Your Ultimate Moving Checklist

Follow these steps to feel confident closing the door to your old home and starting your next adventure.

Moving should be simple, right? Just pack up your stuff, put it in a truck, and unload it in a different place. But of course, it’s not that basic.

When you’re moving, there are a lot of decisions that come into play. Are you going to move the items yourself, or hire movers? How are you going to organize all of your belongings? The list of considerations is about as long as your to-do list. And for that reason, your best option when heading into a move is to be as prepared as possible.

We’ve scoured our resources to build the best moving timeline for you and your family. Follow these steps, and you’ll be packed and ready for the keys to your new home before you know it!

2 to 3 Months Before the Move

Research your moving options and solidify your budget

There are a lot of options out there, as far as which approach you want to take to moving, and a big factor in deciding between hiring movers and doing it yourself is your budget. Sit down with your spouse and your finances, and nail out exactly how much you are willing to spend.

Decide on an organizational method

A moving binder keeps all your plans, receipts, moving agreements, and other important moving documents in one place. We’d recommend using a ready-made template like this one.

Choose your moving service

After you’ve researched, come to a decision and put the plan in motion. If you are taking the moving company route, it’s necessary to select a moving company and contact them a few months before your move so you can be sure to work out all the details in plenty of time.

1 Month Before the Move

Shout it from the rooftops

Usually we don’t advise telling anyone about leaving your house, but that doesn’t apply here. Tell everyone who needs it about your new address. Let the post office know you need your mail delivered somewhere else, get your utilities and home security system set up at the new place, and make sure you’ve notified your insurance providers. If you have little ones, notify the school of the change, as well as representatives from any clubs or teams your kids are a part of.

Say goodbye to things you don’t want

Start tearing through the bigger clutter obstacles in your home, like the garage, storage rooms, and closets. When you’re going through these places, you’ll discover a lot of things you want to get rid of, which means less to move! Designate a pile to move, a pile to sell or give away, and a pile to throw away/recycle. Don’t procrastinate this step, as there is no point in moving things you don’t want or need.

Stock up on moving supplies

Head to the moving store and stock up on bubble wrap, tape, and packing peanuts, as these are all essentials to moving. Keep an eye out for storage tote sales at Target or other similar stores, as this is a great way to pack a lot in a small space that stacks, and are reusable when you get to the new place. And always be on the lookout for free boxes.

HDS Architecture - Porch

HDS Architecture

2 Weeks Before the Move

Contact your movers

This is a good time to call your moving company (if you’re using one) and make sure everything is in place for the big day. A two-week heads up should be enough time to sort out any unexpected bumps in your moving plan.

Get packing

Now that you’ve decluttered and you know that everything in your current home is going to the new home, it’s time to start packing. Big rooms come first! Start with items that you know you won’t need (like decorative and formal glassware) in the upcoming weeks.

Service your vehicles

It’s especially important to have maintenance done on your car if you’re planning on driving them to your new home. Regardless of whether or not it’s a long journey, check this step off your list for the peace of mind.

1 Week Before the Move

Shed the small stuff

Avoid getting anything new at the grocery store and finish up what you’ve got in the house. Anything you don’t want to eat or bring with you, throw it away or donate it. And if there is anything else you find you can’t move, get rid of it!

Set aside Grandma’s wedding ring

Pack everything you can, while keeping travel essentials and cleaning supplies separated. This is the time to sort out valuables and heirlooms, as well as other things that you want to keep a close eye on during the move.

Make confirmation calls

In addition to checking in with your moving company, confirm any other reservations you have. Any appointments, hotel bookings, and transportation arrangements you’ve made need to be double checked.

2 to 3 Days Before the Move

Clean all the things

Most things should be boxed up by now, so you can start deep cleaning your home. This should include everything from wiping the tops of cupboards to patching up small holes in the walls. Put the kids to work wiping down baseboards and scrubbing the floors, keeping them busy and saving you from back pain.

Defrost your appliances

If you’re moving your refrigerator, deep freezer, or other similar appliances, make sure you’ve defrosted them and wiped them out before the move. There’s nothing worse than transporting a fridge that starts to leak all over your possessions!

Pack the car

Have your personal travel items packed and ready to go. This includes toiletry kits, extra clothes, and any other travel essentials for your family. Organize a cooler of healthy snacks and drinks the day before you go. If possible, keep your car locked in the garage after you pack it.

Moving Day

Get your carbs on

The old adage goes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That certainly applies on moving day as well. Head out to your favorite local diner for breakfast so you have the energy you’ll need to get through today. Best of all, there’s no cleanup after!

Do your due diligence

Record your utility meter readings for your records. When the movers arrive, take the time to read and confirm your moving contract before signing anything or moving things onto the truck. Organize copies of this information and sort it into your moving folder. Keep this folder handy during the trip.

Go ahead, get a little emotional

You need to take the time to do a final walk through of your house. Our advice? Set aside at least 20-30 minutes after everything is packed and spend a little time inside with your family. While this is technically to double check everything, it’s equally as important to use this time to reflect on your home and the happy memories you’ve had there.

If you follow these steps, you can be sure to feel confident when you close the door to your old home and venture off to your next adventure.

Top Image Credit: Metcalfe Architecture & Design

How do you deal with moving? What do you wish you’d done to stay organized the last time you moved?

Holly King

Holly King

Contributor, Porch.com. Holly King researches and writes about all things home, tech and safety related. Her work has been featured on Porch and Safewise.com.

Did you love the post? Tell us about it in the comments below!

  • Hi – I have read the above and am a very well ‘seasoned’ mover – having moved at least 30 times and I don’t know about the ‘moves’ in the US, but in England, Ireland and Spain – there is no way that you could – in your words – ‘Head out to your favorite local diner for breakfast so you have the energy you’ll need to get through today’ – Every time I have moved – the removal men have come about 8.00am in the morning and not left until about 4/5.00pm – I have never yet been able to go out and have breakfast on the day of the ‘Move’ – it is too busy and you have too much to do etc etc.

    Also, I find that if you pack one room at a time – this is more methodical. Although at the end you still have 2 or 3 boxes with ‘last minute’ stuff from some of the rooms i.e. kitchen, bedroom and bathroom particularly.

    We, in the countries above – have our ‘moving supplies’ delivered to us – we do not have to go and collect them – although we still ‘look out’ for odd boxes that will come in handy.

    If you have a big house – you also need more than 2 weeks to pack it all !

    Also, you say once the boxes are packed this is when to do the cleaning – yes you can clean certain things – I always do, but ….. because you have the boxes in most of your rooms – you have a lot of cleaning once the boxes have gone and… obviously until the big furniture has gone out of the house you cannot clean where that has been neither. So…. again you have to wait until the day of the move for the boxes and the furniture to go.

    I usually ask them to clear the boxes out room by room and then when they have cleared that room, then I go in and clean it. So, moving is not a simple job and somethings do have to wait until the day of the removal.

    I agree you have to be well organised, which I am, but it is not all what you say in your ‘tips’.

    • Jacqui Adams

      Hi Denise! Great tips, thanks for adding your experience!

  • LEONETTE RAEL

    Only advice I would have or include:

    Have water/gatorade for yourself and the MOVERS. As an active duty service member I have moved several times throughout my career and I can’t express enough the GRATITUDE my movers always share when we are done. It gives them a sense of worth and appreciation for such an important part of our move. Some of my most valuable memories are being wrapped and shipped by these folks – THOUGHTFULNESS goes a long way & PIZZA too!! 🙂