Relocation / Moving Checklist

Moving to a new city or state can be intimidating, especially for people who have never made a long-distance move. Many loose ends must be addressed, and the process can generate a great deal of stress. A checklist can provide an efficient, organized method of meeting each challenge in a timely manner. Ideally, preparation should begin eight weeks before the move. If the time available is shorter, then people relocating should combine tasks for an accelerated timetable.

Eight Weeks Before Moving Day

The day chosen will generate many repercussions. Holiday weekends may seem convenient, but these dates are difficult to book movers or truck rentals. These dates may require months of advance notice. Weekends can also prove difficult to schedule with moving companies. Weekdays and the middle of the month are the best times to schedule a move. Begin planning by following the checklist below.

  • Decide whether the family will do some or all of the packing.
  • Begin research to find a moving company. Set dates for agents to inspect the home and obtain written estimates.
  • Start a file for estimates, receipts, and other important documentation about the move. Keeping everything in one convenient place will facilitate the moving process.
  • Check out whether the move will be tax deductible and save all receipts connected with the move.
  • Contact the Chamber of Commerce at the new location and request a newcomer information packet.
  • Organize a blueprint of the new home and assign where each item will go after the move.
  • Investigate the options for transporting vehicles, boats, or other mobile items if the family is not transporting the vehicles.
Seven Weeks Before Moving Day

Moving out-of-state or out-of-town can be very nerve-racking. Organization helps smooth out the difficulties, and it can make the whole process less demanding.

  • The best moving companies get booked quickly. If using professional movers, now is the time to lock down a commitment. Friends, business associates and real estate agents can help narrow down the choices.
  • Make sure movers are bonded, licensed and insured for protection of family possessions.
  • Evaluate at least three movers before finalizing arrangements. The lowest bid may not be the best.
  • If handling the move personally, reserve the truck for the needed dates.
  • Begin compiling necessary records to transfer such as medical, dental, and veterinary histories. Make sure needed prescriptions will be available until new doctors and vets are located in the destination city.
  • Obtain copies of critical legal and financial records.
  • Arrange transfer of school and daycare records to the appropriate new locations.
  • Contact any health clubs, gyms, video clubs and other organizations to cancel memberships and obtain refunds if possible.
  • Discuss the move with the family insurance agent.
Six Weeks Before Moving Day

Planning can minimize damage and waste that moving may cause. Plan on some losses and include a figure in the budget for damage and loss. Try to beat the estimate as an exercise in efficiency. Keeping busy will reduce the anxiety a move might cause.

  • Check the limits on insurance and investigate whether replacement cost is covered or whether depreciated value determines the value of any claim.
  • Purchase additional insurance if needed.
  • List items that have sentimental value or might be difficult to replace. Ship these by certified mail or carry them personally.
  • Compose a list of friends, relatives and businesses that need to be notified.
  • Choose items to donate to charity or throw away.
  • Hold a yard sale or contact an antique dealer to sell items that will not be transported but have value.
  • Start using up food that will not be transported. Dangerous household chemicals such as bleach and ammonia should be used up and replaced only if absolutely necessary.
Five Weeks Before Moving Day

The prospect of moving makes many people break out in a cold sweat. Some people handle the stress by procrastinating, but this is the worst solution.

  • Start collecting packing supplies and boxes.
  • If storage will be needed at either location, arrange to reserve space now.
  • Packing of items not often used can begin. Label each box according to where it will go in the new home.
  • If storage cubes or trailers are going to be used, investigate the logistics of placement. Make sure the trailer can reach the home, and that neither cube nor trailer will violate any applicable laws.
Four Weeks Before Moving Day

Packing takes the most time, and homeowners are often amazed at how many things they have accumulated over the years. Start packing anything that will not be needed in the next month.

  • File a change of address card with the post office. If a new home has not been found, arrange for mail to be held at the post office in the destination city.
  • Arrange disconnection of utilities and connection of new service at the destination. Request any deposit money be returned. Always add an extra day before and after the move to guarantee service.
  • Make arrangements for pet travel if not taking them along.
Three Weeks Before Moving Day
  • Take the family on a farewell tour of favorite restaurants, parks, or other sites of sentimental value.
  • Host a going-away party for children.
  • Adults have friends as well, and this week is a great time to enjoy an informal barbecue or party.
  • Make sure the family automobile is serviced.
  • Plants cannot be shipped in storage cubes or trailers. Give them away, or plan to transport them personally.
  • Dispose of any poisons or corrosives.
  • Arrange use of the service elevator on moving day if moving from an apartment.
  • Make any family travel plans. Reserve hotels and airline tickets if needed.
Two Weeks Before Moving Day
  • Confirm all arrangements that have been made. Be sure that cable and Internet are cancelled and set up at the new location.
  • Notify all creditors of the upcoming move and change of address.
  • Prepare information on the house for new owners. Cancel any maintenance or landscape contracts.
  • Use up old food in the refrigerator, and plan meals carefully for the last few days. Restaurant reservations can be made for the last few days.
One Week Before Moving Day
  • Defrost refrigerator and clean stove.
  • Finish packing. Prepare an essentials box needed while traveling. Pack suitcases for travel.
  • Make childcare arrangements for moving day.
  • Fill any prescriptions needed, and include them in the essentials box.
  • Clear out any safety deposit box, or arrange to pick up valuables at the last minute.
Moving Out Day
  • Load items according to plan. Group items that will go to the same room when possible.
  • Check every room, closet and cabinet to ensure nothing is forgotten.
  • Make sure all lights, water, heat and air conditioning are turned off before leaving.
  • Leave a note with contact information for new renters or owners.
  • Say goodbye to close friends and family.
  • Be sure to comply with all regulations and guidelines issued by the moving company or equipment rental agency.
Moving In Tips
  • If arriving at the new home before shipments, verify the arrangements for locating furniture and possessions.
  • Check any existing equipment to ensure it works properly.
  • Be present when movers arrive, and direct them to move things to the right areas.
  • After all goods have been unloaded, arrange to have the equipment returned.
After Move Checklist
  • Save all receipts and documentation in a safe place.
  • Open new bank accounts, memberships, transfer automobile registrations, and obtain new drivers' licenses.
  • Register to vote at the appropriate location.
  • Introduce the family to neighbors.

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