Best Printable Moving Checklist (PDF)
You may be spending your days thinking about the extra space waiting for you in your next home, how you want to decorate your new bathroom or the parties you’re going to be able to host – STOP RIGHT THERE.
It’s easy to get caught up fantasizing about a new place and the new adventures you’ll have in it, only to realize you haven’t tied up the loose ends necessary to make your move a more seamless experience.
Moving can turn into a stressful nightmare very quickly if everything is left to the last minute.
Before you get too carried away, let’s make sure you make it out of the home you’re in right now. The team here at Moving APT has a few things you should do for your upcoming move. As the time approaches, you’ll be thankful for this moving checklist.
STAGE 1: RESEARCH
2 – 3 Months Before the Move
Once it’s been determined that you are indeed moving, there’s no more will I or won’t I, you now know you need to pack it all up and move out. Now let’s begin.
Make and organize a moving binder
If you want to create a moving plan that is effective and reduces your stress, this is where you should start. Get a brightly colored binder and clearly label it. Print out a moving checklist and put it in the binder.
Keep phone numbers, receipts, swatches and the scraps of paper you’re been jotting details on.
This binder should only be used for all things related to moving and nothing else. When questions come up about moving, you’ll always know where to turn to look for the answer.
Create a realistic budget
Find and print a budget template and start setting your budget. To get an estimate of how much your move may cost, use our cost calculator or search for similar moves online and see how much they cost.
Keep in mind the distance you’re traveling and the amount of things you are taking with you are major factors in determining cost. So if you’re shipping a car, figuring that out now will save you the headache and money later.
Don’t forget to add additional money for travel expenses such as plane tickets (if you’re going out of state), living expenses for the first month at your new home, and packing materials.
How to Create a Realistic Budget
You will have to decide on the quantity of moving work you want to hire someone to do for you and the ones you can handle yourself to reduce your expenses. Your highest cost will be on transporting your items from your old location to your new space.
You have different moving cost to consider and choose one:
- Full-service move: A full-service move implies that the movers will take care of everything, such as packing and unpacking your goods. Costs are not the same. The estimated cost for a local move by the American Moving and Storage Association is $2,300 while they estimate $4,300 for a long-distance move with an average weight of 7,400 pounds.
- Partial-service move: Unlike a full-service move, you will save enough money by performing packing and unpacking by yourself. However, you will spend much of your time doing this. The estimated cost to hire a professional packing team by Home Advisor is at an average of $50 per hour.
- Movable freight containers: This is a cheaper option compared to a partial-service move since you won’t have to pay movers. Costs start from $70 for each container transported locally to $5,000 to transport a large home to a long-distance, as stated by PODS.
- DIY: You will handle it all by yourself. With the use of an online moving calculator, you can easily obtain a rough estimate of costs. Remember to consider the value of your time as that is also a cost of handling the work yourself.
Based on the method you choose, below are some extra items you may want to add to your budget:
- Professional cleaners: The normal rate of $25 to $90 per hour on average, as stated by Home Advisor, is based on whether you are hiring a professional cleaning service or an individual cleaner.
- Packing supplies: You can get moving supplies for purchase. U-Haul provides a 4-bedroom kit for $380.
- Moving insurance: The cost related to insuring your move can start from $200 to $2,000 as contained on Angie’s List.
- Professional organizers: expect to pay from $35 – $80 per hour for home organizers as stated by Home Advisor.
- Travel expenses: Costs will be determined by the distance of your moving, and whether there are restaurant and lodging expenses.
- Lost wages: Consider the cost of the inability to earn income if you would have to take some time off work.
- Temporary housing: The cost you need to budget will be determined by the type of temporary housing you are going for, the housing rental market, as well as the duration of the rental
Research and interview moving companies
After deciding whether you need help moving or not, you can use Moving APT to schedule in-home estimates with reputable companies or start researching companies yourself and scheduling a walk-through.
Ask for recommendations from friends and family and collect info to make sure the company is trustworthy.
Let them know your budget and see if a company is willing to work with you or if you need to adjust the numbers. Either way, you’re still ahead of the game!
Prepare Your Family
If you have young children, it’s a good idea to start prepping them mentally for the change that is about to occur. Moving to a new place can be hard on them so start getting them excited about the move now so they have as much time as possible to process the upcoming changes.
If you are anxious about telling them they have to change schools, you aren’t alone – there are resources to help you though.
