Moving takes a lot of planning and coordination. The sooner you start preparing for it, the smoother the move will go. We realize that not everyone has a lot of time for preparing for a move, but this moving timeline should help you figure out how to schedule all of the important tasks which go into a successful move.
As Soon As You Find Out You Are Moving…
Even if you find out about the move a year ahead of time, you should immediately start preparing. Save money for the move, budget costs, and make lists of everything which will need to be done during the move. The sooner you start preparation, the easier and cheaper the move will be!
2-3 Months before Moving
- Choose a moving company: Moving companies are booked up very fast, especially when you are moving during the busy times of summer, the end of the month, or weekends. As soon as you know you are moving, you should start doing research on moving companies and then schedule in-home estimates with at least 3 of them. Make sure to have a list of questions ready for the movers during the estimate.
- Sort belongings: It takes a long time to sort through all of your belongings for the move and determine which you want to keep and get rid of. Allow yourself at least a couple months to do this. Clear off one area of your home for these items, and then sort them into piles for “trash,” “sell,” and “donate.”
- Organize documents: Make a list of all documents you will need for the move, such as children’s school records, birth certificates, work records, and medical records. Then get to work obtaining these documents. This is not something which can wait until the last minute!
- Take inventory: You do not need to take an inventory of every single item you have in your home. However, you will need to inventory any valuable items you have. Make a binder for the inventory and include a written description, photograph, serial number, and insurance info (if you have). Ask the moving company if they offer any additional insurance options for valuable items. You should also inquire into what your homeowners insurance covers for moving.
1-2 Months before Moving
- Get packing supplies: You will want to have all of the packing supplies needed for moving as early as possible so you can start slowly packing. If you are going to get free packing supplies, keep in mind it takes numerous trips to get enough boxes. You will need to start well in advance acquiring all of these items. If you are buying boxes for moving, make sure to get specialty boxes such as reinforced boxes for fragile items, dish packs, wardrobe packs, and electronics crates.
- Start packing: You can start packing items which you don’t use often, such as items in your basement, attic, and garage, as well as seasonal items.
- Notify landlord of move: Make sure to ask any procedures which are necessary for getting your deposit back.
- Speak to new building manager: If you are moving into an apartment building, ask the building manager if it is possible to reserve the elevator during moving day, the rules about parking the moving van, and any other rules about moving in.
- Notify utility providers: You will need to schedule your utilities to be shut off the day after you move and for your utilities to be turned on in the new place. Make sure you also tell the utility providers of your new address so bills can be forwarded.
- Change address: You will need to make a list of places where you should change your address, including with the post office, medical providers, financial institutes, service providers, utilities, schools, and subscriptions.
2-4 Weeks before Moving
- Renovate and clean new home: If possible, go to your new home before moving in and have any necessary renovations or repairs made. If renting, you will also want to take photographs during this time as evidence of what the home looked like beforehand so you can get your security deposit back when you move out.
- Arrange pet transportation: Take care of any special considerations required for your pets, such as getting vaccinations before moving.
- Find new service providers: Look into new doctors, dentists, schools, lawyers, and other providers that you will need.
1 Week before Moving
- Finish packing: You should have almost everything packed by the week before moving, with the exception of items you use every day.
- Pack suitcases and priority box: Pack suitcases with all of the items you will need for the first 3 days in the new home. You will also want to pack a priority box of items you will need right away.
1-3 Days before Moving
- Defrost freezer: This will take at least 1 day. Make sure to have a plan for unwanted food items.
- Confirm with the movers: Make sure they have your new address information and the date/time of pickup is correct.
- Finish packing: You are almost done! It is almost time to move!