Local moves are less complex than those that involve long-distance travel, but the more stuff you have, the earlier you’ll want to start organizing your move. Use the following moving checklist and timeline to plan your move and ensure that it goes smoothly.
4-6 Weeks Out
- Begin sorting storage areas: Identify closets, cabinets, and other storage areas that need to be sorted and purged of unneeded items.
- List unwanted items for sale: If you have furniture, electronics, collectibles, or other potentially salable items you’d like to get rid of, you’ll want to list them for sale on Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon as soon as possible so that you have plenty of time to complete the necessary transactions.
- Order moving supplies: Inventory your belongings and order boxes, packing materials, packing tape, labels, and any other specialized supplies you might need.
- Organize moving help: Whether you plan to use friends or hire professional movers, now is the time to get your move scheduled.
2-4 Weeks Out
- Donate any unwanted, unsold items: You’ll want to get these out of the way as soon as you’ve finished sorting and selling, to clear space and eliminate confusion as you start packing.
- Inventory valuables: Make a list of everything of value that needs to travel with you on moving day. These items include important records, expensive jewelry, small electronics, sentimental items, and collectibles.
- Begin packing rarely used items: Anything that you don’t use on a weekly basis can be boxed well in advance of moving day.
- Notify important parties of your move: Give employers, banks, credit card companies, insurance providers, doctors, lawyers, and subscription services plenty of notice of your upcoming move.
- Arrange moving day child/pet-care: Having these arrangements in place will help guarantee that your move goes smoothly and give you peace of mind.
- Apply for parking permits: If you need to reserve moving-day parking in front of your current or new home, apply for permits sooner than later.
- Start using pantry and freezer items: Now is the time to thin out your heavy canned and dry-goods, as well as any stockpiles of perishables.
- Begin exploring your new neighborhood: If you can squeeze in two or three field trips before moving day, you should feel almost like a resident before you move in.
1-2 Weeks Out
- Schedule utility end- and start-dates: Notify cable, gas, electric, water, garbage, and phone services of your upcoming move and schedule end dates for your current services and start dates for new services.
- File a change of address: It usually takes the post office a few days at most to process your request and start forwarding mail.
- Host a goodbye gathering for neighbors: If you’re close with your neighbors, consider organizing a formal send-off to allow everyone to exchange goodbyes and well-wishes. This can help prevent moving-day stress.
- Begin packing in earnest: Now’s the time to get serious about packing anything you don’t use on a daily basis.
- Start deep cleaning: Hire professional cleaners, or start scrubbing, filling nail holes, steam cleaning hard-surface flooring, and shampooing carpets yourself.
- Check in with moving and child/pet-care help: If friends and family have agreed to help you on moving day, confirm that they’re still available, and make any needed alternative plans.
1-3 Days Out
- Assemble your “first few days” kit: This should include clothing, bedding, towels, toiletries, and coffee-making supplies.
- Round up your valuables: Pack your valuables and set them aside in a safe place.
- Pack all remaining items: Now is the time to start living out of your suitcase and depending on take-out for sustenance.
- Gather moving day snacks: Keep fare light and easy to eat. Power bars, fruit, and bottled water are good options.
- Get cash tips ready: If you think you might want to tips your movers, make sure you have the cash on hand. If you are using Dolly, you can skip this step! All payment and tipping is done in the app.
- Make a final moving day plan: Figure out who will do what and in what order you want to load your belongings.
- Disassemble furniture: The night before your movers arrive, take apart any furniture that needs to be disassembled, with the possible exception of your bed.
- Put out “No Parking” signs: If you have a parking permit, put out signs to reserve your space now.
- Drop off kids and pets: Before movers are scheduled to arrive, get kids and animals to their caretakers for the day.
- Disassemble any remaining furniture: It’s also good to get this done before any moving help arrives.
- Load essentials into your own vehicle: These include your “first days” kit and your valuables. You may also need to move any perishables or hazardous materials that your movers can’t move.
- Supervise movers: Give clear instructions and be available to answer questions. If you’re moving with friends, lead the loading process.
- Do a final walk-though: Once all helpers have cleared the area, take a final look around to make sure everything is in good condition and none of your belongings have been left behind.
Whether you’re just moving down the hall, or you’re heading to a whole new part of town, make sure you’re ready with our complete guide to moving.