The Best Printable Moving Checklist Timeline for Planning a Move + PDF
Moving to a new home can be stressful and exciting at the same time. If you’re worried about forgetting things to do, don’t worry! You can reduce the stress of moving into your new place by planning your move ahead of time with a free checklist for moving.
MovingWaldo helps you figure out what you need to do before, during and after your move and provides you with all the necessary tools for a successful move; starting with this printable moving checklist and timeline that you can follow to stay organized.
With proper organization and the moving out checklist template we’ve created for you, we make sure that your moving experience is stress-free and that you don’t forget anything in the process.
Moving into a new house checklist: the only moving planner you need
6 to 3 Months before the move
Make a moving tracker
You can create a digital folder or a Google Docs/Word file to keep track of your moving-related records. As a reference document, it will make you save precious time whenever you need to check an estimate, a receipt or a contact info.
Determine your budget
Create a budget that covers all your moving expenses to know how much your relocation will cost you and see where you can cut costs and prevent inevitable surprises. Your budget will mostly be impacted depending on the moving method you opt. Discover the real cost of moving.
If you have school-aged kids, they’ll eventually need to enroll in a new school. You should start researching schools in your new area early to get information about them and find top-rated schools for your children.
Request time off from work
It might seem like it’s too early, but depending on your company, giving an early notice of your moving day and asking for time off is a smart move. A great tip is to request a day off on Friday so that you have a three-day weekend to get yourself organized in your new home.
Start slowly decluttering over the next few months
Decluttering your home will help you organize your stuff better and also increase your chances of getting your deposit back if you’re a renter or selling your house faster if you’re an owner.
Pro tips: think ahead, hire a junk removal service, donate to charities, sell online, organize a garage sale, and don’t buy new stuff!
3 to 1 Months before the move
Get your moving supplies ready
You can save money and time by gathering your moving supplies before the big day. You can also order your moving supplies online. But before you do that, consider the sizes of the items you’re packing and select boxes accordingly.
Pro tip: Plastic bins can be rented and are easier to transport and stack than cardboard boxes.
As long as you aren’t moving in a hurry, you can start to pack up your home in stages. This will give you enough time to decide what you want to keep and what you should get rid of. It’ll also get rid of panic packing and stress on the big move day. Check out these 9 packing tips for moving.
Determine whether you need storage
You might need to put your items in storage for a month or so until you can take them to your new home or you might not have enough space for your stuff in your new home. It is best to opt for a short-term storage option that is convenient, affordable, and hassle-free. This will help you to save time, stress, and money. Discover the best self-storage companies near you.
Are you a tenant? Notify your landlord of your move
Don’t forget to notify your landlord at least 30-60 days before your move. This early notice allows your landlord to find a new tenant and may minimize the time between your move-out date and the new tenant’s move-in date.
Make small repairs in your current home
Before moving out of your old home, ensure the house is in good shape by for instance filling any holes in your walls. It’s a great way to increase your chances of getting your deposit back if you’re a tenant!
Research your new area
Look into some details about your new area before calling it home. Check out factors such as quality of life, transportation, schools, health care centers, and job opportunities.
Renovating your new home? Book trusted contractors.
Whether it’s a small makeover or an entire property overhaul, you’ll likely need an experienced and reputable general contractor.
Book the best moving method for you
Choosing the best moving method based on the cost and your physical abilities is essential. Each moving method has its pros and cons:
Professional movers ensure that there are lower chances of accidents and let you rest while they do all the hard work. They also provide insurance for fragile and valuable items.
You have to make reservations in advance (especially during peak moving seasons) Hiring professional movers is the most expensive method. Also, professional moving companies sometimes come with hidden fees and reduced flexibility in terms of timing.
Moving containers are spacious, affordable, ground level and can be parked in your driveway for a few weeks so you can take your time packing and loading. They’re also much cheaper than hiring movers.
They’re more expensive than rental trucks and may not be suitable for you if you don’t own a parking space.
Moving truck rental
A moving truck rental is the most affordable moving method. Multiple sizes of trucks are available and you have flexibility in the time and day you want to move. You also have the ability to tow your car.
You’re responsible for the damage that occurs to your belongings while moving. Moreover, you have to drive, unload and unpack your stuff yourself. A lot of physical work is crammed into a short period of time.
1 Month before the move
Complete your address changes
Notify federal and state agencies (IRS, SSA, etc.), the DMV, your voter registration, your home service providers, as well as private organizations of your address change.
Setup mail forwarding
Setting up mail forwarding with USPS is easy. It’s an efficient way to make sure all your mail is redirected to the right place. If you forgot to tell someone or missed a service provider when changing your address, your mail will be forwarded to the right address by the Postal Service. Note that mail forwarding is not an alternative to changing your address and that this must be done separately.
