Step 1: Before You Even Think About Moving
Research Your Destination: Before you even think about moving, you have to get to know your new town.
Housing and work: It may sound romantic to pack up and run away to someplace new and exciting, but it’s a much better idea to have a safety net in place. Make sure you actually have a new home and a new job lined up – or at least make sure you have enough saved up for a few months while you find your feet.
Laws and Regulations: Different states have different laws. Familiarize yourself with any specific laws that may affect you, such as regulations regarding pets, plants, or firearms. Different regions may have specific requirements or restrictions, so it’s important to be well-informed.
Step 2: Planning and Scheduling Your Move
Efficient planning and scheduling are key to a smooth move.
Here are some steps to follow:
Inventory Your Belongings: Take stock of what you own, and what you can get rid of. A smaller move is an easier move, so now’s the time to downsize and sell off, donate, or just plain junk your unneeded and unwanted stuff.
Know your limits: If you want to DIY some (or all) of your move, think about what you can handle on your own, and what items will call for a little extra help. This will help you decide on the type of moving help you’ll need, whether it’s friends and family or the pros.
Discard Unwanted Items: Try to pawn off, sell, donate, or give away unwanted items. This not only helps you lighten your load but also benefits others in need. Plus, the money you make from reselling can go straight to your move.
Create an Inventory List: Make a detailed inventory list of all your belongings. This list will serve as a valuable reference during the rest of the moving process, and it can be helpful for insurance purposes as well.
Shop for Movers: Now’s the time to research moving companies in your area. Consider the following factors:
- Services Offered: Assess the range of services offered by different movers and match them to your specific needs. Some may offer packing assistance, storage options, or specialty item handling.
- Licensing and Insurance: Verify that the moving companies you’re looking at are properly licensed and insured. Look for DOT and MC numbers on their website, or look the company up using the FMCSA’s database.
- Online Reviews: Check online reviews from previous customers. Look for reputable and trustworthy moving companies with positive feedback, and steer clear of any movers with poor ratings.
- Obtain Multiple Quotes: We recommend you get quotes from at least three different moving companies so you can compare prices. This will help you map out your budget, and it gives you some leverage if movers offer price matching.
Book Your Move: Once you’ve selected a moving company, book your move well in advance. Aim for a mid-week, mid-month moving date, as these tend to be less busy and may offer more availability. Scheduling your move at least three months ahead of time increases the likelihood of securing your preferred dates. Plus, you’ll have plenty of wiggle room to pack and plan.
Avoid Peak Moving Season and Major Holidays: Whenever possible, try to avoid moving during the peak season (typically June, July, and August). During this time, moving companies tend to be in high demand, and prices may be higher. For the same reason, try to avoid long weekends and holidays.
Step 3. Before Your Move
If you’ve decided to handle your own packing, here are some essential steps to follow:
Get Packing Supplies: Gather all the necessary packing supplies such as boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, packing paper, and markers. Having these materials on hand will make the packing process more efficient.
Start with Least-Used Rooms and Items: Begin packing with the rooms and items you use the least, such as closets and storage areas. Try to prioritize items that you don’t use too often, like seasonal decor and any artwork or knick knacks.
Pack Gradually: Aim to do a little packing every day, focusing on one room at a time. To avoid a last-minute rush, work your way through each room until everything is packed and ready for moving day – just don’t box up your daily essentials just yet.
Label Boxes and Protect Fragile Items: Clearly label each box with its contents and the room it belongs to. This will streamline the unpacking process later. You should also use this time to properly protect (and properly mark) your fragile items.
Create a Staging Area: Designate a room or a corner as a staging area for packed boxes. This area will serve as a centralized spot for organizing and storing your packed belongings. It’ll help you avoid tripping over your stuff, too.
Keep Everyday Items Accessible: Keep your essentials out until the last minute. This includes toiletries, a few sets of clothes, kitchen utensils, and any other items you use regularly. Pack this stuff right before moving day so you can still use them beforehand.
Confirm with Movers: As your moving date approaches, touch base with your moving company to confirm all the details of your move. Make sure everyone’s on the same page about the moving timeline, logistics, and any special requirements for the big day.
Notify Relevant Parties: Don’t forget to take care of the administrative stuff. Notify the following parties and institutions about your upcoming move:
- Family and Friends: Keep your loved ones in the loop about your move. Give your family and friends your new address and contact details so you can stay in touch. You may need some helping hands with your boxes, anyways.
- Banks, Doctors, Schools, etc.: Inform your bank, healthcare providers, schools, and any other relevant offices or agencies about your change of address. Update your contact information and make necessary arrangements to ensure a smooth transition of services.
- Mail Forwarding: Submit a change of address request with your local post office to have your mail forwarded to your new address. You don’t want to miss any important mail before, during, or after your move.
Transfer utilities: Nobody wants a dry faucet after a tough move. Don’t forget to transfer your utilities to your new home:
Contact Utility Providers: Get in touch with your current utility providers, such as electricity, water, gas, internet, and cable companies. Let them know the date of your move, and arrange for the disconnection of services at your current address.
Set Up Utilities at Your New Address: Contact the utility providers at your new address to arrange for the connection of services. Schedule the setup of electricity, water, gas, internet, and cable to make sure everything’s already working when you move in.
Step 4: Final Stretch Before Moving Day
Going Away Party: Now’s the time to host a going away party. It’s your chance to say goodbye to friends, family, and neighbors. (You can also guilt-trip some of your guests into helping with some boxing and packing, but you didn’t hear it from us.)
