Planning a move soon? Uncertain where to begin? Afraid you’ll forget an important detail? No worries. We’ve got the essential steps covered in this checklist of 20 details to remember.
The Key to a Happy Move is in the Planning.
#1 Get organized.
Make lists of tasks to complete. Organize them by category, and if practical, assign a list to each family member. Keep a folder for physical papers related to the move and a file on your computer. Envisioning the process and creating a plan helps prevent omission of important tasks and reduces stress.
#2 Begin decluttering and sorting.
Curbing clutter is a task we should all aim to accomplish regularly, but one which many of us neglect.
When decluttering happens immediately after the decision to move, a better sale, a smoother move and a happier transition naturally follow. Decluttering also offers vital information for you and the moving company.
Some decisions concerning what to keep and what to throw away depend on the size of your next residence. From there, you can follow the adage that says if you haven’t used an item over the past year or two, it’s no longer needed. An alternate method is to focus on the item and sense how it makes you feel. If it doesn’t trigger intensely positive emotions and has no practical purpose, it’s time to donate or discard the object.
#3 Donate unwanted items or hold a garage sale.
It’s more difficult to part with items if your only option is tossing them in the trash. Things no longer needed, but still in usable condition, are easier to eliminate if you sell or donate them. Time and inclination permitting, you can sell them at a private sale or online. Donating them to a resale shop or charity is faster and easier and will get them into the hands of someone who needs them.
#4 Return borrowed items.
Whether you borrowed a tool from a friend or books from the local library, be sure to return them as early in the moving process as possible. They will be happy, there will be less to pack and closure will clear your mind and your plate.
#5 Research professional moving companies.
Once you know where you are going, and what you will take with you, schedule a meeting. Ask as many questions as necessary to reassure yourself the company will take exceptional care of your treasured possessions. Verify the company’s DOT number to confirm they have a license and insurance. Take the time necessary to review the documents before you sign.
#6 Pack seldom used and fragile items first.
It’s never too soon to box things that are used infrequently. A set of heirloom china stashed in the attic is a good example. Wrap each piece with care in packing paper, bubble wrap or other protective material and store in a sturdy box or container that is labeled on top and four sides. As you pack, remember to label fragile containers, to insure proper care during the move. Include container contents on the label to make container placement and unpacking easy.
#7 Contact friends and family.
Call, email, or send cards with your future address to everyone you care about. If moving to a distant area, schedule a time to visit.
#8 Retrieve stored items.
Remember to retrieve items left in safe deposit boxes, lockers at schools, fitness centers and other public storage spaces, as well as your basement and attic.
#9 If you have children, prepare them for the move.
Get them on board with the big adventure. Check on requirements for transferring to a new school if necessary. Arrange a visit with friends or family on moving day.
#10 Plan for moving pets.
It could also be beneficial for pets to stay at a friend’s home the day of the move. Remember, moving can upset them too. Plan where food, water, sleeping areas and litter pans will be at the new home. Consider their comfort and acclimation along with your convenience.
Equipping your pets’ collars with ID tags is especially important before and after a move. Breakaway collars for cats with ID tags affixed offer a balance between identification and safety. Keep track of vaccination records. Search for veterinarians near your destination location if moving away from the area.
#11 Secure financial and legal essentials.
Designate a container for holding important financial, legal, and medical documents. Secure insurance policies, banking information and anything essential, personal or difficult to replace in a central location. Choose a spot that’s easy for you to access, but not obvious to others.
#12 Update your insurance.
Update your car insurance as moving day draws near. Tell the company your moving date and address.
You may be due for a refund from your current carrier. Be sure to have insurance take effect on your new place as soon as you take ownership or occupancy.
#13 Consider medical needs.
Fill all available prescriptions before moving to a distant location. Make certain you have enough doses for your trip and for some time after you reach your new place. Research doctors and medical centers at your destination location, especially if you have a condition requiring ongoing consultations.
#14 Back up and store digital information.
Back up data on your personal computer and store it separately so that if something unforeseen happens during the move, you will have your information. Consider placing flash drives and memory cards with important documents for safekeeping.
#15 Check on requirements for official registrations at the new location.
Be prepared to apply for new voter registrations, driver and vehicle licenses and similar requirements, soon after reaching a new area or state of residence.
#16 Cancel utilities and trash removal services.
Cancel or transfer utility services. Schedule service for your new location so it will be active when you arrive.
Let your trash removal company know you are moving. Pay for service through the last day you require pickup. Contact a service in the new area. Schedule pickup to begin soon after you plan to arrive at the location.
#17 Visit the post office.
Fill out a mail forwarding request and a change of address form. Consult the post office staff for specific details of these requests.
#18 Arrange for new checks and accounts if needed.
Consult with your bank. Wait until you reach your new location to have checks delivered, especially if you are transferring to a new financial institution.
#19 Whether you are moving across town or across country, pack a suitcase as if for a vacation.
Moving is an adventure similar to a vacation. Why not make it fun, even if you are only moving to a new neighborhood? A suitcase packed for each family member with clothing and supplies for the first night and next morning will increase confidence in the move.
Pick up takeout or pre-pack a picnic dinner. Relax and appreciate your new surroundings.
#20 Procrastination is not your friend.
Resolve to put things in their proper place at your new location as soon as possible so you can exhale and feel at home as soon as possible.