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Most people don’t move very often, so when it’s time to move, the task can seem pretty daunting. To help you prepare, we’ve created a checklist of things to do before moving day.
It’s important to create a plan for when to accomplish certain tasks in the weeks leading up to the move. If you stick to it, you won’t be as stressed as the move gets closer, and important things won’t get overlooked.
We suggest spreading moving tasks throughout at least a six-week period, but feel free to adjust the timeline to whatever works best for you. Here’s our week-by-week checklist for moving into a new home.
What to do six weeks (or more) before the move
1. Book professional movers
Moving companies are often booked out months in advance, so prepare to hire professional movers as soon as you know your moving dates. Research at least three companies, read customer reviews, and compare prices. Then book the movers that best fit your needs.
2. Organize your records
If you're moving out of town, keep handy any records you might need. This includes school, medical, and veterinary records. Your records may be electronic; if this is the case, make sure you know where they’re located and can access them easily when needed. If your records are hard copies, put the documents together in a folder or somewhere else you can keep track of them easily. When going through papers, toss what you don’t need before the move. You may need to dispose of certain records safely if they contain personal information.
3. Measure your furniture
If you have furniture that was brought into your house in pieces and then assembled, there's a chance that some items might not fit through the front door when you move. Measure large pieces of furniture to check if they can fit through the door. If needed, create an action plan for items that are too big.
4. Use food in the freezer and pantry
Some food you can’t move or is a hassle to move. Take inventory of the items in your freezer and pantry, and note what needs to be consumed before moving day. This way, your pancake mix and frozen pizza won’t go to waste.
What to do four to six weeks before the move
1. Order boxes and other moving supplies
Get plenty of supplies to help you pack and organize your belongings. Supplies can include boxes, bubble wrap, tape, markers, and mattress protectors. You can find what you need from places like your local U-Haul and Amazon.
2. Pack items you don’t use regularly
Pack items you don’t use frequently or year round first, items like seasonal decorations, sports equipment, and specialty kitchen appliances. If your home has a basement, attic, garage, or any outdoor spaces, look in these places for items you can pack early on.
3. Start small
Because moving can feel like a monumental task, it’s tempting to procrastinate packing. But remember, you don’t have to do it all at once! Start by labeling boxes and packing what you can room by room, leaving what you need for daily life the next few weeks. If you need help, try asking family members, friends, or roommates to assist you with more straight-forward tasks.
What to do two to four weeks before the move
1. Notify the post office
Two weeks before your official move-in day, notify the post office of your new address. You can do this online by completing a form and setting up mail forwarding. Mail forwarding typically lasts one year. During that period, anything with your previous address is automatically forwarded to your new house.
2. Notify other companies
Notify any company that sends you mail of your new address, including your utilities company, banks, and delivery services. Subscriptions to things like magazines and catalogs are not included in USPS mail forwarding, so you need to manually change your address with those companies. Don’t worry about changing the address on your license and vehicles until after you move.
3. Pack the bulk of remaining items
Pack most of your remaining items, leaving only what you use on a daily basis. To stay organized, keep a master list of where everything is packed and label boxes in as much detail as possible.
4. Toss or donate items you don’t need
As you go through your items, you’ll likely find things you no longer use or need. To avoid bringing clutter into your new house, hold a garage sale or donate any items you don’t want. You can also make electronic copies of documents and toss the hard copies.
5. Make arrangements for your pets
Moving can be stressful for pets. Make arrangements for your pet to be with a family member, at a kennel, or in some other safe space during the actual move. This will help not only your pet but also you — you’ll have one less stressor on move-in day. You’ll also want to create a plan to transport your pet to the new home, ideally in your own vehicle.
6. Clean the house
Sometimes cleaning the house is part of your real estate contract. Even if this isn’t the case, it’s wise to leave the house clean for the new owners. You can tackle cleaning chores incrementally, just like packing. If possible, consider hiring cleaners to deep clean once most of your belongings are out of the house.
What to do the week of the move
1. Pack an overnight bag
Pack an overnight bag to prepare for the first night in your new home. Like you would for a vacation, put together a bag with toiletries, clothes, entertainment, and food for the day of the move.
2. Pack an essentials box
Make sure you and anyone else moving with you have all the basics you’ll need when you arrive at your new home. Essentials can include bedding, towels, toilet paper, medications, utensils, and cleaning supplies.
3. Get your car serviced
If you are moving long distance, get your motor vehicle serviced beforehand. This can help you avoid car-related issues when driving to your new home.
4. Take care of cooking equipment
If you’re taking your fridge with you, empty and defrost the refrigerator and freezer at least 24 hours before the move. If you own outdoor cooking appliances, drain gas from your grill and other equipment.
5. Double check the logistics
To avoid last-minute surprises, confirm the details of the move ahead of time. Contact your real estate agent to confirm the dates and closing information. Call the moving company and verify the moving date.
6. Cancel your utilities
Call your utility companies to cancel your utilities before you move out. Just make sure to keep them active through moving day.
7. Say goodbye
Whether you're moving long distance or across town, plan some gatherings with people near your current home. Give everyone a chance to say goodbye to places and people that hold happy memories.
8. Do a final walkthrough
Before you leave, take one last look around the house. Check closets, cabinets, and other areas not in plain sight one last time to avoid leaving anything behind. Review your home checklist to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
Frequently asked questions about moving into a new house
What essentials do I need to move into a new house?
You’ll need a few basic household essentials to add to your moving into a new house checklist:
Clean bedding and pillows
Chargers (for phones, tablets, and other electronics)
Overnight bag (with clothes, a toothbrush, etc.)
Plates, cups, and utensils
Bathroom essentials (a shower curtain, toiletries, towels, etc.)
Tool kit (with a flashlight, batteries, a hammer, a screwdriver, etc.)
Home security system
It’s stressful to get to a new home and realize you don’t have the items on hand you need. Prepare ahead of time, and put together a comprehensive house checklist so you have what you need when you arrive.
What things should I do the week before moving into a new house?
The week before moving into a new house, put together a moving into a new house checklist. This list can help you stay organized and less stressed. Your moving checklist should include the following items:
Hire help with the packing and moving process.
Set up a change of address.
Put together basic household essentials for moving day.
You’ll need to meet with your real estate agent and lending provider to sign paperwork, handle any closing documents, and finalize the sale. Clear your schedule for the move-in day so you can focus on the move. It's also a good idea to check the weather for that day and prepare accordingly.
What should I do immediately after moving?
After moving to your new home, you’ll want to complete certain tasks as soon as possible. Before unpacking, deep clean the house. Hiring professionals might be worth it to help alleviate some of the stress of the move.
You’ll also want to set up security systems as soon as possible, either yourself or through a security company. Change the house locks, even if the previous owners already did. Someone you don’t know might have a key, so rekeying the doors can help eliminate some safety concerns. Test the smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and the HVAC system to ensure they are functioning properly. Walk through the house to see if anything needs to be fixed right away.
If you haven't already, call the utility company to transfer utilities and change your address with the post office. Within 30 days of your move, you’ll also need to change the address on your license and motor vehicles.