6 Weeks until Your Stress-free Move — The Moving Checklist

Download full article Moving ranks # five on the list of things people dread most. Death of a loved one, divorce, and bankruptcy lead the list. Moving is next…tied for # five on the list, with an I.R.S. audit, and just in case you’re curious, #6 on the list is a full-mouth teeth extraction. Our task here is to remove “moving” from the list entirely. We provide you a schedule to get all the things done you have to get done—efficiently, on time, without stress, and without regret. I am firmly committed to the notion that a written, itemized inventory and job cost estimate is by far the best way for a consumer to approach the task of moving. Get three different estimates. Not only will it clarify the scope of the job for you, the competitive bidding will save you money. It will also put you in the driver’s seat in any conversation that you have with movers. The best time to schedule an estimate is during the same time period realtors are showing a house to prospective buyers. With a stream of people through it, the house is organized, and it creates a sense of urgency for your prospective buyers.

6 Weeks until Your Move

  1. Get yourself one of those multi-pocket file folders, the type used for legal documents. This will allow you to aggregate your moving related receipts, important papers, timetables, and important notes in one central location.
  2. Start to use up those things that you can’t move, such as frozen foods and cleaning supplies.
  3. Remember to take some time to research your new city and community.
  4. If your employer is responsible for the move, verify your moving budget and clarify your responsibilities.
  5. Understand which expenses are tax-deductible.
  6. Grab your itemized estimate, and on a separate sheet of clean paper make three columns and label them:
    • Items NOT to be moved – Junk, papers, magazines, and books are heavy. Throw them away if you can, donate or sell them if you prefer. Many of our clients take advantage of the storage option. Do you need a dumpster? Offer your neighbor a chance to split one with you. Save your money today or pay for it on moving day.
    • Items to be moved by the MOVER – Are you sure you want to do your own packing?
    • Items that you will move YOURSELF – List your other car(s), dogs, cats, plants…you get the picture.
  7. Make a list of the people you have to notify of your move: friends, professionals, creditors, subscriptions, prescriptions, etc. What services will have to be suspended? Phone, cable, trash?
  8. Account for all of your motor vehicle and registration documents.
  9. Make a list of the important personal records you will have to aggregate to take with you: school, medical, legal, accounting. Request the professional referrals you need.
  10. There are 10 items on the list this week. Tackle two of the tasks each day, and you won’t feel overwhelmed. You’ll get the weekend off, and it will give you a relaxing sense of control over the entire process.

5 Weeks until Your Move

  1. Submit change of address forms to the post office.
  2. Arrange special transportation for your pets, plants, other car, etc.
  3. Arrange to disconnect/connect all utilities – gas, electric, oil, water, telephone, cable, and trash, at your old and new addresses. Keep your origin phone and utilities connected through move day.
  4. Arrange insurance coverages at your new address – auto, homeowners, renter, medical, etc.
  5. Plan your yard sale to sell those items that will not be moved, arrange your donations, or reserve your trash bin…and the junk? The earlier you throw it out, the easier it will be to breathe.
  6. If you’re moving a distance, make whatever travel arrangements and reservations you will need.
  7. Locate any additional important papers, insurance, will, deed, stock, etc. Aggregate them into your moving folder.

4 Weeks until Your Move

  1. Create a floor plan of your new home and decide where you want your furniture to go.
  2. If you’re moving out of or into a building with elevators, contact the building supervisor to schedule use of the elevator and reserve space for the moving truck. Are there any other guidelines you have to adhere to?
  3. If you are doing some or all of your packing, have your mover drop off whatever assortment of boxes and paper that you’ll need to begin. It always takes longer to pack than most people assume. An early start puts you in control and reduces anxiety or stress. Start by packing those items that you will not need until after your move. As soon as you seal a box, make a notation of the contents on the side of it, and mark the room that the box is to be delivered to at the destination. Pack for one to two hours a day, then move on to another task. There’s plenty of time.

3 Weeks until Your Move

  1. Keep packing and marking those boxes. A little bit every day keeps you driving the bus.
  2. Get the cars in for their final service.
  3. Review this list to date to make certain nothing has fallen through the cracks. You’re in complete control now.

2 Weeks until Your Move

  1. Contact your moving consultant to update the estimate, and confirm all arrangements and details of the move.
  2. Keep packing. Box essential items together. Mark those boxes “Open First/Load Last.” When you move into your new home, these items will be easily recognized and available for immediate use.
  3. It’s a good idea to let the movers pack your more fragile valuables, like glassware, dishes, pictures, lamps, glass tops, etc. They have a proven methodology to protect these fragile items.
  4. Arrange to close the bank accounts at the origin and open them at the destination. All of those charge cards will have to be re-issued.
  5. Secure the contents of your safety deposit box, pick up dry cleaning, return library books and rented videos, etc.
  6. Drain gas and oil from the power equipment, lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc.

1 Week before Your Move

  1. Recheck your list—is everything on schedule?
  2. Prepare specific directions to your destination for your driver. Make sure that the moving company has your cell phone number, or any alternate number, so you can be reached while in transit.
  3. Are there any major appliances that have to be disconnected or serviced prior to the move? What about chandeliers or pool tables?
  4. Prepare your “trip kit” for moving day. This is your survival bag. It contains whatever essentials you will require for the trip. Load this into your car prior to the move. You don’t want your kit to be accidently packed onto the truck.
  5. Call ahead to make sure that the utilities have been turned on at the new house.
  6. If your moving consultant does not call you first, call him to confirm when the truck will arrive for pick up. Are there any last minute changes or needs?


  1. Make sure someone is home to welcome the movers and answer any questions that might arise.
  2. Review your floor plan so you’re sure where your furniture and appliances are to be placed.
  3. If it’s hot out, have cold drinks freely available for the movers. If you don’t offer, they won’t ask.
  4. Moving is a service industry and tips are an important addition to a mover’s income. Reward each mover just as you would your waiter. If the service is impeccable, tip them accordingly. I promise you they will work harder than any waiter or waitress you’ve ever had. Also consider that the pick-up crew may not be the same as the one that delivers your furniture. Both teams will give you their all.

At the Destination

  1. Plan to be present when the moving truck arrives. Have the driver call you when he’s an hour away.
  2. As each piece comes off the truck, have the movers call out the inventory number so you can check it off as being delivered in good order. This is an important task and one person should focus on this duty.
  3. Another person should be responsible for directing the placement of the furniture. This division of duties will streamline the move-in and prevent bottlenecks.
  4. Once everything has been unloaded, accounted for, and placed, the movers can unpack the boxes that they packed and remove the packing debris should you so desire. If you are doing the unpacking yourself, unpack what you’ll require for the first few days and pace the rest of you unpacking over the next couple of weeks. Focus on making your new home your home.
  5. It will all soon be over. You’ve been organized and timely; nothing fell through the cracks. When anyone asks, you’ll tell them moving was a breeze. Enjoy your new home.