The Ultimate Moving Checklist: What to Check Off When You’re Moving

Moving Checklist Contents

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

We 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 moving checklist will help you have a smooth transition from your old place to your new one. The sooner you start working down this list, the better. And if you need moving help, remember to book Bellhops.

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 easiest move ever. These quick tips will help you save time and avoid headaches on your moving day.

Make a moving folder.

It’s easy to lose important documents 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, or a digital folder on your computer. But be sure to store all of your important documents inside like moving quotes, insurance records, 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. (Bellhops, 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 to move. 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.

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 Bellhops? 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. You’ll also need 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 items you won’t be using in the days prior to your move. 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!

Label like you mean it.

This is an item on this checklist you definitely shouldn’t ignore. As you begin packing, 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.

Renting? Be sure you notify your landlord or property manager. Most 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 items for packing. 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 do just a little bit 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 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 or moving truck.

FRA-GEEL-LAY—label it!

This is a moving 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 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 property manager if there are other moving-day requirements. Some apartments 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. 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.

Schedule time off of work. Find a sitter for the kids and someone to watch your pets while you move.

Make sure your car is ready.

Moving far away? Be 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 anything valuable 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.

Start learning about your new neighborhood!

Check out our blog and city guides for resources that can help you get settled.

Plan for parking the moving truck.

Confirm 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 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 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 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, map your route. If it’s a multi-day journey, think about which cities you’ll spend the night in.

Make accommodation arrangements

Book hotels or Airbnb for your trip. If you’re bringing along a four-legged friend, make sure the accommodations are pet-friendly.

Schedule your address change.

Change your official mailing address with the USPS.

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 leaving.

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!

Stock up on these Moving Essentials.

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 corrosive, flammable, and 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, make sure to bag the screws and other hardware and then tape them to a larger item.

Check on your auto and homeowners insurance.

Make sure your providers operate in your new location.

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 while you unpack your new home. Bonus points if you can get them to help!

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.

Change your address everywhere

Don’t forget to set up mail forwarding.

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, et cetera.

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 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.

Drain your washing machine and ice-maker.

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

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, take a picture of the cords were arranged so that you have a visual guide to set things up in your new home.

If you’re a renter, it’s also a good idea to take photos of your place in case there are damages that may affect your security deposit.

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 items behind!

Complete your moving-out tasks as identified by your landlord.

Check the weather.

If the skies look scary, reach out to your moving company 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 so that the items you need 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 Bellhops, you’ll receive an e-mail before your move with the names and photos of your team. The lead of your move 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 them 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 bellhops, 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 Bellhops, sit back and relax.

Our movers will take care of the rest.

If you are moving yourself, stay hydrated and lift with your legs 🙂

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.

Once your movers leave, plop down on the couch and feel good about all you’ve accomplished.

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! (Don’t feel like you have to go overboard right away.)

1 Week After Moving

Get the unpacking underway!

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, 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 Bellhops 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. We have some tips on how you can reuse your boxes.

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. You can watch our videos on how to live like a local in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Meet your neighbors

Host a housewarming party

YOU DID IT!

Just in case, here more moving resources:

Whether you need a little help with your moving situation or a lot, Bellhops is here for you. Check to see if Bellhops we are in your location.

Purchase Mattress Bags/Couch Covers

Purchase Boxes/TV Boxes

Purchase Other Moving Supplies

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