The Ultimate Moving Checklist

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If you are reading this article, it is very likely that you are thinking about moving or are moving soon. Moving to a new city or simply to another neighborhood can seem heavy, tiring, and tedious.

I have moved more than 5 times in my life, and personally, I like the process. It gives me the opportunity to get rid of all the things I no longer need, reorganize my closets, change energy, and rearrange everything in a new home. If you see it that way, the process becomes much simpler and more entertaining. And the best of all is to prevent and act in advance. If you leave it for the last minute, that’s when it can become stressful.

Here is a list of things that you need to do in advance to make your moving process more organized and easy, the official way to move.

One to two months before moving.

Schedule cancellations of utilities and services

Contact your utility providers to schedule the shutdown of services—and be sure to give them your new address so they can send any remaining bills after you move. (This is also a good time to see what services you’ll need at your new place, in case you’re able to schedule those in advance.) For most homes, these are the service providers you’ll need to contact:

  • water and sewage treatment
  • internet and cable services
  • electricity
  • natural gas/propane
  • trash and recycling pickup
  • homeowners or renters insurance
  • gardeners, landscapers, snowblowers
  • gym

Start culling your possessions

“It doesn’t make much sense to move belongings you really have no intention of ever using at the new place,” I recommend starting eight weeks before the move and suggest tackling one to two rooms per weekend. Organize everything into three piles: keep, give away, and recycle/trash.

Take a hard look at any bulky furniture. Moving costs often come down to weight or size, so ask yourself whether you’re ready to invest in an item again just to get it from point A to point B. Before the move, try selling couches, grills, patio furniture, and other big stuff that’s usable but not worth bringing along.

If you’re hiring movers, pick a moving company.

James Donaldson chief officer of the US Moving Protection Organization (USMPO) advises that you should start the search for a moving company as soon as possible—preferably two months before your move—to get the best price. (Prices can fluctuate based on demand, so it’s better to have enough time to compare a few quotes.) Choose a company carefully. “When choosing a moving company, reputation and experience are crucial.” When dealing with a reputable Relocation Agency like the USMPO you don’t have to worry about anything. Look for guaranteed services, and try to go through an organization that will take care of you. Let someone professional look at an existing route to get the best price.

For a big move (a whole house, out of state) schedule either a virtual walkthrough or an in-home estimate. Even for small moves, James Donaldson said, it’s wise to do a virtual walk-through so the movers have a comprehensive idea of how much time and labor it will take to move you—since even small details, like where the truck can park, can affect the job.

For interstate moves, the moving company should be licensed with a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. Finally, rental buildings may require a certificate of insurance (COI) from your moving company; this offers protection against things like damage to the building elevator and dents in walls. So be sure to ask your moving company.

You can also rent a PODS portable container and load it yourself or hire a team to load it for you. This is an especially good option if you prefer loading a portable container slowly over a few weeks (make sure you have a very good lock and a secure spot to place the container, like a driveway). PODS also offers storage options at one of its facilities, so this is a solid storage alternative if you won’t be moving to the new place immediately.

Get supplies and start packing

Unless you’re paying movers to pack your stuff (in which case you’ll still have to delegate tasks and oversee things), packing is the next big step. A lot of moving/packing companies (including rental box companies) also sell packing supplies and can help estimate how much you’ll need; this is a good option if you prefer an all-in-one solution.

Send notice of your new address

Changing your address may be a “before” or “after” item on your to-do list, depending on when you have access to your new place. Here are the places you should remember to notify when you’re changing your address:

  • USPS Change-of-Address (probably the most important step; USPS will forward your mail for free for one year)
  • voter registration (can sometimes be done via USPS or the DMV)
  • medical and dental providers
  • educators (your kids’ school or your university)
  • credit card companies and banks
  • subscription services (including meal-prep deliveries, prescription deliveries, newspapers, magazines)
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Social Security Administration
  • employers (for W2 forms)
  • accountants
  • Amazon (or any other store that delivers to you regularly)
  • friends and family (our top-pick holiday card recommendation offers moving announcement cards)

Moving week

Confirm your move.

Warn neighbors.

If you’re going to be blocking a shared driveway, give neighbors a heads-up so they can plan accordingly, whether that means telling their visitors to park down the street or moving their own cars.

Confirm appointments for utilities and internet at your new place.

Clean the old place.

Pack your personal essentials.

Moving day

Keep an eye on things

Have snacks and drinks

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