Preparing to move? You likely feel as though your mind is swirling with thoughts of all the things to do before moving. While this time can feel stressful and overwhelming, if you break everything down into a checklist of tasks to help you prepare, you’ll get through your move feeling confident and prepared.
Here are some of our best moving tips, along with tasks to include on your moving out checklist:
- Research moving companies and get recommendations from your friends and family.
- Get estimates from moving companies.
- Think about any extra insurance coverage you may need to cover your move.
- Make a list of businesses and accounts you have that will require an address change.
- Research and identify the important logistical contacts you’ll need soon after your move.
- Start trying to use up the groceries you have on hand.
- Spread the word that you’re moving.
- Buy your moving supplies.
- Request time off at work for the day of your move.
- Make a plan for anything too valuable or sentimental to send with your movers.
- Take pictures of any high-value items.
- Start a folder for information that needs to stay in your old home.
- Withdraw cash to tip your movers on moving day.
- Schedule your utilities to be turned off the day after you move out of your home.
- Get rid of paint and other chemicals the movers won’t transport.
- Pack a suitcase with everything you’ll need for the first few days at your new home.
- Pack an “open first” box with anything you may need right away at your new home.
- Hire a cleaning company to clean after the movers leave or plan a time to do it yourself.
- Confirm with your agent what items you agreed to leave behind for the new owners or occupants.
- Do a final walk-through when the movers leave to make sure you aren’t leaving anything behind.
- Set up mail forwarding with the USPS.
- Cancel or forward your newspaper and magazine subscription
- Start creating a list of accounts that will need your new address.
- Purge items room by room.
- Make a packing schedule.
- Pack items you won’t need early.
- Clean and repair damage, especially if you’re renting.
Things To Do Before Moving
Work your way through our moving-out checklist below, and you won’t be stuck the day before the movers come wondering how to prepare for a move.
1. Research moving companies and get recommendations from your friends and family.
Start your search for moving companies by identifying those with great reviews, or those who come highly recommended from someone you know. As you research companies, consider how far you’re moving and whether they do long-distance or in-town moves (or both), whether you want movers to handle packing for you, and any other needs you may have.
2. Get estimates from moving companies.
Once you’ve honed in on a few moving companies you’re interested in, you can begin getting estimates. The moving companies may do this online and have you estimate how much you have, or they may come out to your house to look at your things.
Your estimate will depend on factors such as how much you’re moving, how far you’re moving, how many days the move will take, what equipment is needed and more.
3. Think about any extra insurance coverage you may need to cover your move.
While you’re gathering estimates, ask your movers what coverage they have for your possessions, and also look into what your homeowners insurance offers. If you have any highly-valuable objects to move, you may need to purchase some extra coverage for the move.
4. Make a list of businesses and accounts you have that will require an address change.
While you won’t want to start changing addresses too far in advance of your move, starting to note which address changes you’ll need to make can take a load of stress off once your move is complete
5. Research and identify the important logistical contacts you’ll need soon after your move.
Now’s the time to start finding a new doctor, registering your kids for school, opening an account with a local bank (if needed), and establishing any other contacts you may need when your move is over. Don’t wait until you’re sick or school is about to start to begin setting these things up!
6. Start trying to use up the groceries you have on hand.
The fewer groceries you have to move or throw away, the easier it will be to pack up your pantry as your move approaches. Similarly, avoid buying things in bulk until after you’re in your new home.
7. Spread the word that you’re moving.
You can post your news on your social media accounts, or you can order moving announcements to mail to your friends and family with your new address.
8. Buy your moving supplies.
You’ll need boxes, packing tape, labels, and padding to keep breakable things safe. Moving supplies can get expensive, so look for places to find free boxes, like stores that regularly receive new inventory or neighborhood Facebook groups.
Pro tip: Make sure you’re saving all your Amazon boxes leading up to your move!
9. Request time off at work for the day of your move.
If you’ll need to take time off of work for your move, make sure you put in your request at least two weeks in advance to be safe.
10. Make a plan for anything too valuable or sentimental to send with your movers.
You’ll have to either move these by hand or ship them through a business with package tracking and insurance.
11. Take pictures of any high-value items.
Be sure to note any existing scratches and dings, or lack thereof. These photos will become important in the unfortunate event that something gets damaged and you need to file a claim.
