8 WEEKS BEFORE
Research Moving Services
Now is the time to figure out how you want to move. Are you doing it yourself? Or do you prefer to hire a professional? Start familiarizing yourself with options and your budget. If you do decide to hire movers, check Moving.com's extensive network of reputable and reliable moving companies. All relocation companies in our network are licensed and insured, so you can rest assured that your move will be in good hands. You can read more about choosing the right move method here.
Visit Your New Community
Before the move, make sure you visit the new community. Being there in-person will give you a better feel for the area's various neighborhoods and amenities. You can also learn more about your community through Moving.com's helpful Neighborhood Guides and City Reports.
Before hiring a moving company or committing to a DIY move, figure out your overall relocation budget. Those looking to hire a moving company for a long distance move should budget around $5,000. A local move, on the other hand, may only cost around $1,000. If moving for a job, be sure to also check with your employer about whether or not they'll be covering expenses.
Have school-age children? Start researching schools in your new community now. To find top-rated schools in the new neighborhood, use Moving.com's School Ratings tool, which includes GreatSchools ratings and other helpful information.
Make a List of Questions to Ask Movers
Hiring professional movers for the job? Ask these questions first. From cancellation policies to liability coverage, it's important to learn as much as you can about a moving company before signing a contract.
Discuss the Move With Your Kids
Including your children in the conversation early on will help put them at ease during the transition. For tips on how to make the move as seamless as possible for your kids, check here.
Give Notice to Your Landlord
Renting? You'll need to give your landlord a heads-up about the move. Many leases require tenants to give their landlords at least 60 days notice when moving out. With this in mind, be sure to double-check your lease agreement for specific details on how to break it before making any moving plans.
7 WEEKS BEFORE
Get Estimates from Professional Movers
Contact at least three moving companies to obtain a quote. To avoid surprises, make sure the movers perform either an in-person inspection or a video survey of your belongings before giving you an estimate. Also, ask whether the estimate is a non-binding estimate, binding estimate or binding not-to-exceed estimate. For more information on the differences between these three estimates, check here.
Ask Friends to Help With a DIY Move
Moving yourself? Don't wait until the last minute to ask friends and family for help. By requesting assistance well in advance, you should be able to find plenty of people to help you with your DIY move. Read more tips on how to make your DIY move easy and painless here.
Book a Truck Rental
Those taking on a DIY move will need to begin researching truck rental options several weeks before the move. Fortunately, Moving.com has made it easy for you to find and book the best moving truck rental for the job. Check out Moving.com's free Truck Rental Center to receive quotes and to make a reservation.
Reserve a Storage Unit
Whether you're looking for temporary storage while unpacking or a long term solution to your clutter, renting a storage unit is a perfect option for those relocating to a new home. Consider booking a storage unit through Moving.com's free Storage Center. All you have to do is type in your zip code and click the “find storage” button. Moving.com will pull quotes from the closest storage unit facilities near your new home.
6 WEEKS BEFORE
Schedule the Movers
It's finally time to schedule the movers! When choosing a move date, keep in mind that the specific day, week and month you pick will affect the cost of your move. Moving during peak season (May to September) will likely cost more. The same goes for weekend moves. If your budget is tight, aim for a weekday move during the off-season months.
Order All Moving Supplies
If you're packing up your entire household, now is the time to order all necessary moving supplies. From boxes and bubble wrap to tape and packing paper, these materials will help ensure that your belongings arrive safely at your new home. You can calculate the number of moving boxes you'll need by using our handy Packing Calculator. To find boxes and packing supplies in your area, try Moving.com's box center.
Make Travel Arrangements
Traveling a long distance for the move? Don't wait until the last minute to make airline, car and hotel reservations. Avoid high prices by booking these travel arrangements now.
Contact Health Insurance Provider
Contact your health insurance provider to assure seamless medical coverage during and after the move. If you're moving to a new zip code or city, you may need to purchase a new plan. However, if you're moving for your job (and your company has multiple locations throughout the U.S.), your health insurance could remain unchanged.
Notify Schools of Your Move
Have school-age children? Now's the time to notify school officials of your move, so that you can begin the enrollment process. Be sure to also let them know about any special needs or issues your child may have. To find the best schools in your new neighborhood, check Moving.com's free School Ratings.
Make Note of All Tax Deductible Moving Expenses
Begin keeping a running tally of all tax deductible moving expenses.
These may include household donations to charities, as well as any moving expenses for a job-related relocation.
Check on Auto Insurance and Homeowners Insurance
If moving, you'll need to contact both your auto insurance and home insurance agents to ask whether or not they do business in your new location. If not, then you may need to change insurance providers before the move.
5 WEEKS BEFORE
Start Using Up Refrigerated Food and Pantry Items
Unless you're planning to bring the food with you, it's smart to use up the contents of your fridge and pantry before moving. You can also donate non-perishables by bringing them to your local food bank or by hiring one of Move for Hunger's relocation company partners. These moving professionals will pick up unwanted food items from those moving and deliver them to local food banks. Read more of our tips on what to do with all of your food when moving.
