Moving Checklist: How to Stay Sane Before Your Move
Let’s not sugarcoat it: Moving is a pain. No matter how far you’re going, it’s never easy to get your life boxed up and loaded onto a truck. The good news is that a little bit of planning now will go a long way towards making Moving Day as painless as possible.
Two months out
- Set your moving budget.
- Tell your landlord you’re moving out.
- Book your movers (or reserve a truck if you’re DIY).
- Request time off work.
- Decide what stays and goes.
Book your movers as early as you can, and avoid the most popular moving days: weekends and the beginning and end of each month.
One month out
- Get your supplies: boxes, tape, bubble wrap, packing paper, etc.
- Sell or donate items you’re not taking.
- Change your address with USPS.
- Transfer internet, gas, and electric utilities — or set up new service.
- Pack whatever you can.
- Schedule furniture deliveries.
- Plan your goodbye (or housewarming) parties.
If you have bigger items you don’t want to take with you, many nonprofits offer free donation pickup, and you can usually schedule a time online.
- Update your address on subscriptions, car insurance, bank account, etc.
- Eat whatever’s left in the kitchen.
- Finalize the game plan with your mover.
- Label all your boxes by room.
- Plan for your pets.
Pack your dishes vertically — dishes on the bottom are more likely to break when packed flat — and use shirts, socks, and towels as free packing supplies.
The night before
- Throw out, donate, or pack your remaining food.
- Put down cardboard along the main routes in your house to protect the floors.
- Get cash to tip the movers.
- Pack an essentials bag with things like toiletries, chargers, and fresh clothes.
Use different colors of tape on boxes for different rooms so you know where to put them on moving day.
- Take a deep breath.
- Do one last sweep of the house.
- Get the bed set up first.
- Pace yourself and drink water.
Set up a designated home base area on the first day so you have somewhere to recharge as you unpack. (Ours has the coffee pot in it.)
You survived moving day! Take a moment to appreciate what an awesome and difficult thing you just did. Now it’s time to treat yourself. Kick back on whatever furniture happens to be around, crack open your favorite beverage, and order some takeout from one of your new neighborhood spots. The hard part’s over — now it’s time for the (way more fun) work of making your new house a home.
We recommend changing your address at least two weeks before Moving Day, but the USPS lets you do it as early as three months before your move. You can also have your mail forwarded any time after your move, but it will take 7-10 days for your mail to arrive at your new address.
Moves can cost anywhere from $400 to well over $7,000. How much you need to set aside for your moving budget will depend on whether you’re hiring movers or doing it yourself, how far you’re moving, and how much you’re bringing with you.
Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s are great places to buy moving boxes, but you can also order them online from sites like Amazon and Uboxes.com. You can also find free moving boxes on Craigslist and Nextdoor.
In addition to having your mail forwarded with the USPS, you’ll probably have to change your address at a number of other places. Here are some of the main bases you should cover: Driver’s license and vehicle registration IRS Voter registration Banks, credit cards, and investment services Health, dental, and life insurance Car insurance Employer Retail websites Streaming services Magazines and subscription boxes That’s a lot of places, but some inevitably slip through the cracks. We recommend combing through your bank and credit card statements to find any other charges that might have your old address saved.
On average, professional movers cost around $400 for a local move, $3,000 for a 1,000 mile move, and over $5,000 for a coast-to-coast move. That said, there are a lot of factors that go into a moving quote: the amount of stuff your moving, whether the movers are doing the packing, and whether you’re having your car shipped.