The Ultimate Moving Checklist

If you’re reading this, you’re likely getting ready for a big move soon. It’s even more likely that you’re already in the middle of that big move and are starting to become overwhelmed by all of it. We know that there are too many things to keep track of, too many things to keep in mind, so we’ve compiled the ultimate moving checklist to guide you through the process. Check out our detailed checklist below, along with some additional moving and packing tips.

2 Months Before

  • Start saving and organizing everything. This means saving all records, receipts, documents, lists, and anything else related to your move. If possible, take photos of everything and save it digitally for easy reference and for extra security.
  • Create a budget for all expenses. Costs will start to pile up quickly, so make sure you’re on top of how much you’re spending on your move. 
  • Pick out a moving day. This seems early, but the farther in advance you have a day scheduled, the easier everything will be. Once you have the date picked out, you can start planning everything else. Start by requesting time off from work if needed. If you have kids, figure out where they will be for the day, and if you’ll need any help watching them. If you’ll need help from family or friends on moving day, let them know in advance to keep that date open. 
  • If you have kids and are moving to a new city, start looking for their new school. Make sure any paperwork required for their transfer is taken care of. 
  • Start getting rid of stuff. When you’ve lived in a home for more than a few years, there’s just going to be a lot of stuff. Go through everything –  every closet, every cabinet, every drawer – and decide what’s making the move and what isn’t. Then, figure out how you’ll get rid of whatever isn’t coming with you: plan a garage sale, donate to a local charity or school, give things away to your friend or neighbors, or just throw things away.  
  • Start planning how you’re going to move your more complicated or fragile items. This includes large pieces of furniture, pianos, expensive artwork, aquariums, and more. Check with your moving company if they can move these things for you, since some moving companies don’t. 
  • Find a moving company and get an estimate. Birkmire offers moving services whether you’re moving a few blocks away or across the country. Get in touch with us to get a free estimate.  

6 Weeks Before

  • Get your moving supplies. This includes boxes, tape, bubble wrap, suitcases, and whatever else you need to get all of your belongings out the door. 
  • Start labeling your boxes. When you arrive at your new home, the last thing you want is a huge pile of unlabeled boxes that you’ll have to open one by one to figure out where they belong. Get a permanent marker and write what room they’re going to and what is contained in the box – for example, something like “Master Bedroom – sheets and towels” lets you know exactly what’s in the box and where it’s going.  
  • Label boxes that contain fragile items. This lets both you and the movers know to be extra careful when handling them.  
  • Keep an inventory of your valuables and which boxes they’re packed in. Don’t write this on the boxes, keep this list private.
  • If you’re currently renting, make sure to take care of any home repairs before moving out. 
  • If you’re moving far away and are going to be making a long drive, make sure your cars are serviced and ready to make the trip. If your car is being shipped, make sure you don’t leave anything in it. 
  • Take measurements. Make sure your furniture is going to fit down the stairs, through every doorway, and at your new place. 
  • Start packing now! You don’t want to leave everything for the last minute. If there are things you won’t need for the next six weeks, they can start going into boxes. For example, if you’re moving in the summer, pack up all of your winter clothes. 

1 Month Before

  • If needed, figure out where you’ll be living if you need temporary housing before you move into your new place. Whether that’s at a hotel, an Airbnb, or with friends and family, you’ll need to have it all arranged in advance. 
  • Use up perishable food items. You don’t want to have a fridge full of food come moving day. Start planning so that when it’s time to move, any food items you bring with you can easily make the move without going bad. 
  • If there’s anything else sitting around that you didn’t manage to sell at your garage sale, now is the time to donate it or give it away. 
  • Gather all of your records together. Make sure all financial, legal, medical, insurance, birth certificates, passports, and other paperwork is all accounted for before. Keep it organized and, if possible, keep important documents with you during the move so they don’t get lost or misplaced. 
  • Schedule cable and internet installation at your new home. Don’t wait until you’ve moved in to realize you don’t have internet access! This is especially important if you work from home. 
  • Change your address with USPS, and update your voter registration information. You can also set a date for mail forwarding to begin. 
  • Begin notifying important people and parties of your upcoming move. This includes your banks, employers, credit card companies, and insurance companies.
  • Purchase moving insurance to cover all of your belongings. 
  • Make sure your pets are ready for the move. Get them a tag with an updated address, and if you’ll be finding a new veterinarian, make sure you have records of all of your pets vaccinations, medications, and any other medical history. 
  • Confirm your moving arrangements with your moving company. 

