Relocation is a large task that requires a lot of time, energy and planning. Some people think that getting a few boxes on a moving day will do. Believe me, it won’t. There is much more to it than you can imagine, especially if you are moving for the first time. You need to search for a suitable moving company, plan your budget, purchase packing supplies, pack everything, clean your old home and prepare the new one. Everyone has some advice to give you but no one really provides you with a step by step moving guide checklist. I would like to go through the entire process of moving with you and give you some useful tips you could rely on. Let’s get started!
Where are we moving to?
Most of the people move at least once in their lifetime. Since you are moving soon, that makes you one of 11% of Americans that have moved during the last couple of years. Actually, you are part of the nation that has the biggest number of moves per resident in the entire world. Roughly 35.5 million Americans move each year using different ways of relocation. And where are we moving? Let’s check out our little moving guide checklist and find out where and how to move.
[*Percentages are based on total moves for each state. For example, 65% of moves in Idaho were inbound, meaning that 35% was outbound (to make 100%).]
Why are we moving?
Did you ever wonder what is a good reason for relocation? People all over the world are moving for dozens of different reasons. Some of them are moving for some job opportunity, others are looking for a place to raise a family. While some young folks move for college, others move to be with their special someone. People are getting married and splitting every day. Therefore, the reasons for moving are endless. And actually, there is no good or bad reason for moving, that is one of the things you just need to follow your guts for.
Declutter and downsize
Moving unnecessary items can be both costly and time-consuming. Therefore, think about all the things you don’t need to pack or bring with yourself. Start by asking yourself, do I need to take this with me? We all own a bunch of stuff we don’t use, but we are keeping them for just in case. Well, this is the time to give up this sort of things. All the belongings you didn’t use in a year, you will probably never use again. Hence, get on to decluttering!
There are plenty of options for getting rid of the things you don’t use. You can have a garage sale and earn a few extra bucks for the items that are functional but you don’t use them. Clothes you don’t wear is always nice to donate to charity since there are many people that will really appreciate it. Plus, you get to feel good about yourself.
The broken appliances and other unusable items you should recycle. Take some time to find suitable recycling centers and then give them a call. Some of them are willing to come to your home and pick up the items, which would be ideal. It will save you both time and fuel money.
Make a moving timeline
The best thing you can do in order to have control under your move is to make a moving timetable. Write down all the tasks you need to do, chronologically as you need to do them. After that, you just need to stick to the plan until the end. Consult our moving company guide to get excellent moving organization ideas about what needs to be done in general. Therefore, you will be able to create your own personal moving timeline for your particular needs. Start roughly 4 weeks before moving day, or even earlier. Cover the Big day itself, and go all the way until a few days after the relocation. A good timeline with plenty of details will be your best friend, step by step.
Ultimate moving guide checklist
What to do 4 weeks before moving
- First, pick the exact moving date, and try to avoid holidays and busy days of the week.
- If by any chance you plan the DIY move, this is the perfect time to ask your friends and family for help. Sooner you reach out to them for assistance, the better chances are that you can count on them.
- You really shouldn’t waste your time and resources preparing and packing household items which are forbidden for transportation due to their hazardous nature. Hence, this is the perfect moment to check out the list of all non-allowable items, and figure out what to do with them.
- Remember to cancel your subscriptions and memberships which are related to your old address.
- This is also a moment to decide whether you are going to pack your items by yourself or hire professionals. If you are going to it yourself, this is the time to purchase suitable moving boxes of various sizes and other packing supplies.
- In case you’re shipping your car to your new city, this is a good time to find a trustworthy auto transporter to ship your car. There are many details about shipping a vehicle, but if you are hiring movers, they will assist you with this.
- This is also a moment to gather important documents and make bookings. Get on to storage facility renting, hotel booking and plane tickets. Moving day is coming faster than you think.
- If you have kids, you should start talking to them about moving. Preparing kids for moving can be challenging, better start on time.
Choosing and hiring a moving company
If you have started searching even earlier, that’s even better. Even with moving tips and guidelines, this process can prolong and you don’t want to end up without professional help because you didn’t start looking on time. You can start with personal recommendations since that is the best help you will get at this stage. If some of your friends, family members or coworkers have moved recently, ask them for their experience. Secondly, you should check out the online reviews. But take them with a pinch of salt, and disregard the ones that seem fake.