STAGE 2: PLANNING
8 Weeks Before the Move
At this point, you know the precise day of your move. You’re been doing well so far, getting the preliminary work out of the way and you still have breathing room.
This is the stage that every aspect of your move needs to be scrutinized and planned out. But there’s nothing to worry about, that’s what this moving checklist is for!
Finalize your moving methods
This is the time to determine exactly how your things are moving from point A to point B. If you’re using friends and family, make sure they have committed to and are available on the day of your move. If you are using movers, make sure they are licensed, insured and are scheduled and ready for that day.
Request time off
If you’re not changing jobs, let your boss know you are moving and ask for the day off. For those who truly hate the moving process, make your move day a Friday so you can have the weekend to settle in a bit and organize the essentials and yourself.
Make any arrangements for children
If necessary, this is the time to choose a new school for your kids. You should also request their transcripts for the new school. This keeps your kids from getting left behind.
You knew this time would come. It may be hard to throw out that fake tree that you stuck in the corner and never really liked, but you can do it! Don’t waste time moving things you don’t really want or need.
You’ll save time when start packing and money by not adding to the size of the load since movers charge based on the weight of your shipment.
Start with the garage, closets, basements, storage units and attics. Then you can separate items you’d like to donate, recycle or toss. This is a great time to have a garage sale too.
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STAGE 3: Getting Your Ducks in a Row
6 Weeks Before the Move
What’s the difference in two weeks you ask? Everything! After the planning phase has ended, it’s time to start moving and shaking – lots of small tasks need your attention during this time, but don’t stress it, you are right on schedule.
Make Time for Loved Ones
If you’re making an interstate or cross-country move, now is the time to start saying goodbye. You don’t need to have a fancy party (you can!), but set aside time to squeeze in some extra memories before it’s time for you to go. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t.
Start looking for free boxes from bodegas, liquor stores, grocery stores and restaurants. Any place that gets a delivery has extra boxes and they usually toss them outside without a care in the world. Most have boxes they’re happy to hand to you, free of charge. Be sure to get boxes for fragile items too.
Moving Box Labels
Before you begin packing, print labels or label your boxes using stickers and tape for each room. This will make life easier after you’ve moved in and would love nothing more than to brush your teeth. Knowing which box to open is going to be thrilling.
It’s also a good idea to mark boxes that are fragile. Stacking your electronics on top of a box of glassware is not ideal.
Create a moving inventory sheet
This is a list or spreadsheet to track where your items are. It’s a good idea to have a new tab or page in your big binder for each room. Give each box you pack a number and record the number on your inventory list, jotting down notes about what’s inside each box.
If you need to find something very quickly, you’ll know which box to open. This also helps ensure every box is loaded and unloaded off the truck.
Take pictures of all of your electronics before you unplug them and pack them up so you can reconnect them correctly after the move. Put your hardware in labeled bags to reassemble any furniture much faster.
Gathering towels, socks and linens to use as packing peanuts is useful around this time too. You can put your glasses in towels and save money on bubble wrap.
Ask about moving in/out requirements
Find out if your new home has any requirements you need to take care of before moving in. For your current home or apartment, start doing minor repairs before you leave. If you’re selling, you want to get the highest price. If you’re renting, you want to get that security deposit back!
Get your car in shape
If you’re driving across the country, please get your car serviced. The last thing you want is for your car to have some issue while you’re on the road to your new life. That does not bode well. If you are shipping your car, take everything out of it including the spare tires – you never know what might go missing.
Measure your move
We are talking doorways, hallways elevators and stairs – it’s important to know all of your furniture will fit and whether it needs to be disassembled. Measure as many times as you needed to comfortably know.
Do a little reconnaissance
Take the time to do some research on the new area you’re going to be living in. It will be nice to have some points of interest, and an after-work spot or restaurant you’re looking forward to visiting.
Start packing items you do not use every day
Last but not least, you should start packing a little every day. The earlier you start packing, the less it will feel like an insufferable job. Pick a room and pack up everything you know you won’t really need or use for the next couple of weeks.
STAGE 4: PACKING PREP
4 Weeks Before the Move
The one month mark is officially here and it’s time to collect important documents and selling/donating items you are not taking. This will make completing the moving checklist easier.
Wrap up moving details
Now is the time to purchase moving insurance to cover the move and confirm the parking for a moving truck. It’s possible a permit may be required on moving day.
