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The Moving Checklist
Do you need clean and easy steps for your next move? Look no further. Bellhop put together this free 8-week printable moving checklist. As professional movers, we know what steps to follow, and this list covers them all.
Follow each numbered step and delegate tasks to lighten your load! This list will help you spend less time worrying about your move and more time enjoying it, and that’s the way it should be.
Some items on the list may surprise you. Moving is much more than ordering a truck, buying packing material, and boxing items. There are factors to keep in mind before, during, and after your packing. We include them all and even offer some helpful packing tips.
See our list below or click here for a trimmed-down downloadable sheet to make checking off easy.
Now let’s get moving!
The Ultimate Moving Checklist
Everything you need to know and do before your moving day.
Sixty days should be plenty of time, but if you don’t have the benefit of moving at your own pace, follow the same order of steps since they are ordered by importance.
60 Days Before Your Moving Day
1. Make a Moving Folder
Start a moving folder with your checklist, moving quotes, floor plan drafts, mover and home insurance records, and receipts for an after-tax deduction.
You can use any cheap folder, a binder, a physical file cabinet, or on Google Drive or another electronic file on your computer or your cell phone via Google Drive.
2. Select a Moving Date
The day you move can affect prices. We recommend moving on a weekday choosing a weekday and avoiding busy days like the first or last weekend of the month.
3. Plan for Mover Parking Permits and an Elevator
Schedule mover parking and freight elevator dates and times at both locations.
4. Schedule Time off of Work and School
Request time off from work and inform the payroll department of your new address, so paychecks coincide with your moving date. Update your children’s schools and request school records. Include days off before and after your moving day.
5. Build an Item List for Your Movers
List all items with quantities and exact sizing. You can use a computer or phone but do it electronically so the data can be quickly sent to movers for bidding. Include model names and serial numbers in case items are lost or broken. Additionally, build a “sell” or “donate” list.
This work may sound time-consuming, but it helps you land a more accurate estimate and a lower price by reducing vehicles and manpower and guarding against astronomical fuel costs from heavier loads. Relying on a ballpark estimate can lead to unwelcome surprises.
6. Check to See if Your Furniture Fits Your New Home
If any items don’t fit, add them to the “sell” or “donate” list.
7. Choose Your Type of Move
Determine if you can do the move yourself, if you need to access your book of friends, or if you need professional service. (Tip: Bellhop can quote full-service moves or just labor, or even just a truck.)
8. Start Shopping for Movers
Send your moving list with measurements to three or four movers for bidding. Make sure the movers can handle all applicable moving requirements and offer extra insurance coverage. Learn about additional moving services and read their Terms and Conditions carefully. Here’s a guide with a few more tips on comparing moving companies as well.
9. Give Notice to Your Rental Company
Many apartment leases require a 30-day notice, but some are longer. Inform them now to avoid paying additional rent. During the call, make special arrangements to meet during your moveout day for a final walkthrough and provide keys.
10. Plan on Shipping Your Car
If your long-distance move requires shipping your car, you may need to drop it off early. Before then, clean it out thoroughly. Don’t leave any valuables inside.
11. Map Your Journey and Make Accommodations
If you will fly to your new home, buy tickets early for maximum savings. If it’s a multi-day journey, book hotels (AAA offers low rates) or Airbnbs and make other travel arrangements. Factor in pets.
12. Schedule an Appointment with the DMV
Some destinations require new driver’s licenses within ten days of arriving, and you may need to schedule an appointment in advance.
13. Cancel Gym Memberships
Some gyms require advanced notice of 30 days or more. You can freely use the gym until that time.
14. Secure Important Documents
Have a folder with sensitive documents, such as tax forms, financial statements, identification documents, and copies of your old and new lease. Also, make sure passports, social security cards, and birth certificates are kept in a safe place. This is an excellent time to shred or recycle any documents to reduce your packing later.
15. Begin Decluttering
The less stuff you have, the cheaper your move and the less closet space you need. Plus, packing and unpacking storage debris and other unnecessary items is a massive waste of time. Update your “sell” or” discard” lists and resubmit your moving list to your ideal mover for a lower price.
16. Start Selling and Donating
Do this work early. It may take multiple garage sales to sell everything – especially if you want to sell them at high dollar amounts.
