Moving day is full of excitement and also a lot of hard work. The weeks prior to the big day can be hectic, but the process will be easier if you follow a checklist to make sure every task gets completed in a timely manner. As you get ready to settle into a new home, check off your list to keep yourself sane and on track.
Research moving companies. Get estimates and decide if you want the movers to pack your belongings or just transport them. Find out what they will and won't move and what their policies are for reimbursing you for damage. After you've decided on a company, get an estimate in writing.
Sort your belongings. Clean out your house, garage, and other storage areas and get rid of things you don't want to take with you. Donate stuff in good condition to charity or list it on an online site for classified ads. It's a good idea to begin this process even before you have an exact moving date, since you'll be very busy after you set the date.
Make a list of your valuables. Be sure to include an estimated replacement cost for each item and have estimates done for anything you're unsure of. Note serial numbers and other identification marks on expensive items. You need this list for reference if anything gets lost or damaged in the move.
If you're a renter, inform your landlord of your move-out date. Many landlords require at least one month's notice, so check in with yours as soon as you have a date. This is also the time to reread the lease and confirm the requirements for getting a refund on your security deposit.
Confirm your moving date with the moving company. Set up the times the packers will arrive and get the estimated time the truck will leave the old house and arrive at your new home.
Order packing supplies if necessary. If you plan to do your own packing, you'll need a lot of supplies, such as boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, and tape.
Gather important family documents. If you're moving a long distance, you may need birth certificates and other records readily available for school registration and to get new driver's licenses. You'll also want medical and dental records, tax documents, financial records, and veterinarian records. Pack these documents yourself in a waterproof box.
Research your kids' new schools. Arrange to transfer school records, and find out what documentation your new schools require, such as birth certificates and immunization records.
Make a change-of-address list. In addition to having the post office forward mail to your new address, you'll need to make some contacts directly by email, by phone, and in writing.
Schedule changes for your utilities. You'll need to set disconnection dates for your old home and connection dates for your new home. There will most likely be some overlap because you'll want to have everything turned on as soon as you get to your new place.
Use up perishable items. Sort the food in your freezer, refrigerator, and pantry. Discard items that are out of date. Use the rest for family meals, buying as little extra as possible until you've moved.
Cancel services you receive at your old home. These include newspaper subscriptions, lawn care, snow removal, and housecleaning services.
Have cars checked by your mechanic. If your move involves a long road trip, your car needs to be road-ready. Have the tires checked and have a tune-up if it's been a while since the car was last serviced.
Clean and defrost the refrigerator. If you plan to take the refrigerator to your new home, check the owner's manual for instructions on prepping it for the move.
Prep any appliances you're taking with you. The owner's manuals and manufacturers' websites have information on preparing large appliances for transport.
Get your payments ready. Even if you can pay for most expenses with a credit card, you may need cash for some transactions, like tipping the furniture movers.
Refill prescriptions. Make a list of your family's medications and make sure you have enough for a few weeks, so you can avoid a frantic hunt for a new pharmacy. This is also a good time to refresh and update your family's first-aid kit.
Get rid of flammable materials. Drain lawnmowers and other small machines of gasoline. Find a community resource for discarding the flammables, including paint and oil.
Pack things you'll take with you in the car or on the plane. Prepare as you would for a vacation, packing a suitcase for each family member with clothes, toiletries, medications, and snacks. Gather any documents and valuables, such as jewelry, that you want to keep with you, too.
Pack and label an "open first" box. This can be a box you keep with you or one you load on the moving truck. It contains the items you'll need to feel comfortable right away in your new home. Some people pack cleaning supplies so they can clean the kitchen and bathrooms immediately. Others pack one set of bedding for each bed.
Have instructions ready for the moving staff. If the company will pack your belongings, tell the packers how you want the boxes labeled; many people like to have the destination room marked on each box. Double check the new address and the estimated arrival time with the van driver.
Make a final inspection. Walk through the house, garage, and yard after the movers have finished, making sure nothing is getting left behind and no tasks are being left undone.
Lock up the house. Close the blinds and drapes, and unplug any appliances you're leaving in the house.