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The Complete Home Moving Checklist

Updated on March 4, 2015
A checklist can take some of the (considerable) stress out of moving home
A checklist can take some of the (considerable) stress out of moving home | Source

Introduction

If you're moving house, you know how stressful it can be, and how much there is to do; that's why having a comprehensive plan for moving house can take some of the stress away.

This relocation checklist details all of the key areas that people moving house need to think about, from three months before the move right up to moving day. Because it can be difficult to remember everything that you need to do, having a checklist will help you stay on top of things and make moving house easier on you and your family.

We explore areas such as packing supplies, choosing a moving company, changing address, taking inventory and much more.

An overview of the checklist

Here's an overview of the timeline and checklist.

Two to three months before you move

  • Declutter and get rid of anything you don't need
  • Sort through your home
  • Research the area you are moving to
  • List your valuable items and think about if you need special insurance
  • Order boxes and other moving supplies
  • Start talking to friends and get recommendations for a good moving company
  • If you have children, talk about the impact of the move with them

One to two months before you move

  • Choose your moving company
  • Make sure everything can fit into your new home
  • Start using up items you don't want to move
  • Start making a note of everyone writing to you at your address
  • Book time off work
  • Book extra professional services to help out

Two to four weeks before you move

  • Begin packing
  • Have a plan for what you are going to pack and when
  • Decide which items will need to go into which rooms
  • Label your boxes
  • Notify important parties of your move and change of address
  • Pay any local bills
  • Have tools at the ready

One to two weeks before you move

  • Contact your moving company to confirm arrangements with them
  • Pack suitcases with clothes and essentials
  • Pack essential items somewhere easy to access
  • Separate valuables

A couple of days before you move

  • Defrost the freezer, empty out the fridge
  • Ensure that everyone knows the itinerary and what their jobs are (if any) on the day
  • Take furniture apart

On moving day

  • Keep calm
  • Take inventory
  • Complete a final check of your old house
  • Do a final, quick clean
  • Turn off your utilities
  • Get meter readings
  • Lock up
  • Go to your new home

Think about ordering moving supplies two to three months before your move date
Think about ordering moving supplies two to three months before your move date | Source

Two to three months before you move

Declutter and get rid of anything you don't need
Go through your home room by room and get rid of anything that you don't need. If you haven't used something for two years, the chances are that you're not going to. Be ruthless with your possessions - Recycle, throw away, donate to goodwill/charity, hold a garage sale or sell them online.

Sort through your home
Go through the backs of old closets and drawers, your attic or basement with the simple task of reducing what you have to take to your new home. Remember, anything you get rid of now, you won't have to get rid of later! Decluttering can also be a great way to clear your mental and emotional 'space'; sometimes, throwing things away can be very satisfying.

Research the area you are moving to
Is there anything else that you might need to buy for when you move into your new home? For example, will you need more equipment for the garden or furniture for the house? Make a list of anything you might need in your new home and make a point of purchasing it either before you move or immediately afterwards.

List your valuable items and think about if you need special insurance
Some valuable or fragile items might need special moving insurance. Contact your insurance company and arrange it. Think about expensive electrical goods, jewellery, antiques or other valuables. It's better to be slightly over-insured than to have something precious be damaged during the move.

Order boxes and other moving supplies
Get hold of boxes, bubble wrap, marker pens and any special items for crockery or clothing boxes. Always order slightly more than you think you'll need. You can also rent returnable crates from many places at good rates. Types of moving supplies include:

  • Standard packing boxes - General packing boxes useful for all kinds of packing, especially items that aren't particularly fragile
  • Mirror and picture boxes - Specially designed boxes perfect for protecting mirrors, pictures and other large, flat, fragile items
  • Dish and plate boxes - Boxes created to protect kitchenware and other fragile items such as plates, bowls, dishes, ornaments, lamps etc.
  • Wardrobe boxes - Wardrobe boxes are designed for easily holding and protecting clothing
  • File boxes - Packing boxes designed to keep paperwork, files and other documents safe, protected and organised
  • Bubble wrap - All-purpose protective material for wrapping fragile items or for filling spaces in packing boxes
  • Loose fill packing material - Material specially designed to be poured into boxes to offer all round protection by filling in empty spaces
  • Packing paper - Using packing paper keeps your items clean, dirt and dust-free by providing surface protection and cushioning
  • Stretch wrap - Can be wrapped around larger items such as soft furniture to keep it safe and dirt free
  • Mattress bag - Specially designed to keep your mattress safe and free of dirt and grime during your move
  • Packing tape - Used for holding all of your boxes shut, taping draws shut and other general purpose sticky situations
  • Tape dispenser - Makes applying packing tape much quicker and easier! Recommended for avoiding annoying 'where is the end of the tape?' moments
  • Marker pens - Essential for marking your boxes quickly and clearly to allow good tracking and inventory taking