17. Collect Moving Supplies
Save money by looking for free boxes at liquor stores, grocery stores, and restaurants, and purchase wardrobe boxes for clothing items as needed. Make sure you have sturdy tape, permanent markers, and old newspapers or bubble wrap. Bellhop can provide all the packing supplies you need.
18. Take Pictures of Electronic Connections
Snap photos of how the wires are arranged to prevent headaches when putting everything back together later.
19. Begin by Packing Books, Seasonal Clothing, and Other Less-Important Items
Your packing schedule should start now and continue through to the day before your move. When beginning the packing process, pack items from the furthest corners of the home first. Start packing items you won’t use immediately, like seasonal items, books, holiday decorations, and other non-essential items.
Mark each box of items with the room they will go in and what items are inside. Mark fragile items. Pack computers, appliances, and appliance manuals in their original boxes if you have them, or use sure bubble wrap or packing peanuts.
30 Days Before Your Moving Day
20. Notify Service Businesses and Utility Providers
Set up disconnect and reconnect dates for cable, internet, gas, water, electricity, and house phone lines. Additionally, update the insurance agent attached to your home insurance, health insurance, and auto insurance policy, etc., as well as all service providers, such as your home security, pest-control, house-cleaning, your cell phone company, and lawn-care companies. Be sure to also change your address and voter registration through the USPS website’s address form.
- Accounts with Banks
If you change banks, some fund transfers and new checks can take a few weeks, so plan early.
- Collect Medical Records and Prescriptions
Collect all medical records, including those of your pets. Also, make sure you have your vaccination records and ample prescriptions on hand. Refills may require a doctor’s appointment.
23. Prep Your Mode of Transportation
If driving your car a long distance, take it in for service – tires, oil, the works.
24. Do Minor Repairs
While you pack, do touchups to get your entire security deposit back. Ask your property manager if there are other moving day requirements.
25. Start Learning About Your New Neighborhood!
In between work, please read our blog and city guides for resources that help you get settled. Make a list of emergency numbers for your new neighborhood.
26. Talk to Your Children
Begin a conversation with your kids about moving and the feelings they might experience. Give them time to say goodbye to their friends at their current school, as well as return any library books.
27. Find New Doctors
Begin researching doctors near your new home and schedule any needed appointments early.
28. Start Cleaning Out the Pantry
It’s difficult and expensive to transport perishable foods, so start eating your way through your fridge and freezer.
29. Regular Deliveries and Payments
Update your address on all subscriptions and online accounts. Make address changes for any items that will arrive after your move and update all credit cards, so bills and payments correspond to the new address upon arrival.
30. Schedule Baby and Pet Sitters
Consider scheduling a sitter to make your moving day easier for you, your kids, and your pet kids.
31. Talk to Your Friends and Neighbors
Return any borrowed items, retrieve any you loaned, and ask for any moving help now, so they have plenty of notice.
1 Week Before Your Move
32. Dispose of Any Hazardous Liquids and Materials
Dispose of hazardous household items like corrosive items, toxic items, poisonous items, and aerosol cans. Remove gasoline and batteries from any flammable items such as lawn mowers. Dispose of paint and batteries properly.
33. Keep Digital Files Safe
Back up all phones and computers.
34. Pack up Your Pantry Items
Donate any food you won’t be able to use.
35. Plan Duties for the Kids
Think of fun games or activities that will keep your kids occupied during the unpacking process, or give each child personal tasks with rewards. Bonus points if you can get them to help move!
36. Announce Your Move
Give friends and neighbors a chance to say goodbye. They may even have advice for living in your new location.
37. Pick up Cleaning Supplies and Start Cleaning
Do a deep clean to avoid cleaning service fees, and pay attention to areas you tend to overlook, like windows and floorboards. Bathrooms, kitchens, and major appliances you don’t own should get a thorough scrub down and clear slow drains. Magic erasers work great on scuff marks.
38. Pick Up Cash
Have cash ready to tip your movers. If you hire Bellhop pros, you can tip them online. Not sure how much to tip? Consumer Reports suggest 5 to 10 percent of the cost of $10 to $20 per person.
39. Finish Packing
When packing, aside clothing and toiletries to fill in a suitcase and have a few plates and utensils on hand for any final meals.
