Make your move stress-free with proper planning.
There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re moving, and it’s easy to let important details fall by the wayside or to put off crucial tasks until the last minute.
So we’ve put together a checklist to help you plan your move and stay on schedule. Read the list below, or download the free PDF to help organize your move.
One month before the move
- Notify your landlord. If you’re a renter on a month-to-month lease, you’ll need to give your landlord at least 30 days’ notice of your move. If you’re breaking your lease, let them know even earlier if possible — giving a long notice period may help you negotiate a smaller fine.
- Write a budget for the move. Moving is expensive. Make sure you budget adequately for the cost of insurance, deposit on a new place, utility connection fees, packing supplies, eating out for a few days while your kitchen is in boxes and movers or a truck if needed.
- Pick a moving date. Depending on the time of year, movers and trucks can book up quickly. Lock in your moving date as early as possible.
- Make arrangements. If you’re hiring professional movers, compare rates and book with your preferred company. If you’re renting a truck, reserve it in advance. And if you’re counting on friends to help, check if they’re available on your moving day a month in advance.
- Inventory your belongings. Take stock of your belongings. Make a written inventory, separating them into items you’ll need right up to moving day, items you can pack now and items you can sell, donate or throw out.
- Make plans for items you aren’t taking. If you have large items, like an old couch or appliance, that can’t be sold or donated, call your waste management company to find out if they’ll remove it — and how much it’ll cost.
- Book any necessary repairs. If your property has wear and tear that could prevent you from getting your deposit back, make sure to get repairs done before you move.
- Book end-of-lease cleaning. If you’re a renter, consider having your property professionally cleaned to get your deposit back. If possible, book this for the morning after moving day.
Two weeks before the move
- Get rid of anything you’re not bringing. Sell it, donate it or throw it out if you have to.
- Arrange to move utilities, internet, phone and cable. You’ll need to let your utility and service providers know about your move ahead of time, and you may need to sign up with a new company if you’re moving to a different city. If any installation needs to take place at your new property, book it now.
- Change your address. Update your address with your bank, subscriptions, government agencies, deliveries and any company that sends you bills.
- Arrange to have mail forwarded. It’s inevitable that some regular mail will slip your mind when you change your address. Set up mail forwarding to capture any billers or service providers you’ve forgotten.
- Purchase packing materials. Use your inventory to determine how many boxes, rolls of packing tape and rolls of bubble wrap you’re likely to need.
- Begin packing nonessential items. Begin packing anything you’re unlikely to need for the next fortnight. Remember to clearly label boxes with their contents and the room they belong in.
- Arrange care for pets or young children on moving day. Moving is hard enough as it is. Looking after small children and pets during a move makes the process nigh-impossible. Arrange care for moving day so you can focus on the task at hand.
One week before the move
- Finalize layout of new home and send to movers. If you’re using a professional moving company, decide where your furniture will be placed in your new home and send a diagram to the movers so you don’t have to rearrange heavy items after they’ve unpacked.
- Make arrangements to collect keys. Speak to the landlord or real estate agent for your new property and arrange a time to pick up the keys if you don’t already have them.
- Make arrangements for final inspection of current home. If you’re moving out of an apartment, talk to your landlord to book a time for your final property inspection. If possible, book it for the afternoon or evening after moving day.
- Pack bedding and towels for moving day. Two things you’ll want after a day spent moving are a hot shower and a comfortable bed. Set aside towels and bedding to ensure you can have both.
- Label cord connections for electronic equipment. Avoid a tangle of unknown wires by wrapping up each cord and labeling it. Plastic bags can be useful in keeping your cords separated and your labels attached.
- Continue packing nonessential items. Continue to pack anything you aren’t likely to need in the next week.
Two to three days before the move
- Make box of essential supplies, including medicine, first aid supplies and nonperishable food items. Put together a box of items you need to be able to easily access. Make sure this box doesn’t go on the moving truck.
- Donate any unwanted items. Once you’ve sorted through and packed most of your belongings, donate anything you don’t need to local charities or thrift stores.
- Purchase cleaning supplies and any last-minute packing supplies. While it’s a good idea to have your house professionally cleaned, you’ll still want cleaning supplies to clean out your refrigerator and wipe down any belongings that have gathered dust or grime.
- Finish packing all items, setting aside those you’ll need over the next few days. Be aggressive in your packing, only setting aside those items you’ll definitely need to access over the next two to three days.
The day before the move
- Clean refrigerator and defrost freezer. Eat, donate or discard any perishable food items, and then unplug your refrigerator and clean it.
- Unhook and drain washing machine, air conditioners and garden hoses. Drain any excess water off appliances you intend to move, and remove, drain and pack your garden hose.
- Pack toiletries. Set aside items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant and toilet paper so you have access to them on moving day.
- Pack at least two changes of clothes for moving day and the day following. It could be a couple days before you’re able to unpack the majority of your clothes. Make sure you have a few outfits set aside — and not in the moving truck.
- Set aside valuable, fragile and sentimental items along with important documents to transport with you. Make a box of items too fragile, valuable or sensitive to be packed on the moving truck. Make sure you have a folder for important documents.
- Clear a path. Create an unobstructed path to boxes and furniture in each room.
- Provide movers with clear instructions on where to place items and furniture at new home. When the movers first arrive, walk them through the house and give them a rundown of where boxes and furniture need to be placed at your new property. If you’re skipping the movers in lieu of help from friends, give them a diagram of where everything goes in your new place.
- Pack valuable, fragile and sentimental items and important documents in your personal vehicle. Put your box of important items in your own vehicle to ensure it’s not accidentally packed by movers or well-intentioned friends.
- Check all closets, cupboards and other storage areas for forgotten items. Once everything’s gone, do a sweep of the house for any items left behind. Make sure to check the top of cupboards and any hidden areas like your crawl space, attic or safe.
- Stand at entry point to new home to provide clear instructions to movers. Once you arrive at your new property, stand out of the way at the entry to your home and direct the movers.
- Assemble all beds. Prioritize the assembly of beds so you have a place to sleep at the end of an exhausting day.
- Ensure all utilities and services are connected and working. Go through your new home and make sure all essential utilities and services are in working order.
Moving is busy, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Take the time to start planning about a month before your move so that everything runs smoothly the day of.
Frequently asked questions