Start an essentials kit
What are you going to need in the weeks during and after the move? This will be very unique to you and your family. Clothing should be included, but maybe a special blanket or stuffed animal is also non-negotiable.
The idea is to get ahead and start thinking about what to include. Make sure these boxes stay open and are easy to identify. You will most likely keep adding things up until the day of the move.
- Donate items that you can’t sell or pack like frozen food or bleach.
- Organize valuables and important documents
Decide how you’re going to transport valuables like cash, jewelry, paintings, and sculptures. Important government-issued documents like your birth certificate, passport, and social security card should also be packed at this time. Keep these items separate from everything else and take them yourself when you move.
Moving day tunes
Make a playlist to pack to, drive to, unpack to and anything else you may be doing during this stressful time. Music makes everything better!
STEP 5: PACKING
3 Weeks Before the Move
Now that you’re organized, it’s time to start packing.
All furniture you aren’t going to use can be disassembled and prepped. Pack up that guest bedroom furniture and other rarely-used items. Learn how to protect large pieces of furniture, as there are other ways besides taking them apart.
Pack up your dishes
Dishes take a long time to pack so think about using specific boxes for this task. It’s important to wrap them correctly so that they arrive in one piece.
You might also want to invest in paper or plastic dishes in the meantime.
Pack out of season clothes
Clothing is another thing that takes people the longest to pack, figure out the best method to move clothes.
STAGE 6: ERRAND-RUNNING
2 Weeks Before the Move
Even though you’ve done everything right, panic is most likely still going to set it in. Enjoy it! Panic just means you want to get things done correctly and we are here to help.
- Be a good citizen: Return your library books people! But also return movies or games to friends/family. Get your clothes out of dry cleaning. The point is leave without leaving a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.
- Plan meals: This may be the first time you’ve ever done intentional grocery shopping but you’ll be happy you did. Purchasing too much food is not a good idea so plan so you can eat leftovers. Also eat as much food in your fridge that’s perishable.
- Set up services in your new home and city: If you’re doing a long distance move, find a new dentist, doctor and veterinarian in the new town you’ll be living in. This is also the time to shop around for internet, cable and phone bundles as well as scheduling installation. Set up recycling and trash for your new place and don’t forget to cancel your old services and return any equipment to avoid charges.
- Refill any prescriptions and buy travel necessities: It’s important to have your scripts filled. Travel-sized essentials like contact lens solutions and mouthwash should be purchased so you can pack up daily toiletries.
- Back up your computer: A universe is a crazy place. If anything goes wrong during your move, you’ll be happy to know you have a backup saved
- Take the lightbulbs out of the lamps you’re moving.
- If you’re worried about small children or vets, arrange a playdate, babysitter, or doggy daycare to make sure they are safe. Moving can be dangerous for the littles ones we love.
- Forward your mail and fill out a change of address form. Change your address for your car insurance and registration and any monthly subscriptions you may have.
You can also send out a change of address to friends and family. There are some very creative ways to do this.
- Update your voter registration.
- Update your moving inventory.
STAGE 7: FINALIZATION
1 Week Before the Move
Only one week left – time to organize your things, finish packing and clean up. Doing a little bit every day goes a long way to reduce stress and make the moving day something to look forward to and not dread.
Reconfirm plans with movers or friends/family
It’s too easy to forget about obligations the way we run around. Make one last call to confirm the date and time with the people helping you move.
Transfer medical and school records
Usually, this is something that must be done in person. Don’t wait to complete the necessary forms to have your info transferred, get this out of the way before you forget.
Finish any last-minute packing
The majority of your things are packed, so you should only have to wrap up your essentials kit and any clothing you’ll need in suitcases.
Get that grass out of your mower, disconnect the stove’s gas line and prep the fridge if it’s coming with you.
Shut off utilities
You don’t want to do this too soon in case your moving date changes.
Once everything is packed, a thorough cleaning is in order. At the very least, sweep up. Take pictures to make sure you can prove you left things the right away or schedule a walk-through.
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STAGE 8: MOVING OUT
The Big Day
This is exciting! You’re so close to the end. Let’s start your moving day off right and get you settled in.
Confirm details and keep things moving on schedule
You’re paying by the hour so keep movers on schedule. Set your intentions for the move and let them be known so everyone can work in harmony towards the same goal.
