The ultimate moving checklist


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So, you’ve decided to move. Be it for a new job, a fresh start, for a new adventure across town, the nation, or the globe, moving is a great way to kick off change in your life.

But, before you start assembling boxes, folding clothes and bubble wrapping your most prized possessions, there are a few key steps — some financial and some practical — you might want to take to ensure a seamless transition. Here’s a moving checklist that might help you get from your old home to your new place with relative ease.

Related: What are the typical closing costs for homebuyers?

3 months before the move

Pick a date and make a moving budget

Pick a day to move: Assuming you already have your new place on lock, and assuming you have already discussed the move with your current landlord or have sold your current home, a good first step is to decide on the day to move.


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The cheapest times to move are typically during the week and in the mornings. It’s best to move on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday as moving companies might offer better rates during the week because they aren’t as busy.

Beyond the day of the move, you might also consider attempting to schedule your move in the morning because the temperatures aren’t as hot then, making the job just a bit easier for your movers (and for you, if you’re assisting). And, as an added bonus, it could help you get to your new home by the afternoon if your new move is close by, which means you’ll have the entire day to unpack.

Pick a mover: Once you’ve picked the day it’s time to pick the mover. You could send out a few quote requests to local movers, check out the reviews online and go with your gut on who you believe will take the best care of your belongings. (Note: Ask if the mover offers moving insurance. If not, it may be a good idea to seek out a third-party moving insurance vendor.)

Create a budget: You know those movers above? Yeah, they can cost a lot of money. According to Zillow, the average per hour cost to move less than 100 miles with the help of two movers is between $80 to $100 per hour on average. For a move 100 miles or more you should expect to pay anywhere from around $2,000 to $5,000 (or more).

For your budget, you’ll likely want to factor in the cost of movers, if you’re going to incur any penalties for leaving a lease early, ending a phone, cable, or internet package early, any and all repairs you need to make for your new home and the transportation cost to get to your new place. Then, add in the cost of any additional items you need to buy for your new place.

Inform the important people in your life: Now might be the time to share the news of your move. Yes, tell your family and friends, but also tell other important people about your departure schedule, such as your children’s school and your boss. That way they have plenty of time to make plans.

Beyond people, you may also want to contact a few government agencies. For example, you can go to the post office to set up mail forwarding to your new address. You can get it set up for a day or so before your move so you don’t miss any important mail.

If you’re moving to a new state, you may want to also set up an appointment at your new DMV, as you may be required to get a new license. And, if you’re moving during election season, reach out to your new area’s voter registration office to ensure you’re all set up to cast your ballot.

1 month before the move

Evaluate your belongings and declutter

Walkthrough: You might want to do a walkthrough of your current home and look at each and every item you own. Then, grab two sticky note pads with different colors, one to represent the things you want to keep and one to represent the things that must go. Every single item should get a sticky note.

Start selling: Instead of simply throwing away the things you no longer want, you could try to sell them online. After all, your trash could certainly be another man’s treasure. And this way you could have a few dollars in your pocket to spend on buying new things for your new home.

Donate everything else: Want to donate a few items? You can drop off clothing donations to GoodWill or a local homeless shelter. If you’re hoping to donate larger items (like furniture) you may need to schedule a pickup and delivery.

Call your current and new cable and internet company: Now might be a good time to call your current cable company and let them know about the move. If it offers service in your new location you could ask them to switch over the service on the day you move. If it doesn’t, give them a “cancel” date for the day you move to ensure the service has ended and you aren’t paying a double bill. For your new place, you can research which companies are available, call around for a quote, pick your favorite and set up an appointment for the day you move. This way you have service the second you walk in the door.

Cancel other subscription services: Are you a part of a local gym, CSA, or delivery service? Consider canceling these recurring payments so you aren’t charged for an extra month.

Three weeks to one week before the move

Collect boxes and start packing

Collect boxes for free: As the moving date closes in, it’s time to get packing. If you’re looking to save a pretty penny, you could head to a local coffee shop, grocery store, restaurant, or shop and ask what days they typically get deliveries and if you can come to take the used boxes off their hands. Then, over the next three weeks, stop in and collect as many boxes as you can.

Buy the moving supplies you need: You will still need to buy a few items to get packing, including heavy-duty packing tape, a marker for labeling things, bubble wrap for fragile items, moving blankets and a dolly for anything heavy. But, you could try to save by using your current sheets and towels to protect your goods — as long as you don’t care if the towels get dirty.

Start packing: At this point, it’s probably safe to start packing the things you aren’t currently using — out of season clothes, most of your dishes, extra blankets, towels, framed photos and decorations. Just leave out the essentials.

1 day before the move

Pack your final belongings and say goodbye

Pack up: Pack up any of the remaining items you’ve left behind and make sure they are all ready to roll for the move.

Create a folder of important documents: Have a folder ready for the move that includes your old lease (if you’re renting), along with the new signed lease, the contract for the movers and all receipts from the move. That way you may be able to use them for an itemized deduction while filing your taxes. Talk to a tax professional to see if you qualify for any deductions.

Say goodbye—your way: Order your favorite takeout, have friends over for wine and give thanks to everything this home has provided for you. It deserves it.

Financing your move with a personal loan

As we outlined above, moving can be expensive. According to HomeAdvisor, the average move in 2019 will cost $970, with a typical range of $518 to $1,427. A high-end move could cost upwards of $9,000.

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