Moving Checklist

You’re moving? Congratulations! Now, you need a moving checklist.

We certainly understand that moving can be equal parts celebration and panic. Sure, moving might seem like a daunting task at first, but, with a little advanced planning, moving day can go from stressful to almost—dare we say it?—enjoyable.

Our handy moving checklist will help you have a smooth moving process from your old place to your new one. Whether you’re moving from a New York City luxury condo to a Chicago apartment where rent is more affordable, or anywhere in between, the sooner you start working down this moving checklist, the better. And if you need moving help, remember to book Bellhop.

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Everything you need to know and do before your moving day.

60 Days Before Your Moving Day

OK, so it’s 60 days until you’re moving, you’ve got plenty of time, right? The truth is yes, but this is your chance to get ahead of the game and set yourself up for the best moving process ever. This quick step by step guide will help you save time and avoid headaches on your moving day.

  • Make a moving checklist folder and inventory list.
  • It’s easy to lose important documents during the moving process, lost in the shuffle of boxes and papers. So save yourself the stress and keep them all together in a folder. This can be a cheap folder from around your home, a binder, a physical file cabinet or a digital folder on your computer, such as Google Drive. But make sure to store all of your important documents inside like moving quotes, insurance records, vet records for your pet, and your lease, if applicable. You’ll want these moving receipts to use as a tax deduction come April.

  • Copy and secure important documents.
  • If you’re moving between rentals, it’s helpful to have a copy of your old and new lease and photos that show the condition of your apartment when you left it.

  • Know the size of your move
  • Determine what type of move you want. Are you a do-it-yourselfer and plan to tackle it on your own? Or do you want other people to do the heavy lifting? It’s also helpful to decide beforehand if you’ll need to rent a truck or use a pod. (Bellhop, that’s us, can help you with moves of all sizes. Whether you only need labor or movers and a truck)

  • Choose your moving date.
  • Insider tip: the day you move can affect prices due to demand. We recommend choosing a weekday for moving. But, we get it, you can’t always take off work. If moving on a weekend is non-negotiable, our next recommendation is to avoid moving the first or last weekend of the month those days tend to be busiest.

  • Begin decluttering your home
  • The less stuff you have, the easier it is to move! If you’ve been on Netflix recently, you probably know all about Marie Kondo’s “Spark Joy” method for a thorough decluttering. But you can also just focus on organizing your storage areas and getting rid of everything you can part with.

  • Sell or donate that stuff.
  • As you declutter, only throw away the truly useless stuff. Host a garage sale, sell items on Craigslist, or, better yet, make donations to local charities. You can find places to donate in your area here.

  • Get to know your moving company.
  • If you hire movers, read their Terms and Conditions to see if there’s anything they won’t move for you. Moving with Bellhop? Here’s our FAQ page.

  • Start collecting moving supplies.
  • Save money by looking for free boxes at liquor stores, grocery stores, and restaurants. Aldi is a great place that allows customers to use boxes to carry their groceries while shopping and then take them home afterward. Also make sure you have sturdy tape, permanent markers, and old newspapers or bubble wrap.

  • Measure your furniture and compare it to your new home.
  • Note the dimensions of your new home to see what furniture will fit where. You might discover a few pieces just won’t fit or have a place. You don’t want to take the trouble to move that L-shaped sectional if it won’t fit!

  • Begin packing.
  • Choose a corner and start packing items you won’t use before moving. Begin by packing off-season clothes, books, and other seasonal items or non-essential items you won’t be using in the days prior to your moving day. Specialty items like that air fryer or sous vide machine you use a handful of times a year? It’s probably safe to go ahead and pack them. We recommend packing kitchen appliances in their original boxes if you have them. If not, be sure to use Bubble Wrap or packing peanuts to keep your kitchen items secure during transport! Make an inventory list of items and break them down into essential, non-essential, and unwanted items for further organizing detail.

  • Label like you mean it.
  • This one packing tip you definitely shouldn’t ignore. As you begin the packing process, be sure to label your boxes as you go. It’s easier if you pack boxes room by room.

    30 Days Before Your Moving Day

    With 30 days left, you should be in a really good place because you’ve totally already completed the short 60-day moving checklist above. Now it’s time to tackle the 30-Day moving checklist.

