Moving into a new home requires one of the longest checklists you’ve probably ever seen. With that being said, this is not a complete list of what to do, as a book would be better suited to get you fully prepared. However, here is a condensed moving checklist of some of the major things you need to think about during the couple months leading up to move-in day.
Organization is key to a stress-free move, so start the process by getting an organized binder that will allow you to keep notes and any receipts or paperwork together. Keep track of what you have left to do in the process as well as what you have completed. You can also start your list of all the people and businesses who will need an updated address for you once you get moved in.
If you aren’t planning to move by yourself, start calling movers as early as 8 weeks before move-in day to get quotes and schedule them for the big day to help you move. Before you call, make an inventory of your home’s belongings, starting with the big items such as pianos or beds or dressers and ending with an estimate of how much you’ll have to move. To get the best estimate, have a mover take a look in person and consult a minimum of three different companies to make sure you get the best price for your belongings.
Before you near the packing process, you want to be sure you know what you’ll actually want to pack versus throw out in either a donation pile or yard sale if you have enough to get rid of. Keep in mind that you’ll make both the moving and move-in process a lot better if you only pack the things you plan to keep. This is your chance to declutter your home, so don’t waste the opportunity.
Since you’ll start packing soon, go ahead and start collecting boxes anywhere you can find them, as well as packing tape and sharpies. To keep boxes organized, consider choosing different color sharpies and even special boxes for special items such as your wardrobe.
Start using any food that you won’t want to move such as frozen or refrigerated items. Keep in mind that you will also need to unplug your freezer and refrigerator closer to time in order to let it thaw out, so don’t have a lot of food left to go to waste. Plan your meals wisely so you have enough to eat and don’t waste much in the process.
You can’t pack up everything at this point, but at least the stuff you know you aren’t going to need for the next month. If you don’t cook a lot, you can start condensing your cookware into boxes. If you have a guest bedroom that won’t be in use, you can start packing it up. Every little bit you pack now is less you’ll have to worry about later. As you start to put things away in boxes, make sure you stick to a system so everything stays organized. Keep boxes separated in categories such as by room and by object such as Bedroom 1: sheets, Bathroom: towels, or Living Room: wall decor.
Call these departments at your current and future locations to cancel, transfer, or set up a new service:
Unless you are okay with your kids or pets running around while you’re trying to get your new home in order, your best option is to have daycare arranged in advance. Delaying to make arrangements may leave you scrambling on move-in day to find an emergency sitter.
To make sure you don’t find yourself with any TV or internet during your first days in a new home, call your service providers early in the process to schedule a time for them to set up your services.
Since closing day will definitely take all day, let your employer know that you will need the day off and possibly even a second day to finish out the major parts of moving.
By this point, you may have been able to start updating your address for subscription-based places and doctors or stores where you likely won’t be receiving any mail from anytime soon. In case some people don’t get the memo though about your move, you need to either go to your local post office or visit online to fill out a change-of-address form. For one last failsafe, also check in with your neighbors or even the new inhabitant of your home for the weeks following move-in day to see if you have any stragglers.
Moving into your new home isn’t going to be a task you complete in one day. In fact, it could take you a month to get fully unpacked, depending on your method and persistence. To help you survive during the first week or two, pack a suitcase with the essentials until you can get your home unpacked, livable, and organized.
By this point, you shouldn’t have much food left in your refrigerator and be able to pull the plug. A couple days before move-in day, take whatever is left out and let the freezer start thawing. If you wait until the day off to unplug it, you’ll have a big mess to clean up later.
The flow of the big day will be based on how well you have prepared during the weeks leading up to it. Problems will probably come up throughout the day, but just stick to the plan and try to get as much help from friends and family members as possible to support you through the hectic process. Regardless of how it goes, one thing is certain: at the end of the day, you’ll be living in your dream home.