The Ultimate Moving Checklist

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Your wrist may be sore from signing two inches of mortgage documents, but the real fun begins now! You need to transfer your family’s medical records, host a garage sale, discontinue the utilities — oh, and pack up all your earthly possessions and get them from Point A to Point B. It is possible to get it all done without losing your cool: Follow our 8-week timeline to get from “We’re moving!” to “We’re home!”

8 Weeks Before

Sort. Walk through every room and open every drawer; decide what to take to your new home and what to get rid of. Make a list of “keep” items that will require special packing or extra insurance coverage.

Purge. Donate items you no longer want, or host a yard sale.

Hire movers. Research moving companies. Always ask for the mover’s U.S. Department of Transportation license number; whether the company is bonded; and whether the company is licensed for interstate moves, if you’re moving out of state. Request in-home estimates to receive the most accurate pricing.

Contact your children’s school. Notify the school that you’re moving, and obtain copies of your children’s records. Contact new schools for enrollment and record-transfer procedures.

6 Weeks Before

Make travel arrangements. Book hotel stays if you’ll need lodging on the road or before your new home’s ready; book any necessary flights.

Order packing supplies. Purchase standard boxes in various sizes; bubble wrap; packing paper; packing tape; and specialty containers, such as wardrobe and dish-pack boxes.

Contact your doctors. Obtain copies of medical records for all family members, or have the records sent to your new physicians. Haven’t found new ones yet? Ask your current doctors for recommendations.

Contact insurance agents. Find out whether your move necessitates changes in your medical, dental, vehicle or personal property insurance.

4 Weeks Before

Start packing. Begin with items you use only rarely or seasonally (e.g., fondue pot; pool toys); save items you use frequently (e.g., TV remote; your toothbrush) until just before moving day. Snap photos of valuables and pack them separately; you’ll carry those items with you.

Label, label, label. Mark each box with its contents and the room it’s destined for in the new house. The only exception: Don’t list contents on a box that contains valuables, to avoid theft.

Inventory. Keep a running list of each packed box, its contents and what room it belongs in. Later, you can match this against your moving company’s inventory sheet.

Measure. Ensure that all of your belongings can make it out of your old home and into your new one; measure any tall, wide or oddly shaped items, as well as any doorways or tight spaces they’ll need to fit through, so there are no surprises on moving day.

Update your computer. Download any necessary software updates and ensure that all of your files and photos are backed up to an online cloud storage service or an external hard drive that you’ll carry with you.

Make arrangements for pets. Book a pet sitter or care facility for moving day. If you’re moving out of town, make travel plans for your furry friends and ensure your veterinarian has authorized your pets for the journey.

Contact utility companies. Instruct existing utilities to disconnect services the day after your move; direct new utilities to install services at least a day before you arrive.

Consider storage. If your new home won’t be ready when you leave your old one, research storage options in your new community.

Clear the freezer. Start using up frozen food items that will be a hassle to move. Then, tackle the pantry and fridge.

Visit an auto mechanic. Get an oil change, tire fixes and any necessary tune-ups to ensure that your car survives the move.

Change your address. Visit USPS.gov or your local post office to officially change your address. Leave your forwarding address with a neighbor, just in case.

Alert important parties. Notify your employer, banks, credit card companies, subscription services, friends and family of your move.

2 Weeks Before

Confirm the movers. Contact the moving company and double-check your plans. Make sure the insurance in place is enough to cover your valuables.

Clear out. Empty out storage units, safe deposit boxes and any other off-site storage spots. And don’t forget to pick up your dry cleaning.

Take time off. Evaluate how many work days you’ll need to make the move, and then request time off from your employer.

Clean the rugs. Have area rugs cleaned; they’ll arrive rolled and wrapped from the cleaner, ready to unroll at the new house.

Pay it forward. As you pack, gather warranty information, manuals and other house-specific information in a binder for the new owners.

