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The ultimate moving checklist: tips and to-dos

Moving checklist

Do you imagine yourself entertaining guests on the screened porch of your next home, or can you envision yourself baking in your energy-efficient kitchen-to-be? Soon those dreams will become a reality.

Moving is an exciting time, but it can be stressful, too. Most movers find it helpful to be extraordinarily organized as they prepare for a smooth transition from one property to the next.

Not sure where to start? We put together a detailed moving checklist you can use to execute a successful move. This moving to-do list covers everything you need to know from two months pre-move to the actual moving day.

Two months before the move

It’s moving time — woohoo! Whether you’re moving down the block or across the state, now is the time to buckle down and start planning a move. From determining your new living situation to the transitional steps that will get you there, we’re here to guide you with moving tips.

Although researching a new community and scheduling a move may feel intimidating at first, rest assured that by starting to plan two months in advance you’ll be well on your way to a successful move. Here are insights you can use to kickstart the moving process two months before the big day.

Do your research

During this stage of the move, it’s important to generally acquaint yourself with your new area. Not only will this give you a clear expectation of your new home, but it will also help ease any pre-move jitters. You’ll also want to begin keeping a moving checklist of questions and notes related to the move. Then, you can reference your papers later on in the moving process.

To complete your research on a new neighborhood, consider these moving tips:

  • Tour your new community
  • Look into top-rated schools
  • Find a roommate
  • Make a list of questions to ask movers
  • Consider your options for moving services
  • Identify costs for moving services vs. doing it yourself
  • Make a list of all expected expenses
  • Create a budget plan

Plan important dates

Certain services — like scheduling time off work for packing or moving day — need to be planned in advance. Take note of any necessary dates or mandatory meetings and pencil them in on your family’s calendar. Be sure to:

  • Give notice to your landlord of your leaving date
  • Book a garage sale
  • Ask friends and family to help with moving day
  • Request time off work for the move

You may want to mark these important dates on a shared Google Calendar (or another preferred scheduling app), so everyone involved in the move stays up-to-date on the process in real-time.

Six weeks before the move

At this stage in the move, your key priorities may begin to shift and include more concrete details and action items. Although it may feel like you don’t know what to do when moving, remember that six weeks is still plenty of time to complete everything on your moving checklist.

Not sure what to prioritize at this point in your moving journey? Begin by scheduling these services and completing the corresponding tasks on your moving to-do list.

Get estimates and order supplies

For a successful move, determine the way you want to move and execute it. Ultimately, you have control over what you move and how you move it. Whether you want to color-code your boxes individually, or you choose to hire a moving service, it’s necessary to schedule the required services and assemble supplies.

  • Get estimates from at least three moving companies
  • Book a moving truck rental
  • Reserve a storage unit
  • Schedule movers
  • Reserve airline, car or hotel
  • Order boxes, tape, paper and bubble wrap

And remember as you’re packing up your home, you might be able to save money and stay organized with materials you already have.

Organize your stuff and start packing

Once you have boxes or other containers readily available, you can start packing up. If possible, don’t rush this step. By starting now, you’ll be able to ease into the process of clearing out your old space, which will give you time to sort through your items (to potentially donate things you’re no longer interested in) and consciously pack.

During this stage of planning a move, it may also be helpful to focus on packing up items that you won’t miss — and to keep an eye out for documents that may be easy to overlook or toss out. Here are some early packing tips you can follow:

  • Pack non-essential and seasonal items first.
  • Sentimental, decorative items can also be packed early.
  • Gather all warranty information and appliance manuals in one place — then separate them based on if they’ll stay with the home or go to your next residence.
  • Be sure to keep track of all tax-deductible expenses.

Notify others and request time off

Once you feel secure in your moving timeline, it’s time to include others in your plan. During this time, update essential contacts of your move, including:

  • Children’s school
  • Health insurance provider
  • Auto and home insurance agent
  • Housekeepers, landscapers and pool maintenance

You may even need to request time off from work in order to keep up with the move and to physically pack your belongings.

One month before the move

Moving day is just one month away! If you’re feeling bogged down by possessions or unconfirmed moving day details, you may begin experiencing pre-move jitters. Calm your nerves by preparing yourself and your home for the move at the one-month mark.

Use, sell or donate

Paring down your belongings to the most essential items is helpful during the moving process. Work to move fewer items, so your new space will only be filled with possessions that you truly want to keep.

When sorting through your household items, create categories of things to use, sell or donate. Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Use up perishables
  • Donate unwanted food and items
  • Host a garage sale
  • Sell gently-used items
  • Dispose of hazardous items

Transfer utilities and update addresses

For a seamless transition, you’ll want everything to rollover from one house to the next. Notifying your service providers of your new contact information will ensure that your amenities stay up-to-date.

Let these services know of your address change:

  • Gym or club memberships
  • Bank account and credit card
  • Post office (to forward your mail)
  • Social security and medicare
  • Health care providers (to forward billing information and medical records)
  • Pharmacy
  • Subscriptions

Finally, contact utility companies in your new area to ensure your new property is move-in ready. You’ll also want to notify the providers that serviced your previous house about the move. Common utilities include cable, internet, water, sewer, gas, electricity, security, trash and phone.

Confirm moving day plans

Stress less by hashing out the details of moving day before it arrives. Start by confirming times and dates with the moving company and car shipping service, if you opt to use one.