Start talking to friends and get recommendations for a good moving company
Get honest opinions and satisfy yourself which moving companies would be right for you. You're going to be entrusting them with precious belongings, so be sure that you're happy with who you choose.

If you have children, talk about the impact of the move with them
Just as moving can be stressful for you, it will also be stressful for your family. Spend time explaining to your children what is going to happen and listen to any concerns that they might have. Encourage them to get actively involved and have a say in the moving process.

Getting the right moving company can really help with your planning and peace of mind
Getting the right moving company can really help with your planning and peace of mind | Source

One to two months before you move

Choose your moving company
Research and confirm your moving company. Clarify with the moving company the date, costs and any other important details. Get everything in writing in case you need to refer back to it later.

Make sure everything can fit into your new home
Take measurements to ensure that everything will fit in, especially larger pieces of furniture. Make sure too that furniture will fit through doorways, you don't want it getting stuck! Go through your new home, room by room, recording accurate measurements. Then, think about what furniture is going to go where so that you can make sure it all fits.

Start using up items you don't want to move
This might be food, other perishables and supplies. Run down your pantry or larder; as you get closer and closer to moving time, just buy food for a few days in advance, that way you'll waste very little.

Start making a note of everyone writing to you at your address
Remove yourself from unnecessary mailing lists and note down anyone else writing to you that you'll need to notify of your change of address.

Book time off work
Make sure that you and your significant other book time off of work before and after the move so that you have enough time to prepare beforehand and settle in afterwards.

Book extra professional services to help out
You might want to book gardeners to clear out the yard, electricians to remove light fittings, cleaners to clean the house and the like.

Pack carefully and thoroughly
Pack carefully and thoroughly | Source

Two to four weeks before you move

Begin packing
Start by packing items that you don't use very often (Like summer clothes if you're moving in winter).

Have a plan for what you are going to pack and when
Make sure that you don't pack important items until the very last minute, but pack other items when you're sure you won't need them anymore.

Decide which items will need to go into which rooms
Have a good idea of what is going to go where. Write down all of the rooms in the new house onto a list, so you can refer back to it easily and cross reference it with your packing boxes.

Label your boxes
Clearly number and label each box with key contents and the room that it needs to go into in your new home. Make a list of the box numbers with contents and destinations. Cross reference your list of boxes with the list of rooms that you prepared previously.

Notify important parties of your move and change of address
Tell the postal service, your family, friends and businesses that write to you of your new address. This will include:

  • Your bank
  • Your employer
  • Your credit card company
  • Your insurance company
  • Any financial institutions and investments
  • Memberships and subscriptions
  • Phone and cable
  • Utility companies
  • Healthcare
  • Anyone else that has written to you over the last few months

Pay any local bills
You might need to finalize your bills for things like newspapers, home maintenance etc.

Have tools at the ready
You might need to take furniture apart, so make sure you have all the tools you need (screwdrivers, Allen keys, spanners, hammers etc.)

Pack your jewelry and other valuable items separately
Pack your jewelry and other valuable items separately | Source

One to two weeks before you move

Contact your moving company to confirm arrangements with them
Make sure that you know the exact day and time that people are going to be turning up to help you move. If you're doing some of the move yourself, get some friends to help out.

Pack suitcases with clothes and essentials
You'll want to finish all of your main packing a week or so before you move, so pack suitcases with clothes, toiletries and other essentials a couple of days before. Make sure that these suitcases are easily accessible; they should be the last thing packed onto the moving truck and the first thing you take out at your new home.

Pack essential items somewhere easy to access
Make sure you have essential items when you need them; pack them in an obvious place so that they'll be easily accessible just after you have moved.

Separate valuables
Jewellery, important documents and other personal items should go in a separate box that you move yourself. Valuable documents such as passports, wills, bank information and other items like credit cards, money and other valuables should be kept in sight at all times.

