Moving Countdown Checklist
Make an Inventory: List every item you intend to move and put the list in a folder.
Organize your Items: See if there are any items that you can get rid of (yes, there are!). Some items can be donated, some can be listed online, or you can have a garage sale, while others should be discarded. You can set aside items at this time and have sales as circumstances permit.
Call Several Moving Companies: Find out what their charges are, including any extra fees, and mileage and equipment charges, etc. Look up some reviews online for each company. Find out what ancillary services they offer, such as short-term storage, staging, assembly of furniture or swing sets, etc., and how much they cost. Also, find out what their insurance policies cover in terms of loss or damage to your items or to your homes.
Establish a Budget: Keep in mind that gratuities (aka “tips”) for a job well done are an important part of movers’ income. Also remember that boxes and other supplies can possibly be added to your bill. Some companies even charge for use of equipment and so forth, plus they might have fuel surcharges and other junk fees. Make certain that you are clear on these points with each company you call.
Prepare for School Records Transfer and Enrollment: Find out what you need to do to enroll your children in school, and how to transfer their records.
Notify Insurance Companies: find out what you need to do to cover your new residence, and what coverage you might have or need to add for damage and loss to items being moved by professional moving companies, etc.
Purchase Supplies: Buy packing materials to include tape dispensers, tape, an assortment of moving boxes, stretch wrap, moving blankets, acid free paper (for paintings), etc.
Contact Membership Clubs: Find out how to terminate or transfer memberships in fitness centers, etc.
Gather Financial Records: These include, but are not limited to, utility bills, tax records, legal fees, and mortgage documents.
Book Your Move: It’s good to book your move as soon as possible with a reputable moving company. There are peak seasons for moving companies, typically during the warmer months, and you don’t want to find yourself without a reputable moving company because you waited too long. If you wish to stage your home and your moving company provides the service, arrange that with them at this time.
Arrange the Transfer of Records: this is the time to speak with school administrators, veterinarians, and medical professionals to arrange the timely transfer of their records. Make certain that they have addresses, including zip code, entered correctly. Let them know when you are planning to leave and when you will arrive at your new destination.
Notify your Landlord: They will probably want to schedule an inspection of your apartment/house for a time close to your move. Find out from them how to get any refundable deposits back.
Plan the Transport of Valuable Items: Jewelry, coin collections, and other small, precious items should be taken with you in your car. Never leave them exposed to the view of passersby. It’s best to lock them in the trunk of your vehicle, along with important documents.
Plan Storage: Make an inventory of the items you have in storage sheds, and note their condition, too. This is especially true for heirlooms. You might want to take photos of particularly valuable items from different angles the day before the move and let the movers know that you have done so.
Go Online for your HazMat materials: different states and municipalities have differing regulations regarding the handling and disposal of items such as poisons, flammables, explosives, biohazardous materials, etc. Make certain that you find instructions that are valid for your locality.
Reconfirm your moving date with your moving company. Get specifics on what time they will show up at your residence. Make certain that they still have you booked and that you haven’t “fallen through the cracks.”
Arrange to Discontinue Services: this includes Water, Electrical, Gas, Telephone, Internet, Cable, Newspaper, Sewer, Trash, Snow Removal, Lawn Maintenance, etc. Also transfer Internet and Cable/Satellite services to your new address or discontinue them if your contract (or lack thereof) allows it. Find out if there are any charges attached to discontinuance or transfer and plan for that in your budget.
Make certain that your pets are up to date on vaccinations. It’s also a good idea to have your pets microchipped in case they become separated from you during travel. Collars with ID tags are good, but they can be dislodged and slip from your pet’s neck.
Start packing items that you don’t use often. Most things in your attic, basement, and storage shed fit into this category. This is a good time to start sorting out items to be kept, donated, or discarded. If you have room, make separate piles for these and start getting rid of the items you don’t’ want or can’t keep. Be certain to call thrift shops before trying to donate items: some don’t accept large appliances, etc. Don’t wait until moving day to find out what their policies are and then be left with a couple of tons of appliances, etc., that you can’t get rid of.