One Day Before Your Move
40. Clean Your Refrigerator and Freezer
Unplug the items, empty the ice maker, and let them defrost. Wipe them down periodically. Place a towel underneath to catch water and leave the doors open overnight.
41. Disassemble Furniture
Plan time to break down furniture that will be too large to fit through doorways, down staircases, or inside elevators. Keep all parts in zip lock bags clearly labeled and also taped to the furniture. Keep light bulbs stored safely away.
42. Check All Nooks and Crannies
Like you would before you leave a hotel, check all hidden areas like attics, basements, and closet corners. Don’t leave any critical items behind!
43. Keep a Suitcase of Clothes and Toiletries
It can be difficult to unpack everything in a day. Keep a few changes of clothes and toiletries easily accessible.
44. Keep Essentials Handy
Keep those important documents with you in a bag to prevent loss or theft.
45. Say Hi to Your Movers!
If you’ve booked Bellhop, you’ll automatically receive an e-mail before your move with the names and photos of your team. The lead of your moving crew will also text or call you to see if there are any details you want them to be aware of. This is an excellent time to convey any unique needs (mattress bags) or any particularly heavy or awkward-to-carry pieces of furniture. (Have any pool tables?)
46. Finalize Details
Confirm all plans, reservations, and bookings for the next day.
47. Say Goodbye to Your Neighbors
If they know you are gone, they can keep an eye out for prowlers or package deliveries. Be sure to give them your contact information.
48. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Turn in early, so you have ample time to sleep and wake up early.
Day of Your Move
49. Get Up Early and Prepare for Your Movers
Before their arrival time, make arrangements for movers by clearing entrances and prepping any paper, cardboard, and blankets to protect wood floors and carpets.
50. Discuss the Plan
When your movers arrive, have them load furniture and any boxes of items so that the furthest rooms of your new home are filled first. This keeps pathways clean and rooms open for sofa and appliance placement.
51. If you’ve booked Bellhop, sit back and relax
Our movers will take care of the rest.
52. When Done, Do a Final Walk-Through
With all items removed, do any final touchups you need and then do your final walkthrough with your landlord. Provide any keys, fobs, or garage door openers, and sign any required documents.
At the New Residence
53. Secure Your Home First
Organize keys and set up your security system for additional security.
54. Do a Home Precheck
Make sure that nothing needs attention, and all maintenance that was agreed upon was completed. If there are issues, take pictures while the rooms are empty to avoid questions of if issues were due to the moving process.
55. Unpack Time Sensitive Items and Check Fragile Items
Unpack perishables and fragile items to spot breakage.
56. Start Your Move-In
Stay ready to direct movers. Have them place items as close to their final destination as possible.
57. Give Your Movers a Tip for Their Hard Work
Tip your movers in cash or on their moving app.
58. Meet Your New Realtor or Landlord
Pick up any garage door openers or parking garage fobs, discuss any issues with the home, and provide photos.
59. Head to the Grocery Store
Time to restock and go grocery shopping. Start with the essentials and pick up easy-to-prepare meals or order in for the first day or two so you have more time to unpack.
60. Do a Pre-Clean Before Unpacking
Hopefully, the previous owners did a deep cleaning before moving out, but it doesn’t hurt to give kitchen and bathroom surfaces a once-over.
1 Week After Moving
61. Thank Your Moving Team and Helpers!
Send a thank-you to everyone who helped make your new home a reality: your realtor, property manager, movers, and friends and family who helped along the way.
62. Post a Review of Your Moving Company
Your feedback is invaluable, and doing it promptly keeps insights fresh. Your Bellhop movers can be found on Yelp, Trustpilot, Google My Business, or Facebook.
63. Make Copies of House and Mailbox Keys
Include copies for a friend, neighbor, or someone else you trust.
64. Store Your Appliance and Electronics Boxes
Keep them for your next move- especially TV boxes.
65. Donate 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 be recycled. Post a “Free Pickup” message on Facebook marketplace to make it easy.
66. Host a Housewarming Party!
Now it’s time to have fun, thank all your moving friends, and meet your new neighbors in your neighborhood.
67. Learn about nearby businesses
Include yourself in business directories, and join business associations to put yourself on solid footing!
68. Get to Know Your New Home
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.
Download Bellhop’s The Ultimate Moving Checklist (PDF).