It happens to all of us that we forget to bring or pack some things when going on a trip, but that is one of the things you can’t afford when relocating cross country. A comprehensive moving to-do list is something of a must-have in these situations because it can save you from a world of stress and boost your efficiency. Keep in mind that the key to every successful long-distance move is planning – and sooner you begin with it, the better.
This free checklist is the only thing you'll need when relocating to a new house or apartment.
Here, we would like to go through some essential stages of every relocation. Sometimes, when carrying out a last-minute relocation, you may not have the time to follow all the steps, but try taking the most out of them and organize the days at your disposal wisely.
Could This Be the Most Epic Moving To-Do List and Why?
You’ve been thinking about it so much, and you’ve finally decided to relocate. Know that your life won’t be business as usual in the following days and weeks. If you are not in a rush of any kind, it is better to give yourself a proper month or two to organize everything and minimize the possibility of moving stress. That is why we’ve decided to create the most comprehensive list that is going to cover all the aspects of a successful relocation. Of course, you are free to rearrange these steps and customize them to suit your needs because every relocation is different. Moving to a smaller home is not the same as relocating from an apartment to a house.
How Early Before the Big Day Should You Start With a Moving To-Do List?
Ideally, it would be two months or eight weeks prior to your move. But we are aware that not everyone has that much time. In many cases, people have only a month or less to pack their entire life in boxes and move away. Besides, some people are just naturally more organized and don’t panic in nerve-wracking situations. So it all varies from case to case. But in general, if you can, take it step-by-step and don’t rush. For our checklist, we relied on an 8-week plan because we found it to be the ideal timeframe to begin preparing for the big day.
A checklist will help you track your progress day by day.
Eight Weeks Prior to the Big Day: the Top of Your Checklist
Here we are, the first step in your relocation. The big news just got confirmed, the papers have been signed, it’s official: you’re relocating. Now you need to think logistically and to organize it all cleverly.
But where should you begin? Is it too early to pack essentials? Call to schedule auto transport services? Or go house hunting and get that thing off your list first? Let’s try to come up with a structure and start everything on a good note.
The first big matter you have to decide on is whether to do it all on your own or hire experts to do the job for you. If you opt for the latter, know that there is no such thing as a successful relocation without reliable companies that can handle all your requests professionally and provide impeccable moving services. Hence, if you don’t want your relocation to turn into a nightmare, you have to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company that won’t low-ball you.
Things You Should Tackle First:
- Find a reputable company. In case you are wondering how to find a reliable moving company, that’s actually quite a good question because there are a lot of scammers in this industry. Don’t go for the lowest offer you get; cheap options are tempting, but there’s usually a catch. Also, don’t forget to check the company’s USDOT number.
- Insurance. Besides the basic and mandatory insurance coverage, you should consider getting an extra one, especially for valuable and fragile items. Many companies offer that as well, and it is usually well worth it once it’s all over.
- Research. Check for banks, doctors, veterinarians, insurance companies, as well as schools in your new area. All those things can take time, so it’s better to begin working on them as soon as possible.
- Create a binder. You’ll need it. Work on it from day one, so all your necessary papers and information stay in one place.
Tips for successful relocation always include making a checklist.
7 Weeks Before: Should I Start Packing Already?
Although packing is the first thing that crosses our minds when we think about relocation, it is not the only one. There are so many tasks you can and should do before you proceed to putting belongings into boxes. But what you can do at this stage is to go through the rooms, scan everything to get an idea about the things that will go with you, as well as those that you can leave behind or sell.
Steps to Be Taken
- Packing supplies. Do you know how many types of packing materials there are? A lot. You can get moving boxes and other supplies on your own, or rely on relocating companies that offer packing services and all the necessary supplies.
- Schedule an in-home estimate. If you have researched a few companies and you’ve narrowed down your choice, you can schedule an in-home estimate. It is usually free, and it will help you get a more precise idea about expenses.
- Relocating budget. Do you have a budget? Are you wondering how much do movers cost for a one-bedroom apartment? The price mostly depends on the weight or number of your stuff and the type of service you require. Also, now would be the ideal period to pick your movers and sign the contract.
- School records. If you have children, now is the time to go to their schools and collect all testimonials and records.
An in-house estimate will help you get a better picture of the expected costs.
6 Weeks to Go: Time to Get Rid of Some Stuff
We all have some clothes we never wear or things that are just collecting dust and taking up space. Now you should get rid of them because, firstly, you won’t use them in your new home either, and secondly, transporting them will cost you more. So why not save some money and make your relocation easier to handle?
Tips for Getting Rid of Unwanted Items
- You can ask your friends if they need anything from the stuff you no longer use if they are still in good condition.
- Another option is to donate old clothes, toys, blankets, shoes, etc. to various charity organizations and shelters.
- Sell something – Wondering how to have a successful garage sale? Just spread the word about it online, and people will come to you. This is a good way to earn some extra money for relocation.
