Moving Checklist

Six Weeks Before Your Move
  • Take an objective look at what you own and decide what must go and what can be left behind.  Books you've read and will never read again?  Records you haven't listened to since college?  That pressure cooker with the broken handle, or the children's long neglected games?  Extra weight costs you money.
  • Contact moving companies to get estimates.  Pay attention to cost, but also ask them what they'll do to make your move as smooth as possible.
  • If you have a lot of things worth selling, you may want to organize a house or garage sale.
  • Get an estimate from each mover on the cost of letting the company professionally pack all or some of your belongings.  The time and effort you save may be worth the cost.  And remember: the mover is liable for breakage to items it packs, but you are responsible for damage to improperly packaged items that you have boxed.
  • If you've decided to let your mover pack for you, simply begin separating what you plan to sell, give away, throw away, and keep.
  • Contact the Chamber of Commerce or Visitor's Bureau of your new town to request information on schools, parks and recreation, community calendars, and maps.
  • Start a central file to keep all details on your move.  Buy a brightly colored organizer folder with pockets--you'll be less likely to misplace it.  Make sure to collect receipts for moving-related expenses.  Depending on your reason for moving, you may be entitled to a tax deduction.
  • Create a floor plan of your new home and begin thinking about where you'll want to place furniture.  Planning in advance eases the stress of making major decisions when your furniture arrives.  Label specific pieces of furniture on your floor plan, and put it in your moving folder.

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Five Weeks Before Your Move

  • Select your mover, and meet to discuss dates and costs.
  • Decide now whether you want to pack yourself or hire your mover to do it.  Self-packing can save money.  Hiring a mover helps ensure a professional packing job, can minimize breakage and saves you considerable time.
  • If you've decided to pack yourself, begin gathering the boxes you will need.  Your mover can provide boxes most suited for moving, including special-purpose containers for items like lamp shades and hanging clothes.

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Four Weeks Before Your Move

  • Notify the post office, magazines, credit card companies, and friends and family of your change of address.  The U.S. Postal Service offers a kit to make this easier.
  • Contact utilities (gas, water, electricity, telephone, cable TV) to schedule disconnection of services on the day following your move.  You'll want to have utilities on while you are still in the house.
  • Call the utilities in your new town to arrange for service to start the day before your move.
  • If you're planning to move any of your major appliances, talk with your mover to schedule disconnecting and servicing a few days before your move.  And don't forget to arrange for an expert, if necessary to install fixtures upon their arrival at your new home.
  • Complete repair work on your old home and arrange for critical services needed at your new home.
  • If packing yourself, start packing seldom-used articles such as fancy dishes and glasses, specialty cookware, non-essential clothing, curios, art, photos, and decorative items. As you pack, remember to keep each box light enough to be handled by several members of the family, not just the strongest person.  Heavier items go in smaller boxes, lighter items in larger boxes.
  • If you're planning a garage sale, pick a date at least a week before the move and advertise it locally.  Maybe you can team up with neighbors wanting to sell some of their old belongings for a 'Super Sale.'

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Three Weeks Before Your Move

  • Take inventory of your every day household goods: radios, pots and pans, small appliances.   Decide which items you will discard or put in storage.
  • Self packers: start your serious packing.  Label the contents of all boxes and pack carefully.
  • As best you can, box essential items together and write 'open first/load last' on these boxes.  When you move into your new home, you will be able to easily identify these boxes and get such important items as pots, dishes, silverware, alarm clocks, bedding pillows, towels, and cherished toys and essential items for babies or children.
  • Make sure you have your driver's license, auto registration, and insurance records.
  • Contact your doctors, dentist and veterinarian to receive copies of medical records.
  • Pack phone books from your old town to make staying in touch with old friends easier.
  • Make personal travel arrangements (flights, hotel, rental cars) for your trip.
  • Plan your food purchases to have as little as possible in the freezer or refrigerator by the time you move.  Use up all frozen items and buy only what you'll eat in the next three weeks.
  • Arrange to have your new home cleaned, or plan to clean it yourself, as close to move-in time as possible.  Since it will probable be unoccupied by this time, make sure the cleaning is thorough and covers all those nooks and crannies usually blocked by furniture or appliances.
  • Contact your children's schools and arrange for records to be forwarded to your new school district.
  • Make bank
  •  and safe deposit box arrangements  in your new town.  Make plans to safely transfer items from your old safe deposit box to your new one.
  • Hold a garage sale now.

