The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Ultimate Moving Checklist

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Moving: It’s one of the biggest projects any person, couple, or family will take on.

It’s easy to think you have your move under control. But even with the most careful planning, small things can easily fall through the cracks. Avoid that by using our Ultimate Moving Checklist (and other free resources you might not have realized you need). It will keep your move organized, seamless, and as stress-free as possible.

Start planning eight weeks ahead of your move date, and use this guide to schedule everything you need to do, week by week.

For even more resources, download or print our free moving kit.


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Ultimate Moving Checklist: Everything You Need to Do Before, During, and After a Move

8 Weeks Before Moving Day
7 Weeks Before Moving Day
6 Weeks Before Moving Day
5 Weeks Before Moving Day
4 Weeks Before Moving Day
3 Weeks Before Moving Day
2 Weeks Before Moving Day
1 Week Before Moving Day
Moving Day Checklist

Free Downloadable Moving Kit

Ultimate Moving Checklist: Everything You Need to Do Before, During, and After a Move

This is a good time to note that every move is unique. That means the steps you need to take to make it a seamless transition are likely to vary based on your own circumstances and needs.

With that said, consider this checklist to be a starting point. Add to it if you need to, and skip steps that don’t apply to your move.

8 Weeks Before Moving Day

8 Weeks Before Moving Day

Start preparing for your move a full eight weeks ahead of time. This gives you two months of preparation — plenty of time to book services, and with room built into the schedule for a few setbacks.

With eight weeks to go until moving day, here’s what you need to do.

  • Make a Plan to Organize Your Move. Moving requires (and creates) a surprising amount of paperwork. Much of it will be digital, so create a virtual drive folder to store all the research, documents, and photos related to your move. Then, they’ll all be in the same place and easily accessible when you need them. If you have physical files, either scan them to add to your digital drive, or create an additional binder or folder for keeping physical paperwork together in one place. It’s not a bad idea to keep copies of important documents, like your driver’s license and social security card, in this file.
Top Moving Tip: Include this checklist in your moving file so you can always see what you still have left to do.
  • Research Moving Services. In every city, there should be at least a few moving services to choose from. For nearby moves, a locally owned company might be your favorite. For long-distance moves, it might make more sense to go with a national moving service that has teams and trucks all over the country. As you do your research and narrow down the options, make sure the one you choose is licensed, has good online reviews from clients, and offers insurance coverage to protect your belongings.
  • Set Your Moving Budget. Before you settle on a moving company, you need a budget. This is the time to determine how much your family can afford to spend on the entire move, from moving services to gas and snacks for the drive. If you have a larger budget, you might add services to your move like dish packing and furniture assembly. If you’re on a tighter budget, those and other services might not make the cut.
Top Moving Tip: Download our free moving budget template to get started.
  • Request Time Off for Your Moving Week. If you’re keeping the same job after your move, now is the time to reach out to HR or your supervisor and request days off around your move date, if you need them. Ask for days around a weekend; for example, if you need four days for your move, request Thursday and Friday off, rather than taking four work days off. If you’re quitting your job, now is the time to think about when you should give notice that you’re leaving. It should be at least two weeks before your last day, but some workplaces require more notice than that.
  • Give Notice to Your Landlord. If you rent your current home, this is a good time to let your landlord know you plan to move out and won’t be renewing the lease. Two months gives them plenty of time to start looking for a new tenant, as well as arranging turnover services, like cleaning and maintenance.
  • Plan a Weekend Trip to Your New Neighborhood. If you haven’t visited your new neighborhood yet, plan to do so before the move so you can get acquainted with the area before you move in. Book a hotel as close to your new home as possible, and spend a weekend exploring the local community you’re about to call home.
  • Research Schools and the Community. If you have kids, start to get to know the schools in your new area. If you have a choice between multiple schools, research their ratings, curriculum, and parents stories to choose the best option for your family. If there are any community services you take advantage of, now is also the time to research those. Depending on your hobbies and needs, start looking into theaters, community centers, public parks, and any other services you use and enjoy. This is also a good time to start looking into finding a new doctor, dentist, and other important services.
  • Start the Roommate Search. If you’re going to live with a roommate in your new home, start looking for one now. You can use a roommate-matching service, or advertise an open room online. Starting early will give you time to vet candidates and find someone who will be a responsible roommate and a good fit for the household.

7 Weeks Before Moving Day

7 Weeks Before Moving Day

Everything from your eight-week moving checklist should be finished now (or wrapping up soon). Here’s what to do next.