Additionally, you need to figure out where you and your essential belongings will stay during the move. At this time, figure out temporary housing needs, arrange for child or pet care on moving day, and decide what to do with your beloved house plants.

Two weeks before the move

The move is two weeks away! Time is ticking, but you still have buffer days to orchestrate the move. Everything leading up to this point has focused on the important logistics of the move. Now, have some fun and schedule home improvement services for your new property.

Schedule home improvement services

Whether you’re moving into a turnkey property or a fixer-upper, you want your new space to feel like home. Two weeks prior to the move, take a look at your new home’s blueprint. This will help you identify furniture and decor needs. If a mid-century modern sofa would pair perfectly in your living room, order it now! You may also book a painter or schedule an electrician during this stage.

One week before the move

It’s crunch time! Moving day is just one week out. Shift the focus to your current house to ensure everything is in tip-top shape and you’re ready to walk out and lock the door behind you when moving day arrives.

Clean and inspect your former home

Thoroughly clean your house from top to bottom, including those hard to reach spots. Homeowners are expected to have everything in “broom clean” condition, whereas renters may be expected to scrub every surface, including the pantry and refrigerator — and have one last inspection with their landlord. Once everything is sparkly clean, take a picture of your former home as proof of its status.

Pack last-minute items

Last-minute items, like kitchenware and other essentials, may be packed at this time. Do a final sweep of your home, gathering items to pack, trash or recycle.

Plan an eco-friendly move

Keep room in your schedule for last-minute errands during this time. You may need to drop off nonperishable foods at a local food shelf, defrost your fridge and freezer, pick up prescriptions and schedule dry cleaning.

The day before the move

You have one night left in your old house before taking the next step in your home transition. Buckle down and pack everything you can so you can wake up and dive right into the moving process.

On top of preparing for the moving process, this is also the time to check in with how you (and your family) are feeling emotionally toward the home transition. Whether you feel excited, nostalgic or somewhere in between, it’s important to check in on your moving day feelings.

Pack essentials

Locate all essential items and pack them up. These may include:

  • Pajamas
  • Toiletries
  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Pet and baby necessities
  • Important documents and valuables

To stay extra-organized, consider putting everything you need in the coming days into a special moving day bag or box.

Say goodbye

Goodbyes can be challenging. Instead, cherish the memories you had in your home and consider this moment as a “see you later.” Before zooming away in your packed vehicle, stroll around your old neighborhood and take time to say goodbye to old neighbors.

Moving day

The day everyone has been waiting for is here! All of your hard work has led up to this moment and it’s time to move. Wondering what to do when moving? Get an early start. Not only will this give you wiggle room for any bumps in the moving process, but also it will allow you to move into your new place even sooner.

Stay hydrated and take inventory

During the move, keep water bottles on-hand for your family and movers. Staying hydrated will be extra important, given how strenuous moving can be.

In addition, keep inventory of your belongings and any noticeable damage that happens throughout the move.

Final sweep and key handoff

Carefully look in bathtubs, washers, dryers, cabinets and other easy-to-miss spots. Once you feel confident that all your belongings are out and you’ve said your final farewell to the home, it’s time to hit the road.

If you’re moving during the winter or need to travel through construction zones, check the status of the roads you’ll be traveling through before you start the trek to your next home.

Up to one month after moving

You did it! You successfully moved out of one property and into the next. This is such an accomplishment. Now that you’re in your new home, you’ll want to put careful consideration into how you clean, unpack and establish yourself in the new space with a relocation checklist. Here are thoughtful tips to get you through the new home transition.

Clean and unpack

Just like you cleaned and packed at your previous house, you’ll need to clean and unpack at your new property. With a fresh start and a blank canvas, you’ll be in a more comfortable position to organize your belongings in a new space. When cleaning, be sure to do the following:

  • Mop, vacuum, dust and wipe surfaces
  • Do renovations or paint
  • Baby-proof (or pet-proof) the new home

Next, unpack your things beginning with suitcases, kitchenware and other essential items. Then, start to unpack room-by-room. Identify trash pickup days so you can dispose of boxes and other moving day materials properly.

Test locks and alarms

Feeling safe in your new home is of high importance. Test locks, alarms and other home features so you feel confident in your space. Your moving into a new house checklist might include:

  • Changing the locks
  • Installing an additional deadbolt
  • Checking the security system and smoke alarms
  • Purchasing a carbon monoxide detector
  • Scheduling an electrician

Update voter registration and license

You’ll want to update your credentials and contact information on all important documents. As a resident of a new address, you’ll need to change your address on the following paperwork:

  • IRS address
  • Driver’s license
  • Insurance policies
  • Voter registration
  • Pet registration, if needed
  • Establishing state residency (if moving across state lines)

Finally, if you’re crossing state lines, you’ll need to establish domicile in your new state. Don’t miss this step — it’s important for tax purposes!

Ready for a stress-free move?

Moving from one property to the next is a large undertaking, but it’s possible to minimize stress by staying ultra-organized throughout. Set yourself up for success with this local moving checklist, and you’ll be well on your way to a smooth home transition.

Are you contemplating a move in Minnesota or western Wisconsin? Reach out to Edina Realty or one of our agents for expert tips on neighborhoods in the area and moving day insights — including moving resources — for a stress-free move.

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