Follow your moving inventory to ensure all your boxes were taken and arrived. Keep note and take pics of anything that was damaged throughout the move. Don’t forget to tip your movers either. They’ve worked hard.
Pop the champagne or take a nap
Either way, celebrate! You’ve completed your move!
What is expected from Different Moving Options?
Based on your moving budget and scope, there are numerous options for moving your items from one point to another.
Below are five of the common options.
First Option: Full-Service Movers
It is the least stressful (both physically and mentally) option of moving. It is also the most costly option. It includes the following:
- Professional packers who pack all your stuff, disassemble and reassemble your furniture, load and unload your goods and drive to the destination location
- A moving truck
- All the required packing supplies
- Liability insurance (in case of loss or damage)
Know that a lot of companies only possess basic liability insurance which is just 60 cents per pound. This implies that your 100 pound TV would get a reimbursement of $60 when damaged.
If you have highly valuable belongings, you certainly need to get full-value protection, which offers reimbursement of your item’s replacement value.
To locate a reputable long-distance full-service mover, check the Better Business Bureau as well as the American Moving & Storage Association.
Second Option: Partial Movers
When performing a partial move, the packing will not be done by movers. Packing and unpacking can consume a lot of time, requiring a lot of days and even weeks of labor.
Packing service is charged by most packing companies at a fixed rate depending on the weight of your items, which can be difficult to calculate.
The packing of a three-bedroom house is estimated by Home Advisor to have an estimated weight of 9,000 lbs and requires three professional movers to work for about four to six hours to finish the job.
If you were to take on the task by yourself, they suggest this could save you about $600 to $750 in labor costs as well as about $250 to $350 on packing materials.
Third Option: DIY
As suggested by the name, in this case, you are taking on the whole moving task. You will need to purchase packing supplies, pack up your entire household goods and furniture, and load it into a rented moving truck, unload it, and set up items at your new space.
The cost of the largest rental truck at U-Haul is $125 per day, but you need to consider the mileage charge as well as the cost of gas and insurance protection together with the base fare.
Items usually get scratched and damaged in a move, and with this moving option, you are not insured (unless you bought separate moving insurance). Most insurance policies don’t cover relocation damage.
Fourth Option: Movable Freight Containers
The use of movable freight containers like PODS is a modern way of moving. Customers choose a POD from 3 different sizes. The POD is delivered to the customer’s home, and you can take your time to load your belongings into it without even using the ramp.
The belongings can be stored with PODS or sent to a new home by PODS. The company charges $800 for starters for long-distance moves.
Other companies like U-Haul and U-Pack provide the same movable containers for rent.
Fifth Option: Airfreight
Many of the popular airlines offer cargo transportation, including courier companies like DHL and UPS. This option is worth considering if you are moving overseas.
Shipping rates are calculated by the weight and dimension of the belongings. It is necessary to ask for the specific place to deliver your belongings and the time to deliver it, as cargo is expected by some operators to load house into the flight time.
Different shipping companies provide different packing guidelines, so be sure to read the contract before you begin to load your boxes.
First, pack non-essential goods. These include the things you won’t need in the weeks before your move, like your books, electronics, and home decoration items. Essential goods are to be packed last. These include items from the kitchen, clothing, toiletries, dinnerware, and any other household goods in the days before the move.
This applies to every move no matter how small or big or whether local or long-distance move.
Other items or sentimental belongings your moving companies will not move are medical records, collections, electronics, jewelry, photo albums, checkbooks, CDs, and many more. Movers will not also move perishable items, hazardous items, plants, and other related items.
We suggest you pack bathroom supplies, such as toilet paper, kitchen items like paper plates, paper towels, cleaning supplies, a tool kit, and some snacks with food items that can be easily prepared.
Hire a packing service by paying between $25 and $40 per hour per mover, excluding materials. Usually, you will need a minimum of two movers.
You will spend between $100 and $400 in labor to pack one to two bedrooms, and $480 – $1,440 to pack three bedrooms or more. Companies usually offer discounts on the hourly rate for extra packers.
If you don’t have much time or want to reduce the stress, hiring movers to take care of everything for you could be the best match for your money. A lot of full-service moving companies add damage coverage, in case your goods were to get damaged during packing or transit.
This moving checklist revealed everything you need to consider at every stage of your moving process so you can decide on what’s best for your moving situation and budget. Make use of the timeline provided in the guide to stay on track. Don’t forget you can as well download it for reference.