  • Talk to Your Kids About the Move. As moving day gets closer, you’ll need to prepare your family for the big changes ahead. If you haven’t already talked to your kids about the move, what to expect, and their feelings about moving to a new home, now is the time.
  • Start Sorting Your Possessions. Packing is a lot easier if you sort and declutter everything first. Start going through your home, room by room, and separating out items you don’t want to pack and take with you. Make plans to sell, donate, or recycle them, give them away, or throw them out.
Top Moving Tip: Declutter your entire home before your move with our Home Decluttering Guide. Then, hold a garage sale to get rid of unneeded items, and add some money to your moving budget.
  • Start Considering Moving Insurance. When your belongings are inside your home, they’re generally protected by your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance. That’s not the case during a move, so many families opt for some extra protection, especially if they have valuable items to move. Now is a good time to start researching moving insurance policies. Start by finding out if the moving services you’re considering offer coverage as a package deal.
  • Get In-Home Estimates from Moving Companies. It may sound like an extra hassle, but you should get in-home estimates from the top few choices on your list of possible moving companies to hire. Doing an estimate in-home allows them to give you a far more accurate estimate of the time and cost of your move. During the estimate, get as much delta as possible. Some questions to ask:
    • Do you offer moving insurance?
    • How do you handle large or breakable items?
    • How much extra is packing?
    • Does it cost extra for furniture disassembly and reassembly?
  • Choose a Moving Company. Once you’ve gathered a few estimates and had your questions answered, it’s time to choose a moving company. This is also when you’ll choose any extra services, like packing, to add to your move.
  • Ask Friends for Help. If you plan to have friends and family help you pack, ask them now so you (and they) have plenty of time to plan and coordinate.
  • Make a Plan for Moving Valuables and Breakables. The hardest items to pack are breakables like dishes, glass sculptures, etc., electronics, and valuable items like fine art and musical instruments. This is the time to make a plan to move those items safely. Research best practices, and see if your moving company can offer any help or tips. If you need any special supplies, like special boxes, crates, bubble wrap, or packing materials, order those now.

6 Weeks Before Moving Day

6 Weeks Before Moving Day

Six weeks is the time to start making concrete arrangements and bookings. Here’s what you need to do this week.

  • Schedule the Movers. Now that you’ve chosen a moving company, it’s time to officially hire movers and make your booking. Let them know your moving day and schedule, and if there are any services you need ahead of moving day (like packing), schedule those now.
  • Get Packing Boxes. You can order packing boxes online, or buy them from moving stores or moving truck rental agencies.
Top Moving Tip: Get free moving boxes! There are tons of places where you can pick up free boxes to pack in. Any grocery store, department store, big-box store, and shipping facility may have boxes they were just going to throw into the recycle dumpster anyway.
  • Order Moving Supplies. You’ll need more than just boxes. Create a list of what packing supplies you need. It may include packing tape, masking tape, markers, scissors, packing paper, cardboard dividers, and more.
  • Make Travel Arrangements. If you’re moving long-distance, this is the time to consider how your family will get from your old home to your new one. If you’re going to drive, look up the route and start planning logistics, like stopping points for breaks, gas, meals, and to spend the night. If you’re flying, book flights now and make arrangements to transport your car, if needed.
  • Contact Insurance Providers. From health insurance to home insurance, you might need to update your policies to reflect your new home and new location. If you need to change insurance companies for your new home, start shopping around and getting quotes now.
  • Request Children’s School Transcripts. If you haven’t already, let your kids’ school(s) know you’re planning to move. This is also the time to request their transcripts if they’re moving schools. These can take time to retrieve and send, so asking early ensures you’ll have them in time to register your kids at their new school.
  • Identify Tax-Deductible Moving Expenses. If you donate items to charity before your move, or if you’re relocating for work, some of your moving expenses may be tax deductible. Keep careful records of this in your moving file so you’ll be ready to take advantage of savings when you file your taxes.

5 Weeks Before Moving Day

5 Weeks Before Moving Day

You’re almost halfway through your moving preparations. Now’s the time to prepare for the one-month countdown to the move. Here’s what to do this week.

  • Transfer Money to Your New Bank. If you’re changing banks when you move, now is the time to start transferring money into your new account, as it can take a few weeks to fully transfer and become available. Carefully plan this step to ensure you always have access to money, even during the transfer. Having a credit card or two to use for expenses is one strategy (just make sure you pay them off right away). It’s also not a bad idea to take out enough cash to get you through a few weeks, just in case something goes wrong.
  • Start Cleaning Out Your Fridge and Pantry. Start making meal plans for the next few weeks that will use up perishable foods, so you don’t have any left in the fridge by moving day. Also, try to use up pantry items so you have less heavy food to pack.
Top Moving Tip: Any non-perishable foods you don’t finish by moving day can be donated to a local food bank, if you don’t want to pack them.
  • Create a Packing Strategy. Packing will be the most difficult and most time-consuming part of your move. It helps to create a strategy ahead of time. Here are a few ideas:
    • Pack one room at a time.
    • Use colored tape to label and color-code your boxes.
    • Have a detailed label for each box.
    • Correlate color-coded labels to a household inventory sheet.
    • Empty one room first, and then stack boxes there as you pack the rest of your home.
Top Moving Tip: Download our free moving box labels to help you stay organized and keep track of where all your belongings are packed.
  • Begin Packing a Few Items. Your move should still be over a month away, but it’s never too early to start packing. Look for things you won’t miss over the next month (like items stored in the basement or garage, out-of-season clothing, or items for a spare bedroom) and start packing.
  • Confirm Doorway and Stairway Measurements. If you’re moving bulky furniture, make sure it can fit through all the right doors. Measure the doors, turns, and stairways both in your current home and the new home.
  • Identify and Schedule Home Repairs.Now is a good time to fix minor problems in your old house, like paint scuffs, loose handles, and leaky faucets. Schedule repairs for those now so you have time to get your hours in tip-top shape before moving day.