1 Week Before

Finish packing. Aim to complete the general household packing a couple of days before moving day.

Pack your bag. Your last bag should contain at least one change of clothes — or more, if you’re moving out of state — for each person in the family, as well as all of the basics (e.g., phone charger, toilet paper) you need to survive for a few days without the items on the moving truck.

Visit the pharmacy. Refill any prescriptions you’ll need for the next month, and arrange to transfer prescriptions to a pharmacy in your new community.

Unplug. Disconnect and clean any large appliances (e.g., washing machine, fitness equipment) you’re moving; contact a professional to disconnect gas lines. If you’re moving your fridge, defrost the freezer and clean it at least a day before you move.

Make your last donation. Arrange for a final pickup of all remaining items in your “donate” pile.

A Few Days Before

Confirm the movers … again. Triple-check arrangements with the moving company. Verify how much you’ll owe on moving day, and what forms of payment are accepted. Ask for a cellphone number for the day-of contact, and confirm the crew’s arrival time. Prepare written directions to your new home and hand them to the movers on moving day.

Get the keys. Arrange to receive the keys to your new home, or schedule the realtor or landlord to meet you on moving day.

Donate food. If you’d rather move fewer boxes, donate nonperishables to a local food pantry.

Disassemble furniture. Place screws, brackets and fasteners in a small plastic storage bag, and label it. Even better: Tape the bag to the furniture’s underside.

Get rid of it. Most movers prohibit moving boxes that contain paint, aerosol cans, matches, alcohol and other chemicals. Properly dispose of these items, or plan to move them yourself.

The Don’t Pack List
Keep these items off the truck and close to you on moving day:

Important documents (e.g., passports, marriage license, birth certificates, any records containing bank account information or Social Security numbers)
Checkbook
Credit cards
Medication
Phone and charger
Laptop and charger
Toilet paper
A change of clothes (one for each member of your household)
Snacks and water (for kids and pets)
A child’s special toy or blanket (if they can’t bear to pack it)
Jewelry
Flashlight
Tape measure
Toolbox
Trash bags
Paper towels
Cash
Any other valuables, heirlooms or irreplaceable items

Moving Day

Current Home:

Say goodbye. Take time to say a proper “so long” to your old house before things get hectic. Children, in particular, benefit from some closure: Walk through the house recalling fond memories you have, and talk about what fun you’ll create in your new home.

Meet the movers. Greet the moving crew and ensure that all workers are representatives of the moving company you hired. Be sure the moving truck’s U.S. Department of Transportation license number is the same as the number on your estimate.

Supervise the load-in. Assign a helper to watch the moving crew stack your belongings inside the truck, keeping an eye out for damage.

Clean the old house. Tidy up rooms as the moving crew empties them, or consider hiring a cleaning service.

Keep valuables with you. Be sure the movers don’t mistakenly load boxes containing your laptop, jewelry, passports and other irreplaceables you should keep near you at all times.

Make a final walk-through. Lock your old home’s windows and doors, turn off lights and ceiling fans and make sure nothing’s left before you leave for good.

New Home:

Roll out the carpet protector. Lay down plastic carpet protector at the new house, if your movers haven’t already done so.

Show the moving crew around. Point out specific rooms so boxes end up where they belong.

Watch for damaged and missing items. Your movers will make an inventory sheet, called the “bill of lading,” that notes the condition of your items, including damage to any boxes or furniture.

Pay the movers. Complete the transaction using the payment method you agreed to when you confirmed the move. If the moving crew did a good job, a tip of 10 to 15 percent of the total fee is customary.

Get it in writing. Before the movers leave, sign the inventory sheet — and make sure the mover in charge signs it, too. Get a copy for your records.

Do an initial clean. Vacuum and mop floors before you set down furniture; wipe down countertops; and do a deep clean of tubs, showers and toilets.

Assemble furniture. Grab your toolbox and start reassembling furniture; don’t wait until your helpers have gone home.