Clean the refrigerator out a couple of days beforehand
Clean the refrigerator out a couple of days beforehand | Source

A couple of days before you move

Defrost the freezer, empty out the fridge
Empty, clean and defrost your fridge and freezer.

Ensure that everyone knows the itinerary and what their jobs are (if any) on the day
Be clear with everyone; if people have things to do, are given responsibility and know where they need to be and when, it will make the whole experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Take furniture apart
Deconstruct your furniture and put all of the smaller bits into ziplock bags that you tape to the furniture itself; unplug electrical appliances and make sure the cords are safely stowed away or taped.

A final clean of your old home will be much appreciated by the new owners
A final clean of your old home will be much appreciated by the new owners | Source

Moving day

Keep calm
A methodical, steady approach to moving will make things much easier; make sure that you know what is happening at any moment in time. Keep emotions out of the move and stay in control of any situations that crop up.

Take inventory
Make sure that all of your boxes have been moved. As boxes are loaded onto the truck, check them off of your inventory until everything has been accounted for.

Complete a final check of your old house
Once all the boxes have been packed, go round your old house, carefully, one final time. Check in corners, behind doors and the like to make sure that nothing important has been left behind.

Do a final, quick clean
Run the vacuum cleaner round and complete a final tidy of your house.

Turn off your utilities
Turn off all plug sockets, heating and anything else.

Get meter readings
Make a note of your gas and electricity meter readings and keep them safe.

Lock up
Make sure that all windows, doors and gates are locked and that the keys are easily accessible to the new owners.

Go to your new home
Whether you're with the moving truck or following behind, you'll soon be at your new home. Make sure you have all the keys you need to get in.

Soon, you'll be in your beautiful new home!
Soon, you'll be in your beautiful new home! | Source

Checklist - Two to three months out

Task
Done?
I have sorted through the house
 
I have given away, sold, recycled or thrown away anything we don't need to take with us
 
I have decluttered my house
 
I have researched the area that we are moving to
 
I have listed my valuable items
 
I have investigated (and purchased) special insurance for valuable items
 
I have ordered boxes, moving supplies and other packaging
 
I have taked to friends and had recommendations for good moving companies
 
I have talked about the impact of moving with my children
 
Use this checklist to keep track of where you're up to and what you still need to do - This checklist is suitable for two to three months out

Checklist - One to two months out

Task
Done?
I have chosen a moving company
 
I have made sure that everything can fit into the new house
 
I have started to use up items that I don't need to move
 
I have made notes of everyone writing to me at the old address
 
I and my spouse have booked time off of work
 
I have booked other professional services to help out (e.g. cleaners, gardeners, electricians)
 
Use this checklist to keep track of where you're up to and what you still need to do - This checklist is suitable for one to two months out

Checklist - Two to four weeks out

Task
Done?
I have a plan for what I am going to pack and when
 
I have begun packing items that I don't use very often
 
I have decided which items are going to go into which rooms
 
I have labeled my packing boxes
 
I have notified important organizations, businesses and people about my change of address
 
I have paid my local bills
 
I have a set of tools ready and to hand
 
Use this checklist to keep track of where you're up to and what you still need to do - This checklist is suitable for two to four weeks out

Checklist - One to two weeks out

Task
Done?
I have contacted my moving company and confirmed arrangements
 
I have packed suitcases with clothes and essentials
 
I have packed essential items so that they are easy to access
 
I have separated out and packed valuable items
 
Use this checklist to keep track of where you're up to and what you still need to do - This checklist is suitable for one to two weeks out

Checklist - A couple of days before you move

Task
Done?
I have defrosted the freezer
 
I have emptied the fridge
 
I have ensured that everyone knows their jobs on the day
 
I have taken furniture apart
 
Use this checklist to keep track of where you're up to and what you still need to do - This checklist is suitable for a couple of days before you move

Checklist - Moving day

Task
Done?
I know that I need to remain calm today!
 
I have taken inventory
 
I have completed a final check of the old house
 
I have completed a final clean of the old house / yard
 
I have turned off utilities
 
I have taken meter and utility readings
 
I have locked up
 
Use this checklist to keep track of where you're up to and what you still need to do - This checklist is suitable for moving day

Moving tips to ensure a trouble-free move

In closing

Remember, moving house is a stressful experience, but by dealing with things calmly and rationally, having a plan and staying in control, you can remove many of the difficulties, both prior to and on moving day itself.

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