Put everything you don't need in a box and donate.
5 Weeks More: It Is Getting Real
As we are slowly approaching the last month, you should start paying attention to some details and slowly begin packing. At this point, you can pack some items that you don’t use so frequently, like seasonal clothes, garage tools, etc. You should also check out our guide to what movers won’t move, so you know what can’t be transported in a truck with the rest of your belongings. Those items can also be sold online or gifted.
Things to Do by the End of First Month
- Take measures. Measure your bulky items and furniture, as well as doorways in your new home, so you can check if everything can go through. Your new living room might be bigger or smaller than the current one, so you need to think about rearranging the layout.
- Use everything. If you have any perishable or frozen foods, you should consume them because most companies won’t accept to transport them. Stop doing big grocery shopping, do some home cooking, and purchase only the things you know you will be able to use up before leaving.
- Let your friends know what’s going on. Now you can start telling your family members and friends that you’re leaving soon and avoid startling them at the last minute.
- If you haven’t ordered supplies, now is the ideal moment for it because you will start packing soon. Purchase special containers such as dish barrels, wardrobe boxes, mattress bags, or any other kind of supply you think you might need.
- Organize your labeling system. The best labeling advice for relocation we can give you is to organize everything on time. Will every room be marked with a different color, or with a number? It doesn’t really matter. What is important is that you know what goes where. Also, a massive inventory list is a must at this point. Make sure you have enough permanent markers, packaging tape, label stickers, box cutters, etc.
Figure out how you're going to label your boxes so that everything can be easily found.
You’re Halfway There
As the big date slowly approaches, it seems like there are more and more things to take care of. Those are usually some small things, but with so many of them, it is easy to overlook something. By this point, you should already have a signed contract with reputable movers. Your relocation date, costs, and all the details should be arranged. The reality is, you are moving out this month. So soon, you can start pa(ni)cking.
Things to Do During Your Last Month in the Old Apartment
- Change your address. So many people forget to do this, but it is actually so easy, and you can even schedule the date you want. You can rely on our guide to changing your address when moving if you are doing it for the first time.
- Take a look at all the services you are using and change your address on all relevant accounts. For example, magazine subscriptions, banks, credit cards, and insurance companies, etc.
- If you are still working, ask to take some days off around your relocation in advance, and consider hiring a babysitter for children. Or a pet sitter if you have pets.
- Make sure to forward your medical records to your new health care providers, and make a copy for yourself.
Don't forget to inform all the companies and services about the change of your address.
Just Three More Weeks
Ok, so now, when all the basics are covered, you can really focus on those boxes. But also don’t forget to dedicate some attention to your new place. In case there are any remodeling works to be done, painting, cleaning, etc., do them now, so it is all done by the time you move in.
- Gather all valuables and separate them from the rest of the stuff that goes into boxes.
- All important documents and papers should travel with you if possible.
- Make a photo inventory of everything that is going to be transported, so you have proof in case anything gets damaged during transport.
- Schedule disconnections for utilities such as gas, electricity, water, etc.
- Make sure you have enough boxes and slowly pack rooms one by one.
Organize your clothes by seasons.
Last Two Weeks
By now, you should’ve already solved all the major issues, and all that is left is to slowly fill up every box and protect every belonging. You should also check if your address changes have been confirmed at all the places you requested the change. However, there are still some things you can do, whether you are using auto transport services or not.
Things You Shouldn’t Forget
- Clean your car, inside and outside, and take it to a mechanic for a check-up.
- Make sure that your appliances are clean, defrosted, and ready to go.
- Pack some more stuff, leaving only essentials for the final week.
- You can leave some important notes and papers for the new owners of your place, for example, warranties, recommendations, tips, and your contact number.
Your four-wheeler should also be prepared for the big day.
The Final Week
The last week in your old place is usually the most stressful one, because no matter how much we try to stay calm, there is always something on our mind, triggering our anxiety. You should finish packing all of your things, leaving only the stuff you’ll need on the last day. Your food supplies should be empty. If there’s something you know you are not going to use, donate it instead of throwing it.
Last Week and the Last Day in Your Home
The last day can be pretty hectic and chaotic, so we recommend you finish everything on time. Here are some of the things that should be sorted out in the last few days:
- Dispose of all flammable items such as chemicals, paint, etc.
- Back up all the data from your computers.
- Do a thorough cleaning of your house or hire a cleaning company to do it.
- If it feels like there is some extra stuff you don’t want to bring, call a charity organization and arrange a pickup.
- Don’t forget to turn off all the utilities.
Once the last box is sealed, you are ready to leave your old house.
The Bottom Line
As our ultimate checklist finally comes to an end, we hope it will help you stay organized and have a stress-free relocation. After all, every relocation is different, but we are sure you will find the best way to handle everything with a little bit of patience and forward-thinking.