The Ultimate Moving Checklist: Make Any Move Easy

Proactive, thorough planning makes all the difference in making relocating as painless as possible.

By Lisa Battles on January 10, 2016 at 4:50 pm EST

PHOTO CREDIT: ©iStock.com/AndreyPopov


Ask anyone who has moved many times and he’ll tell you that proactive, thorough planning makes all the difference in making relocating as painless as possible. While many studies cite moving to a new home or city as one of the most stressful life events, our ultimate moving checklist will help make it less so. Yes, we said moving checklist, the critical tool for an efficient and easy move. And while we can’t promise zero physical pain if you move your own stuff, in the spirit of thoroughness we do recommend over-the-counter pain reliever as part of your moving essentials box.

Use our Ultimate Moving Checklist to:

  • foresee potential hassles and head them off at the pass, such as having enough packing supplies and avoiding trouble with your car at a critical time

  • get started laying the groundwork for life in your new home or city, from ensuring your mail arrives when you do to ensuring you are timely in transferring your bills and bank accounts

  • pack efficiently and in logical order, so you can get started early and unpack quickly after the move

  • be better prepared for the unexpected on moving day, because while you always can’t avoid moving snags having the right tools to solve them will save the day

  • dodge any surprises once your move is complete, such as forgetting you left a box full of valuables 1,000 miles away

Our ultimate moving checklist is organized chronologically, so getting started on this list at least one month prior to your moving day and following along completing tasks in line with the suggested timing will help, too.To make this an “ultimate” list, we’ve also embedded links to more detailed checklists within relevant sections that specific stages of or challenges during a move. 

The Ultimate Moving Checklist: Make Any Move Easy

One Month Prior to Your Move

  1. Complete a U.S. Postal Service change of address form

  2. Request moving quotes and hire a moving company, or reserve a moving truck for self-moves

  3. Contact the chamber of commerce in your new town and request a relocation package

  4. If you have children, arrange for school paperwork to be transferred to their new school

  5. Change your address with the Internal Revenue Service

  6. Contact your health care providers for records and referrals

  7. Make any major travel arrangements needed, such as booking flights, car rental or hotel reservations

  8. Create a floor plan of your new home and designate where large furniture should be placed. Make a copy for yourself and your movers.

  9. Create a list of your furniture and other expensive possessions to be moved.​

Two Weeks Prior to Your Move

  1. Transfer your savings and checking accounts to a bank in your new town.

  2. Transfer your newspaper and magazine subscriptions to your new address.

  3. Enter your new shipping/billing info into any e-commerce accounts which save this information, such as Amazon, to avoid any future accidental shipments

  4. Contact your insurance provider about coverage for your new home and referrals for a new local agent.

  5. Research any applicable auto and drivers license requirements in your new location.

  6. Contact utility companies to set the date for disconnecting current services and establishing services at your new address.

  7. Purchase or gather packing and moving supplies, such as boxes, packing tape, markers and newspapers. Don’t forget rope or twine and blankets to secure and protect large furniture.

One Week Prior to Your Move

  1. Close your existing bank accounts and clean out your safety deposit box, if you have one. Transfer money to your new accounts, and reserve cash or travelers checks for the move itself.

  2. Have your car inspected, and plan what items will be packed in the car with you, including your moving essentials kit.

  3. Use as much of your food items for home meals as possible, so there will be less to move.

  4. Purchase supplies to clean your old place after you have moved out your belongings.

  5. Confirm the date and time commitment for the move with any friends who are assisting you, or your moving company if applicable.

  6. Pack vital paperwork in one container, such as birth certificates, passports, medical and tax documents. These should be packed with or alongside your moving essentials kit.

The Day Before Your Move

  1. Defrost, clean and air out your refrigerator.

  2. Clean your stove.

  3. Ensure you have payment for your mover set aside.

  4. Prepare a simple breakfast, and pack a cooler of ice and beverages for moving day.

  5. Make sure all the keys to your former house are together.

Moving Day

  1. Remove and pack your bedding.

  2. Provide movers with a quick tour of your home and provide them a copy of the inventory you prepared. Ensure they have the correct address to your new home, your phone number and confirm the date and time of delivery.

  3. Do a thorough sweep through the house after the movers have exited, checking all closets, cupboards and similar small spaces.

  4. Complete any necessary cleaning of your former residence.

  5. Make sure all the doors and windows to your former home are locked.

Welcome To Your Home

  • If necessary, install new door locks.

  • Install temporary window coverings as needed.

  • Do any light cleaning prior to the movers’ arrival if you have hired a professional company.

  • Check the smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers in your new residence.

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