Use this summer moving checklist to make your move a smooth transition.
Moving this summer? Like many other home buyers who just recently purchased a home in the peak buying and selling season, you’re probably working on packing up your stuff and moving into your new home. This is an exciting time! But it can also be stressful and complicated. Stay organized and on track with this suggested summer moving checklist.
Eight weeks before
Assess your belongings.
This may take a while, so start early. Go through all of your things in every room and sort them into five piles: Keep, Trash, Recycle, Donate, and Sell. If you’re moving far and planning on shipping your belongings, and some things will require special packing or extra insurance, consider leaving those behind and buying new after you move.
Ask friends and family.
If you have a friend or family member who has a pickup truck or a van, ask them if you can borrow it to move! Of course, this might not be feasible if you’re moving hundreds of miles away.
Research moving companies.
If you’re moving across state lines, you may already know that you have no better choice than to hire a moving company. At this point, it’s good to research your options. And it’s better to get an onsite, written estimate—don’t rely on a quote they gave you over the phone.
Start a binder.
Keep a binder or folder for all of your documents, such as estimates and receipts. This is also a great place to keep inventory of the items you’re moving.
Transfer school records.
Do you have children in school? A really helpful hint to ensure a smooth transition for them is to visit their new school(s) and have their records transferred to their new school district.
Six weeks before
Buy packing supplies.
Buy cardboard boxes or plastic totes, tape, Bubble Wrap or newspaper, and permanent markers. But before you buy boxes, consider going to a local store and asking the manager if they will save you some boxes from their next shipment.
Use it or lose it!
Any frozen or perishable foods and cleaning supplies that you don’t want to take with you, try to use them up now so you’re wasting as little as possible.
Measure the new home.
For larger and more bulky pieces of furniture, measure the doorways and rooms to make sure your furniture can fit.
Four weeks before
Book your moving company.
After you’ve done your research on moving companies, select the best one for your needs and ask them to send you written confirmation of your moving date, costs, and other details. Make sure you grab the contact information of the lead person responsible for your move so you can quickly and easily coordinate with them.
Pack your heart out.
Let’s get to it! Start by packing the things that get the least amount of use. This could be anything from your slow cooker to your sewing machine. Then, work your way to the essentials you’ll need on moving day, like box cutters and medication. For these items, make a list so you can pack that box right before you move. Electronics (TV, Xbox, etc.) tend to be awkward in shape and require special padding and support, so save the boxes that your electronics came in and reuse them for the same items. For your closet clothes, keep the hanger on, fold them in half, and stack them in larger boxes. This way, you can easily hang them right up when you move in!
Movers commonly make the mistake of disassembling their furniture and either losing the parts or throwing them all in one bag. Save yourself some trouble later when you’re putting the furniture back together and pack parts separately! Put all screws and washers from a single piece of furniture in one resealable bag and label it. Then place all bags of furniture parts in a larger resealable bag so that all parts are in one spot.
Write the contents of each box as well as the room they belong to clearly on the outside of the box. If you want to get creative, buy some colored tape and color coordinate the boxes (blue means bathroom, red means living room, etc.) and keep a key so you know which color refers to which room.
Change your address.
This is crucial! To avoid mail going to your old address, change your address online with USPS. This will forward all of your mail to your new address and will even put a yellow label on the mail that’s coming from senders who don’t know your new address—a nifty reminder to tell them your new address.
Notify important parties.
Anyone that can’t be notified via a simple change of address at the Post Office you should personally reach out to, such as your bank or your employer’s HR department.
Forward medical records.
Finding new doctors in a new place is tough work on its own. Make this part a little easier and have your medical records sent to your new doctors (or obtain copies for your records). If you haven’t found new doctors where you’re moving, ask for referrals and read reviews online.
Two weeks before
Take off work on moving day.
Although this seems obvious, people often forget! Unless, of course, you’re changing jobs as well, then you probably don’t have to worry about this step.
Get a tune up.
Moving across the country? Or to a different climate? Ask a trusted mechanic what your car will truly need. This could be as simple as an oil change or it could mean new tires and air filter.
Confirm with moving company.
Confirm the moving day arrangements with your mover. If you’re moving into a gated community, this is a good time to make sure the movers have the code to enter. Call your community to let them know movers will be coming and see if there are any restrictions or special requirements.
One week before
Stock up on medication you’ll need during the next couple of weeks.
Pack last-minute bags.
Try to finish the majority of your packing a few days before moving day. Don’t forget to pack a few days worth of clothes for you and/or your family, in addition to your essentials box.
Three days before
If your refrigerator is moving with you, make sure to empty, clean, and defrost it at least 24 hours before moving day.
Double-check moving day details.
Reconfirm the mover’s arrival time and other specifics. Give them detailed directions to your new home and give them your mobile phone number so they can contact you quickly if anything comes up.
Confirm payment for moving company.
Get your payment ready, whether that’s cash, check, or credit card, and remember to include a tip. If they do a good job, it’s nice to tip each mover 15 to 20 percent. If your move was especially difficult (cross country, through the mountains, etc.), you might tip each mover up to $100.
One day before
Pack final necessities.
Remember the list of moving day essentials you made earlier? Time to pack that box! Be sure to include box cutters or scissors, tools like a hammer and nails, extra tape, a pen, medication, your toothbrush and toothpaste, your checkbook or some cash, coffee maker and coffee grounds, a mug, dry snacks, tissues, hand sanitizer… Anything you wouldn’t want to be buried in the back of the trailer. Label this box clearly and keep it close.
Buy and refrigerate beverages.
If you’re moving on a hot day, pack some drinks, keep them cool, and save them specifically for your move. You might want to pick up some snacks for the road too! And feel free to pick up extra and offer them to the movers who are helping you.
On moving day
Verify the moving truck.
If you hired a moving company, make sure the moving truck that shows up at your door is from the company you hired. The best way to check this is to look for the USDOT number on the side—it should match the number on the estimate you were given.
Have a safe and successful trip to your new home! Check in with the movers (or anyone else helping you move your stuff) from time to time to make sure everyone is doing well.
Pop open a special bottle and kick back in your new home! It’s a mess right now, but at least you’ve made it! Take a selfie in your new home and share it on social media with #moveinmoment for a chance to be featured on our social media channels! Congratulations and welcome home!
About the Author
Laura is one of our blog authors. Currently living in Charm City, she's a Great Lakes native who likes salsa dancing, brews a mean cup of Joe, and reads the Chicago Manual of Style for fun. As a young first-time home buyer, Laura likes writing educational pieces that dispel mortgage myths and give helpful hints about what the home buying process is really like.