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Don’t Forget to Do These 9 Things Before You Move
At a glance
Moving is complicated. Even if you use one of the best moving companies, you’re still likely to run into hiccups by moving day. Thankfully, you have Move.org. We’ve put together nine moving tips that many people forget about. For example, we’ll show you how (and when) to change your address—and how to avoid getting ripped off by moving companies. We even have a comprehensive moving checklist you can print out to ensure you don’t miss anything.
Learn more about the nine ways to handle issues most people run into before moving day.
1. Print a moving checklist
Having a moving checklist is a good way to prevent things from slipping through the cracks. We recommend printing your moving checklist out, putting it on your fridge, and checking it off as you complete moving tasks. It’s a simple way to keep everything straight.
Our printable moving checklist starts two months before you move and ends two weeks after you move in. The steps for those final two weeks include often-forgotten tasks like making spare keys and saving your moving binder info in case you need to move again.
2. Make plans to ship your car (or motorcycle)
It’s easy to get so caught up in moving what’s in your house that you forget what’s in the driveway. In some cases, you may be able to drive your vehicle to your new home’s front door. But in many cases, you either have too many cars to drive—or too far to travel.
That’s why the moving gods invented car shipping. For a surprisingly reasonable fee, the best auto transport companies will ship your car anywhere in the United States. Most of them also offer motorcycle shipping services.
Our top pick is Montway Auto Transport, but each company brings something unique to the table:
Best car shipping companies
3. Choose the right moving supplies
Moving supplies can make or break your move, so we recommend investing a little time and money to get what you need. Packing supplies are the easy part. Load up on things like packing tape, bubble wrap, and couch covers.
But you also need to think about boxes. Moving boxes come in different shapes and sizes, and you often need specific boxes for specialty items. That’s why you’ll likely need wardrobe boxes and artwork boxes in addition to the standard cheap cardboard boxes.
Our free moving box guide shows you where to look, including furniture stores, online boards, and neighbors.
4. Tell folks about your new address
There’s no feeling quite like settling into your new home. It marks the beginning of a new season in life. But it’s hard to get off on the right foot if people don’t know where to find your new place. That’s why we recommend changing your address before you move.
It’s free to change your address if you go into the post office lobby. Otherwise, it costs $1.05 to change your address online.
The post office won’t forward your mail indefinitely. So, you also want to notify other essential people about your new place. We’ve found that it’s helpful to inform companies that help with day-to-day issues like banks, social security, and auto insurance:
- Financial institutions
- Government agencies
- Home security
- Insurance companies
- Memberships and subscriptions
- Online services
5. Inform your utility company
Try to set up your new utilities a month or two before moving—and notify your old utility company. Otherwise, you could end up paying bills at your old house while (literally) being in the dark at your new place. Trust us. You don’t want that.
Move.org’s Guide to Utility Bills includes a ton of helpful info, including tips for saving money like unplugging electronics and getting a smart thermostat.
6. Sign up for internet and TV
It’s tough to work from home without the internet. So be sure that you arrange for internet services in your new neighborhood. Similarly, sign up for streaming services so you can relax after a hard day’s work. We have lists of the best internet service providers and best TV streaming services:
Best internet service providers
|$19.99–$83.95/mo.*||Fiber, cable||50–1,200 Mbps||Check Prices|
|$55.00–$80.00/mo.**||Fiber, DSL, fixed wireless||25–940 Mbps||Check Prices|
|$49.99–$89.99/mo.***||Cable||200–1,000 Mbps||Check Prices|
|$29.99–$109.99/mo.****||Cable||25–1,000 Mbps||Check Prices|
Data as of 3/10/22.
*Excludes Xfinity Gigabit Pro and Gigabit X3. For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
**Excludes AT&T Internet 2000 and AT&T Internet 5000 plans. For 12 mos., plus taxes & equipment fee. $10/mo. equipment fee applies. Incl. 1TB data/mo.; overage charges apply. Ltd avail./areas.
***For the first 12 months.
****For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
Best TV streaming services
Data as of Jun 29, 2021. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change.
