Moving to a new home is a big job. The further you plan ahead, the smoother it will go. Here is a list of the main tasks and suggested timeframes. No two moving jobs are exactly the same, so add or delete steps as needed for your move and family.
8 Weeks Before Your Move
Get rid of items that you don't want anymore.
Now is the time to determine which items you wish to take with you to your new home. Items that you don’t need should either be donated to charity or sold at a garage sale. You may consider teaming up with your neighbors who want to sell some of their belongings, and plan a neighborhood yard sale.
Boxes, tape, packing paper
If you plan on packing your own items, start collecting suitable packing supplies. You can purchase all these materials from any van line agent or a moving supply company. The boxes you purchase should be specially designed for moving household goods to prevent damage to your belongings.
Think about the layout of your new home and where you'll put your furniture and belongings. Create a floor plan that will ease the stress of making decisions once the furniture arrives. If there is no place for an item in your new home, it may be better to sell it at your yard sale.
Start and maintain a file of moving-related documents and receipts. This file should contain your moving company contract, healthcare records, and children’s school records.
Save your receipts
Keep all receipts for moving-related expenses in a designated moving folder. Many moving expenses are tax deductible. You can call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 for more information, or you can go to www.irs.gov. You can also obtain an IRS Change of Address form (Form 8822), and a Moving Expenses form (Form 3903) by following these links.
Records and valuables
Insurance, medical and dental records should be placed in a safe, accessible place. Also include prescription and vaccination records. Plan on taking all vital documents such as: wills, stock certificates and other one-of-a kind items (jewelry, coin collection, photos, etc.) separately.
- Save your receipts
Call moving companies for estimates.
Now that you know what's going with you, and what items will be sold or donated to charity, it's time to call some moving companies for estimates. You should get at least two cost estimates, and maybe a third, if the prices vary greatly.
Be sure to ask the moving companies:
- How will your items be inventoried?
- How will your items be insured for damage?
- How do you arrange the moving date?
6 Weeks Before Your Move
Choose a moving company
Now is the time to choose your moving company and sign the moving contract. While you're signing your moving contract make sure you set your moving date.
Contact your insurance agent
Contact your insurance agent about coverage for moving. You can also ask your agent if they will be able to transfer your home and auto policies to your new location.
Familiarize yourself with your future community
Get familiar with your new community. Request information on schools, community websites, utilities information, parks and recreation, employment information from the local Chamber of Commerce.
Now is the best time to make your travel arrangements (hotel, flights, car rental, etc.). Try to keep your travel plans flexible to accommodate any last-minute changes or delays.
Apartment or condo?
If you live in an apartment or condo complex, contact your property or building manager and inquire about scheduling your move date and time. Some apartment complexes may have date and/or time restrictions as to when moving can be done. Remember to ask about your security deposit refund.
4 Weeks Before Your Move
Contact your Mover - Are you set?
Contact your mover and confirm your move date if you haven't done so already – it is always easier to change your move date than to schedule one at the last minute.
Change of address
Notify the following of your change of address:
- Post office - You can now change your address online.
- Credit card companies
- Relatives and friends
- Insurance agents, lawyer, tax accountant
- Magazine and newspaper subscriptions
Utilities & Services
Notify utility companies of your move date and the date that you want your services disconnected, or transferred to your new home. Be sure to ask about refunds for prepaid deposit paid at the time your service was established.
- Phone & Internet
- Water & Sewer
- Lawn and pool service
Odd and ends
- Close any local charge accounts.
- If necessary, arrange for a babysitter to watch your children on moving day. You may need someone to keep your children occupied so that they remain safe during the loading process.
- While sorting through your belongings, remember to return anything else you have borrowed, and pick up items you have loaned.
- Remember to collect items that are being cleaned, stored or repaired, like, dry cleaning, items in storage, etc
3 Weeks Before Your Move
Utilities for your new home
Call ahead to have utilities connected at your new home. Many utilitiy companies will require a deposit and several days to get you connected.
