Moving to a new home can be exciting as well as stressful with so much to do and remember. Use this checklist to get all your ducks in a row and make your move as smooth as possible.
2 Months Prior:
- Get organized. Keep all the items related to the move, such as receipts, quotes, and insurance documents in one area such as a drawer or binder.
- Know the rules. If you are moving because of a work transfer and are receiving a relocation budget, understand your company's moving policies and rules to limit non-covered costs.
- Research. Compare at least three moving companies, noting price, availability, and included items vs. extras. Request an on-site estimate when available for a more accurate quote.
- Document damage. When moving a long distance where you’ll be relying mostly on the movers, document any noticeable furniture damage with photos. Discuss what coverage the movers have in case damage occurs during the move.
- Inventory. Make a list of your valuable items. Note any items that will require special packing or extra insurance coverage and make arrangements accordingly.
- Separate. Sort items into four or five piles: keep, donate, recycle and toss. If you have enough items that you’re getting rid of to justify a garage sale, make a fifth pile for selling.
- Transfer records. If you have kids in school, go to their school and arrange for their records to be transferred to their new school district.
1 Month Prior:
- Hire. Now that you've researched movers, it’s time to hire. Make arrangements for other things that will need to be moved, such as cars if you do not have enough drivers to transport them to your new home.
- Stock up. Purchase packing supplies such as tape, boxes, labels, and moving paper.
- Sell. If you’re going to have a garage sale, now would be the time to do it.
- Inspect. Make sure all inspections are being done on your new home and arrange to fix any problems that arise before moving in. If your new home comes with any systems that may not fall into a standard home inspection, such as a built-in surround sound or high-tech pool equipment, arrange for a specialist to inspect these items before you take ownership of the home.
- Take measurements. Measure rooms in your new home, if possible, to start creating your new furniture layout. You’ll also want to measure door openings to ensure the furniture will fit through, or start getting creative.
- Get a head start. Start packing things that you won’t need in the next month, such as seasonal items, spare closets, and basement or attic items.
- Label. Clearly label each box with the room it should go to for an easier moving day. Keep anything you’ll need right away in a separate box and make sure it is easily identifiable.
- Make a plan. Create a packing plan, ensuring everyone in the family knows their job. Plan the order in which you will pack up each room and when it needs to be completed.
- Make another plan. Create a plan for your family and the movers of what will go where in your new home. Most movers will only place furniture once and will not rearrange if you do not like where you originally told them it should go, so plan carefully.
- Request time off. Depending on your job, it is a good time to ask for a few days off from work to ensure you have ample time to pack, move, and unpack.
2 Weeks Prior:
- Re-key locks. Now is the time to contact a local locksmith to set up an appointment to get the locks in your new home re-keyed. Your real estate agent is a great resource if you need a recommendation in your area.
If you have a First American home warranty, remember that your plan comes with Re-key Service. First American will set up a convenient time for a local locksmith to come to your new home and re-key up to six locks--and then provide you with four copies of the new keys.
- Confirm. Confirm all the details of your move with the movers, such as date, time, and expectations of what special items you may have, such as a piano or pool table.
- Change your address. Forward your address through the USPS to start the day of your move.
- Utilities. Make the arrangements to disconnect or transfer your current services and utilities, such as cable, internet, phone, water, gas, and electricity. Arrange for service to be connected at your new home.
- Make a list. Take a few moments and write down everyone who has your address so that you can notify them of your move. Along with your family and friends, this list should include bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, doctors, cell phone providers, tax forms, voter registration, and of course the DMV.
- Clean. Clean any areas that you've already packed. Plan to clean the rest of your old home, or make arrangements to have it professionally cleaned. If the previous tenants of your new home haven’t done so already, you may want to arrange for your new home to be cleaned and painted before your arrival.
- Financial arrangements. If you are moving to an area that will require you to switch banks, make sure any outstanding checks you’ve written have been cashed. If you have a safety deposit box, remember to clean it out.