Once you make a list of moving companies with you have heard or read positive things about and contact them. Try to get to know them better and ask them to provide you with moving estimates. Have in mind that the more detail you give them about your belongings, the more accurate the estimate will be. Write exactly what you are moving and what is the amount and weight of your belongings. Once you collect several offers, compare them and choose the one that suits you best. Write down all the offers in your moving planning guide and timeline. Also, beware the hidden costs. Make sure to ask movers if there are some additional fees and plan your budget accordingly. Only after everything is clear and you feel good about the agreement you have made, you should sign the contract.
Make a survival kit
Once you arrive at your new home, you will need some essential supplies for the first night and morning after. You can put them in a bag or a box, but make sure to keep them on the top of other boxes or on yourself. Because if you cover it with other boxes, chances are that you won’t be able to get to it when you need it. Everyone has their own essentials list, but our relocation planning guide will give you some general suggestions.
Pack a kettle, milk, teabags, coffee, sugar, snacks, toilet roll, and maybe a bottle of your favorite celebratory tipple and some mugs. You can also add bin bags, cleaning cloths, multi-purpose cleaner, a portable phone charger, and tissues. Regarding the clothing, you should probably pack your pajamas and something you will wear the next day. And don’t forget some essential toiletries, such as toothbrush and toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo, and a few towels.
2 weeks before moving
- Contact your movers in order to make sure things are going according to plan.
- Get in touch with your current utility companies and determinate the date when your services will be disconnected. Also, call your new service providers in your new city and arrange their timely re-connection.
- Again, this doesn’t apply to you if you have hired professional packers. But if you didn’t, you should start labeling the boxes. This task seems like a minor detail but it important and you will probably be too busy to deal with it later. When you label your boxes properly, you will avoid the damage and unpack faster after the move.
- Living in an apartment building, you might need to reserve the elevator for your moving day with the building management. And if you are hiring movers or renting a moving truck, you maybe need to get a parking permit for the vehicle or vehicles.
- Our guide recommends starting using up all the food supplies you won’t take with you. If you have a lot of it, you can invite some company and make a nice dinner.
- You maybe think it’s too early, but this is actually a perfect time for you to start packing. Start with things you don’t use frequently and won’t be needing them until a move is over. And if you have a garage or storage, this is a moment to pack it. It takes quite some time to pack a garage, so better dedicate an entire day to that.
- Are you planning to organize a goodbye party for your friends or your kids’ friends or maybe both? If yes, this is a good time to organize it. You probably won’t have enough time to make anything fancy, so keep it simple and spend time with your friends, not preparing the party.
1 week before moving day
This is the time to be excited! The new chapter of your life is soon to begin! Hence, put on the big smile and continue with your moving preparations.
- It’s time for packing marathon! And don’t be so optimistic to assume it will be over in a day. Also, don’t leave it for the day before the moving day, if you don’t want to be tired and possibly not packed. It would be nice to keep all the remaining packing materials that you can use again and recycle the ones that are not usable anymore.
- This is a good moment to check if you have some unpaid bills and pay them. And don’t forget to keep the receipts!
- Start disassembling your larger pieces of furniture, like dressers, beds, and desks. In case you can’t handle that task on your own, professionals can do that for you.
- If you have rented or borrowed books or some other items, now would be a good moment to return them.
- Your packing marathon should be ending very soon. Make sure you have packed smaller boxes with heavier items and the larger ones with the lighter ones. This way, you will avoid possible damage or breaking items.
- This is also time to schedule the cleaning that you have to do. Make a final cleaning and make sure you are leaving your old home in good condition.
- Unless you’re moving across town somewhere close by, moving and packing your houseplants can be a bit problematic. Professional movers probably won’t move your plants under normal circumstances, and you will maybe need to move them yourself. Make sure to check that with your movers before the moving day comes.
2 days before moving day
- According to your packing and moving timeline, there should be no more packing jobs left for you to do. All your household items should already be packed up, labeled and ready to go. But make sure you check every room in your home again to stay on the safe side.
- Make sure you defrost your refrigerator and get it ready to for transfer unless you are leaving it behind.