Start unpacking. If you notice any damage to your boxes, set them aside until the moving company can return to inspect them. Take photos of the damage for your records.

The Master Moving Day Checklist

The Master Moving Day Checklist

The big day’s here! Make sure to tick off every item on this moving day to-do list, from greeting your movers at your old house to rolling out the rug in your new one. Plus: the phone numbers you’ll need, and what items to keep off the truck.

Current Home

Say goodbye. Take time to say a proper “so long” to your old house before things get hectic. Children, in particular, benefit from some closure: Walk through the house recalling fond memories you have, and talk about what fun you’ll create in your new home.

Meet the movers. Greet the moving crew and ensure that all workers are representatives of the moving company you hired. Be sure the moving truck’s U.S. Department of Transportation license number is the same as the number on your estimate.

Supervise the load-in. Assign a helper to watch the moving crew stack your belongings inside the truck, keeping an eye out for damage.

Clean the old house. Tidy up rooms as the moving crew empties them, or consider hiring a cleaning service.

Keep valuables with you. Be sure the movers don’t mistakenly load boxes containing your laptop, jewelry, passports and other irreplaceables you should keep near you at all times.

Make a final walk-through. Lock your old home’s windows and doors, turn off lights and ceiling fans and make sure nothing’s left before you leave for good.

New Home

Roll out the carpet protector. Lay down plastic carpet protector at the new house, if your movers haven’t already done so.

Show the moving crew around. Point out specific rooms so boxes end up where they belong.

Watch for damaged and missing items. Your movers will make an inventory sheet, called the “bill of lading,” that notes the condition of your items, including damage to any boxes or furniture.

Pay the movers. Complete the transaction using the payment method you agreed to when you confirmed the move. If the moving crew did a good job, a tip of 10 to 15 percent of the total fee is customary.

Get it in writing. Before the movers leave, sign the inventory sheet — and make sure the mover in charge signs it, too. Get a copy for your records.

Do an initial clean. Vacuum and mop floors before you set down furniture; wipe down countertops; and do a deep clean of tubs, showers and toilets.

Assemble furniture. Grab your toolbox and start reassembling furniture; don’t wait until your helpers have gone home.

Start unpacking. If you notice any damage to your boxes, set them aside until the moving company can return to inspect them. Take photos of the damage for your records.

Moving With Kids: How to Keep Them Happy and Occupied

Moving With Kids- How to Keep Them Happy and Occupied

The Big Move didn’t sound so overwhelming at first. Donate all your extra stuff, organize and pack what’s left — no biggie. But now your toddler’s wailing about how he’ll miss his friends and your daughter is going ballistic about starting a new school, which makes you feel like throwing a tantrum yourself.

Moving can be tough on kids, particularly if you’re leaving the only home they’ve ever known. So before the moving truck arrives, step back from the boxes and focus on making this transition a good one for your little ones.

Give them a sense of control.
Two keys to keeping yourself and your children sane during a move: Give your kids an age-appropriate purpose and help them envision specific things they can look forward to in your new home. That’s the advice from Lori Collins Burgan, who authored the book Moving With Kids after moving five times in seven years with her husband and three kids.

For children, the disruption in their routine can feel truly overwhelming. The solution? Give them specific tasks they have control over. For example, ask each child to pick out and pack a special backpack especially for the move. They can stuff it with activities for the car or plane, their most prized stuffed animal and a few other comforting belongings. Talk to them about their new neighborhood and let them choose the first new restaurant you’ll try. Ask them to think about what color they’d like to paint their new bedroom or whether they might want airplane or racecar bedding. It’s harder to have a meltdown when you’re having fun.

Ask them for “help.”
You’ll need to label your moving boxes anyway, so turn that task into an art project by giving the kids markers and stickers to transform them into cardboard masterpieces. In the meantime, you’ll get a chance to wrap up your fragile items. Consider giving each child his or her favorite color marker to color-code the boxes, making the boxes easily identifiable.

