You’ve found the right home, you’ve signed on the dotted line, and now comes the hard part, right? Actually, if you organize well, then you’ve already put the stressful stuff behind you. This checklist will help you to get and stay organized so the move will be as smooth as possible.
Read this entire checklist thoroughly before you start, to give you an idea of what to expect. Then be sure to customize it as needed to your personal situation. Stick to the list, and you’ll be pleased at how stress-free a move can actually be.
Two Months Before
- Create a moving binder. This will be invaluable as you get organized for your move. The more organized your move, the less stressful it will be. Promise.
- Start packing your first box. Keep your vital documents and small valuables here, separate from other household items. This will help you keep the most important things safe throughout the process, and it will help you identify any missing documents early.
- Back up your files. Before packing up your computer (in the coming weeks), back up your files and photos. Keep the backups in the box mentioned above. Your files will probably be fine, but it’s not a risk worth taking.
- Research and gather quotes from moving companies. If you’re planning to rent a moving truck, begin looking into rates.
- Create a room-by-room inventory of items throughout the house. It’s not as tough as you think, and has benefits beyond moving day.
- Sell or donate what you don’t need. Hold a garage sale, or sell your stuff online.
One Month Before
- Decide on a moving company. Whether you’re using movers or renting a truck, it’s time to either sign the contract or make the reservation. Keep relevant documents in your moving binder.
- Buy packing supplies. Don’t take shortcuts here. Having enough of the right packing supplies can make your move much easier.
- Plan your new home. Measure your furniture, get the room dimensions in your new home, and start planning how you’ll make it your own.
- Care for your car. A long-distance drive or a new climate are both good reasons to check with your mechanic if there are any tune-ups or changes to make before you head out.
- Contact your internet, TV, and utilities providers. Set your disconnect date. Begin researching which providers you’ll use at your destination and schedule connection of your services.
- Fill prescriptions. Be sure you’ll have enough to get you to your destination, with extra time to search for a new doctor and pharmacy. Now is a good time to get shot records.
- Make travel arrangements. If necessary, book your flight, hotel, rental car, etc. If you’re driving long-distance, plan your route and stops.
Two Weeks Before
- Change your address. Let the post office, your insurance provider, and your bank know about your new address. Cancel or redirect scheduled deliveries and subscriptions.
- Confirm dates with relevant parties:
- Real estate agent(s) for move-in/move-out
- Moving company or truck rental
- Storage unit
- Begin packing! Be sure to create a packing list to keep in your moving binder. Schedule enough time to have the packing done at least two days before your move date.
One Week Before
- Begin cleaning empty rooms. Even if you’re not working to get a security deposit back, you should do a thorough clean.
- Pack suitcases. Have one for everyone in the family to live out of for a few days as you complete packing everything in the house.
- Collect all keys and garage door openers. They will need to be handed over to the real estate agent or new owners.
- Schedule a final walkthrough of your new home. Take some time with the real estate agent or the builder to make sure you know the locations of important items throughout the house (i.e. water valves, circuit breakers, etc.) and to make sure that any agreed-upon maintenance has been performed (i.e., paint touch-ups, burnt-out light bulbs, etc.). If you’re moving long-distance and this walkthrough isn’t possible ahead of your move-in date, try to schedule it on moving day before the unloading is scheduled to start.
- Check the truck. If you hired movers, check the USDOT number on the side. It should match the number on the contract you signed. Avoid those moving scams!
- Have specific information for your movers. Contact information, address of the new place, and maps for getting there.
- Sign the movers’ inventory list. Make sure they provide you with a copy. This record of what they’re moving ensures that nothing “disappears” en route.
- Final walkthrough. The new owners expect to find the house in a certain condition. Double-check every room to make sure no damage occurred during the loading process.
After You’ve Arrived
- Set up your security. As soon as possible, make sure your family and belongings are protected. Be sure to do your research.
- Check your utilities. Water, lights, plumbing: make sure it’s all working properly.
- Change the locks, if possible. If you’re not the first owner, then you don’t know how many keys to home are floating around.
- Get to know your HOA. Love them or hate them, HOAs are a reality for many homeowners. Make sure you know what yours requires, and more importantly, what it can do for you.
- Plan your housewarming party. Reward yourself! (And maybe get help restocking your bar.) This is a good way to start getting to know your neighbors, which is essential.