Transfer your current Internet, TV and phone providers or compare new ones
You can transfer your current Internet service if you’re moving somewhere in your Internet Service Provider’s (or ISP’s) coverage area. However, if your current ISP isn’t available in your new location, compare providers in your new area to determine if they’re right for you.
Get home (or tenant) and car insurance
You will need home or tenant insurance to cover your personal property as well as certain liabilities. Tenant insurance is affordable, provides liability coverage, protects your belongings and may also cover additional expenses in the case of an accident. If your new area requires a certain level of coverage, you may consider changing your current car insurance company or changing your policy to reflect the states’ specific requirements. Compare insurance carriers in your area.
Compare or transfer your current home security system
Leaving your current system can attract potential buyers who are looking for a home security system. Also, basic systems consisting of control panels, security cameras, and contact sensors might not be compatible with your new home’s setup and wireless connections. In that case, you can compare the best home security companies on the market. Regardless of your decision, it’s essential to inform your home security system provider of your move.
Make arrangements for your kids and pets
Whether you are moving with kids or moving with pets, you should make arrangements for them ahead of time. To keep your children and pets safe during the move, line up a babysitter, friend or family member to watch them.
Find out about the rules and regulations for pets in your new area
As for rules and regulations for pets, federal, state and local laws vary from one place to the next. Find out about the ones in your new area. These laws typically cover dogs on leashes, illegal dog breeds, obligation to microchip, obligation to sterilize, and more!
Tell family and friends that you’re moving
Tell your friends and family that you are moving, and tell them well in advance of the move. This gives your loved ones plenty of time to process the news and provide you with the support and assistance you might need while moving out.
1 Week before the move
Take pictures of your valuable belongings
Take close-up images of everything you deem valuable before letting the hired professionals handle them such as furniture, antiques, electric appliances, electronic devices, and other household items. This can save you time, money, and disturbances if something goes wrong. If by chance you find that something has been damaged, you will have proof that the item was damaged in transit and not prior.
Start disassembling big furniture items
Start disassembling big furniture items such as bed frames, desks, wardrobes and tables. That way, you’ll avoid damage to the furniture when transporting them and you’ll have less to do on moving day. Note that if you’re hiring a moving company, they might do this for you. Double check with them first.
Take pictures or videos of every complex electronic connection
When disconnecting electronics, ensure you take some pictures of the back of your TV, desktop computer, satellite receiver, or any other electronic gadget that has several cables and wires coming in and out of it. It will be much easier for you to reconnect the electronic devices properly once in your new home.
Scan and pack important documents
Documents can easily be torn, wrinkled, lost, or damaged during transit. Ensure you scan all documents to create a virtual copy. Keep all documents safe and secure in accordion folders or file boxes. Pro tip: move all documents by yourself regardless of your movers’ reputation as accidents can happen. Check out how to know if your moving company is a scam.
Start emptying your fridge
Eat all of that food in your fridge, and consider giving away any food that has not been consumed or opened. This will save you space during transport and will ensure no items go bad.
Clean your home
Do the new homeowners a favor by cleaning up before you go, so they have a nice and clean place to begin their new lives. The best time to clean your house is when the furniture has already been dismantled and packed. You can clean the house yourself or hire a move out cleaning company to help you clean.
Double-check that your boxes are labeled correctly
Improper labeling of boxes means more work on your end and a more difficult move. Use a permanent marker and label each box correctly. It will make the process less stressful as you get settled into your next residence. It will also help you identify the content of your moving boxes at a glance.
Make arrangements for leaving the key to the landlord or new owners
Be sure to arrange to return the keys to the landlord no later than the agreed-upon move-out date. Bring along someone who does not live with you as a witness to be present during the handover.
Make arrangements for leaving the key to the landlord or new owners
Before moving day, figure out the best place to park the moving truck in your current and new home or obtain a special parking permit. If you are hiring professional movers, let them know the parking details as soon as possible.
Reserve a parking spot for the truck at your current and new location
Confirm the moving date and arrival/pick up time with your moving company, moving truck rental company or moving container company. This should give you confidence and peace of mind and make the move less stressful.
Go over this moving checklist one last time to make sure you didn’t forget anything
Conduct a thorough review of this checklist and keep an eye out for anything you might have skipped. Ensure proper double-checking so you do not skip an item or two, increasing the inconveniences of moving out.
1 Day before the move
Pack a bag with all essentials for moving day
Pack a “go” bag, duffle, box, or suitcase with your wallet, keys, medications, important documents, laptop, phone, basic toiletries, snacks and water, and pet and kids’ items. This bag should contain anything you know you’ll need on moving day while moving.
Have some cash-on-hand
There are always hidden costs involved with moving out of your home, from paying and tipping the movers to buying pizza for lunch. Ensure you have some cash-on-hand to save yourself the hassle of tracking down an ATM in a new neighborhood.
Pack a first moving day box with first-day essentials
This first moving day box should contain all the necessities that you’ll need to get through the first day and night once you arrive in your new home.
