Moving Tips and Checklist

Before Your Move

You know you have a lot ahead of you, so why wait until the last minute to throw things together? Plan well in advance and start taking steps now to make your move more manageable.

Be an Informed Mover

Start by creating a “move file.” You’ll need a place to keep important information and receipts for moving related expenses. Research your new community. Start by visiting your new city and state’s Web Site or contact their chambers of commerce for relocation packets. Check out local entertainment, shopping and restaurants. This can be lots of fun and will give you much to look forward to. You’ll also want to order a phone book and city map for your new location. This will allow you to start researching new schools and service providers and is a must for your “essentials” box. Finally, consider ordering a local newspaper. Most news providers will send a complimentary issue to prospective customers.

Start Paring Down

Moving is tough, but it can also be an opportunity. This is the perfect time to get rid of the extra “stuff” you’ve accumulated. Take it one room at a time and prepare to make tough decisions. Survey each room and ask yourself:

  • Does this have sentimental or monetary value?
  • Does anyone really use it?
  • Is it worth lugging around?
  • Is there room for it in our new home?

If the item in question doesn’t make the cut, ditch it! Plan a yard sale, post an online auction or simply donate anything that does not meet your criteria. This is a great way to earn a little extra cash or another tax deduction. Start using up items that can’t be moved to your new home. Properly dispose of flammable or potentially hazardous chemicals. This would include anything in an aerosol can, cleaning and lighting fluids, paint, matches and ammunition. Eat foods that are frozen or stored in glass jars and don’t plan on replacing these items until you are in your new home. Finally, be aware that live plants cannot be shipped with your other household goods. Plan on taking these in your car or find new homes for them.

Take Inventory

Sorting through your home gives you the opportunity to take inventory of your belongings. Make a list of everything you decide to keep and assign replacement values for insurance purposes. Make note of items that are difficult to replace. Either carry these items with you or ship them by insured or certified mail. Such items might include:

  • Photos and home videos
  • Birth certificates, wills and other legal documentation
  • Jewelry, rare coins and special collections
  • Stock certificates, insurance policies and financial records
  • Computer diskettes with backups of important files.

Know what you will need upon arrival to your new home. Plan ahead and make a checklist of things you will need to pack in suitcases and an “essentials” box. Allow for extra clothing and be sure to make room for treasures, toys and snacks for the kids. Your essentials box should include things you’ll be scrambling for upon arrival.

  • Scissors, masking tape, utility knife, can opener
  • Coffee cups, paper plates, paper towels
  • Plastic forks, spoons, knives § Dish soap, trash bags, towels
  • Instant coffee, tea, beverages
  • Toilet paper, toiletries
  • Prescriptions, aspirin or other pain relievers
  • Flashlight, light bulbs, hammer
  • Phone books, pencils and paper, your “move file”
  • Telephone, radio, batteries

Plan on keeping your essentials box and luggage handy, preferably in your automobile.

Moving Check List

8 Weeks Before Moving
  • Create a “move file” to keep track of estimates, receipts and other important information.
  • Check with the IRS to see what expenses can be deducted on your next tax return.
  • Budget for moving expenses and start collecting estimates.
7 Weeks Before Moving
  • Start pulling together medical and dental records – including prescriptions and shot records. Ask your existing doctors if they can refer you to a care provider in your new city.
  • Arrange to have school records transferred to your children’s new school district and/or daycare.
  • Call your insurance agent to see what changes to expect in your policies. Ask if moving is covered and arrange for insurance for your new home.
  • Contact health clubs or other organizations you have joined. Ask how you can end, sell or transfer your membership.

6 Weeks Before Moving
  • Make a list of things that are valuable or difficult to replace. Plan on shipping these by certified mail or carrying them with you.
  • Make a list of friends, relatives and businesses who need to be notified of your move.
  • Start working your way through each room taking inventory and deciding what to get rid of. Start planning a yard sale or contact your local charities.
  • Plan to use up things such as frozen foods, bleach and aerosol cleaners.
5 Weeks Before Moving
  • Start collecting boxes and other packing supplies.
  • Start researching your new community. The Internet is a great resource for finding online chambers-of-commerce and community guides.

4 Weeks Before Moving
  • File a change of address. If you don’t know what your new address will be, ask the postal service to hold your mail in their office in your new city.
  • Contact utility companies to disconnect, transfer or connect services. Plan on keeping current services through your move date and having new ones available prior to your move-in date.
  • Call your newspaper courier and set a date to cancel your subscription.
3 Weeks Before Moving
  • Make sure all library books have been returned and that all dry cleaning or items out for repair have been picked up.
  • Start packing items you don’t use often. Also start disposing of the items you’ve designated for a yard sale, donation or the junk yard. If you donate, be sure to get a receipt for income tax purposes.
  • Decide if you will keep your plants or give them away. Remember plants cannot be loaded with your other household goods.
  • Dispose of flammables, corrosives and poisons.
  • Have your automobile(s) serviced.

2 Weeks Before Moving
  • Contact your bank and/or credit union to transfer or close accounts. Clear out safety deposit boxes. Pick up traveler’s checks or cash for “on the road” expenses.
  • Confirm travel arrangements.
  • Confirm parking for your trailer.
1 Week Before Moving
  • Finish packing and prepare an “essentials” box. Designate several boxes and items as “last load” items. Pack your suitcases and valuables separately.
  • Drain all gas and oil from your mower and other motors. Gas grills, kerosene heaters, etc. need to be emptied as well.
  • Empty, defrost and clean your refrigerator at least 24 hours before moving day. Prepare appliances for loading.
  • One or two business days before your move, confirm a time to receive your trailer.

Moving Out
  • Inspect your trailer for cleanliness and leaks before loading.
  • Load your goods in a pre-designated order, saving “last load” items for the rear of your shipment. This might include your vacuum cleaner or bed sheets.
  • Check every room, closet and cabinet one last time before deciding everything is loaded.
  • Leave a note with your new address in the house so that future residents can forward any stray mail.
  • Keep a friend or family member informed of your plans and “whereabouts” in case of an emergency or unforeseen event.
Moving In
  • Look things over and to ensure your new utilities have been connected.
  • Check appliances and systems to ensure all are working properly, and arrange for repairs if necessary.
  • Check to see if your mail is making it to your new address or pick up any mail being held.
  • Consider drawing out your new floor plan and decide where you want furniture and appliances placed.
After the Move
  • Keep all receipts and documentation in your move file and store the file in a safe place. You’ll be glad to have everything in one place at tax time.
  • Get a new driver’s license and new tags for your automobile.
  • Register to vote.
  • Contact the local paper for a new subscription.