Stress Free Move Checklist

Moving can be a stressful experience, but with careful planning and organization, you can avoid some of the most stress-inducing pitfalls. Here’s a checklist to help you stay on track if you are planning to manage the move yourself.

Keep in mind, hiring an experienced professional organizer will eliminate nearly all of this checklist and allow someone else to take the stress from your shoulders.

Early Preparation (6-8 weeks before moving)

  • Choose a Moving Date:

    Decide when you prefer to move. Many people want to move on a Friday to have the weekend for unpacking but remember those dates with the moves will fill up more quickly and can be more expensive. If you can, try to avoid those busiest days, particularly in the spring and summer, traditionally the busiest moving season.

  • Find a Moving Company.

    You do not want to make your choice based on price alone. The best moving companies will have experienced employees, great service and fantastic reviews. A low ball quote may cost you more in the end!

  • Unique Items:

    If you have specialty items like a piano, grandfather closet, pool tables or other unique items, ensure the mover is aware and experienced with these items.

  • Create a Moving Budget:

    Determine how much help you can afford. The more help you have the less stress you will feel. There are a lot of variables including the mover, packers, packing supplies, unpacking and organization, artwork hanging, tech setup, cleaners and potential change of address fees.

  • Sort and Edit:

    Go through each room and decide what to keep, sell, donate, or discard.

  • Collect Packing Materials:

    Start gathering boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and other supplies. I don’t recommend collecting Amazon boxes unless they are very large. Smaller boxes in a mix of shapes and sizes are harder to stack in a moving truck and require more trips from the home adding time and costs to your move.

  • Notify Key Contacts:

    Inform your employer, utility companies, post office, DMV and other relevant parties about your move.

Mid-Preparation (4-6 weeks before moving)

  • Start Packing Non-Essentials:

    If packers aren’t in your budget for this move, start packing items you don’t use regularly. Take the time to watch some packing videos because incorrect packing methods can lead to broken items.

  • Label Boxes Clearly:

    Label each box with its contents and the room it is GOING to. Its current home is irrelevant as the movers will need to know where to put it.
    Make a Moving Binder/Folder: Keep all moving-related documents, contracts, and important information in one place.

  • Arrange for Utility Transfers:

    Schedule the transfer or disconnection of utilities, like electricity, water, and internet.

  • Notify Government Agencies:

    Update your address with the post office, DMV, and other relevant agencies. As you receive mail, make note on whether or not it is a contact that needs your new address.

  • Confirm Moving Date and Arrangements:

    Check in with the mover to confirm the dates, update with any new information you have. Ask if there is anything you should leave unpacked for them like TVs, clothing in a dresser or large artwork.

Final Preparation (1-2 weeks before moving)

  • Finish Packing:

    Pack all remaining items, leaving out only essentials you’ll need until the move. Do not leave more than one box of morning essentials to pack on the day of the move. The movers will have a lot of questions for you and you will need to be available for them rather than finalizing unpacked boxes.

  • Pack a “First-Night” Box:

    Include essentials like toiletries, change of clothes, snacks, and important documents. Don’t forget to include bedding, toilet paper, phone chargers, a checkbook for the movers and cash for their tip.

  • Secure Valuables:

    Keep jewelry, cash, and other valuables with you during the move.

  • Complete Change of Address:Confirm that your address has been updated with important contacts.
  • Clean Your Current Home:

    Schedule a deep cleaning or do it yourself before handing over the keys.

  • Take Final Inventory:

    Make sure you haven’t missed anything during packing ensure you know where all furniture will go in the new home so you can direct the movers. Minimizing on-site decision making saves time, money and the movers’ backs.

Moving Day

  • Coordinate with Movers:

    Communicate if there is more than one stop (for example storage) so they can pack the truck appropriately. Let the movers know about your “first night” box.

  • Keep Essentials Handy:

    Keep your “first-night” box and other important items within easy reach.

  • Supervise the Loading Process: Ensure items are handled with care and loaded properly.

  • Check All Rooms:

    Do a final walkthrough to ensure nothing is left behind.

  • Secure Your Current Home: Lock doors and windows, and leave keys in the agreed-upon location.

  • Travel to Your New Home:

    Arrive at your new home ahead of the movers, if possible, to oversee unloading.

  • Manage the Unload:

    Work with the movers to direct them swiftly to where each rug and piece of furniture will go so they can set up the large pieces first. Your availability during this process will ensure items and boxes are in the correct place for unpacking so you aren’t moving boxes all over the house as you unpack.

  • Tip your movers:

    These team members work really hard and rely on tips for their livelihood.

After the Move

  • Unpack Essentials First:

    Start with your “first-night” box and other important items.

  • Set Up Utilities and Internet:

    Ensure you have electricity, water, and internet access.

  • Begin Unpacking:

    Work room by room, prioritizing those spaces that are most important to you. Do not put items away until all items from that room are unboxed. That way you can create homes that are right sized and appropriate for function.

  • Check for Damage or Missing Items:

    If anything is damaged or missing, report it to the moving company or insurance.

  • Settle into Your New Home:

    Take time to relax and explore your new neighborhood.

Remember, the more help you can afford, the easier your move will be. Check in with a professional organizer and get a quote to see how many of these items we can take off your plate.

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