How Do I Prepare to Move?

The quick moving checklist

Our moving checklist distills your move into nine tasks, letting you know what you need to do and when you need to do it. You can print off our checklist below, then keep reading to learn best practices for each part of your move.

Your moving checklist

4–8 weeks before

  1. Inventory your belongings
  2. Get rid of things you don’t need
  3. Research your moving service options

3–4 weeks before

  1. Choose a moving service
  2. Get your packing supplies
  3. Plan your travels

0–2 weeks before

  1. Update address and utilities
  2. Pack your belongings
  3. Clean your old home

Download our full printable moving checklist for homeowners below.

Download PDF

Step-by-step moving tips

Stressed about your move? Don’t panic! These steps should help you get everything done by the time moving day rolls around.

5–8 weeks before

Start preparing for your move a month or two beforehand. These preparations, largely involving research and decision-making, will help the later stages of your move go much more smoothly.

1. Inventory your belongings

An accurate inventory of your things will prove invaluable during your move. It will help you get accurate quotes from movers, give you confidence that all your belongings made it to your new place, and help you quickly file claims if something goes awry.

To perform your home inventory, take pictures of valuable items and create a list that includes details like serial number, model, and approximate value. Make sure to keep your inventory list accessible throughout your move.

2. Get rid of things you don’t need

As you perform your inventory, you’ll doubtlessly find you have items you no longer need—whether that’s last year’s fashion, that broken blender you never got around to fixing, or that printer you haven’t used in years. Rather than waste money and energy moving stuff you don’t want anyway, get rid of these items before you start packing. Sell, donate, or trash what you don’t need.

3. Research your options

Once you know what you’ll be moving, you can start making plans to move it. First, you’ll need to decide if you want to move yourself or hire movers. Then you can start researching moving services or truck rentals. Refer back to your inventory to get accurate quotes from companies.

3–4 weeks before

Around a month before your move, you should refine your plans and start making reservations. Avoid the temptation to procrastinate these steps—you don’t want to wait and find out your preferred companies are booked.

1. Choose a moving service

You should have already decided whether you’ll do a DIY or professional move, but now you need to decide what services you’ll use. Some moving companies offer discounts if you book early, so make your reservations as soon as you’re confident in your plans.

If you’re letting the pros do the heavy lifting, that means booking a moving company. If you’re going to invest your own sweat with a DIY move, reserve a rental truck or moving container.

Find, compare, and hire professional movers all in one place.

Find a Mover

2. Get your packing supplies

If your plans include packing your own belongings, get your supplies well in advance. Get a variety of boxes for your stuff, and don’t skimp on the padding. You might even put some of your packing supplies in each room so you can pack a box or two when you have a spare moment. A word to the wise: it’s better to get more packing material than you think you need than to run out of boxes the night before moving day.

3. Plan your travels

Now that you know how your stuff will get to your new place, you can figure out how you’ll get there. Book plane tickets if you’re flying, or plan your route if you’re driving. Either way, be sure to make hotel reservations if you’ll need them. You don’t want to stop for the night only to find out there are no vacancies anywhere in town.

0–2 weeks before

In the final week or two before you move, it’s time to get down to business. These steps are the most time-intensive, so plan your schedule accordingly.

1. Update address and utilities

With your move date in your sights, it’s time to cancel or transfer services like cable, internet, and utilities. You should also file a change of address with USPS to ensure your mail gets forwarded. This is also a good time to update insurance for both your car and your home.

2. Pack your belongings

By this time, you should be packing in earnest. Let’s be honest: this will be one of the most difficult steps of your move. Use our packing system to simplify and streamline your packing process as much as possible. And whatever you do, don’t wait until the last night to do most of your packing—trust us.

3. Clean your old home

Cleaning a home all at once can be overwhelming. We suggest you make cleaning bearable by doing it as you pack, if possible. When you finish packing up a room, go ahead and clean it right then. You’ll still have to do a final walkthrough on moving day, but most of the hard work will be done ahead of time.

Ready, set, move!

Moving might not be the most fun you ever have, but if you use the moving tips on our checklist, you just might find it’s not as overwhelming as you once thought. You got this!

This moving checklist covers the essentials of your move. If you want an even more detailed guide to preparing to move, check out our comprehensive moving house checklist.

Likewise, some circumstances require specialized moving tips. If you have kids or pets, or if you’re making a long-distance move, check out our checklists tailored specifically for such moves.

  • Ken Hwan

    I really like your tip to try and plot out your hotel stays if your cross-country move is going to be more than one day. My sister is planning on moving to be closer to our parents, and I know that she gets very anxious when everything isn’t planned out. I will be sure to suggest to her that she makes her hotel reservations earlier, that way she won’t stress out! https://mammothmoving.com/services/long-distance-movers/