The Ultimate Moving Checklist for Organizing Your Whole Move
I’ll cut to the chase—I’m an organization fiend. I pack a trunk with the precision of a dad prepping his station wagon for a 10-day cross-country family road trip. I have a list that lists the lists I need to make. And while I respect and revere the junk drawer, I don’t even have one, because I’ve zeroed in on everything I own and have a place for each and every doodad. But, if you hate moving, this checklist is for you.
For people like me, moving all “the things” to their designated spots in a new place is a joy. (Even as I typed that, I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my color-coded, alphabetized veins.) But for folks who are fundamentally the opposite of me, moving is a nightmare. Before you make your next move, check out this trusty resource: The greatest moving checklist in the history of moving checklists.
Six Weeks Before Your Move
- Review your current lease and prepare for move-out arrangements, like walkthroughs, key return, and deposit returns (you’ll want that money back in your pocket!).
- Confirm move-in arrangements with your new apartment manager or landlord. Some buildings have strict move-in procedures, and you don’t want to start out on the wrong foot.
- Research and reserve a moving company, or start recruiting family and friends to assist (especially those with kind hearts and roomy vehicles!). Remember: If using a moving company, ask what items they won’t move (hazardous materials, etc.) and plan accordingly.
- If you’re moving long-distance, map out your travel and include pit stops and overnight lodging.
- Prepare an inventory of folks to notify about your move. Social circles, billing entities, and paycheck providers should know where to reach you.
- Develop a general layout for the furniture in your new home, making note of outlet locations. Pinterest boards and online wish lists come in handy here.
One Month Before
- Channel your inner Marie Kondo and set aside time to purge unwanted items. Avoid bringing anything that doesn’t serve or inspire you. Use Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Poshmark, and even Instagram to sell or rehome gently used items.
- Stockpile moving supplies: Boxes, tape, markers, bubble wrap.
- Repair any damage your place has incurred. Patch up holes in the wall, and touch up or even repaint rooms if your lease requires.
- Check with your city government to learn if permits are required to park your moving van in the street. You don’t need tickets or towing on the big day!
- Contact your insurance company to make sure your new place is covered.
- If you’re making a long-distance move, obtain or forward official medical and school records.
- Those with kids or pets should find an alternative plan for them on moving day. Check with friends and family for babysitting and pet sitting.
Two Weeks Before
- Press pause on grocery shopping and make meals with the last of your pantry and refrigerator staples.
- Call your moving company to reconfirm your van rental.
- Contact utility companies to schedule the transfer and setup of service—you don’t want to go too long without the internet, and certainly not a moment without electricity!
- Start boxing up items that won’t be needed before the move. Out-of-season clothes and extra bedding and towels can be used in place of bubble wrap to protect delicate items.
- Submit a change of address form with USPS so your mail is forwarded to the right spot.
- Learn more about your new neighborhood. Know the nearest emergency room, veterinary clinic, walk-in clinic, drug store, grocery store, library, hardware store, park, etc.
One Week Before
- Pack! Clearly label all boxes and indicate which ones to prioritize. Dishes will be needed sooner, while knick-knacks can wait.
- Prepare a box of essentials that will be unpacked first. This should include all the tools you’ll need right away: Toilet paper, sheets, a shower curtain, soap, a hammer and screwdriver, disinfectant wipes, first aid supplies, cell charger, etc.
- Designate an area or room in your home to store completed boxes and items ready to move. This will ease both the actual packing process and your anxiety.
- Contact a locksmith to have your locks changed.
- Call your moving company to reconfirm again.
- Provide movers with directions, and print out old-school maps for them.
- Withdraw cash to have on hand for the movers the day of the move, including a gratuity.
- For furniture that needs to be disassembled, bag and label the hardware and keep it all in one location.
- Set aside bottles of water and granola bars for the moving crew.
- Walk through the inventory of your items with the movers and maintain copies of all documentation.
- Make one last sweep through each room, checking closets and cabinets for forgotten items.
- Take out the trash, close and lock windows, turn off thermostats and lights, and confirm your departure with your landlord.
- Have a couple of spare power strips and extension cords on hand.
- Have your new landlord show you where to find the circuit box and water meter.
- Check for functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Follow up with management immediately if anything is out of place.
- Disinfect your new place’s fridge and bathrooms. Give yourself that peace of mind.
- Pay your movers, and include a gratuity.
- Note any damaged items from the move and follow up with the moving or insurance companies accordingly.
- Obtain access to your kitchen supplies, and set up your beds. No matter what, you’ll need a good night’s sleep.
- No cooking tonight. Order takeout from a place in your new neighborhood.
- Take an inventory of your new space and assess what’s needed to complete each room. Whether new drapes, a fresh coat of paint, or an extension cord, you’ll want a running log to inform your shopping trips and weekend projects.
- Deep clean, or hire a cleaning company. Even if the previous owners ordered a full cleaning of your new space, give yourself the gift of certainty.
- Get to know your neighbors! Introduce yourselves, develop a rapport, and get all the hot gossip on the best sushi takeout and the names and breeds of noteworthy neighborhood pups.
- Go easy on yourself. Situating your whole life into a new space takes time, energy, and patience. In a few weeks, you’ll get there. Don’t rush to have everything established in the first weekend.