Consume Perishables: Movers can’t haul perishable goods, and you don’t want your fridge of food to go to waste. Use the last days leading up to your move to consume all the perishable items in your fridge – or at least give them away to friends in need.
Last-Minute Packing Assistance: If you still need help with packing, reach out to your friends and family for their support. For best results, pitch it as a chance to spend quality time together before you move away.
House Cleaning: If you were renting, your security deposit is on the line. Take some time to thoroughly clean your house or apartment before you leave. This is also a good chance to do another sweep of areas and items you forgot to pack up.
Prepare Your Essentials Bag: An essentials bag is a must-have. Take all your everyday necessities (toiletries, chargers, a few changes of clothes) and put them in a suitcase or backpack. Treat your move like a mini-vacation, and live out of this bag.
Double Check Packing and Boxes: Before moving day, double-check your packed belongings and boxes. This is your last chance to make sure everything is properly secured and labeled. This final check helps prevent any last-minute surprises or items left behind.
Review Your Inventory: Check your inventory list and see to it that all items have been accounted for. Go room by room, checking off each item on the list. It’s just one of many steps to take to avoid overlooking or forgetting anything.
Clear a Path for Movers: Create a clear pathway for your movers to navigate through your home. If you used a staging area, you’ll want to make access as easy as possible.
Touch Base with Movers: Once again, contact your movers to make sure everything is in order. Reconfirm the moving date, the arrival time, and any specific instructions they may have for you. If they have the truck details already, that’s even better.
Prepare Refreshments and Tips: Show appreciation to your moving crew by preparing refreshments such as water, snacks, or light refreshments. Don’t forget to withdraw some cash for the tip, too.
Step 5: Moving Day
Confirm Movers and Obtain Information: Double-check with your movers to confirm their arrival time and any necessary details. Get their contact information, including phone numbers and truck details such as license plate numbers.
Walk-through with Movers: Take the time to walk your movers through your current home, highlighting any specific instructions or fragile items. Provide them with a clear understanding of the layout and the boxes that need to be loaded onto the truck.
Stay Calm: Moving day can be hectic, but try to remain calm and composed. Remember that you’ve prepared for this moment, and your movers are there to assist you. Breathe. Take breaks. Don’t freak out.
Stay Hydrated and Refreshed: Moving can be physically demanding, so remember to stay hydrated. Keep water bottles or other refreshing beverages on hand to stay energized and prevent dehydration. Don’t forget to share with your movers.
Check Inventory: As your boxes are being loaded into the moving truck, refer to your inventory list. If you made an itemized list, cross off each item as it is loaded to ensure that everything is accounted for. If you organized your list by box or by room, cross those off, too.
Prepare Your Old Place: Time to go! Before leaving your old place, perform a final sweep to ensure you haven’t left any personal belongings behind. Check every room, closet, and storage area. Then, lock up, drop off your keys and say goodbye to your old home.
Arriving at Your New Place: Upon arrival at your new home, walk through the space with your movers. Familiarize them with the layout and provide clear instructions about which box goes where. The same applies for your furniture.
Sign off on the Move: Once everything has been unloaded, take the time to sign off on the move with your movers. Fill out any necessary paperwork (if you haven’t already) and finalize your payment. Get a receipt to confirm that all items have been delivered as expected.
Fill Out Required Forms: If there are any leftover forms or paperwork that need to be completed, ensure they are filled out accurately. This may include any necessary documentation from the moving company or rental agreements for your new home.
Pay the Tip and Thank Your Movers: We recommend tipping 10% – 20% of the total cost of your move, to be split up between your moving team. Thank your moving team for their assistance and professionalism throughout the move.
Relax and Get Situated: You’ve made it this far, and now it’s time to take it all in. Take a moment to relax and soak in the accomplishment of your successfully completed move. Unpack your essentials bag, and start settling in.
Get Some Rest: In case you haven’t noticed by now, moving is physically and mentally exhausting. Get plenty of rest and recovery after your move. Before you go off exploring your new town, take some time to unwind, relax, and recharge for the days ahead.
Step 6: After the Move
Get to Know Your New Place: Once you’re all rested up, take a moment to explore your new home and familiarize yourself with its layout. Set up your essential areas like the kitchen, the bathrooms, and (at least) your bedroom. This will help you feel more comfortable and organized in your new space, and it’ll allow for the rest of the unpacking to happen at a leisurely pace.
Take Breaks to Connect with Neighbors: Unpacking and settling in can be tiring, so take breaks and get to know your neighbors. Introduce yourself, strike up conversations, and build new connections. Your new neighbors can provide helpful insights about the area and make you feel more at home.
Explore Local Hotspots: Take some time to venture out and explore your new town. There’s lots to see, and you’ll find your new favorite watering hole in no time. Plus, you deserve to treat yourself after the long move.
Spread Out and Enjoy Your New Home: Once your essential unpacking is done, take the opportunity to arrange your stuff and really make your house a home. Embrace your new digs, and enjoy your new start!
You Made It!
Congratulations! You’ve packed, boxed, loaded, hauled, unloaded, and checked off your entire move – and now it’s time to finally relax and enjoy your new place. From all of us at Pricing Van Lines, we wish you all the best for you and your new home.
We’re always publishing more helpful guides, and while you may be done with moving for a little while, there’s always interesting stuff to learn about moving, hauling, and storage. If this was helpful for you, check out some of our other guides and share this checklist with anyone you know who’s planning on moving!
Enjoy the new place, and congrats again from Pricing Van Lines!