

33. Back up your computer. If something goes awry during your move, you’ll be thankful you have everything saved in an alternate place.

34. Moving far? Clean out your safe deposit box and any lockers you might have at a gym or community center.

35. Prepare a list of emergency service technicians and preferred providers. You don’t want to be googling plumbers while your toilet is overflowing in your new home.

36. To keep little ones safe during a move, line up a babysitter or make arrangements for a play date.

37. Find somewhere safe for pets to go during your move. Look into doggy daycare or ask a friend to watch them for a day – who wouldn’t love to dog sit Fido, Fluffy or Muffin?

38. Set up trash removal and recycling for your new home, and cancel your current service.

39. Send out moving announcement. There are plenty of creative ways to share your new address

40. Forward your mail and update all subscription addresses. Change your address with loan providers, credit cards, banks, and the payroll department at work. Also, remember to order new checks with the updated address!

41. Update your driver’s license.

42. Change address for Social Security benefits within 10 days of moving. Make sure to notify government offices, including the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the IRS.

43. Transfer your homeowners or renters insurance to your new home. Transfer your utilities including water, electric, and natural gas. Change your address for your auto insurance and car registration. 

44. Transfer your prescriptions to a new pharmacy, if necessary.

The Week You Move


45. Donate unopened food by asking your moving company if they work with Move For Hunger

46. Make sure you canceled and/or redirected scheduled deliveries. Remember that pair of shoes that was on backorder? Make sure they get shipped to the correct address. 

47. Unplug your fridge and freezer to defrost the night before. Make sure you lay a towel in front of it to absorb any water that leaks. 

48. Drain water hoses to your washing machine and ice maker. Empty oil and gas from grills, heaters, lawnmowers, and snow blowers. Make sure nothing is hiding on shelves or in closet corners.

49. Pack an essentials box with everything you’ll need for your first 24 hours in your new home. 

50. Make a worst-case scenario plan in case your movers run late.

51. Clean your new place. A lot of times, the previous homeowners are only required to sweep their house or apartment. Don’t you want your new place to be in tip-top shape and sparkling from head to toe?

Moving Day


52. Rise and shine! Set an alarm and get up early on moving day. Make sure to protect your floors and carpets during the move. 

53. As soon as your movers leave, make your bed and unpack your shower curtain and toiletries. This makes a nap and a shower so much easier. And let’s face it, it’s the first thing you’ll want to do post-move. 

54. Get to know your neighbors

55. Go grocery shopping. At this point, you’ve eaten enough takeout! Having food in the house will also prevent you from unnecessary spending.

56. Don’t have curtains or shades yet? Cover your windows with sheets for privacy for your first night. This will help you sleep more comfortably, trust us. 

57. Thank your real estate agent or broker. They’re the reason why you’ve moved into your beautiful new home. A simple thank you note goes a long way.

One Week, Post Move


58. Leave a review for your moving company. Use My Moving Reviews

59. Post leftover moving boxes or unwanted furniture on Craigslist. You can even give them to someone you know is moving soon.

60. Make sure your home’s address is visible from the street
61. Explore your new neighborhood – local shops, supermarkets, libraries, cafés, grocery stores, and restaurants. 

62. Send thank you notes to friends and family who helped you move.

Two Weeks, Post Move


63. Aim to unpack all your stuff within two weeks of moving in. 

64. Last, but not least, make copies of your new keys for the babysitter, nanny, dog walker, and anyone else whom you would like to have access to when needed. 

Phew! We're out of breath. But congrats, you survived!


We hope that our moving checklist has been the list to end all checklists. Was it helpful? Let us know. And as always, we love feedback. If we missed anything, let us know in the comments section below. Happy moving!

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The Stonick Group of Compass is located in the Naples Island community of Long Beach,California. Lead by Realtor Leslie Stonick, the team takes great passion and pride in helping people find their place in the world through super band personal real estate transactions.
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