2 Weeks Before

  • Start meal prepping for the next two weeks. These next two weeks will be stressful, and you don’t want to have to deal with preparing meals every day. You don’t want your kitchen to be empty 10 days before moving day, but you also don’t want your fridge to be full the day of! 
  • Return anything you’ve borrowed from your neighbors. 
  • Clean out all of your safe deposit boxes you might have, if you’ll be taking those belongings with you to a new city. 
  • Fill any prescription you may have, and then transfer your upcoming prescriptions to your new pharmacy.  
  • Start canceling memberships at gyms or other local clubs or businesses. 
  • If you have kids, make sure they are taken care of on moving day. Have a baby sitter, family member, or friend lined up for the day. If you have pets, make sure they’re taken care of, too. Find a pet sitter or doggy day care. 
  • Call your providers to transfer all of your utilities to your new home. This includes water, electricity, and gas. 
  • Update your driver’s license or other official IDs, and change your address for your auto insurance and car registration. 
  • Secure parking for your movers. Figure out the best place for them to park near your home. You may need a special permit for your movers to park their trucks for the day. 

Moving Week

  • Change your address on your Amazon account and for any other service that delivers to your home. 
  • Donate any last unopened food that won’t be making the trip with you 
  • Do a thorough cleaning of your current home. 
  • If you’re bringing refrigerators or freezers with you, unplug them the day before you move to let them defrost. 
  • If you’re leaving an apartment, make sure it’s clean and ready for the next tenant, and for an inspection from your landlord. Take photographs of the empty place as evidence that you’re leaving it in good condition. 
  • Make sure you have cash to tip your movers. 
  • Finish packing everything except for things you’ll need in the next week. 
  • Check in with your movers to confirm the details for moving day. 

Moving Day – Before the Move 

  • Get up early! You’ll need every minute of the day, and chances are, at least one thing will go wrong or be behind schedule. You’ll want to start out as ahead of schedule as possible. 
  • Talk to your movers first thing in the morning to confirm everything one last time. 
  • Take inventory of all of your belongings. 
  • Do one last walkthrough of the whole house to make sure you don’t leave anything behind. You never know what you may have missed the first few times. 

Moving Day – After the Move

  • Once you’re moved into your new place, unpack your bedding and toiletries first. If you want to relax or take a nap, these are the first things you’ll need. Your hiking boots and slow cooker can sit in their boxes for a little bit while you rest. 
  • Slowly but methodically unpack the rest of your belongings, starting with the essentials: kitchenware, food, sheets and towels. Then go box by box and unpack everything else. 
  • Clean your new home. It’s likely there’s some dust or dirt that needs to be mopped or scrubbed as soon as possible. 
  • Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure they are working and have fresh batteries.    
  • Go grocery shopping. You’ll (understandably) be exhausted, so make it a quick trip to just get some basics and snacks so your kitchen isn’t empty. 

Moving & Packing Tips 

In addition to the checklist above, we’ve compiled a short list of tips to make your packing and moving experiences go as smoothly as possible: 

  • Use the right size boxes. Filling large boxes with heavy items can make them very difficult to move. Packing fragile items into the wrong size boxes can also increase the risk of them breaking. 
  • Pack heavy on bottom, light on top. This applies to individual boxes, as well as to when you’re loading up your car or a moving truck. Placing heavy items on top increases the risk of breakage or even injury. 
  • Don’t leave empty spaces in boxes. Fill in the gaps with towels, clothing, newspaper, or anything else that will prevent the contents of your boxes from moving around too much. 
  • Organize boxes by what room they’re going to. It may be easier when you’re packing to mix things in the same box, but unpacking will be so much easier if every box only has items that belong in one room.
  • Tape your boxes. The last thing you want is for a box to open up and have its contents spill out and break.  You should invest in quality boxes for the same reason.  

Contact Us

If you’re getting ready for your big move, you’ll undoubtedly have a lot on your mind. Birkmire offers full moving and storage services, whether you’re moving across the street or across the country. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you with your move. 

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