1 Week Prior:
- Pack, pack, pack. This is when the bulk of your packing should be done. All of your drawers, cabinets, and closets should be mostly cleared, leaving only essentials out. The kitchen usually takes the longest since it is full of delicate dishes and glasses, so you’ll want to get this done early. Remember to clearly label any boxes with breakables with "fragile". For an easier move, pack all dishware and use paper plates and plastic silverware. Plan to eat out a lot or order takeout during this last week in your home.
- Dispose of hazards. Don’t move with hazardous or potentially messy materials such as paint, oil, and weed killers. Drain fuel out of mowers, ATVs, dirt bikes, and discard propane tanks from grills.
- Arrange payment. Most movers will require a credit or debit card to hold the appointment date. If you would prefer to pay by cash, money order, or check, ensure the mover is expecting that so that your card doesn’t get accidentally charged. Also, you’ll want to plan to offer a tip the day of the move. Typically, a good tip is 10-15% of the total cost of the move, which is usually about $20-25 cash tip per mover for an easy move, all the way up to $100 for a, particularly long or difficult job.
- Pack a survival kit. Pack a bag with items you will need during the move and immediately when you arrive at your new home. These items should include toilet paper, a few dishes, glasses and silverware, toiletries, towels, and a change of clothes. If you’re moving long-distance, prepare for the scenario that your items may take a few days to arrive.
- Pack a cooler. One of the last things people think about on their moving day is eating and drinking, but you, your family, and the movers will undoubtedly get thirsty and hungry. Plan ahead and pack a cooler with bottled water, snacks, and a few sandwiches for moving day.
- Clean. If you don’t have a professional cleaner coming in, you’ll want to do the bulk of your home cleaning a few days before the move. Thoroughly clean windows, floors and carpets, counters, appliances, bathrooms, cabinets, and closets.
- Double-check. Double-check everything you've scheduled to happen on moving day is going to go according to plan. Confirm arrival times with the movers, house cleaners, and utility people such as cable and gas. If you don’t already have the keys to your new home, check when you can pick them up. Ask when your utilities will be shut off at your old home and turned on in your new one.
- Contact information. Make sure each of your movers has your contact information, exact moving address, and maps if needed. Keep the mover’s direct number with you in case you need to call them during the move.
- Paperwork. In the hustle and bustle of moving day, it may be tempting to sign something without reading it first. Read all paperwork the movers ask you to sign carefully, including the Bill of Lading, waivers, and any inventory list they provide.
- Extra packing material. Keep a few boxes and a roll of tape handy for any miscellaneous items you come across.
- Direct. If you’re too busy during moving day to be present in your new home, designate someone else in your family to be there the whole time the movers are there to tell them where to put boxes and furniture. It may be a good idea to lay out plastic across any carpet to prevent stains.
- Final walk-through. Do one last walk-through in your old home to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything, opening every drawer, cabinet, and closet. Keep a few cleaning supplies with you, like an all-purpose cleaner, paper towels, and a vacuum for a last-minute touch-up.
- Cash. Be sure to have enough cash on hand for the move for the tip, and a little extra for food and last-minute items.
- Safety first. Make sure you have all the necessary safety precautions in place in your new home. Locate and test fire extinguishers and detectors, change the locks, and change the alarm code - if there is one.
- Check your list. Compare your inventory list of what you packed to what you unpacked to ensure everything made the move. If you notice any damage to your furniture or other items, compare it to the photos you originally took and contact the moving company if necessary.
- Update. Refer to your list that you created of everyone who needs your change of address and update them.
- Deposit refund. If you’re moving from a rental, make sure you follow up with your previous landlord about your security deposit and when you can expect it back. Some moving companies also require a moving deposit to hold an appointment. Make sure you've gotten that returned or know when you can expect it.
- Repairs. Complete quick repairs that need to be done, including changing light bulbs, fixing light switches, touching up paint, etc.
- Sit back, relax, and enjoy. You've earned it. Take a load off and enjoy your new home!