12. Start a folder for information that needs to stay in your old home.
Includes things such as warranties on appliances, fences, or the roof, paint colors, and any other important paperwork. You may also want to include your contact information in case any mail or packages come to the wrong address or anything else comes up.
13. Withdraw cash to tip your movers on moving day.
Ask around to get the average amount people in your area tend to tip movers. A good rule of thumb is $4-5 per mover per hour.
14. Schedule your utilities to be turned off the day after you move out of your home.
Don’t forget this step, as you won’t want to pay for utilities you aren’t using!
15. Get rid of paint and other chemicals the movers won’t transport.
Check with your moving company to find out what they can’t carry, and properly dispose of it before the big day.
16. Pack a suitcase with everything you’ll need for the first few days at your new home.
Don’t forget several changes of clothes, toiletries, phone chargers, and any prescription medications.
17. Pack an “open first” box with anything you may need right away at your new home.
Don’t forget cleaning supplies, scissors, trash bags, paper products, toilet paper, and anything else you may want as you’re getting settled in.
18. Hire a cleaning company to clean after the movers leave or plan a time to do it yourself.
You won’t be expected to do a deep clean but you should vacuum and mop the floors, wipe down countertops and clean the bathrooms, at a minimum.
If you’re renting, you will also need to clean and repair any damage, as leaving your apartment dirty or damaged could greatly impact the refund of your security deposit.
19. Confirm with your agent what items you agreed to leave behind for the new owners or occupants.
This information can usually be found in your closing documents. Your agent can clarify this for you. Everything else will need to be out of your house on moving day.
20. Do a final walk-through when the movers leave to make sure you aren’t leaving anything behind.
Don’t forget to check basements, attics, garage, sheds, and any other storage areas.
List of Address Changes When Moving
One thing you may find during your move is that your list of addresses to change is much longer than you thought. Our moving address change tips below can help simplify this task.
21. Set up mail forwarding with the USPS.
Around two or three weeks before your move, visit the USPS website to set up mail forwarding so that anything sent to your old address will arrive at your new one.
22. Cancel or forward your newspaper and magazine subscription.
If you get a newspaper or magazines delivered to your home, you’ll want to either forward them to your new address, or cancel them and subscribe to a local paper in your new area.
23. Start creating a list of accounts that will need your new address.
You can create a list in your phone so that you can easily jot down any accounts or companies you think of, right when you think of them. You may need to provide your new address to:
- Social Security Office
- Local board of elections
- Banks and lenders
- Credit card companies
- Insurance companies
- Doctor’s offices
- Retail sites
- Streaming services
How Long Does it Take to Pack a House?
Packing up your home will probably take longer than you expect it to. However, if you create a plan and start early, you’ll be sure to get it done by moving day with minimal stress.
24. Purge items room by room.
Go through your entire house and sell, donate, or trash items you don’t use, don’t need, or don’t want to move.
25. Make a packing schedule.
Think through everything you’ll need to pack, then decide when you’ll pack each category or room leading up to the move. If you space it out over several weeks, you can save yourself from needing to do a big, stressful push at the end.
26. Pack items you won’t need early.
Starting about a month before your move, begin packing seasonal items, heirlooms, items in storage, and anything else you won’t need until you’re in your new place.
Moving Out of An Apartment Checklist
Moving out of a space you’re renting adds an extra element of requirements to your moving preparations, as you’ll need to make sure the rental property is in great shape so you get your security deposit back. This brings us to our final moving out tip:
27. Clean and repair damage, especially if you’re renting.
Take a thorough look at every space, making sure that everything is clean and there are no damages that need to be fixed or replaced. Pay special attention to these areas:
- Kitchen – wipe everything down and clean all appliances
- Bathroom – wipe everything down, including inside drawers, and look for clogs and mold or mildew stains
- Floors – keep your eye out for pet stains, broken tile, holes or tears
- Walls – make sure the walls are clean and free of cobwebs, and you’ve removed any screws, nails, or hooks as well as patched any holes
- Windows – this includes screens and blinds
- Light fixtures – especially any bulbs that need to be replaced
Moving Out Made Simple
Ok, so moving is never an easy task, but following this checklist can help lighten the load when it comes to the stress of moving. As a bonus, if you’re a CPI customer, our Movers Program offers exclusive discounts and upgrades on security systems that are only available to current customers. Ask about our Movers Program and see how you qualify.