Moving Checklist for Renters

Whether it is your first time or you are a seasoned veteran, moving can be quite a stressful experience. Moving should be fun and exciting, as it often means new beginnings. So you should try to make it as stress-free as possible. Being organised and prepared is key in ensuring that you endure a stress-free move, from start to finish.

A checklist is a great way to do this, especially when it comes to being organised. Here is our moving checklist, which hopefully helps you have a stress-free move.


9 to 12 weeks before

  • Deciding to actually move. This is when you should really start to think about moving, as most landlords require 2 months notice. So you should make this decision 2 to 3 months beforehand.
  • Read your current lease to see what the protocol is for leaving your current apartment. This is especially true if you are terminating a lease early by subletting or reassigning the lease. Be informed of the protocol and the way your landlord expects to be informed ahead of time.
  • Figure out your budget for your new apartment and start casually looking for a new place. Remember that most landlords don’t post vacancies until 6-8 weeks before the move-in date. But it’s always a good idea to see what is out there so you know what to expect.
  • Decide on a location. You may want to move to a new neighbourhood. Or maybe you are moving to a whole new city. It is important to decide where you want to live, or at least determine where you don’t want to live.

6 to 8 weeks before

  • Notify your current landlord that you are vacating in 60 days.
  • Start looking for apartments that are within your budget and in your desired neighbourhoods. Most of this is now done online. So hit the computer and start making appointments to view potential apartments.
  • Make a moving binder or folder. Inside, put things like copies of your credit check, copies of your letter of employment or paystubs and references from previous landlords. You should also keep your new lease here.
  • Have a security check ready. This is important when looking at new apartments. In today’s renting world it can be difficult to snatch the perfect place to live. So having this ready not only shows a potential landlord that you are serious, but can also improve your chances of getting the apartment that you want.
  • Sign a lease. This is obvious. And should be done by at least week 6. Some people do cut their time shorter, but 6-8 weeks ahead of time is when the best apartments will be available. If you leave it until later you may have to just take what you can get.
  • If you are moving to another province, make any necessary arrangements in terms of storage, pet care, flights, hotels, etc.
  • Take inventory of your stuff. Decide what you will take to your new apartment and what you will toss, donate, store or sell. You can also start packing a few small things that you know you will take with you but will not need before moving day.
  • Research moving companies. Read their reviews or ask friends for referrals. If you decide to move yourself, secure the rental of a van or truck and make sure whomever will help you with the move is available.

4 to 5 weeks before

  • Start taking pictures of furniture you wish to sell to advertise on various websites. Or think about a date for a yard sale.
  • Collect or purchase packing supplies. Then start packing more items that you don’t think you will not need over the next 4-5 weeks.
  • Arrange to take a day or 2 off of work if needed. People often find that they not only need to have the day off on actual moving day, but also the following day. Let’s face it. Moving is exhausting. And you will want a day to clean, start to slowly organise and do whatever shopping you need to do to make you feel at home.
  • Inform people of your new address. This means the post office, mobile provider and bank. If you have kids, you will also want to inform the schools.
  • Contact your insurance company to transfer your tenant insurance. Your rate may also change, as the size and location of your apartment often determines your rates.
  • Get your car checked. This is especially essential if you are doing a long-distance move. But it is important with any move. The last thing you would want to happen is for your car to break down on the day of your move. Especially if you are moving with kids and pets.
  • Contact your internet, phone and cable provider, as well as your utility company. Inform them of your move and request that your services at the current address are disconnected when you vacate. If you chose to use the same providers, arrange to have everything connected in the new apartment so you don’t have to go too long without.

2 to 3 weeks before

  • Start packing all non-essentials room-by-room and labelling each box accordingly.
  • Confirm with your movers. If you are moving yourself, confirm with the van/truck rental company.
  • Check again with your providers to ensure service is disconnected and reconnected in your new apartment.
  • Sell or donate all of the furniture and other stuff that you are not going to take with you. This could be clothing, utensils, toys, books, etc.
  • Fill all prescriptions. This only comes into play if you are moving to a new city or province. You will want to be sure that you have a few weeks supply of your regular medications, as it could take time to find a new doctor and get new prescriptions written.
  • Start eating all of the food in your fridge and freezer. Many of these things will go bad, so start eating things so that they don’t go to waste.

1 week before

  • Finish all of your packing. Well other than things you will 100% need, like clothing, toiletries and dishes for the week.
  • Use all perishables that you don’t want to move. Or give them away.
  • Confirm with the movers again. Or with the van/truck rental company. The last thing you need is to find out there was some sort of a mix-up and you are left stranded on moving day. Also re-confirm with friends that will be helping you make the move.
  • If you are moving in and/or out of an apartment building, organise and conform elevator service.
  • Schedule a walk-through with your current landlord. By doing this you are both onsite to inspect your apartment before you move out. This way there are no surprises or disputes in terms of payments for damages, etc.

1 day before

  • Clean out the fridge
  • Pack all remainder items except what you will need on moving day. This includes clothing, towels and toiletries.
  • Do any last minute shopping for beverages and food that you and/or your friends may need on moving day.
  • Start cleaning all of the rooms in your current apartment.

Moving Day

  • Pick up the van or truck you rented or swap information with the movers (addresses, mobile phone numbers, etc.)
  • Secure all pets and kids to keep them safe and out of the way of the action.
  • Look over and sign the movers’ inventory list. Also be sure to get a copy for your records.
  • Check every inch of every room to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind.
  • Turn off all lights and return the keys to your landlord.
  • Arrive at your new place first to unlock it, open gates, etc.
  • Do a walk-through of your new apartment with your new landlord. This means checking lights, water, etc.
  • If you have time before the movers arrive, sweep and mop the floors of your new apartment.
  • As things start moving in, check the inventory list to ensure everything that went into the moving truck is coming into your new place.
  • Pay the movers. Don’t forget to give them a tip! If you rented a vehicle, return it.
  • Arrange and make the bed (or beds) for the night and unpack any essentials.
  • Order in some food, kick back and enjoy the first night in your new apartment!

Hopefully this renters moving checklist will help you through your next move and make things a little bit easy and less stressful on moving day. Remember, moving is always hard, but it should be an exciting experience. So once it is all over, congratulate yourself for a great move and a new beginning.

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