Older kids can help fold, organize and pack their clothes. Just remember to set aside a favorite outfit for each kid for moving day. Ask younger kids to help sort their belongings into categories — pajamas in one pile, shirts in another — making it easier for you to pack. (Now’s your chance to match up random socks! Loners become hand puppets, since the other toys are getting boxed up.)

Need to keep the kids out of your hair? Set up a play tent or box fort in the middle of your living room. That way any mess will be confined inside.

Make the new place feel like home.
Before moving day, shop for a few items that’ll serve as welcome-home gifts. Pick out a few fresh decorations for their new room, or let older kids select items they like. Got a sports fan? Pick up a team poster to show support for your new hometown heroes. A guidebook of local plants and animals will give children things to identify while they explore.

Once you arrive at your new house, help the kids get settled into their rooms before you tackle the kitchen unpacking. As much as you might want to find your forks, your transition will run smoother if you get the kiddos settled into their new digs first.

What to Clean Before You Move In

What to Clean Before You Move In

Your dream home sure looked spotless during the open house. But gird yourself: No matter how clean the place seemed, it’s likely there are some dirty surprises in store for move-in day.

Sanitizing the bathtub’s a good place to start (you bought someone else’s house, not their bath grime!), but don’t stop there. Before you unpack, buy some rubber gloves, stock up on your favorite cleaners, replace your vacuum’s HEPA filter and hunt down these not-always-obvious dirt hotspots that old homeowners often leave behind.

Heads up!
Step into the dining room and inspect the chandelier. If you find spider webs or dust, use a cleaning system that includes a soft microfiber cloth on an extendable, bendable handle to wipe that mess into submission.

The crown molding throughout the house may be gorgeous, but you should check to see whether dead bugs and dust lurk between the wall and the molding itself. A microfiber cloth or the nozzle attachment on your vacuum works well here. You’ll need a step ladder, of course.

Keep your chin up and check out the ceiling fans; clean the blades before they spin all that dust into the atmosphere. If you’re binge-cleaning at midnight and run out of clean microfiber cloths, remember: An old sock (worn on your hand) or dryer sheets double as dusters.

Hmm, what have we here?
Scan the main living areas of the house for unexpected cleaning projects. Did the former residents keep a sofa strategically placed over a huge scuff on the hardwood? Work your magic with cleaners designed to restore specific surfaces.

Did pets precede you? Don’t just clean the carpet — de-flea it (ideally before you move in). Wipe down the doors (knobs, too!), paying close attention to the lower half, where pets may have pawed or scratched.

The refrigerator vent is probably screaming for some cleaning, too. Don’t skip this one; the dusty buildup is a fire hazard. Vacuum away (bet you’re feeling good about that new HEPA filter now).

Inspect the dishwasher. Any gooey gunk in the food filter? Eww. Give it a good white-vinegar rinse, and deodorize the garbage disposal while you’re at it.

Appliances (sadly) don’t clean themselves.
You didn’t peek inside the furnace during the inspection, did you? Clean or replace the filter, and if you feel comfortable doing so, clean the fan and blower assembly — or call in a pro: The expense may be offset by your energy savings.

Scheduling a professional cleaning for ductwork is a smart move. And now’s the time to replace air filters and clean out dusty water-heater closets.

Investigate the laundry area. Sterilize the washing machine (there are cleaner tablets for this job). Then, turn to the dryer and clean out the lint trap and its cavity; wipe it down with a damp cloth before replacing the trap.

It may take some elbow grease to get these messes out of your way, but you’ll be glad you did — then, you can entertain fearlessly when you throw your housewarming bash.

Welcome Home? 10 Weird Things Former Residents Left Behind

Sometimes, you move into a new place and discover something so odd, it makes you shudder: a pizza left in the oven; a bayonet in the closet; chicken bones in the wall. What a welcome! Here are 10 especially bizarre “housewarming” gifts.