- You could also ask your neighbor, the new owner or renter to forward your mail until your address change kicks in. This way you will avoid losing your mail.
- Collect all your valuables and important documents and make sure you have them on you all the time.
- Most importantly, go to bed early and make sure you get a lot of sleep before the big day.
On a moving day
Rise and shine, it’s your moving day! The first task you should complete is not to panic. Panic is your enemy and it’s not even helping you to do things faster, it’s only making you anxious and ruining your sleep. Therefore, take a deep breath. Everything is going to be ok. Get up early, have a nice cup of coffee and a big breakfast.
- Make sure to take a watchful tour around your soon-to-be-old home to make sure you didn’t forget anything. If you did, pack it now. It’s not a bad idea to leave one extra box for this situation.
- Try to keep your kids and pets away from the spot where your movers are taking and loading boxes. Having someone to keep an eye on them in a safe room in the house would be ideal.
- If you have hired movers, greet them at the scheduled time, show them around and let them do their magic.
- If movers are here, they will hand you some documents. Most important of them is the lading bill. Read it very carefully and make sure you know what you’re signing. The services you agreed earlier should be there with prices you agreed on. Never place your signature on incomplete or blank documents. Also, you should get a copy of landing bill. Keep it, that is your receipt.
- Make sure your movers have the accurate destination address and your phone number in case something unexpected comes up.
- Take one last walk and look around your home and make sure it is well secured before you leave it.
- Then just relax and have a safe trip to your new home.
How much the moving last?
This mostly depends on the distance of your relocation, whether you are moving around the corner, across the country or something in between. But our moving checklist includes a statistic for a moving duration based on average moving distance. This is not exact, but it can help you plan your time. Also, this applies only to moves handled by professional movers.
After the move
The last and often hardest step of moving is unpacking. Wondering why is that? Chances are that you will be absolutely exhausted and worn out after all you’ve done over the past few weeks. You are thinking you could just let those boxes sit there for a little while. After all, you deserve some rest after the hard work, right? You sure do. But the problem is that the little while becomes a week, and then a month, and then before you know it, months later, you’re still surrounded by packing moving boxes. But don’t worry, we got you covered.
The trick is that your home or business move checklist and timeline shouldn’t end here. On the contrary, it should include steps for unpacking after the move as well. Let’s go through some general steps to help you unpack and get your home organized. In the blink of an eye, you will be all settled and unpacked at your new home.
Room at a time rule
This should really be the golden rule, simply because it’s better to have one room complete than three rooms half-done. Another idea for the families is for everyone to go to their own room to unpack. This way every member will have time to get familiar with its new place and to handle their personal items on their own. This is especially important for teenagers and children. It will build a sense of belonging to the new home and children will feel part of the process. Encourage them to feel the place and make it their own. Large, multi-use rooms better save for weekends, because you will need more time for them.
- After assembling beds and other key pieces of furniture you can start with the kitchen. It is usually the most complicated room and the one that is critical to structuring family life. Also, the faster you have the kitchen organized, the less money you’ll need to spend on take-out and pizza.
- Get the bedrooms completed, or at least unpack and organize that current seasonal clothes. You will soon go back to work and kids will return to school. Therefore, it’ll save a lot of time and frustration if everything you need is within easy reach.
- Bathrooms should go next. You have probably packed essentials for getting the shower, but after you unpack all your toiletries you will be able to finally relax and take a long nice bath.
- Family room, living room or media center are probably the most challenging for unpacking. If you have moved with family, you can make unpacking this room a little family project. Which makes it a great opportunity for bonding at your new home. First, make sure that the TV, stereo and DVD player are properly connected and then take care of the details.
Now just relax
You have done an amazing job and take a moment to enjoy it. If you don’t need to go back to work immediately, this is a perfect moment to settle down and adjust to your new home. Make the first meal, watch the first movie. All the first things are always exciting, enjoy them while they are new. Also, you can get to know your neighbors. Don’t be shy, just knock on their door and introduce yourself. It’s great when you have good communication with people living next to you. Then take a walk through your new neighborhood, go grocery shopping and check out the local coffee shops and restaurants. Soon you will have your favorite places and people will start saying hi when they see you. Before you know it, you will feel like home.