You should always change the locks when you move into a new house. You can buy new locksets at your local hardware store, or you can have a locksmith come out and rekey the lock cylinders.
Make final packing decisions. Start packing items you don't use often.
Remember the unseen places
Clean and clear your home, including closets, storage sheds, and attics.
Bank and credit card accounts
Call your bank to find out how to transfer your bank accounts, or close accounts that can't be transfered.
Safety deposit boxes
Each year people move without clearing out their safety deposit boxes. Don't be another statistic.
Secret hiding spots
If you've hidden any valuables around the house, be sure to collect them before leaving.
2 Weeks Before Your Move
Pets and plants
Arrange special transport for pets if needed. Some state laws prohibit moving house plants. Consider giving your plants to a friend or local charity.
- Plan meals that will use up the food in your refrigerator and freezer.
- Have your automobile serviced if you're traveling by car.
- Transfer all current prescriptions to a drugstore in your new town.
- Dispose of flammable items such as fireworks, cleaning fluids, matches, acids, chemistry sets, aerosol cans, paint, ammunition and poisons such as weed killer.
- Drain all the oil and gasoline from your lawn mower and power tools to ensure safe transportation. Refer to your owner's manual for specific instructions.
1 Week Before Your Move
This is the time to tie up any loose ends. Check through this guide to make sure you haven't missed anything.
Confirm travel arrangements
Pack your suitcases and confirm your family’s travel arrangements (flights, hotel, rental cars, etc.). Try to keep your plans as flexible as possible in the event of a change of schedule.
Your new address
Contact your mover and make sure the address and phone number where you can be reached if you are not going directly to your new home.
Clean out the fridge
At least one day before moving, empty, defrost and clean your refrigerator and freezer. If necessary, prepare your stove to be moved. Try using baking soda to get rid of any odors.
Prepare your “First night survival kit"
This kit can contain items such as toiletries, beverages, snacks, and games for the kids to keep them occupied during the move. If you're stopping overnight be sure to pack clothes and other essentials you'll need while your belongings are in transit.
Pack "Moving-essential kit"
This kit should include slightly more supplies than your “First night survival kit.” Maybe an extra few days supply, in case the movers are delayed.
Strip your beds, and make sure the bedding goes into a "Load Last" box.
Where are the pets?
Confine your pets to an out-of-the-way room to help keep them from running away or becoming agitated by all of the activity.
Who's meeting the movers?
Make sure you are on hand when the movers arrive. It's important to have an adult authorized to take your place if you are unable to be present at any time while the movers are there. Let the agent know whom you have given this authority. Always try to spend as much time with the mover as possible. If you have special, last minute instructions make sure it is explained to your mover the moment they arrive. It is always best to communicate all instructions to the movers well before moving day if at all possible.
The Movers are here!
Once the movers arrive, review all details and paperwork. Accompany the driver as he or she inspects and tags each piece of furniture with an identifying number. These numbers, along with a detailed description of your goods and their condition at the time of loading, will appear on the inventory. A pictures worth a thousand words. Take picture of items before they are moved for your records, and to file a damage claim in nessesary.
Are they done yet?
It is your responsibility to see that all of your goods are loaded, so remain on the premises until the loading is complete. To insure that nothing gets left behind always do a final inspection of the premises. Do not sign any releases without completing this inspection.
Where is a vacuum when you need it?
Since you'll probably want to clean a little after the movers have loaded everything, and before the furniture is unloaded, make sure your vacuum is packed last, so it can be unloaded first.
After Your Move
Do you have a connection?
Make sure your phone, cable and internet are connected. Ideally, the utility companies should make the connections the day before move-in day.
Note: To prevent possible damage, televisions, stereos, computers, other electronic equipment and major appliances should not be used for 24 hours after delivery, allowing them time to adjust to room temperature.