14 steps to prepare your new home for your arrival
#1: Have a backup plan
Each of our next steps will guide you through specific tasks to get your house ready for your arrival, but it’s important to recognize things can happen that are outside your control. Your movers could be delayed, your house could suffer water damage, or COVID-19 could change your moving plans.
While any number of unexpected things could spark a delay, the point is not to stress about what they could be—but to be prepared just in case they happen.
In this case, there are a few things to do before moving day:
- Identify a local hotel (for short delays).
- Identify temporary housing, like a short-term rental or Airbnb (for longer delays).
- Pack a couple days of essential items for each family member (e.g., drivers licenses, toiletries, phone chargers, etc.).
- Keep a list of essential contact numbers (e.g., the moving company, the actual movers, the hotel, etc.).
#2: Confirm your move-in date
Nothing will ruin your day quite like showing up to move in and realizing you (or your movers) wrote down the wrong moving day. Make sure you’re on the same page as the moving company and the previous homeowner.
A tip: instead of saying “7/24/20” when you speak with your moving company, we recommend saying, “I am calling to confirm my move-in date of Friday, July 24th.” Make sure you get the day of the week in there just in case.
Moving with pets?
Watching your puppy roll around in your new backyard is one thing. Getting Fido there in the simplest way possible is another. Check out Move.org’s tips for moving with pets to make sure a vet visit for your cats and dogs isn’t part of your moving day experience.
You might be thrilled your overbearing neighbor no longer knows where you live, but don’t make it as hard on people you want to be able to find you.
Contact the post office and update your address. Easy peasy.
If someone else has lived in the place you plan to call home before you, chances are it won’t be in “like new” condition when you arrive. Even those who go to the effort to clean up before moving out are bound to miss a few things.
We recommend you clean the house before move-in day so you don’t invest time and energy into moving an 800-pound entertainment system into a room only to discover you have to take it back outside and have the carpets cleaned first.
If you live nearby, you can save money by cleaning the house on your own. If you’re moving from hundreds of miles away or simply don’t have the time, look for a professional cleaning service. It doesn’t matter so much who does the cleaning just so long as it gets done.
#5: Schedule home improvements
The time to fix any urgent repairs at your new house is before you arrive. It won’t matter if you get every box into every room if the kitchen faucet doesn’t work, the roof leaks, or termites have taken up residence.
Identify what needs attention before moving into a new home, and you’ll be able to unpack and settle in right away.
Professional movers carry at least basic liability insurance when they move you into your new home—just in case they drop the boxes with your grandpa’s first edition set of the Harvard Classics, scratch your new dining table, or even damage the carpet.
Talk to your moving company and your homeowners insurance broker to learn more about your options.
There's insurance for car shipping?
Insurance isn’t just for your home. If you need to ship a car, you may also need auto transport insurance. Check out our list of the best car shipping companies to get a head start on sending your vehicle to your new home.
#7: Reserve parking at your new house
Yup. If there’s nowhere for the moving truck to park or the moving containers to sit, it brings all your moving day activities to a screeching halt.
And if you find a spot that's far away from your front door, you'll likely pay a lot more for your movers. It'll take hourly labor services longer to unload your truck, and full-service movers charge shuttle fees for items they can't carry directly from the truck to your door.
Save yourself a headache: reserve a spot with orange cones. You could also talk to your neighbors about using their driveway or parking space for a day.
(This is a great way to introduce yourself and invite your neighbors to a housewarming party.)
#8: Reserve storage near your new house
You don’t need to be a participant on A&E’s Hoarders to need storage.
Storage units are also a simple solution if you need extra time to move your belongings into your house, are waiting for the builder to finish an addition, or just want an extra place to stash things you plan to sell online.
Move.org has researched the best self-storage companies to choose from. We’ve also compiled a list of the best climate-controlled storage companies if you want added protection for your belongings.
Have you heard of moving containers?
Moving containers are like a moving truck and storage unit rolled into one. If you need storage space, you can leave a moving container parked in your driveway. Check out Move.org’s Best Moving Container Companies to learn more.
#9: Transfer your utilities
Have you ever tried to cook without a microwave, sleep without heat or air conditioning, or drink from a water faucet that won’t turn on? It doesn’t work too well.
Call your utility companies to turn on your water, gas, and electricity before you arrive.
#10: Connect your TV and internet services
Old habits die hard. Chances are you’re still going to unwind before bed by surfing the web on your phone. Call your provider to request that your internet connection be activated on your move-in date—and make sure you have the right equipment to get your Wi-Fi up and running.
Same thing for your TV. After all, what good is a new house if you can’t channel surf in it?
Find internet prices for your new home
#11: Prep your current home for moving day
You’ve made progress getting your new home ready to live in, but don’t forget about your current house.
The most important thing is to give the movers a clear path to each room in your house. Make sure the floors are clutter-free:
Stack packed boxes in the far corner of every room, out of the way of the door.
Remove all rugs to make it easier to roll a moving dolly around.
Tell the kids high-traffic areas are off limits unless they’re helping move boxes.
Have a specific area where you can store boxes and other recycling or garbage materials.
It’s also a good idea to have plans for your dog or other pets (and kids!) so they aren’t in the way of your movers.
#12: Move vehicles out of the way
In addition to clearing pathways inside your house, make sure the outside is easy to navigate as well. Move any boats, motorcycles, and RVs out of your driveway or parking space so your movers have plenty of space to park their truck for staging and loading.
Don't forget the outside of your home
You can also make things easier on the movers by making sure the outside of your home is as organized and clutter-free as the inside. Make sure you clean your porch and move any lawn furniture out of the way. If applicable, open up the garage so movers have easy access.
#13: Remove doors (if necessary)
Some of your furniture and other belongings will need every inch of space you can give them to fit through the doors. If you have anything that you think could possibly be a tight fit, save everyone some time and remove the doors from their hinges before moving day.
If this is too tough to tackle on your own, just talk to the professional movers before they start bringing things inside. In most cases, they should be able to quickly take your doors off the hinges and get right back to work.
Get help packing and unpacking
Did you know you can hire hourly moving labor services to help with packing and unpacking, loading and unloading, and even furniture assembly? Check out Move.org’s reviews of Dolly.com, TaskRabbit, and HireAHelper to see if moving labor is a good fit for you.
#14: Arrive at your new home before the movers
The last step is also one of the most important things on a moving checklist. Because no mover will know exactly where to set up your bed frame or which kid's boxes of toys go where, you’ll want to be on hand to answer questions.
It doesn’t help if the movers arrive only to be greeted by locked doors, broken keys, or a driveway blocked by the neighbor’s RV. You won’t typically face massive problems at this stage, but small surprises can slow things down more than you think.
Be prepared for anything, and arrive early.