Preparing to move: your sanity-saving checklist

Preparing to Move: Your Sanity-Saving Checklist

Apr 20 2022

A smooth, relatively hassle-free move is all about good planning, which can be especially hard when you’re in the process of closing on a house. But the last thing you need to worry about on closing day is packing.

So here’s an eight-week checklist that captures all the messy details for you.


Eight Weeks Before

  • Give notice to your landlord as soon as possible. Some require 60 days.
  • Whether you hire movers or DIY with a truck or container, reserve ASAP. During moving season, dates can get booked up way in advance.
  • If you’re hiring a mover, get at least two onsite estimates (decide beforehand what’s going and what’s not) and take a close look at various fees and surcharges when comparing.
  • Are your things insured en route? Renter’s insurance (you have it, right?) may cover you if something happens on or to the truck, but do check your policy. Movers may offer coverage—consider full replacement value.
  • Microchip your pets. If you’ve considered it but haven’t acted, now’s the time. Moving can disorient your pet, and if they get lost, a chip makes being reunited far more likely. It’s practically painless and easy to do at the vet’s.

Six Weeks Before

  • A move is a great time to weed your stuff.  Start now. Consider giving away or selling anything you haven’t used for a few years. (Some donations might be tax deductible—get receipts.)
  • Make a list of every person, business, and organization that needs your new address and get started on checking them off.
  • If you’ll need to store some things, rather than move them, arrange that now.
  • If you’ll be changing doctors, find out what, if anything, you need to do to get your records transferred.
  • It’s not too early to start packing things you don’t need between now and moving day.


Four Weeks Before

  • For each person who gets mail in your home, do a change of address at the USPS website. You’ll save a trip to the post office and get some coupons too.
  • How will your pets and your plants get there? Make sure you have them covered. Moving across state lines? Check on whether you need a health certificate from a vet.
  • Have children’s school records and credentials transferred.
  • Contact your utility companies with your disconnect or transfer dates.


Three Weeks Before

  • If you’re moving long-distance, make your travel reservations.
  • And make sure your car has been recently serviced and checked for problems.
  • Start eating those frozen dinners. And using up or giving away anything else you shouldn’t put on the truck. Like nail polish (it’s flammable). Here’s a good list.


One Week Before

  • Start packing in earnest.
  • Pick up any dry cleaning.
  • Return library books.


Three Days Before

  • Ready a box of the things you’ll need immediately when you arrive at your new home and put it aside to bring in the car. Things like TP, cleaning supplies, kitchen basics, shower curtains, and bed linens.
  • Cancel home deliveries such as newspapers.
  • Arrange with your landlord where to leave your keys.


The Big Day

  • Coordinate with your movers: make sure someone is there to meet and direct them.
  • Make sure pets are safe and secure. If you have cats, you’ll be mortified but not surprised to hear that they’ve been known to get packed into boxes.

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