7. Donate to charity
Total moving costs depend on how much stuff you have. In most cases, you can trim expenses by getting rid of belongings you no longer need. True, you can hire a junk removal company to take your belongings. But you can do the world a solid and donate to charity while cleaning out your new place.
We researched a dozen companies to find the five best charities to pick up your unwanted items:
There are things you can do to prepare your new home for a smoother move-in. We have a 14-step guide for moving into a new house. You’ll find helpful moving tips ranging from confirming your move-in date to arriving before your movers.
8. Research moving companies
Check out a few moving companies before hiring one. This is one of the most common-sense steps—but it’s also one of the most important. Unfortunately, too many people pull the trigger on the first company they get quotes from. And too often, they pay more (sometimes thousands of dollars more) and have a terrible customer experience.
Each moving service has some differences. We’ll briefly walk you through the essential details and then connect you with top solutions that reflect your move’s needs and budget:
A professional mover does everything for you. The best moving services will pack your belongings, load them into the truck, and transport them to your new home. When the movers arrive at your new place, they’ll put everything right where you want it, get rid of the moving mess, and even assemble furniture and electronics. Since they do so much, professional movers also cost the most.
International Van Lines is our pick for the best professional moving company. It has an established reputation, is upfront about pricing info, and can go anywhere in the country (or the world).
Moving truck company
A moving truck company is the opposite of a professional mover. While the pros do everything for you and cost the most, moving truck companies require you to do the legwork—but cost the least. That makes a moving truck company a good idea if you’re trying to move on a budget.
Penske Truck Rental is our pick for the number one moving truck company. It has the lowest prices, is available nationwide, and has reliable reservations.
Most people think that rental trucks are your cheapest option—and they often are. However, moving containers are often the cheapest moving option if traveling across the country.
Moving containers fall between a professional moving company (also known as a moving van company) and a moving truck service. A moving container drops off a large container at your home. However, you don’t have access to a professional packer or movers to load your belongings. So, you're responsible for packing and loading, while the moving container company takes care of transport. As expected, costs lie somewhere between hiring a professional mover and doing it all yourself.
PODS is our number one choice for moving containers. It has an incredible combo of low prices and sky-high customer reviews.
9. Have a plan for moving day
A perfect move can feel like a nightmare if you don’t have a plan for moving day. It’s common for people to plan an ideal move—except for those final steps. They choose the right mover, get all the right moving supplies, and change every possible address. But then the movers arrive. People run into each other, there’s nothing to eat, and the paperwork feels overwhelming.
Thankfully, there’s an easy way to fix that. First, we’d refer you to our moving delivery day checklist that covers the moving process in more detail. It includes dozens of tips for moving day.
Some critical moving day steps include:
- Decide on your floor plan
- Confirm delivery with your driver
- Keep your phone close
- Inspect your belongings
- Do a final walkthrough with the moving crew
Moving doesn’t need to be complicated. By following nine simple steps, you can avoid most problems people face when moving into new homes. For example, you can save thousands of dollars by researching the best moving companies before signing a contract. You can also save yourself a headache by ensuring utility companies and streaming services have your new address. You can even help those in need by donating unwanted items to charity.
Want to play it extra safe?
What to do before you move FAQ
Should I move myself or hire a mover?
It all boils down to your priorities. We recommend hiring a mover if you have cash and value convenience. On the other hand, you can’t beat renting a moving truck if you’re tight on cash but have plenty of time.
What should I do before moving?
Before moving, some of the most important things are researching moving companies, changing your address, and tracking down moving supplies. It’s also a good idea to ask local stores for free moving boxes.
When should I start packing to move?
You should start packing up to eight weeks before you move. However, if you hire a professional mover, they typically require less than 48 hours notice to pack your items.
Who do you need to notify of a change of address?
You should notify anyone who might need to contact you about a change of address. That includes friends, family, and businesses like banks, utility companies, and insurance providers.
What size moving container do you need?
Your moving container size depends on how much stuff you have and what options are available. For example, you need only one 8-foot PODS container for a small apartment but should plan on two 16-foot 1-800-PACK-RAT containers for a 5-bedroom home.