When you’re going to engage in any large project, it’s best to have a plan. That goes for moving, too. Make a plan for 30 or so days out, and you’ll be surprised at how smoothly your move can go.
Here is a step-by-step method to prepare for your move in an organized and effective way that won’t make you feel overwhelmed. Feel free to modify it for your needs. We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
Whether you’re making a local or a long-distance move, you should already have your new home secured at least 30 days before you need to move in. You may even want to pay your first month’s rent and deposit. If you don’t have a place picked out yet, start looking immediately.
Go to Google Maps and drop down to Street View at your new address. You can then explore the neighborhood virtually.
You can also look at the surrounding areas with the overhead map and drop down into it wherever you like to find schools, shopping centers, the post office, and so on. If you’re moving somewhere local, you can use Google Maps and drive to the area for a look around.
You’ll also want to know where your work location is in relation to your home. Will you have much of a commute? Now’s the time to start thinking about your schedule.
If you have kids, contact the school district and ask where they’ll be placed. That way, you can register them as soon as you move in.
By this time, it’s also critical to know if you’re going to rent a truck and get your family and friends to help with the move, or if you’re going to hire a moving company.
If it’s the former, it’s time to inform your helpers. If it’s the latter, it’s time to research and contact moving companies. Schedule a time for the moving company to stop by your house for a tour and an estimate.
A self storage unit can be a big help. As you pack boxes, you can drop them off in a storage unit, which will clear up space in your home and make the rest of your packing easier.
This works especially well if you’re not moving far. On moving day, you can get what’s in your home, which will be down to essentials, to your new home.
You can then stop by storage and pick everything else up, or take your time getting those things to your new place.
If you are moving long-distance, you can pack what’s in storage into a truck first thing in the morning, then come back home and pack the rest.
If you haven’t done so yet, inform your landlord and employer that you will be moving. Even if you will have the same job, your employer will appreciate the information and be more understanding if you need to take a day or two off due to the move.
Fill out and turn in a change of address with your local post office to allow you to register to vote at your new address.
This is a critical step that will require a bit more work upfront, but that will make your move easier overall. We’ve written extensively on decluttering, but it breaks down to this:
Go through your stuff and decide what you can get rid of.
Sell what you can.
Donate what is in good condition but doesn’t sell.
Recycle what you can of what’s left.
Throw away the rest.
Yes, there’s a lot to do in that first week of preparation! Some of it will continue into this week.
You will likely still be in the process of decluttering even as you begin to pack.
If you plan to hire a moving company, this is the time to have them come have a look over your home. If you can get estimates from several moving companies, then you’ll be able to pick one based on price, reviews, and how well you get along with them.
You’ll be packing for a few weeks, but now’s the time to start. Pack up non-essentials first. If you rented a storage unit, take those boxes to storage so they’re out of your way.
We also suggest you stick to same-sized boxes as much as possible. Document boxes, or plastic bins, work great for this. They fit most things and are extremely sturdy. You’ll also need to purchase permanent markers, bubble wrap, packing paper, and packing tape.
Non-essentials may include things like your off-season clothes, various books, and collectibles. Of course, if you hired the movers to pack, then they’ll handle this. Make sure your place is clean and organized, which will make it easier for them to pack.
Oh yes, label your boxes as you go! For example, your kitchen boxes will be, “Kitchen 1,” “Kitchen 2,” etc. Write down the label for each box on a sheet of paper. On moving day, you can use this as a checklist to make sure you got everything as you pack them on the truck.
Now’s the time to go through your fridge and cupboards and start eating food that you already have. You won’t want to refill your pantry much since most of your edibles would be problematic to take with you. Of course, you’ll want to throw out anything expired.
Contact your current utility companies. Let them know your last day at your old home and that the bill needs to be transferred to the landlord or the new owners.
Also, contact the utility companies responsible for your new home and let them know you’ll be taking over the billing on the day you’re moving in. Make sure that gas, electricity, and water will all be on when you get there.
This is also a good time to get medical records for you, the rest of your family, and your pets. You’ll also want to find a new doctor where you’re moving.
