Moving can be a daunting task. There is so much to make sure you get done, especially when you are moving yourself and don’t have a company doing it for you. Justin moved all the time when he was growing up since his dad was in the Army, but they always had the military helping with the move. I’ve moved 9 times in the last 10 years, all without having professional movers doing any of the work. When we moved from Orlando to Houston, we got quotes from a few moving companies, but it wasn’t worth it to us, so we rented a Uhaul and did the work ourselves.
With all these moves we have done, I feel like I’ve learned a few things that have helped make it go smoother. Everything from getting things set up on both ends of the move to how to pack and when to do it all. This timeline is assuming that you have already done the house hunting/apartment hunting and have a move-in date.
6-8 weeks before moving:
- Start to go through all rooms in the house and see what you can organize and purge. Host a garage sale or start selling things online that you don’t want to bring with you on the move.
- If you have children in school, talk to their school about getting records needed to transfer to their new school. Also, check the enrollment process for the new school they will be attending.
- Gather the moving supplies you will need to pack your home. If you get any packages in the mail, save the boxes and packing to use when you move. Purchase any boxes you may need, and don’t forget about a couple good permanent markers to be able to label the boxes and more packing tape than you think you’ll need for sealing all the boxes.
- Plan where things will go in the new house, especially if the new house is larger or smaller than your current home. You may be changing what goes where, so have an idea of how you are going to organize the new home.
- Try to start using up anything that you won’t be taking with you, such as perishable foods that won’t make the move easily.
- Decide if you are going to use a moving company or move yourself. If you are going to use a company, start researching companies and get in-home estimates.
- Get a binder or folder to keep all paperwork related to the move in one place.
4 weeks before moving:
- Start to pack the nonessentials (except towels because those can be used for packing breakables). Make sure to distribute heavy items so you don’t get any boxes that are too heavy to lift. It may seem early, but packing usually takes a lot longer than you expect.
- Make sure to clearly label your boxes. You may want to label with which room they are going to in the new home and a brief description of what’s in the box. I also like to write “heavy” on any of the heavier boxes to make sure they go on the bottom.
- When we have had to put the majority of our home goods in storage, I labeled each box with a number and had a spreadsheet with the exact contents of each box. It was a little time consuming but came in handy when we needed to get something out of storage. I could search the spreadsheet for what we needed and knew exactly which box it would be in rather than having to open all of the boxes until we found it.
- Whether you are having a moving company transport your boxes, or are moving yourself, you want to pack any valuables in separate boxes so you can transport those yourself in your personal vehicle.
- Arrange your transportation, rent a moving truck, verify the plans of who is driving which vehicle, etc.
- Contact your home insurance company if you haven’t yet and see what steps you need to take to transfer your insurance to the new home. If you will be renting, look into renter’s insurance policies.
- Have your car checked/tuned up if you are driving it a long distance for your move. At the least, check the tires and oil.
2 weeks before moving:
- Continue to pack what you can
- Contact utility companies to start service on your move-in date at the new home, and also to turn off the utilities at your current home.
- Request any vital medical records from your doctors. If you don’t have any ongoing treatment, usually you can have your new doctor request the records once you visit with them at your new location.
- If you see a specialist, you may want to start looking around for a new doctor in the area and set up any appointments if you need them soon. Sometimes it can take a few weeks to be seen as a new patient.
- Make sure to have any vaccination records for your children.
- Get records from your vet for any vaccinations for your pets.
- If needed, request the time off that you need for your move.
- Think about what you need for moving your pets such as a crate, collar, leash, etc.
1 week before moving:
- Put in a change of address with the postal service so your mail will start to be forwarded to your new address.
- Alert anything important with your mailing address of the upcoming change, including your employer, any subscriptions you have, insurance companies, etc.
- Contact your banking services to notify them of the change of address. If you have a safety deposit box and are switching banks, make sure to empty it.
- Refill any prescriptions and make sure you have enough for a few weeks as it may take some time to get in with a new doctor to have them refilled again.
- Get everything out of the attic so it can be packed and you aren’t trying to work around getting it all out on moving day.
- Create a list of everything that is automatically paid on your credit card because those will all need to be notified of your address change or your credit card will be denied.
- Research your new area and see what needs to be taken care of right after the move. For example, moving to a new state means you need to get a new driver’s license, vehicle registration, and some states require vehicle inspections. Determine what paperwork you will need for this and make sure it is packed with your personal items so you can easily find it after the move.
2 days before moving:
- Pack essentials you will need at the new house immediately
- First aid kit for injuries while moving, toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates/dishes, garbage bags, ziplocks (for small items you may find), tape, scissors for opening boxes, water, basic cleaning supplies, hand soap, shower curtain, etc.
- If you are bringing your refrigerator with you, clean it out and defrost it for at least 24 hours before moving.
- Start disassembling any large furniture that can be broken down and moved easier. Take apart beds and leave the mattress on the floor for sleeping.
- Return anything you have borrowed from the library, friends, etc.
- Contact your realtor to make sure you know what you need to do to get the keys to your new home.
1 day before moving:
- Pack a suitcase for each person and make sure this goes in your personal vehicle.
- A couple changes of clothes, toiletries, pajamas, sturdy shoes, bath towels, snacks, medications, phone chargers. Basically everything you may need for a couple days until you get your boxes unpacked.
- Don’t forget about what you will need right away for your pets such as their food, food and water dishes, leash, etc.
- Make sure to charge your phone and go to bed early to have enough rest for the big day ahead.
- Put the manuals for any of the appliances that are staying with the home (microwave, oven, stove, refrigerator, fans, garbage disposal, washer/dryer, etc.) in a large bag for the new owners. Leave any garage door openers, extra keys, etc. in an obvious place unless your realtor gives you other instructions.
- Wake up early to give yourself as much time as possible.
- Pick up the moving truck, and start packing with the heaviest items first. I also suggest all boxes first so they can stack nicely against each other. Awkwardly shaped items last because they can fill in gaps.
- Depending on your situation, once everything is out of the home is a good time to do a quick cleaning if necessary. Also, before anything is moved into the new home is the perfect time to clean the new home if it needs to be cleaned.
- Before you leave, make a good sweep of the home to make sure nothing was left behind. Check inside cabinets, above cabinets, in the attic/basement, any outdoor storage, etc.
- When you leave your old home, make sure it is locked up and secured.