  • Check your rental requirements.
  • Is your new home a rental? Be sure you notify your new landlord or new property manager. Most rental places require at least one month’s notice that you won’t be renewing your lease.

  • Pack for real.
  • Box the items that survived the decluttering stage. Think about what you’ll need to use right up until move day such as clothing, essential cooking items, toiletries, shoes, and chargers. Be sure not to pack those things! Use soft packing material. Resourcefulness makes for quick packing. Use dish towels, blankets, and socks as a way to damage-proof fragile items.

  • Yep . . . keep packing.
  • Not to be those people, but, seriously, keep packing. It’s easy to get burned-out, so try to make a packing schedule and checklists and complete a little each day. Your moving day will be so much easier if you keep at it.

  • Record the serial numbers of valuable items
  • This is also a good time to do those things your future self will thank you for. As you begin to think about packing your valuables bikes, TVs, computers, et cetera take note of your item details and serial numbers. Knock on wood you never need them, but having this information on your moving checklist can be a lifesaver should you ever experience a break-in.

  • Pack valuable items mindfully.
  • Speaking of valuables, it’s also a good idea to make a list of the items that are very, very important to you. You want to know exactly where you’re packing them if they’re going in a pod, storage, or moving truck.

  • Label Fragile Items
  • This is a moving and packing tip we all know, but it is so important. Any box that has something remotely breakable needs to be clearly labeled “Fragile.” This also helps movers as they stack items they don’t want to crush your dishes or other household items either!

  • Mark boxes thoroughly.
  • Labeling goes a long way toward making the job of unpacking easier. If you can take the time, go beyond marking the room where each box belongs and write the contents of each box as well.

  • Make those minor repairs.
  • If you’re leaving a rental, look at minor repairs you can do. Filling in the nail holes can go a long way in getting your whole security deposit back. It’s also good to ask your new property manager if there are other moving day requirements. Some apartments or rental homes require you to schedule a final walk-through.

  • Notify your utility companies.
  • Set up disconnect/reconnect dates with your phone, water, cable, internet, gas, and electricity providers in advance and avoid a cancellation fee. Pay any deposits for new services in advance.

  • Transfer services.
  • Change your address and update subscriptions as well as any home-security, pest-control, house-cleaning, and lawn-care services you receive.

  • Keep your kids, pets, and work in mind.
  • Request time off of work for the time before and time after your moving day. Find a sitter for the kids and someone to watch your pets while you move.

  • Make sure your car is ready.
  • Moving far away? Make sure your car is road-ready. Take it in to get serviced before you leave. Tires and oil the works.

  • Clean out your car if you’re shipping it.
  • If you’re packing up your car and shipping it to your new location, do a clean sweep and make sure you don’t leave any valuable or personal items inside.

  • Talk to your kids about the move.
  • Now is the time to begin the conversation with your kids about moving and the feelings they might experience. If you’re moving out of your current city, be sure to give them chances to say goodbye to their friends and their current school.

  • Start learning about your new neighborhood!
  • Read out our blog and city guides for resources that can help you get settled. Make a list of emergency numbers for your new neighborhood.

  • Plan for parking the moving truck.
  • Make sure you have a place to put your moving truck. Look into getting a permit if you need one.

  • Reserve your elevator.
  • If you’re moving into a place with an elevator, see if you can reserve one. A lot of apartment and condominium complexes also have a freight elevator that can be booked.

  • Clean out the pantry.
  • It’s difficult to move with perishable foods, so try to eat through your fridge and freezer over the weeks before your move. This is an item that’s easy to overlook, but we think it’s one of the most important items on our moving checklist! Nobody wants to waste a bunch of food.

  • Organize your file cabinet.
  • Shred or recycle the papers you don’t need.

  • Secure important documents.
  • Make sure passports, social security cards, and birth certificates and other legal documents are together and all in a safe place.

  • Gather medical records
  • Contact your health-care providers to obtain medical records for you, your family members, and vet and vaccination records for your pets.

  • Find new doctors, if necessary.
  • If you’re moving to a new city, it’s better to start looking now than later. Begin researching doctors near your new home.