4 Weeks Before Moving Day

4 Weeks Before Moving Day

This is it. There’s only a month to go until your move, and you’re officially halfway through preparations. Here’s what to do this week to stay on track.

  • Start Your Change of Address. Run through a change of address checklist and set up mail forwarding to begin on your moving date. This is also the time to start taking note of any mail that arrives to your home, and updating your address with all the businesses, entities, and accounts that send you things. That includes your bank, doctor’s office, insurance company, credit card companies — make sure you don’t miss any important companies.
  • Update Local Memberships.If you have any memberships to local gyms, clubs, or grocery stores, cancel them now. If you’re keeping memberships, but at a different location, get in touch with them to update your accounts.
  • Update Online Memberships.The same goes for any online accounts — now is the time to start updating them with your new address.
  • Make a List of “Go Box” Items. When you move, you’ll want to create a “go box” — an essentials box containing all the things you need to live day-to-day, which will get you through the times while most of your belongings are packed away and inaccessible. Your “go box” should include:
    • A few days worth of clothes.
    • Toiletries and medications.
    • Kitchen supplies to cook and eat basic meals.
    • Devices and chargers.
    • Anything else you need for work or day-to-day life.
Top Moving Tip: Your “go box” doesn’t need to be in a box. Luggage is actually great for packing the essentials you’ll need to have with you during your move.
  • Start Packing.It’s finally time to start putting everything into boxes. Once you have your “go box” ready, you can start packing up everything else. Make sure to label boxes you’ll want to unpack first at your new home, like the ones with kitchen and bathroom items.
Top Moving Tip: Learn all about packing and moving tricky items with additional moving resources:

How to Move a Couch
How to Move a Mattress
How to Move a Refrigerator
How to Move a Piano
How to Move a Pool Table
How to Pack Shoes for Moving
How to Pack Dishes and Glasses

  • Throw Away Hazardous and Unwanted Items. Some things can’t move with you, like cans of explosive gasses or flammable items. If you need to move something that can’t legally or safely go into a moving truck, then make separate arrangements or throw it away.
  • Confirm with Your Moving Company. Call your professional movers and confirm all your upcoming dates and storage. If you’ve booked any separate services, like packing or storage, call to confirm those, too.
  • Arrange Temporary Housing. If there will be any time between leaving your old home and when you can move into your new home, now is a good time to decide on and book temporary housing for you and your family.
  • Book Shipping for Vehicles and Special Items. If you’re shipping your car instead of driving it to your new home, book that now. If you need any special shipping for certain items (like, say, a piano), this is the time to book that, too. If your moving company doesn’t move specialty items, they may be able to recommend a service they like to work with.

3 Weeks Before Moving Day

3 Weeks Before Moving Day

You’re well into the final month now, so it’s time to cross final items off your list and tie up loose ends. Here’s what to do this week.

  • Cancel Regular Deliveries and Services. If you have regular deliveries or services that come to your house, cancel them. For services that have been good to you, consider parting with a special thank you and possibly a bonus tip for making your time in the current house more pleasant.
  • Let Family and Friends Know You’re Moving. People close to you likely already know, but this is a good time to send a mass message to family and friends about your move. Include your new address and new phone number, if you have one. This is also a great opportunity to invite people to a going-away party, if you’d like to have one.
  • Get Your Vehicles Serviced. Take your car in for a check-up and tune-up, especially if you’ll be driving a long distance to the new house. Ensure that your car is up to the task of carrying you, the family, and your bags safely.
  • Keep Packing. If you haven’t finished packing, keep at it. Aim to be at least halfway finished by the end of this week.

2 Weeks Before Moving Day

With just two weeks to go until moving day, you’re likely exhausted – but hopefully, excited as well! You’re almost there, so try to keep your energy up. Here’s your to-do list for this week.

