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Moving Etiquette

Updated on September 22, 2012

Finalizing for Moving Day

The POD has been loaded, but we will not pack the U-Haul too early on moving day
The POD has been loaded, but we will not pack the U-Haul too early on moving day | Source

Top Tips on Moving Etiquette

  • Moving truck: not too early and don't block the street
  • Nail Holes: patch them up with new owners consent
  • Extra/Spare Keys: get them back or return to their owners
  • Clean the house
  • Leave the house empty or only leave agreed upon items

We have been busy preparing to move into our new house. Finalizing our preparations to move into our new house, I removed the last of the decorations off our walls, including nails and screws.

Wow did that leave some holes.

Do I patch up any holes or leave these for the new owners? What about cleaning the bathrooms and the floors? Does it really matter? What is the etiquette surrounding moving and leaving the house for the new owners?

Loading the Moving Truck

We are picking up our U-Haul at 9 am on a Sunday morning. Any earlier on a Sunday, I think we might be pushing our luck on being inappropriate. We don’t mow our grass before 8:30 am and I don’t think we should be making noises loading a moving truck.

Have you ever driven down the street to find a moving truck completely blocking the road? We already have a POD in the driveway, but we plan to park the truck near the side of the house. We will try our best not to block traffic or driveways. While we are in the process of moving, these neighbors are now our friends. Best to move on good terms!

Repair Nail Holes and Wall Damage Before Moving

My husband plans to make minor wall repairs before we move from our current home
My husband plans to make minor wall repairs before we move from our current home | Source

Cover Up Nail Holes and Wall Marks

Back to the nail holes…we have quite a few. I also know that in the process of moving dressers down the stairs and extra items from the basement, we put some marks in the drywall, too. We know for certain that the new family is planning on repainting before they move in. My husband will make a pass through the house with his can of putty and a putty knife.

Why not save them a little bit of effort when they move in?

However, not everyone plans to paint immediately and patching walls could actually pose the new family a problem. Do they have the paint to fix the walls once repaired?

Chose wisely when deciding on wall repairs.

Extra and Spare Keys

Prior to our move, our spare keys will be returned or received back from friends and neighbors
Prior to our move, our spare keys will be returned or received back from friends and neighbors | Source

Extra or Spare Keys

Did you ever make extra keys and give them to neighbors or even a friend? I have already gotten all of ours back.

Not everyone changes locks when they move into a new house. I am sure the family moving in would appreciate knowing that when we give them the keys and garage door openers, these are the only copies.

Our friends now become random people to the new owners and no one wants random people with a copy of their house key!

Did any neighbors give you copies of their keys? I plan to follow up with all of our friends and neighbors who have given us an extra set. Mostly likely we were given the keys since we were across the street. Even though we are good friends now, they might not need us to have the keys anymore. Better double check and make sure your neighbor’s emergency spare keys are where they want them to be.

Clean the House Before You Move Out of Your Home

I know that our new owners will also be laying new flooring in the entire house. Do I really need to clean before we leave?

The answer is yes. I have chosen to clean as I have emptied every closet, cabinet and bedroom. Rooms that are completely emptied and cleaned are now considered off limits to my lovely children.

Bathrooms will be cleaned and all counters and appliances will be wiped down. On moving day, I play to arrive at our new house and vacuum all the floors first. I plan to return to our house and vacuum all the floors last.

I would not appreciate moving my items into a mess and I plan to offer the same gesture in return.

Moving Day Etiquette

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Empty the House Before You Move

The owners of our new house offered us a handful of items they do not plan to take. If we did not agree to the list, they would still remove them from the house. Some contracts read that all items must be removed from the house. Ours does not, so common courtesy plays a role again.

My friend told me a horror story about moving into a house in which they had a basement full of junk. The old owners simply left the items that they did not want. They ended up with an entire moving truck full of garbage that they had to get rid of.

The only items we are leaving in our house have been agreed upon. We offered a couch that we cannot get out of the basement due to size. The new owners do not want it. We will disassemble it to create smaller parts and schedule bulk pick up.

This is our project to do…not the new owners.

Apply the Golden Rule to Moving Day

I asked my husband if he thought the new house we are moving into would be left clean. He laughed and said, “Yes and that is why we should do the same.” I think we are optimistic and I hope we aren’t naive. Regardless, we will do our best to leave our house in an acceptable condition. I am finding my mentality towards moving reflects what I was taught as a child.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Makes sense to me!


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    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      As unfortunate as that was at the time, it made me laugh out loud a bit today. That is lazy and gross! Thanks for reading, Chrissie

    • chrissieklinger profile image


      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      our previous owners left dirty sneakers under the stairs and then closed it all up with drywall. Years later when we were remodeling and creating storage under the stairs, we found them...I was very tempted to leave them on their front step of their current residence. I'm glad to see you are doing a much better job for your new owners! Voted up and useful!

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      That is horrible kthix10! I am always shocked at what people will deem ok to leave for someone else. Sorry your move did not work out smoothly and I hope you are enjoying your house now! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • kthix10 profile image


      6 years ago from IL

      Great Hub, the previous owner left us furniture in every room of the house, it cause a ton of problems during our move because the POD had already been delivered and it had snowed 2 ft the week before, leaving very little room in our single lane driveway. The entire garage we ended up filling with their old furniture and had no where to unload our things.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Goodlady. Just when we think we are done I realize we have a handful of things left to do. Thanks, GoodLady!

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Filling those holes!!! Getting the keys back! So many last minute details and your Hub is a very helpful reminder how to do it right.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      I am viewing this as common courtesy, Jellygator, but I am sure that is is not as 'common' as we would hope. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • jellygator profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      As a Realtor, I can't tell you the number of times that closings almost didn't happen because someone didn't clean their house well before they moved!

      I hadn't considered much about the spare keys except to tell my buyers to change locks, but that's considerate and wise. I wish I'd have thought to advise my sellers to retrieve them.


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