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Not a Bright Idea

When a Maplewood, New Jersey, family moved into their new house, they were literally left in the dark by the seller’s peculiar actions: He’d replaced every working lightbulb in the overhead fixtures with burnt-out bulbs.

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Say Cheese!

A Fort Lauderdale, Florida, woman was cleaning out her new home’s basement closet when she saw something pink, white and scary lurking in a corner: a set of false teeth! As if that weren’t strange enough, when she contacted the previous owners, they said they didn’t want the chompers.

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Showing Signs

When you walk down into your new basement and see a big, bold warning sign marking the area as a blast zone, you can either worry — or laugh. That’s precisely what happened to two new homeowners in Chicago, who found the sign so hilarious, they decided to keep it!

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Get a Load of This

One Phoenix homeowner went to the laundry room of his new abode, where a basket of dirty clothes was sitting on top of the washing machine — but the clothes weren’t his. Ewww.

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Nailed It!

People collect lots of things, from stamps to dolls to baseball cards, but an Ann Arbor, Michigan, transplant surgeon left behind a collection worthy of Ripley’s Believe It or Not. When the new homeowners opened a bathroom drawer, they found it was full of human nail clippings.

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Who’s Hungry?

When you open the oven in your new home, the last thing you expect to find is someone else’s dinner. But that’s what happened when a Seabeck, Washington, woman found a large pizza left by the hungry (but forgetful) previous owners.

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Fowl Play

If you run out of garbage bags, where should you dispose of dinner remains? Behind a metal grate in your home, apparently. An apartment dweller in Washington, D.C., unearthed a trove of chicken bones when the power company came to update his electric meter and removed the wall grate. Wonder where the leftover mashed potatoes are.

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Holy Moley!

While doing some gardening in the front yard of their new Little Silver, New Jersey, home, a couple dug up what they first thought was a doll, but turned out to be a statue of a saint. Following religious tradition, the home’s former occupants had buried a plastic St. Joseph to bring them good luck in selling their home. It worked!

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No Fighting!

An apartment dweller in Brooklyn, New York, found an engraved 19th-century ceremonial French bayonet on a closet shelf in his new rental. He ended up giving it to his brother, who hung it on a wall in his home. It was a particularly meaningful find, because their late mother was from France.

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Creature Discomforts

When a family moved into their dream home in rural Idaho, they were surprised to find it was already occupied — by a colony of snakes. Constant hissing sounds and odd-tasting tap water led to the discovery of thousands of serpents that refused to vacate the residence; the owners eventually moved out.

Don’t Make These 19 Moving Mistakes

Rounding up, packing up, lifting, trucking, lifting again and unboxing every single item you own unfortunately leaves some room for error. Cross your fingers, double up on tape, and whatever you do, don’t commit these 19 hilariously bad moving mistakes.

1. Give up on packing and just move the whole house.

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2. Booking the first “cheap moving van” that popped up on Google, then being disappointed when a cheap, moving van shows up.

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3. Remembering that your phone charger’s in there … somewhere.

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4. Not bending at the knees.

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5. Loading too much on the dolly.

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6. Using a box cutter to open your kid’s belongings … and Mr. Wiggles is at the top of the box.

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7. Thinking one string is enough.

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8. Being a lounger and not an unpacker.

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9. Failing to pack Great Aunt Doris’ china securely.

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10. Assuming your coffee table would fit in the passenger seat.

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11. Underestimating the size of your figurine collection.

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12. Not checking the weather on moving day.

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13. Purchasing bubble wrap but not earplugs.

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14. Instructing the truck to head to Springfield, Fla. … and the truck ends up in Springfield, Ill.

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15. Forgetting to make moving-day arrangements for Fido.

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16. Asking your party-animal buddy to help you move.

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17. Insisting on doing it all in one trip.

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18. Reassembling every table and bookcase, and somehow having these screws left over.

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19. Boxing yourself in and just giving up.

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