The ultimate moving checklist

Nobody ever accused moving of being an easy process, but that doesn’t mean you should be ripping out your hair when it’s time to change houses. Like with any complicated event, you can simplify and streamline your move by following a comprehensive checklist. Follow this helpful timeline for a stress-free moving experience.

2 months before move 
While your moving date might seem like it’s light years away, two months before the big event is the perfect time to start your preparations. You’re not going to pack up essentials just yet, but there are a few crucial steps you can complete 7-8 weeks ahead of time.

First, create a list of any repairs you need to make to your current home before you can officially leave. Start making these fixes as soon as possible so they aren’t  issues further down the line. If you’re currently renting, your landlord may require a 60-day notice before you terminate your tenancy. If so, let him know now before you forget. Real Simple magazine noted that two months ahead of your move date is also a good time to research moving companies. Read reviews, ask around and get estimates before you commit to one company, recommended the source.

“During this time, acquire school records.”

During this time, you should acquire school records for your children so the transfer process can be quick and easy. Do some research and determine where you’d like to enroll them, and reach out to your schools of choice to find out what your next step should be.

At this point, you may want to start a “moving binder,” or a file where you can keep this checklist and any other moving-related documents. Consolidating everything at the beginning will make finding receipts, statements and legal papers much easier later on.

6 weeks before move 
The six-week point is when things start to feel more real – and your actions need to reflect this.

At this point, you should be all set with new schools, day cares, babysitters and nannies. You should be in the process of finding new doctors and obtaining your family’s medical records so that everyone will have a healthcare provider ready to go in your new city. Finalize your decision surrounding which moving company you want to use, and book a moving truck rental if that’s part of your plan.

Six weeks before the move is also when you should order essential supplies like bubble wrap, boxes, tape and markers. If you have unique or difficult-to-pack objects, be sure to order the proper packing supplies needed to safely transport these items. Martha Stewart recommended contacting insurance agents at this point in the process as well to determine whether you’ll need to make any adjustments to your existing policies.

Use this checklist so you don't forget about anything during the moving process. Use this checklist so you don’t forget about anything during the moving process.

One month before move 
With just one short month to go, you’re in the homestretch! Don’t get too comfortable just yet, though – there’s still plenty of work to be done.

During this time, alert the postal service of your address change, and do the same with magazine and newspaper subscriptions. And while you’ve probably been gradually inventorying all your belongings, now’s the time to buckle down and do some serious cataloging and organizing. Go room by room and figure out what items you’re bringing with you, what pieces you’re throwing out and what you want to sell or donate.

Once you’ve gotten rid of excess belongings, you can start to pack. Start with things you use infrequently, like seasonal decorations or specialty appliances. Real Simple magazine explained that you should keep a thorough record of any objects you pack that are valued at over $100 per pound for insurance purposes.

A month prior to your move is also the perfect time to order services like natural gas and electricity, as well as DSL high speed Internet service and cable TV service. Finish any outstanding home repairs at this time, using the list you created a few weeks ago.

Two weeks before move 
You’re only two weeks away from the big move, but your to-do list is still pretty full.

If your move requires travel arrangements like flights or hotels, make sure you have them booked and call to confirm your reservations. Do the same with your moving company and any repair or cleaning services you may have to order as well.  If you need to take time off of work for your move, make sure your boss has been notified of your impending absence, recommended Real Simple magazine.

At this point, your boxes should be packed save for the essentials. If there’s any food in your fridge, get creative in the kitchen to try and use it up before your move date comes. Avoid any major trips to the grocery store now, since you’ll either be tossing the extra food or it will just add more boxes to your already sizeable haul.

Does your move involve a long car trip? If so, get your vehicle serviced at the two week point. You may also want to get some kid-friendly road trip distractions if you have little ones who may not be the most patient of movers.

By now, you also should have done some research on your new neighborhood. If you’ve been too busy to really scope out the area, at least make sure you know where the closest grocery and hardware stores are, since you’ll likely need at least one of these shops during your move-in process.

1 week before move 
Now that it’s crunch time, you should just be wrapping up loose ends. Don’t let living out of boxes frustrate you too much – you’re almost the proud resident of a new home.

“Do your best to stay focused.”

The week before your move is a hectic time, so do your best to stay focused and prevent important tasks from slipping through the cracks. Refill prescriptions, run errands, plan meals and pack any house plants you want to bring with you. Do a final walk-through of your current home and pack up everyday items that are still being used. Be sure to hit the ATM at this point, too. You’ll need cash to tip movers, and it’s a good idea to have money on hand for any unexpected moving emergencies.

Moving day
The big day is here, and you’re more than prepared to take on whatever comes your way.

On the day of your move, you should supervise the movers to make sure everything’s going smoothly. Before the movers leave, make sure that you’ve signed the bill of lading and inventory. Put your receipts in your moving binder so they don’t get lost. During this point, you should also sign up for mover’s insurance and double check that your mailing address has been changed. Once everything’s been loaded into trucks and cars and you’re officially ready to leave, do one last sweep of the house. Shut and lock all the windows and doors, turn off all the lights and close the blinds.

After the move is over 
In addition to unpacking, you still need to take care of some final details in the few weeks post-move. You should notify friends and family members of your new address by sending out cards or emails. You should also order pool maintenance and landscaping services and call an exterminator to eliminate any pesky critters. Once you’re settled, be sure to order a security system for your new home as well.