In-Depth Moving Timeline & Checklist
Use this guide to organize and simplify your move, eliminating the headache of last-minute decisions.
8 WEEKS OUT
You’re 2 months out from your move. It may feel like a long time, but it will go quickly. Take action now to avoid rushing around at the end.
- Create a Google Drive folder and a physical file folder to keep yourself organized. You’ll need to keep track of service quotes, receipts (so you can write your moving expenses off this year’s taxes), and other important papers in these two places. You may think you’ll be able to remember all the details, but that’s not a realistic expectation when you’re in the thick of a move.
- If you’re hiring a moving company, be sure to ask for their DOT (Department of Transportation) number and do your research. Make sure you’re hiring a reputable company that you can trust. Thoroughly read over any documentation the moving company gives to you before signing a contract.
- Create a realistic moving budget that will cover all your expenses. From paying off final utility bills to buying moving boxes, you need to know what to expect financially.
- Speaking of budgets, 8 weeks out is a great time to organize a garage sale or start selling unneeded items on Craigslist or the Facebook marketplace. Donate anything you can’t sell, and downsize as much as possible. The less you bring into your new space, the less you have to unpack, and the more money you save.
- Request time off for moving day. We recommend taking a Friday off so you have the rest of the weekend to tie up loose ends and to organize your new home.
- If you’re moving out of town, be sure and request your children’s school transcripts. Whatever school district you move into will need this information to enroll your children. Plan ahead to avoid future stress.
- Plan how to move fragile or unusual items like pianos, fine art, guns, and more. Moving companies are not always qualified to safely move certain items, so you may need to make special arrangements for it.
6 WEEKS OUT
- Start collecting free boxes from bookstores, grocery stores, liquor stores, and more. You may need to pay for specialized boxes like dish or wardrobe boxes, but there are plenty of places to find free general-purpose boxes for your move.
- Label your boxes and color code them by room. This will simplify the unpacking process, and help you stay organized.
- Create an inventory of all your valuables before they go on the moving truck. Privately, keep a list of which boxes contain which valuable.
- Label boxes that contain fragile and easily-breakable items.
- Take photos of complicated electronics before unplugging them. This will give you a visual reference for how they are set up.
- Gather socks, t-shirts, towels, and linens to use as makeshift packing wrap. Buy less bubble wrap by wrapping dishes in dish towels.
- As you take apart furniture, put hardware in labeled baggies and store the baggies in a safe place. This will make reassembly a breeze.
- Address any minor home repairs that you can fix. If you are renting, this can help you get back your security deposit!
- Plan a route to remove larger items from your home. Measure doorways and furniture as necessary to make sure there is enough space to get items through.
- Start packing a little every day. Don’t leave all your packing until the end or you’ll be scrambling.
4 WEEKS OUT
You’re officially at the one month mark! Congratulations! It may seem like you still have a mountain to climb (and you do), but you’ve come a long way already!
- Start trying to empty your freezer and other perishable foods by prioritizing cooking anything you can’t pack to take with you. Donate items that you won’t be able to use or move. Throw away unused items that will expire shortly after your move.
- Gather all financial and legal records in one place.
- Gather all passport, birth certificates, and photo IDs for your family. You’ll want to keep these important documents on your person during your move.
- Return library books and other rentals/subscription items like Netflix or Redbox DVDs.
- Pick up clothes from the dry cleaner.
- Update your voter registration.
- Shop around for cable, internet, and phone. Then call to set up an installation date and cancel your old contracts.
- If you’re moving out of town, get all vet records from your vet, dental records from your family dentist, and optical records from your ophthalmologist.
TWO WEEKS OUT
The time is drawing near! It’s time to start updating records and making sure your accounts have your new address.
- Recycle or dispose of flammable, corrosive, or toxic materials and chemicals.
- Return any lingering items you’ve borrowed from family and friends.
- Backup your computer. If something happens to it during your move, you’ll be thankful you have all your files in one place.
- Fill your prescriptions.
- To keep children safely out of the way on moving day, arrange a playdate with a friend or hire a babysitter.
- To keep pets safe, make arrangements with a friend to pet sit, or take them to a doggy daycare.
- Alert friends and family of your new address.
- Change your address with your bank, loan providers, credit cards, and any subscription services you may use. Be sure to order new checks as well!
- Update your address at your workplace. You don’t want to miss a check!
- Update your address with your healthcare providers like dentists, doctors, and pharmacies.
- Update your address with magazine and newspaper subscriptions. Update any other regular subscription boxes you may have like Dollar Shave Club or cosmetic subscriptions.
- Transfer your homeowners or renters insurance to your new home to make sure you’re covered.
- Transfer your utilities and take care of any final payments.
- Update your Driver’s License.
- Change your address for your car insurance and auto registration.
ONE WEEK OUT
- Make sure you’ve canceled or updated the address for any deliveries that you’re expecting.
- Clean your current home for the next resident.
- If you’re taking the fridge with you, be sure and unplug it to defrost the night before you move. Lay a towel in front to soak up leaks.
- Drain the hoses to your washing machine and ice maker.
- Empty oil and gas from grills, heaters, lawn mowers, weed eaters, and other outdoor tools.
- Double check that nothing is left hiding on the shelves or in other tight spaces.
- Keep an eye on the weather so you’re prepared the day you move.
- Pack an essentials box that will contain everything you need for your first 24 hours in your new home.
ONCE YOU’RE IN YOUR NEW HOME
Congratulations! You made it. Now it’s time to settle in.
- Before you do anything else, make your bed and put your shower curtain up in your bathroom. This will allow you to take much-needed rests and showers, which are essentials after a big move.
- Go grocery shopping. Eating take-out is never fun long term and you’ve probably had more take-out than normal the last few weeks. Go out and stock your fridge right away so you can get back to some semblance of normal life.
- Aim to unpack most of your things by 2 weeks after the move. All of the prep you did before the move should make this easier.
- Once you’ve finished unpacking, post your used boxes on Facebook marketplace or give them to someone you know is moving. They’re just keeping up space at that point.
- Explore your new community and be sure to introduce yourself to your new neighbors!