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Two Weeks Before Your Move

  • Contact your insurance company to cancel coverage or transfer it to your new home.
  • Make arrangements for transporting your pets and house plants, since movers can't take them in the van.
  • Meet with your bank to change account status.
  • Transfer prescriptions to a drug store in your new town.
  • Cancel delivery services such as newspapers.  Consider starting a subscription in the newspaper in your new town to introduce you to local news and happenings.
  • Have your automobile serviced if you're traveling by car.
  • Be sure to remove valuables and spare house keys from secret hiding places.

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One Week Before Your Move

  • Mow your lawn for the last time.
  • Dispose of toxic or flammable items that can't be moved.  Drain the gas and oil from gas-powered tools such as lawn mowers and snow blowers.  Movers will not take them full.
  • Double-check arrangements to disconnect and service your major appliances being moved.
  • Pack your trip kit of necessary items that should go in your car and not the moving van: checkbook, cash, travelers checks, medications, essential toiletries, light bulbs, flashlight, toilet paper, pet food, spare glasses or contact lenses, baby or child care items, toys and car games for children, and of course, your notebook with moving information.
  • Complete last-minute errands: pick up items at dry cleaners, return borrowed items such as library books, etc.
  • If you have young children, get a babysitter to watch them on moving day.  You'll have your hands full, and the extra attention from a sitter will distract the children's attention from the turmoil.
  • Also arrange for a babysitter when you arrive at your new home with young children.  If it's a new town and you have concerns about the sitter's reliability, remember that the sitter will simply be helping you out -- you'll be there to supervise.
  • Put your 'open first/load last' boxes in a separate place so the mover can identify them.
  • Pay all outstanding bills and indicate your new address on payment documents.
  • Remove any fixtures you are taking with you and replace (if specified in your home-selling contract).

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One To Two Days Before Your Move

The movers will arrive to start the packing.

  • Empty and defrost your refrigerator and freezer, clean them with a disinfectant and let them air out.  Put baking soda or charcoal inside to keep them fresh.
  • Arrange for payment to the mover.  This payment must be made when your belongings arrive at your new home -- before they're unloaded. Find out your moving company's accepted methods of payment, terms and policy for inspecting your belongings on arrival for breakage.
  • Empty out safe deposit box.  Plan to take important papers, jewelry, cherished family photos, irreplaceable mementos or vital computer files with you.
  • Write directions to your new home for the van operator, provide the new phone number and include phone numbers where you can be reached in transit -- either a car phone or someone with whom you'll be in contact.  You'll never be out of touch for long, should an emergency arise.
  • Leave your forwarding address and phone number for you home's new occupants.
  • If your house will be vacant, notify police and neighbors.

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Moving Day

  • Remove linens from beds and pack in an 'open first' box.
  • Upon the movers' arrival, review all details and paperwork.  Accompany the van operator to take inventory.  Verify delivery plans.
  • If there is time, give the home a final cleaning, or arrange in advance for someone to perform this service the day after you move out.

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Move-In Day

  • You'll probably arrive before the movers, so tidy up your home (dusting shelves, etc.) so the movers can unpack items directly onto clean shelves.  If you plan to line cupboards with shelving paper, this is a good time to do it.
  • Unpack your car.
  • Review your floor plan to refresh your memory of where you want furniture and appliances placed.
  • Make sure the utilities have been connected, and follow up on any delays.
  • Confine your pets to an out-of-the-way room to keep them from running  away or getting unduly agitated by all the activity.  You might even consider boarding them at a local kennel until you're settled.
  • Be present when the moving van arrives.  Be prepared to pay the mover before unloading.
  • One person should check off inventory sheets as items are unloaded; a second person should direct movers on where to place items.
  • Once everything is unloaded, unpack only what you need for the first day or two.  Focus on creating a sense of home for your family, and give yourself at least two weeks to unpack and organize your belongings.

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