Every move, big or small, across town or long-distance needs an in-depth moving checklist. You are about to uproot your entire life and all the possessions in it, so it’s understandable that you won’t anticipate every detail. There are both professional and personal matters to attend to. Furthermore, no matter how much advanced notice you may have for your move, it always feels like you could use an extra set of hands and eyes on this big project.
The good news is now you do! Colonial Van Lines is your go-to resource for all things moving. Not only can we be here to lend a hand on moving day, but we’ve compiled 50 years of moving wisdom and insight into the mother of all moving checklists. Click here to access a detailed, printable version of our moving checklist for your convenience.
A Moving Checklist That Crushes Moving Overwhelm
A moving checklist is your essential document for a successful relocation. Here is your tried and true game plan for moving – broken down in a convenient timeline. The power of a check mark will work wonders in combating the overwhelm you may be feeling as you prepare for your move. Breathe in deep and rest assured that we’ve thought of everything.
3-4 Months Before Your Move
In the earliest stage of moving, you may think there’s not much to check off in your moving checklist. However, this is the optimal time familiarize yourself with the moving process. In addition, the 3-4+ month mark is a great opportunity to determine which type of moving services you will need, such as storage and packing.
It’s also a good idea to stay organized throughout your moving process by starting a binder to keep all your important moving documents in, as well as your moving checklist.
Research will be a top priority during these months. The more knowledge you have about the various aspects of your move, the better prepared you will be as your date moves closer.
For one thing, you’ll want to get a detailed idea about your destination location. You’ll need to gain an understanding of your neighborhood and community, including the amenities, stores and services you need to continue life as usual.
Additionally, here are some things worth researching regarding your move:
- Packing tips and hacks to save time, money and frustration
- A back-up plan for alternate housing if access gets delayed
- Your rights and responsibilities as a consumer.
With 3-4 months or more until your move, you can also search for recycled boxes to begin sorting your belongings and start the purging process. Here are some promising places to find free moving boxes.
- Grocery Stores
- Clothing Stores
- Book Stores
1-2 Months Before Your Move
In the last few months before your move, our moving checklist transitions from research mode, to preparation mode.
- Start by downloading the Colonial Van Lines moving app. It will effortlessly assist you in inventorying all the items you are taking with you to your new place.
- Additionally, it will be helpful to have the dimensions and measurements of your new home to determine which items will fit and are appropriate to move.
- From here you can determine what stays and what becomes a donate or yard sale item.
- Now, you can create a “Pack it or Trash it List” to get started with the purging and packing process.
- Start sorting in less trafficked areas such as the garage, attic and spare bedrooms.
With your moving professional: Lock in your move date, insure your valuables, confirm item count
Self-packers: Gather supplies such as wardrobe boxes, tape, padding. Print packing labels.
In your personal life: Transfer important information such as children’s school or medical records
Here is your golden opportunity to host a yard sale to rid yourself of unwanted items and declutter your belongings before the big move. We have a comprehensive blog dedicated to having a yard sale like a boss, that will take the guess work out of selling your unwanted items.
3-4 Weeks Before Your Move
In this time frame, your mode in the moving checklist goes from preparing to scheduling. With your move date locking in, you can begin to coordinate a host of actions that need to take place.
First, you’ll need to make arrangements with your employer so that you can be present at home during move day.
Next, you’ll need to schedule a walk-through of your new place with your realtor or landlord.
Finally, you’ll need to transfer/cancel services such as utilities and home maintenance.
- Renters: Address minor repairs such as wall dents to retain security deposit
- Self-Packers: Reserve frequently used items for easy access
- In the Kitchen: Begin using up perishable foods
- Home-Buyers: Measure windows and order window treatments for new home
- Medications: Ensure you don’t pack necessary meds
- Children: Involve them in the packing process
Let’s pause for a moment and focus on your personal life and how it plays into your moving checklist. Not only are you moving all your possessions from A to B, but you are changing your entire living environment. One of the reasons why moving is so hard, is because of what and who you are leaving behind. At Colonial Van Lines, we know how important it is to make time for friends and family.
With this in mind, it’s a nice idea to squeeze in some fun with a goodbye party or two. At your goodbye party, be sure to return borrowed items from friends, family and neighbors.
Here are some personal details you’ll need to cross of your moving checklist as well:
- New Job: Check in with HR to confirm dates and documents to bring to orientation
- Long-Distance Moves: Finalize travel plans, air fare and hotel reservations
- In the Kitchen: prep two weeks of freezer meals to use during the final weeks
- Small Kids: arrange for sitter/play date for moving day
- Change of Address: banks, credit cards, insurance, subscriptions, license, registration
- Pets: Finalize plans for their travel, logging, and medical records
1-2 Weeks Before Your Move
In these final weeks, your moving checklist mode turns into full-blown action mode. By now, you are tying up the last few ends in the moving process. If by this stage you still feel behind in the moving process, it’s not too late to add packing services with your moving professional to get you back on track for moving day. This is another opportunity to update your pro with any changes to your moving day details.
In the final weeks, your main focus with your moving checklist should be organizing your boxes and belongings.
Labeling: Boxes should be labeled according to the room they will land in, in your new home. It’s a good idea to make a private list of the boxes that contain your valuables, but optimally, they should travel with you if possible. Signal items to remain in the home with a bright sticker.
Outdoor/Garage: Clean outdoor furniture so it’s free from debris and contaminating substances like mildew or bird droppings. Dispose of hazardous items that cannot be packed, such as paint thinner and gasoline. Set aside tools to use during your move for disassembly.
Donating: Unopened non-perishable food can be conveniently picked up by our cause Move For Hunger. Order dumpster for over-sized items or call a local charity for pick-up of items in good condition.
Vehicle: Remove valuables before shipping, even spare tires and car jacks go missing. Get tune-up.
If you utilized our moving checklist correctly, moving day should be a wrap up, perhaps with a little grunt-work for self-movers. After the truck arrives, you are mainly breaking down big furniture, loading and organizing your belongings for transport.
Using Movers: Walk them through the home, point out fragile boxes, sign off on inventory list, confirm new address.
Self-Moving: Pack essentials box with everything you need for your first 24 hours such as your coffee items and hand soap.
Renters: Take pictures of your place’s move-out condition for proof to retain security deposit.
Electronics: Take pictures of your wire set-up for easy reassembly, drop-off rented equipment.
After all is said and done, perform one last walk-around before you shut the door for good.
Moving is Easy When You Can Check Off the Steps
Whether you have an entire year to figure things out, or just a few months, using our printable moving checklist will keep you paced and stress-free. To make your move even easier, we’re offering another helpful resource to prepare you for moving day. Check out this alternate moving checklist from LifeStorageBlog which includes links to moving printables for your moving pleasure.
Should you have a last-minute move drop in your lap unexpectedly, we can help with that as well. Call us anytime for a free quote and we’ll get you moved in an effortless and streamlined manner like we’ve done over 200,000 times before.
Pro-Tip: “Be sure to have an action plan in place in case there is inclement weather on your moving day.” — Mover Bob