Be certain to mark each box with the contents and the destination, whether it be the thrift store, somebody’s house, or your new residence. If it’s going to your new residence, be certain to number each box and specify which room it goes in, such as Master Bedroom or basement bathroom, etc.
Get Your Change of Address in the Works: you can pick up a form at the Post Office or you can do this online. It generally takes 10 business days for the change of address form to take effect, so get this done early.
Plan out your meals for your last month. Make certain that you will use up all the items in your freezers or canned items that are in your basement, etc.
Have your vehicles serviced: even if you’re only moving across the city, it’s good to make certain that your car isn’t going to break down at a critical time.
Dispose of your hazardous materials items: these include, but are not limited to flammables, corrosives, poisons, as well as paints, thinners, and even detergents and other items. Machinery can be run until it runs out of fuel, but whatever you do, be certain that you comply with all applicable regulations, federal, state, and local.
Begin packing, making certain to number and label each box with its contents, destination and room it goes into. Set aside valuables to take with you in your own vehicle.
Once again, reconfirm with your movers about the date and time of your move, and specify again any special items that you have, such as hot tubs, pianos, gun safes, gym equipment, pool tables, etc. Also mirrors, television monitors, paintings, statues, or anything else that might require special handling and/or packing (they should have asked you about this when you first booked your move).
Pack Moving-In Essentials, meaning those items that you will need upon your arrival, such as box cutters, bar soap, shampoo, change of clothing, toilet paper, towels and wash cloths, shower curtains, keys, some cleaning items, paper towels, and trash bags.
Wash outdoor furniture and playhouses, toys, rugs, etc., so that you don’t transfer dirt or bugs to your new place.
Water transportable (potted) plants well to be certain that they have a better chance of surviving the move.
Drain hoses and allow them to dry.
Fill or renew prescriptions for yourself and your pets.
Gather essential documents. This includes but is not limited to moving documents, inventory of items, mortgage/lease agreements, etc.
Take pictures of furniture and appliances, etc., to be able to prove the condition of these items should a dispute arise between you and the moving company over damage to items. Let the movers know that you have done this. They will likely handle your belongings more carefully if you inform them of the precautions you have taken. It’s a win-win situation when no items are damaged, and it’s a lose-lose situation when a claim has to be filed and you have to wait a week or two before you can get a damaged item repaired and delivered to your new residence. Be certain to take pictures of all sides and interiors and supports (legs) of these items.
Clear and clean out your house/apartment to standards listed in the lease or seller’s agreement.
Get everything ready (boxed and labeled) for the movers if you feel that you’re careful packers and won’t have any damaged items. Moving companies’ insurance understandably won’t cover damage to items packed by anyone but professional movers hired for the move. Get these items close to the door but not blocking it or crowding it, as movers will likely want to get the biggest items (appliances, furniture, pianos, etc.) out first, and they might need maneuvering space near the doorways.
If you’re going to let the movers pack things, work with them to label items in boxes and where they need to go at your new residence. They will likely work quickly, so have items organized and ready.
Have cash in fives, tens and twenties for gratuities (tips) and meals.
Do a final check of the home you’re leaving. Make certain no faucets are running or dripping, no spigots (including washer hookups) are leaking, etc. Go through all closets and check out all shelves and cupboards, etc., to be certain that you’re leaving nothing behind.
Check Connections of Appliances at your new home: this is essential. If washing machines or other appliances are not correctly connected, you could end up with multiple six-figure losses due to water damage or for the remediation and repair due to mold in your new residence. You could also be blacklisted by home insurance companies after filing a water damage claim. If you’re not certain about any of your connections, call a qualified appliance service specialist.
Check Discontinuation of Services: this is important because you could be held responsible for charges that others might be pirating if you can’t prove with video or audio evidence that you did arrange for discontinuation of services on the date you specified.
Collect Mail that was on hold at the Post Office in the zip code of your new home address.
Recheck connections of appliances. Do this again after one week, and then again after two weeks.