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Two Months Before

  • Moving Binder: Use a 3-ring binder with sufficient pockets to keep all documents (estimates, receipts, and your household inventory) in one place.
  • School records: Visit your children’s school to arrange for their records to be transferred to their new school district. This may take time, so do it as early as possible.
  • Sort and purge: Going through every room of your home, decide what you need to keep and what you can live without. With items you don’t need, determine whether they can be donated or simply thrown away. Donated items will be gratefully accepted at your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, Disabled Veterans, or your local place of worship. Also, note those items that might need special packing or additional insurance coverage during your move.
  • Create Inventory: List all items to be included in the move, room by room. This list will not only be useful when the movers are loading and unloading your items, but will also help you order a sufficient number of moving and packing supplies. This inventory list should be checked every so often to ensure that all the items you are moving are on the list and those items you will not be moving are not on the list.
  • Research:  The sooner you can begin investigating moving companies and your moving options the better. Ask whether the moving company has the proper DOT requirements and insurance.

Six Weeks Before

  • Order supplies: From your inventory list, determine the number and sizes of boxes and specialty containers (dish barrels/wardrobe boxes), tape, bubble wrap, and permanent markers. You can purchase moving supplies from a variety of sources.
  • Use More, Pack Less: Begin using up things that you don’t want to move, such as frozen or perishable foods and any open cleaning containers. There are some items that are strictly forbidden by law to be transported by a moving company, such as motor oil, fuel, propane, BBQ/Charcoal starter, etc. Unless you plan on moving any of these items yourself, either use them up or find someone who could use them.
  • Take measurements: Measure the dimensions of each room in your new home. Make sure that your existing furniture and appliances fits into the rooms of your new home AND that they fit through the doorways. Another good tip is to affix signs to each room (particularly bedrooms) identifying which boxes go where. For example “Susie’s Bedroom”.

One Month Before

  • Choose Company: Contact your choice as soon as possible. Moving companies’ schedules fill up pretty quickly, in order to get the moving date you want. Get written confirmation of moving out/in dates, costs and other details. Also, understand which forms of payment they will accept, ie: credit card, personal check, money order, and/or cash.
  • Begin packing: First start packing those items that you use less frequently, such as certain kitchen equipment, outdoor sports/games, out of season clothing, shoes, holiday decorations, tools, etc.
  • Label: Clearly label and number each box with its contents and the appropriate room in your new home it is destined for. Create, and label appropriately, boxes that will exclusively include those items you will need to begin using immediately in your new home. If you have multiple bedrooms, it would be most helpful to the moving crew if boxes were labeled with the name of the person whose bedrooms items are inside. For example “Susie’s bedroom”.
  • Separate out valuables:  Create a box to include valuable items such as jewelry and important files/documents that you will personally transport to your new home. Create another box to include those items that are not transportable by moving companies that you will personally transport to your new home. Items such as motor oil, fuel, propane, BBQ/Charcoal starter and open containers of cleaning items.
  • Change of Address: Visit your local post office or go to to report your change of address. You may also ask a friendly neighbor to keep an eye out for mail not affected by forwarding orders, such as magazines and newspapers.
  • Notify important organizations: Notify the following (if appropriate) of your move: banks, brokerage firms, your employer’s human resources department, magazine and newspapers that you subscribe to, and insurance, utility, cable, phone companies.
  • Forward medical records: If you are moving a long distance, you may want to have your medical records forwarding to new health care providers. If you haven’t selected new providers, obtain copies of your medical records yourself so that you have them ready when you do.

Two Weeks Before

  • Take Off Work: Notify your employer that you need to take off on moving day to supervise the move. You might also consider, if you’re able, taking the day after your moving day to give yourself some time to either continue unpacking or a well-deserved day of rest.
  • Tune up your vehicles: If you are moving a long distance or into a climate different from your current location, consider having your car ‘weatherized’ for the new climate.
  • Banking: If you’ll be changing banks, remove the contents of your safe-deposit boxes and include these items in the box you have set aside for your valuables that you will personally transport to your new home.
  • Contact Moving Company: Call the moving company to reconfirm all of the details of your move.

One Week Before

  • Refill prescriptions: If you are moving long distance and if possible, stock up on prescriptions medication to last a couple of weeks after your move date.
  • Pack suitcases:  By this time, you should have everything packed and boxed except the essentials. Pack suitcases for everyone in the family with enough clothes to last a few days.
  • Arrange Child Care:  Arrange child care if you have small children and do not want them to be present during the time the movers are unloading into your new home.

A Few Days Before

  • Defrost the freezers:  If you are moving your refrigerator and/or freezer, be sure they are empty, clean and dry. Plan that defrosting may take at least 24 hours.
  • Double-check the details: Contact the moving company to reconfirm details such as ensuring they have your correct current and new addresses and your specific contact information including, perhaps, alternate phone numbers.
  • Plan for payment: If prepayment has not been arranged, obtain money order or have enough funds in an active bank account to write a personal check, or have the cash for payment and/or tip. Tipping is always optional, but if the crew has done a good job and you want to tip, 10 to 15 percent of the total cost of your move is industry average. If your move was especially difficult, you might tip each crew member more. Don’t forget, refreshments are always appreciated.

Moving Day

  • Verify: Make sure that the truck that shows up, is from the company you hired. Check for uniforms and signage on the truck or official documents in the possession of the crew.
  • Take inventory: Using your original inventory list, check off items as the moving crew brings them into your new home.
  • Stay focused and relaxed: The process of moving can be very stressful. Stay focused on the task at hand and give yourself sufficient breaktimes.
  • Check for damage: While reputable moving companies take certain measures to protect your belongings and residences, damage isn’t always avoidable. Before the moving crew leaves your current and new home, check for existing damage.