  • Reserve a Storage Unit. If you need storage space before, during, or after the move, now is the time to book a storage unit or use a self-storage solution like Neighbor near your new home.
  • Touch Up Paint and Surfaces. Now that your home is mostly packed up, start inspecting rooms from top to bottom for minor damage like scrapes and nail holes. Touch up spots that need it with color-matching paint. Polish countertops, oil wood floors and railings, and clean and shine doorknobs.
  • Start Packing Your Go Box. Refer back to the list you made of “go box” items, and start gathering them in one place.
Top Moving Tip: our “go box” doesn’t have to be an actual box. Luggage or large duffle bags work just as well and will be easier to load in the car and travel with.
  • Finish Packing Your Home. Aim to be completely finished with packing your home by the end of this week.

1 Week Before Moving Day

1 Week Before Moving Day

This is it: the final week before your move. At this point, your schedule should be locked and loaded, and all that’s left to do is tie up loose ends. If you’ve followed the checklists leading up to this point, nothing has been left to the last minute. Here’s what you need to do this week.

  • Turn On Utilities at the New House. Call the utility companies for your new home and make sure accounts are up-to-date and everything is turned on. Make sure to check water, electricity, internet, gas, garbage, and recycling services.
  • Check the Forecast for Moving Day. Be prepared for your moving day by knowing exactly what to expect from the weather. With less than a week to go, the forecast should be fairly dependable, but keep an eye on it as the date gets closer.
Top Moving Tip: Your moving truck is likely to arrive at your new home later than you will. If you need to delay your drive for a day or two because of bad weather, you probably can — but confirm this with your movers.
  • Defrost the Fridge and Freezer. If you’re taking your fridge with you, make sure to give it at least a full 24 hours to defrost before being loaded onto a moving truck.
  • Do a Final Walk Through and House Cleanup. Now that everything is packed and you’re almost ready to leave, put all the boxes in one room, and carefully check the rest of the house. Clean each room thoroughly. Sweep, mop, vacuum, polish, and otherwise make the house spotless as you can. For renters, this will get your security deposit back. For homeowners, this will make your staging and selling phase much easier.
  • Take Outgoing Photos or Video. Before you leave, snap some photos or take a video of your perfectly clean home. This can be for a video tour for prospective buyers, or to protect your security deposit if you’re a renter. Outgoing photos and video are digital proof that the home was in excellent condition when you left it.
  • Pack Everything Except Your Go Boxes. Everything should be packed by now, with no exceptions. You should be living out of your go boxes for the last few days until you leave to head to your new home.

Moving Day Checklist

Moving Day Checklist

The big day is finally here! But the work isn’t over. Here’s a final checklist of essential tasks to make sure you get done during and just after your move.

  • Load the Moving Truck. It’s time to move all those boxes and furniture pieces out of your home and onto the truck. Oversee the movers if you hired them to pack the truck for you, or move the boxes yourself if you’re making a more DIY move. Make sure everything is well-packed and secured on the moving truck.
  • Pack the Car. Pack your vehicle with all your go boxes, leaving room for any family members who need to ride in the car. If you’re moving with pets, make sure to load them up last.
  • Coordinate with Your Movers. Confirm one last time that the movers are scheduled to arrive at the new house on the right date. Make a plan to keep in touch with them for updates and in case of problems or changes. This is also a good time to make sure you have cash on hand to tip your movers.
  • Do a Final Check in the Old House. Go through every room, closet, and cupboard, making sure you haven’t left anything behind. If anything got dusty or scuffed during moving, clean it up.
  • Make Sure You Have Your New Keys. When you arrive at your new home, know how you’re going to get in. If you haven’t picked up your new keys yet, have a plan to receive them as soon as you arrive.
  • Close and Lock Up Your Old House. Make sure every door and window is closed and locked before you load up your family to head out. If you’re leaving your old keys with someone, do that now.
  • Travel Safely to Your New Home. Whether it’s a quick drive across town, or a multi-day, cross-country road trip, be careful on the drive. Take breaks anytime you feel tired, and don’t plan to drive more in one day than you can handle.
  • Wait for the Movers. You’re likely to arrive at the new house before the moving truck. Now, live out of your go boxes and wait for the truck to catch up. This can feel like a fun camping activity for the family.
  • Unpack and Settle In. You did it! The move is complete, and now it’s time to unpack and enjoy your new home after moving.
Top Moving Tip:Check out our Ultimate Guide to Unpacking for a checklist for settling in.

The moving process doesn’t have to be as stressful as it seems. With this checklist, you can get everything done and have your new home comfortably ready to move in precisely as your moving day arrives. For even more ideas, check out our list of moving and packing tips, and download our free moving resources below.

Get All the Moving Resources You Need — In One Place

All the resources you need for your move, all in one place. Download and print our free moving kit today:

Free Downloadable Moving Kit

Download the full kit here