  • Return borrowed items.
  • If you’re a sharing-friendly person, be sure you’ve gotten all of your possessions back. And make sure you’ve returned items you’ve borrowed, too!

  • Be an active citizen
  • Make sure your voter registration is updated with your new address.

  • Map your journey
  • If you’re moving a long distance, take extra time to plan your route. If it’s a multi-day journey, think about which cities you’ll spend the night in. AAA has free guide books and maps for most major cites.

  • Make accommodation arrangements
  • Book hotels or Airbnb for your trip. If you’re bringing along a four-legged friend, book a few weeks in advance and make sure the accommodations are pet-friendly.

  • Schedule your address change.
  • Change your official mailing address with the post office. Notify anyone who sends you mail—insurance companies, magazines, credit card companies, etc.

  • Update cable and internet providers.
  • Check if your cable and internet providers are in your new city. If they are, let them know you’re moving. If not, shop around and see what your options are.

  • Schedule your service installation.
  • You’ll want to do that within the first day or two of being in your new home.

  • Fill prescriptions and find a new pharmacy.
  • If you have regular prescriptions, make sure you pick them up before moving.

  • Ask for help
  • Ask for help If you’ve decided not to hire movers, be sure to ask your friends and family for help with plenty of notice!

    1 Week Before Your Move

    You’ve completed the 60- and 30-day moving checklists and are almost ready for your best move ever. Take the next seven days to conquer these final tasks.

  • Dispose of any hazardous items that have been stored in your garage or basement.
  • Get rid of everything that isn’t safe to move with, like trash, corrosive items, toxic items, or poisonous items. There are specific ways to dispose of paint, batteries, and other typical garage items. Make sure you do it correctly.

  • Take pictures of how televisions, computers, and gaming systems are set up.
  • When you pack your electronics, snap a quick photo of how the wires are arranged. It will prevent headaches when you’re putting everything back together.

  • Keep loose hardware together.
  • When you’re disassembling your furniture or appliances, make sure to bag the screws and other hardware and then tape them to a larger item.

  • Check on your auto and homeowners insurance policy.
  • Make sure inform your insurance agent or insurance company you operate in your new location. If renting, make sure to notify your renters insurance company about your new address.

  • Pack up your pantry items.
  • Defer any extensive baking and cooking plans until after your move.

  • Make a road trip playlist.
  • Plan activities for your kids.
  • Think of fun games or activities that will keep your kids occupied during the unpacking process. Bonus points if you can get them to help moving! Give each child their own personal task, and once the task is complete give them a small reward.

  • Keep your digital files safe too.
  • Back up your phone on your computer, then back up your computer as well!

  • Check on the trash and recycling services for your new home.
  • And, if applicable, cancel your current services.

  • Announce your big move!
  • You can find a ton of great ideas on Pinterest.

  • Update subscription services
  • Change your address on items that deliver, too! While you’re at it, update your address for newspaper and magazine subscriptions also. Update your workplace on your new home address.

  • Cancel services you won’t be able to use anymore
  • If you’re moving to another city, cancel any local memberships you have, such as the library, gym, etc.

  • Donate food you won’t be able to use.
  • Start going through your pantry for items you could donate to local charities.

  • Think about any deliveries that might still be routed to your current address
  • It’s a good idea to try to adjust the shipping address or ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out for those packages.

  • . Do a deep clean of your home
  • Especially the stuff that’s easy to overlook, like windows and floorboards. Bathrooms and the kitchen should also get a thorough scrub down and take care of any slow drains. Magic erasers work great on scuff marks.

    One Day Before Your Move

    Tomorrow is the big day! By now you’ve completed the 60-Day, 30-Day, and One- Week moving checklists, so you’re already winning at life. Today there are a few tiny checklist items you’ll want to focus on to help make tomorrow’s move easy peasy. We didn’t call this the “ultimate” checklist for nothing.

  • Clean your refrigerator and freezer.
  • Once your fridge and freezer are empty, let them defrost and then wipe everything dry. Keep a towel underneath to catch drippage and leave the doors open overnight.

  • Empty all appliances of hazardous chemicals
  • Grills, lawn mowers, heaters, leaf blowers, and snow blowers all need to be emptied of oil or gasoline.

