As we've discussed, planning your move in advance is a critical way to keep things organized and stress-free during the moving process.
But just how far in advance should you start?
Experts recommend that two full months will give most people enough time to plan appropriately without lengthening the stressful period, unnecessarily.
Follow this practical moving checklist to help keep things organized without overexerting yourself at the last moment.
8-9 weeks before the move:
- Schedule at least 3 moving companies to provide estimates.
- Obtain and fill out a 'change of address' form online or at your local post office. It's best to fill out the form as quickly as possible so that it doesn't get misplaced during the move. However, if you don't know the new address, just save the form in a safe place for future use.
- Survey the contents of your home and begin to get rid of items that will not be going with you.
- Contact your children's new schools to see what records they'll need and where the records should be sent.
- Contact your children's old school to request records for the new school.
- When relevant, contact a realtor (or several realtors) and prepare your house to go on the market.
- Contact a realtor in your new town to determine what type of housing options will best suit your needs and budget.
- If you already know where you'll be living, request a floor plan of your new home to help determine what will or will not fit into your new space.
7 weeks before the move:
- Contact your local clothing and furniture donation point(s) and determine your best pick-up/drop-off options.
- Begin cleaning out your closet and ask your family members to do the same.
- If you've already found a new home, contact the utility companies in your new area and arrange for service, upon arrival.
- Look for doctors in your new area. Make a list of those you are interested in so you can meet them in person, upon arrival.
- Begin eating the food that's in your freezer and cupboards.
6 weeks before the move:
- If you've been using a local email service, notify your contacts about your impending change of email address. Consider creating a free email account and having your email forwarded there, so that your contacts will be able to contact you during the transition (you may even prefer to use this email address for an extended period of time as you can take it with you, if you move again).
- Notify friends and family of your new address (if you already have a new home address).
- Go to the post office and arrange for your mail to be forwarded to your new location.
- Book an appointment with your pet's veterinarian to make sure you have all required vaccinations and records.
- Begin organizing your important documents (and identifying any location-sensitive lost documents that you may want to replace before the move, such as lost marriage certificate).
5 weeks before the move:
- Select a mover and book a date for the move. If you are self-moving, book a moving van.
- Arrange for supplemental moving insurance, if desired.
- If you live in an apartment building, contact your building manager and arrange for prolonged use of the service elevator on moving day.
- When relevant, book a flight to your new location. If you are driving, plan your route. If necessary, arrange for hotels along the way.
- Arrange for magazine subscriptions to be delivered to your new address.
- When moving far away, cancel your newspaper subscription(s). If moving locally, arrange for delivery to your new home.
- Make a list of all companies who will need to know of your change of address and begin contacting them.
- Start packing items that are not used frequently.
- Make a list of all furniture that will not fit into your new space and start planning ways to get rid of it.
4 weeks before the move:
- Submit an IRS 'change of address' form.
- Make a list of everything that will be packed in your hand luggage and make sure that you will have enough room (both in your luggage and, when relevant, trunk of your car) for it all.
- Have your car inspected, if traveling by car.
- Get a copy of your health records and keep it with your important documents.
- Arrange for utilities to be shut down (or for the accounts to be transferred to their new owners) on the evening after the move or the next day. This includes: electricity, gas, phone, internet, and water. Make sure your utilities are not disconnected while you are still moving.
- Contact your alarm company to cancel service, after the move.
3 weeks before the move:
- When relevant, arrange for daycare on moving day.
- Check oft-forgotten areas (garage, attic, basement, etc.) for things you may have forgotten to pack.
- Give away plants you're not taking with you.
- Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles regarding your change of address, if moving within state.
- If necessary, arrange for a storage unit to accommodate your things until your new home will be ready.
- If you are driving long distance, create a song playlist to enjoy during the trip.
- Alternatively, purchase several books on tape to help keep you focused during the drive.
2 weeks before the move:
- Enlist friends to help relieve the stress of last-minute packing.
- Enjoy your last few days at home. Make an effort to see people and enjoy local attractions you'll miss.
- Draft a meal plan for your final week to use up whatever food is left without purchasing new items.
- Return all library books and movie rentals.
1 week before the move:
- Confirm moving date and details with the moving company.
- Close your bank account and arrange for bank checks to deposit money in your new bank. If possible, wire your money directly into your new account.
- Get a bank check to pay the mover, if necessary.
- Empty your safe deposit box and return the key. Make sure to keep your valuables with you or in a safe place.
- Finish packing whatever items the moving company will not be packing.
- Review packed boxes and make sure that they are labeled properly.
- Drain gasoline from lawn mower and snow blower, when relevant.
- Defrost freezer and drain water to prepare for transport.
- Backup all new computer files.
- Arrange for a friend or relative to help with the move and to stay in the apartment with the movers, in case you need to leave briefly.
- Unplug all appliances you are leaving behind.
- Pack all last-minute items.
- Lock all windows and doors.
- Set thermostat properly.
- Perform a final inspection of your old home and make sure you didn't forget to pack any items or disconnect any appliances.
- Review the bill of lading carefully before the truck driver leaves.
- Say goodbye to close friends and family members.