The following checklist is pertinent to domestic moves only. Moving abroad requires an entirely different set of tasks. Feel free to adjust the timelines according to how busy your life is. You may need to complete some of the tasks earlier.
8 to 10 Weeks before the Move:
- Make travel plans. If you’ll be flying to the new city, make airline reservations and reserve a rental car. If you’ll be driving, map out your route and make hotel reservations, if necessary.
- Obtain a written appraisal of antiques and other valuables that the movers will be taking to the new home.
- Begin the process of interviewing movers or reserve the truck if you’ll be doing it yourself.
- Time to get boxes and whittle down the contents of each room – donate, sell and giveaway.
- Take donated items to your favorite charity.
- Advertise the free items you leave curbside.
- Plan and hold a garage sale.
- Begin saving newspaper to use when packing.
- Send out invitations to your going-away party.
One Month before the Move:
- Purchase boxes, tape and bubble wrap. Look into renting pads and dollies.
- Plan meals with the aim of using perishable food before you move.
- Pack seldom-used items and number each box, on all sides and on the top. On a piece of paper or a spreadsheet on your computer, keep track of each box’s contents. When you move into the new house you’ll know which boxes go in which room. Use this same procedure when you pack the rest of your belongings.
- Submit a change of address with the post office and change your voter registration information.
- Ask your family doctor, dentist and veterinarian for copies of your family’s and pets’ records and for a referral to similar professionals in your new town.
- Call the local utility companies, including your Internet service provider, to have service discontinued on your chosen date.
- Call monthly service people, such as gardener, home security, pool maintenance and newspaper delivery to advise them of the cutoff date for their services.
- Schedule the date to begin services at your new address with the companies in your new city. Have everything turned on a day or two before your arrival to ensure you have power, heat and air conditioning when you move in.
Two to Three Weeks before the Move:
- Clean out and pack items in storage sheds and the garage. Gather up tools you’ll need to disassemble beds and other furniture and place them somewhere they won’t accidentally be packed.
- Take the car in for service. This is especially important if you’ll be driving it a long distance to get to the new home.
- Contract with a cleaning crew if you’ve decided to use one for either house or both.
- Contact schools to request that the children’s records be sent to the new school district.
- Confirm pickup and delivery dates with the mover or your truck reservation.
- Call your homeowner’s insurance company to ensure the transition from the old home to the new. Auto insurers, your accountant, attorney and the bank should also be apprised of your new address.
- Purchase a small safe or lockbox. Load it with important papers, jewelry, the contents of your bank safe deposit box, the mover’s contract and prescription medications. This box will be kept with you at all times during the move, so don’t let the movers take it with your other belongings.
- Collect your pet accessories and determine if you’ll need to purchase anything for the move. This includes a crate, leash, collar, and portable food and water containers.
- Begin packing boxes. Set aside one room, or designate another area of the home where you will place your “Do Not Pack” items. This area is for items that the movers aren’t taking with them.
One Week before the Move
- Confirm your reservation with the cleaning crew.
- Drain the gas and oil from your gardening equipment and barbecue grill.
- Drain the waterbed and garden hoses.
- Pack a box of blankets and pillows. Keep this box with you in case the movers don’t arrive at the new house as scheduled.
The Day before the Move
- Pack suitcases. Include enough clothing for at least the first three days at the new house.
- Pack the essentials box, mentioned above.
- Unplug electronics and tape the cords to each component.
- Lock your valuables in the small safe or lockbox and place it in your carry-on bag if you’ll be flying or in the trunk of your car if you’re driving.
- Verify that the movers are the ones you contracted to hire and that they have the correct address for delivery. Verify delivery time. Get the driver’s name and cell phone number and ensure that he has yours.
- If you are driving, give a friend or family member a copy of your itinerary and agree that you’ll check in at pre-determined intervals.
- Plan to arrive at the new house before the movers.
- After everything is loaded onto the truck, tour the house one more time, looking for anything you may have missed. Is the house clean and free of trash? Check all closets, drawers and cupboards for any items you may have missed when you packed.