  • Disassemble furniture
  • Plan to break down furniture that will be too large to fit through doorways, down staircases, or inside elevators.

  • Take some pictures
  • When packing your television or other electronics, make sure to take a picture of the cords were arranged so that you have a visual guide to set things up in your new home.

  • Check all nooks and crannies
  • Like you would before you leave a hotel, check all hidden areas especially attics or basements. Make sure you don’t leave any critical items behind!

  • Check the weather.
  • If the skies look scary, reach out to your movers and see what they recommend.

  • Keep your essentials handy.
  • We recommend you pack a separate bag of essentials and transport it in your personal vehicle. Keep special items separate like this so they don’t get misplaced with your other boxes.

  • Keep a suitcase of clothes.
  • It can be difficult to unpack everything in a day, so you’ll want to have a few changes of clothes easily accessible

  • Say hi to your movers!
  • If you’ve booked Bellhop, you’ll receive an e-mail before your move with the names and photos of your team. The lead of your moving team will also text or call you to see if there are any details you want them to be aware of. This is a good time to tell the movers if there are particularly heavy or awkward-to-carry pieces of furniture.

  • Finalize details.
  • Confirm plans, reservations, and bookings for the next day.

  • Get cash.
  • How much do you tip movers? If you hired Bellhop pros, you can tip them online.

  • Round up all keys to hand off to the Realtor or landlord.
  • That includes the garage door or parking garage fobs.

  • Say goodbye to your neighbors.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.

    Day of Your Move

    What day is it? IT’S MOVING DAY!!! (Yes, three exclamation points, because we are overly exuberant about moving). Now it’s time to wrap up all the loose ends left on your moving checklist and get ready to say hello to your movers. If you’ve made it this far on our ultimate moving checklist, then you are an ultimate rockstar!

  • Get up early enough to meet your movers.
  • Enjoy your last morning in your current home.

  • Don’t forget to use blankets to protect your hardwood floors and clean carpets.
  • Keep your essentials box in an accessible place.

  • Communicate with your movers
  • When your movers arrive, let them know if you have any preferences about what order rooms, boxes, or items are moved.

  • If you’ve booked Bellhop, sit back and relax.
  • Our movers will take care of the rest.

  • Give your movers a tip for their hard work
  • Tip your movers with cash before they leave or tip them in the app. Not sure how much to tip? Consumer Reports suggests 5 to 10 percent of the cost or $10 to $20 per person.

  • Do a quick walk-through of your home
  • Make sure nothing needs attention and all maintenance that was agreed upon was completed like painting or hardware replacements. Unpack any perishable food items you decided to bring along.

  • Unpack fragile items or anything you’d like to use within the next 24 hours.
  • Set up your security system as soon as you can after moving.

  • Head to the grocery store.
  • Time to restock and go grocery shopping (Don’t feel like you have to go overboard right away.)

    1 Week After Moving

  • Thank your helpers.
  • Send a thank-you note or text to anyone who helped make your new dream home a reality: your realtor, property manager, movers, or even friends and family who helped you along the way.

  • Review your moving company.
  • Just a few more items on this checklist. You can find Bellhop movers on Yelp, Trustpilot, Google My Business, and Facebook.

  • Make copies of your house and mailbox keys.
  • You never know when it will come in handy, but we promise it will. We recommend giving a copy to a friend, neighbor, or someone else you trust.

  • Store your appliance boxes.
  • We recommend storing them for the next time you plan on moving especially your TV boxes.

  • Dispose of your cardboard boxes.
  • You can keep newer boxes for your next moving day, but any box that’s been used 2 to 3 times should probably get recycled.

  • Do a pre-clean before getting totally unpacked.
  • Hopefully, the previous owners did a thorough job of cleaning before they moved out, but it doesn’t hurt to give your kitchen and bathroom surfaces a once-over.

  • Live like a local
  • Explore your new neighborhood. If you need any recommendations, check out our city guides (just google it!)

  • Meet your neighbors
  • Host a housewarming party

  • YOU DID IT!
  • Whether you need a little help with your moving situation or a lot, Bellhop is here for you. Check to see if Bellhop we are in your location.