Skip to content

Not at This Address: A Critical Checklist for Seamless Moving

20110219 - we made it movingIf you’re planning on relocating and do not have much experience picking up stakes, you’re likely to drop a few balls along the way. Unless you’ve done this before, it can be hard to truly grasp the level of work that goes into tearing your life down and rebuilding it. One of the best moves that you can make (pun intended) is to draw up a detailed plan or checklist for everything that needs to get done leading up to the actual move. It’s usually a good idea to get started as early as two months in advance of the big move. It does take that long to get all the pieces of your move lined up. If you’re not sure how to make a checklist, here are ideas on how to get started.

Eight weeks in advance

Starting the process eight weeks in advance may seem like over-preparation. Nevertheless, by the time you’re done, you’ll probably feel that you could have used a bit more time. Since relocations produce plenty of paperwork, it’s a good idea to start with a folder for all of it, and to then set up a notebook for your checklist.

Your folder should hold the quotes and other information that you gather about moving companies. Where possible, you should write down everything you find out about these companies as you do your research online — good reviews, bad reviews and so on. It’s usually a good idea to decide on the moving company, the services to engage them for (you can hire them for just the move or for the packing in addition), and put your name down for a definite date. If you happen to be moving at a busy time, putting it off any further will make it hard to find a mover.

You need to think about what exactly you will take with you, and what you will leave behind. If you can consider decluttering your life, you will have a much easier time preparing for the move. Even better, you’ll be able to rent or buy a smaller house in the new place (discover more here about how a smaller home can save you money). Plenty of guides exist on the subject of slimming down; if you’re willing to start now, you’ll make your move much easier.

When it’s seven weeks

If you’ve managed to identify what furniture, clothes and other stuff you won’t be taking to your new home, you can organize a garage sale, and get rid of it all.

You should begin packing all your stuff into boxes as early as possible. You should order packing boxes, tape, bubblewrap and other materials, and begin putting things away, maintaining thorough inventory so that you don’t have any trouble finding things when you unpack.

Going on six weeks

As the move draws closer, you need to begin preparing for winding down life in your current home. Talk to your children’s school, ask for a copy of their school records, and make arrangements with the school in the new city.

If you have a gym membership, insurance, frequent flyer memberships, cable, relationships with charities and so on, you want to notify everyone of the change in address.

You should talk to your current doctor to make sure that the doctors in the new neighborhood have access to your medical records. It’s a good idea to fill any prescriptions ahead of time so that you won’t run around for your meds when you get there.

You should talk to your current bank about transferring to a branch in the new area, and make sure that all services that you bill for have the new address. Notify the Post Office of your new address should you get new mail.

If you rent your home, you need to give your landlord notice. Right before the move, you should record the readings on your electricity, gas and water meters so that the landlord knows exactly how much to charge you. You may also need to notify the utilities about disconnecting.

A month before the move

You need to make sure that you know how to transport all your pets and plants. If you wish, you can leave it to the moving company. If not, you need to read up on how to do this.

A fortnight before you leave

It’s time to begin packing in earnest. You need to begin filling those boxes, and keeping great records. Whatever boxes you pack, it’s a good idea to put them away in a place like the garage where they will be out of the way. If you have valuables that you need to take care of, they should remain in the house, and under your watchful eye. All fragile articles should be clearly marked.

A week before the move

You need to speak to the movers to make sure that they still have your name down for the right day, and begin to set up a box full of essentials that you will need during the trip to the new place, and also once you arrive at your new house — toiletries, medicines, basic changes of clothes, a few basic kitchen implements and so on. You don’t want to put this box on the truck — rather, you want to take it with you. Arrange for a cleaning crew to come in and clean house after you’re gone.

On the big day

When the movers actually come, you should stay with them to make sure that they handle fragile articles properly. When you’re satisfied that everything’s loaded properly, you should receive your bill of lading, and put it in your moving file. The file should go with you.

Once the movers have left, you should survey your home one last time to make sure that there’s nothing you’ve forgotten. Then, it’s off to your new life.

Jai Corbett has corporate relocation experience and likes to share his insights on how to achieve a less stressful move with an online audience. He writes regularly for a variety of lifestyle and property websites.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Derek, my husband and I recently decided to move to accept a job offer. This is our first big move so we could use any advice! The tip about starting to look for moving companies about 8 weeks in advance seems like a good idea. We will have to keep that in mind.

    • When I moved from Florida to Michigan, I sold large pieces of furniture so I didn’t have to rent a huge moving truck. Then, when I arrived in Michigan, I found a furnished apartment. Even after the apartment, I was able to buy used furniture pieces that were dirt cheap and served their purpose for many years. It’s a fantastic option if you’re willing to buy used furniture!

Comments are closed for this article!

Related posts