Have trash nearby
When moving there’s always stuff you need to throw out at the last minute. To avoid leaving any trash behind, have a trash can nearby.
Ensure you have an extra box for all the excess stuff lying around
Opt for a large plastic box to cram all the excess stuff lying around and items you’d use till move-out day. You can simply toss these items while you prepare for move-out day without worrying about the box breaking as soon as you move it!
Protect your floors based on the weather
Based on the weather, consider using a waterproof tarp to cover hardwood floors in your home’s entry space and thick pieces of cardboard or carpet remnants along the primary paths to protect your floors and prevent scratches and other damages. Ensure the driveway, sidewalks, and front doorsteps are clear and safe to walk on.
Unplug your fridge 24 hours before moving day
Unplug your fridge for about 24 hours before moving it to allow its compressor oil to settle and cooling liquids function properly. This also gives it time to defrost so that you may clean its interior to prevent mildew and mold growth during the move.
Pro tip: Leave the doors open while defrosting to speed up the process, and place an old towel in the doorway to soak up any excess water.
Moving day tips
Last-minute packing can slow down your entire day. Getting up early will allow you to get a good breakfast and finish any last-minute packing rather than being woken up by your movers.
Tip your movers
Tipping movers isn’t necessarily required, but it is highly recommended. You would certainly want to give something to the movers to show appreciation for their efforts. The amount of tips given vary based on your level of satisfaction. For example, depending on the job’s outcome, you can tip each mover at more or less $25 (for a 4-5 hour move) and $50 (for a 10 hour move).
Leave the key as planned
Unless you plan to come back after the move to tie up loose ends, ensure you hand over the keys to your landlord or new owners. It’s important that they be returned to your landlord at the end of the tenancy, or to the new owners after closing.
Do a final walk through before exiting the home
To avoid leaving anything behind, be sure to do one final walk through of your home before you move out. Don’t forget to look in your drawers, kitchen cabinets, and any other easy-to-miss spots. A final walk-through of the home ensures it is in good condition and that nothing is left behind.
Take pictures of the empty home
Document the condition of your old home through pictures. Your landlord may try to pocket your security deposit by blaming you for any damage or charging you with cleaning fees. You need to have those photos as proof that you left the house in good condition. Discover more moving day tips and hacks.
Tips for after you move in
Ensure that you are present during the setup of your Internet and more!
You don’t want to spend your first night in your new house in the dark, so make sure that you set up your utilities and Internet as you move in. While the professionals set it up, ensure you are present to assist and ensure everything is carried out correctly.
Take pictures/videos of the new place as soon as you walk in
Take out your phone and take many pictures of the whole area before bringing in any furniture pieces or starting to unpack. This will prove that you are not responsible for any damages already there when you moved in (especially important as a tenant).
Walk through your new home
Look around before setting up your furniture and getting unpacked (and even better, before unloading the moving truck). Keep an eye out for risky areas for children and pets, locate minor and major repairs, ensure that your smoke detectors are functional, and locate shut-off valves.
Paint before unpacking
Painting makes your house feel clean, airy and welcoming. Painting before unpacking has the advantage of not moving furniture twice, saving time and labor. If you haven’t bought furniture for your new home yet, painting can help you decide which colors and pieces will best work in your space and accentuate your taste. Check out our DIY painting guide.
Clean before unpacking
Before unpacking, you can take advantage of the empty space to clean. Your new place will never be easier to clean. Check if the windows are squeaky clean, go on pest patrol, check the kitchen, check the filters on air-conditioning units and heaters, wipe down surfaces and floors, and dust areas if necessary.
Introduce your pets to your new home
Show your pets around, indoors and outdoors, and show them the food bowls and sleeping areas. Explore the area around the home for a little while with your pets before entering it. This will help your pets assess their new domain and establish the boundaries of their new home.
To prevent unwanted insects and to ensure your items stayed intact during the move, inspect your boxes before opening them. Unpack the essentials box (or boxes) first. You will need these items to keep your home running in the short term. After which, you can go room by room until you have finished unpacking the rest of the house. Check out some tips for how to unpack after moving.
Change your locks and determine a backup key solution
You have no idea how many copies of the keys the previous owners had made and how many might still be floating around. Keep your house safe by changing your locks. If changing all the locks sounds too much for you, try installing an additional deadbolt instead. As a backup key solution, you should also consider making duplicate keys. Get a key for each household member and a spare key in case of emergencies.
Discover your new neighborhood and meet your neighbors
It does not have to be a scary process; it is just a pleasant way to integrate yourself in your new community. Check out your neighborhood, walk around the block, and introduce yourself to your new neighbors. Most people will appreciate the gesture, and you might make a few new friends.
Moving is often synonymous of stress, long administrative tasks and a significant waste of time and money. MovingWaldo helps you solve all these problems in just a few clicks! After some shameless self-promotion, we invite you to discover our free moving tools available to all.
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