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. 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 list, the better. And if you need moving help, remember to book Bellhops.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Set up disconnect/reconnect dates with your phone, water, cable, internet, gas, and electricity providers. Pay any deposits for new services in advance.
Change your address and update subscriptions as well as any home-security, pest-control, house-cleaning, and lawn-care services you receive.
Schedule time off of work. Find a sitter for the kids and someone to watch your pets while you move.
Moving far away? Be sure your car is road-ready. Take it in to get serviced before you leave. Tires and oil—the works.
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.
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.
Check out our blog and city guides for resources that can help you get settled.
Confirm you have a place to put your moving truck. Look into getting a permit if you need one.
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.
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.
Shred or recycle the papers you don’t need.
Make sure passports and birth certificates and other legal documents are together and all in a safe place.
Contact your health-care providers to obtain medical records for you, your family members, and your pets.
If you’re moving to a new city, it’s better to start looking now than later. Begin researching doctors near your new home.
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!
Make sure your voter registration is updated with your new address.
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.
Book hotels or Airbnb for your trip. If you’re bringing along a four-legged friend, make sure the accommodations are pet-friendly.
Change your official mailing address with the USPS.
Notify anyone who sends you mail—insurance companies, magazines, credit card companies, etc.
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.
You’ll want to do that within the first day or two of being in your new home.
If you have regular prescriptions, make sure you pick them up before leaving.
If you’ve decided not to hire movers, be sure to ask your friends and family for help with plenty of notice!
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.
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.
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.
When you’re disassembling your furniture, make sure to bag the screws and other hardware and then tape them to a larger item.
Make sure your providers operate in your new location.
Defer any extensive baking and cooking plans until after your move.
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!
Back up your phone on your computer, then back up your computer as well!
And, if applicable, cancel your current services.
You can find a ton of great ideas on Pinterest.
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.
If you’re moving to another city, cancel any local memberships you have, such as the library, gym, et cetera.
Start going through your pantry for items you could donate to local charities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Grills, lawn mowers, heaters, leaf blowers, and snow blowers all need to be emptied of oil or gasoline.
Break down furniture that will be too large to fit through doorways, down staircases, or inside elevators.
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.
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!
If the skies look scary, reach out to your moving company and see what they recommend.
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.
It can be difficult to unpack everything in a day, so you’ll want to have a few changes of clothes easily accessible.
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.
Confirm plans, reservations, and bookings for the next day.
How much do you tip movers? If you hired bellhops, you can tip them online.
That includes the garage door or parking garage fobs.
Get a good night’s sleep.
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!
Enjoy your last morning in your current home.
When your movers arrive, let them know if you have any preferences about what order rooms, boxes, or items are moved.
Our movers will take care of the rest.
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.
Set up your security system as soon as you can after moving.
Time to restock! (Don’t feel like you have to go overboard right away.)
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.
Just a few more items on this checklist. You can find Bellhops on Yelp, Trustpilot, Google My Business, and Facebook.
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.
We recommend storing them for the next time you plan on moving—especially your TV boxes.
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.
Host a housewarming party
Purchase Mattress Bags/Couch Covers
Purchase Boxes/TV Boxes
Purchase Other Moving Supplies
Moving is stressful. Moving with kids, as you probably already know, can be even more stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. We promise.
There are several things—8, to be specific— you can do to help you and your kiddos stay organized and make happy memories during this big life transition.
Finding a roommate on Craigslist can be easier than you think. Plus, if you're opposed to Craigslist, we have 4 other great sites for you to find a roommate.