With just two weeks to go, you should already have a lot done, including about half of your packing. Don’t lose that momentum! Here’s how to go forward.
As you get down to things you need to keep at home, keep packing, but keep out the most essential things.
Here’s a quick list of what can be considered essential:
Few sets of clothes
Unless you’ve hired movers, you’ll need a moving truck. Now’s the time to reserve one. Two weeks out, you can contact several truck rental companies and pick the one you feel best about.
If you’re hiring a moving company, now’s the time to pick one and schedule the day they’ll come to pack all your things. If your friends are going to help you move, remind them of the day and time.
If you plan to drive, and your move is long-distance, get your car serviced so it’s ready.
A long-distance move, especially when you’ll be driving, takes preparation.
Plan your route and book hotel and motel rooms along the way. If you’ll be flying rather than driving, arrange your car’s transportation to your new home. It can be flown out or transported on a car carrier.
If you arrive before your car does, you will need to rent a car, so make sure that’s in your budget.
The move is almost here! It’s time to do the following.
Change your address on your subscription services, be those loot boxes, Amazon deliveries, or anything else.
Contact your friends who plan to help you move or the moving company to remind them of the date.
If you are moving your fridge with you, you’ll need to defrost it, otherwise it will drip all over the moving truck.
Young children should be kept out of the way of all the moving activity for their safety. We recommend having a trusted sitter watch them while you and your friends, or the movers, carry everything to the moving truck.
Pets can get upset with all the rearranging, so have a safe, empty room where they can hang out with food and toys, and have someone in there to spend time with them.
Your friends who helped you move did so out of the kindness of their hearts. At the very least, make sure they have plenty of water to stay hydrated and tasty snacks. You may also want to buy them a nice take-out lunch or give them gifts before you leave.
Also, let them know that if you can ever help them with a move, you will. Or, find your way to thank them.
Pack the essentials. It’s time to start packing things you usually need every day, but that you can live without for a few days.
These are things you’ll need for the trip itself, including a change of clothes or two and toiletries. Your kids should have their necessities in essentials bags as well. You can also include things they can do in the hotel and on the road, like tablets for games and music, as well as headphones.
If you’re a renter, you’ll want as much of your deposit back as possible, and if you sold your home, you’ll want to continue to make a good impression on the new owners. Clean your place as thoroughly as you can. Alternately, you can hire professional cleaners to make it sparkle.
Either on the day before moving or the day of the move, pick up the moving truck. If it’s the day before, you can do this during the day. If it’s on the day of your move, you’ll need to do this early in the morning.
The night before your move, go to bed early and set your phone, tablets, and laptops charging. You want to feel fresh for your moving day, and have your electronics working.
Now that moving day is here, it’s just about time to get on the road.
Have a healthy breakfast so you have plenty of energy for the day.
Once your friends arrive, you can start hauling things to the truck. Use that box checklist to make sure you got everything.
If you put non-essentials in storage, we suggest driving there with the moving truck first, putting all those boxes in the truck, then driving back home and getting the rest. Alternately, once your movers get there, you can let them know what to be especially careful with, but for the most part, you can stay out of the way. Do put your suitcases and essentials bags in your car, though.
Once the house is empty, it’s time to do a walk-through. Make sure that you, or the movers, got everything, and that everyone is in the vehicles ready to go.
First, get the essentials, then everything else into your new home. Put the boxes in the rooms where they belong. Get the beds set up, put some kitchenware away, and set up any other critical items on the first day. Over the next week or two, unpack everything. The sooner you finish, the sooner your new apartment or house will feel like home.
If you have kids, you’ll need to register them for school within a few days of moving in. The school will need proof of vaccinations and so on, so make sure to ask what they need, get that paperwork together, and enroll your children.
Go for a walk, check out a local restaurant, see what shops are nearby, find entertainment, and say hello to some of your neighbors. This is your neighborhood, now, so get comfortable!
We know that’s a lot, but we also know you can do it! While this puts moving on a 30-day timeline, if you have more time, you can spread these tasks out. Have a great move!