Strategize Your Packing Process
Before boxing up your things, figure out a timeline for the packing process. Pack all non-essentials first. These include items you won't need in the weeks leading up to the move, including books, home decor items and electronics. Pack essentials last. These include kitchen items, dinnerware, clothing, toiletries and any other items you'll need in the days leading up to the move.
Host a Garage Sale
What better time to get rid of those old records, futons and books than right before you move? To get rid of excess items and make a few bucks in the process, try hosting a garage sale. Need help organizing it? Read our foolproof checklist for hosting the best garage sale ever.
The less you have to move, the better – so start the pre-move purging process early. Begin by deciding which belongings you wish to donate. You can call your local Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity or Goodwill to schedule a pick-up for larger furnishings, free-of-charge. Also, don't forget to save any and all donation receipts for tax season. For more information on where to donate your stuff before moving, check here.
Sell Gently-Used Items
Not sure if your belongings will serve a purpose in your new home? It may be time to sell them. From old clothing to outdated furniture, many consignment stores will gladly accept gently-used, second-hand items. You can also try selling them through an online marketplace, such as Craigslist or Facebook. For a look at the 10 best ways to sell your items before moving, check here.
Decide Whether to Take Appliances
If you are moving appliances, schedule an appliance service company to come to your home prior to moving day to prepare all appliances for the move.
Update All Memberships
Are you a member of a community organization, gym or club? Most monthly memberships need at least 30 days notice before freezing or cancelling an account. So if you haven't already done so, be sure to either end or transfer your membership.
4 WEEKS BEFORE
Service the Car
Using your own car to drive to your new home? If you're moving out of state, it's important that you have it serviced before the long drive. Call your local dealership or auto repair shop to reserve a time to check tires, fluids and brakes.
Now is the time to begin packing. Start by boxing up non-essentials and seasonal items first. These could include winter coats, off-season sports gear, books and any other belongings you won't need in the weeks leading up to the move. Be sure to pack all fragile items with extra care and label boxes as clearly as possible. In addition, keep valuables and important documents separate. Read more of our tips on how to properly pack your belongings.
Dispose of Hazardous Items
You won't be able to move hazardous and flammable items, and likely won't be able to put them in your regular trash either. Thus, some advance planning is needed for disposing hazardous items including paint, aerosols, fertilizers, propane tanks, loaded guns, fire extinguishers, gasoline, fireworks and pool chemicals. To get rid of these items before moving, make a trip to your local hazardous waste facility drop-off.
Confirm Date & Time with Moving Company
A month before the move, call your moving company representative to confirm their arrival date and time. Don't forget to let them know any other important logistics, such as parking and elevator use.
Figure Out Temporary Housing
Need temporary housing while you look for a home in your new city? Try looking for short-term rentals on Realtor.com, Airbnb or VRBO.
Schedule Car Shipping Service
If you need to ship your vehicle to your new home, contact a car shipping service at least a month in advance to make arrangements. Read more on the best ways to ship your car to a new city here.
Notify Friends & Family of Your Move
If you haven't already told your friends and family you're moving, now is the time to let them know. Don't have the time to tell them in-person? Try shooting them an email or giving them a quick phone call. Making a moving announcement via social media is another easy and efficient way to let people know you're moving.
3 WEEKS BEFORE
Notify Service Providers
Let any regular service providers, such as housekeeping, landscaping and pool maintenance, know of your impending move. You may also want to take this opportunity to look into these services for your new home.
Fortunately, forwarding your snail mail is an easy task that can be done ahead of time. All you have to do is go to USPS.com and choose the date you wish to begin forwarding your mail. Thinking about renting a PO Box in your new city? Check out Moving.com's guide to setting up a PO Box when you move.
Arrange for Child Care on Moving Day
Moving babies or small children? Give yourself a break and arrange for a babysitter to watch your kids on moving day. For more tips on moving with kids, read our expert advice here.
Several weeks before you move, call all utility service providers to let them know about your move. Utilities include cable and internet, water and sewer, gas, electricity, satellite, security system, trash and phone. If moving within the same city, you may be able to transfer utilities to your new house. However, those moving somewhere new will need to research utility companies in the area and schedule installation dates. Make sure you have important utilities such as electricity and cable turned on in your new home before you move. Read more tips on how to transfer utilities before moving.
Decide What to Do With Plants
If moving a long distance, try to find new homes for your plants. Unfortunately, moving companies may not be able to transport your plants to a new state due to regulations designed to thwart the spread of pests and disease. For more information on transporting plants to a different state, check out the National Plant Board's website.
Pay Any Unpaid Parking Tickets
Check with your local parking administration to see if you have any overdue parking tickets. Fortunately, most cities make it easy to pay parking tickets online or by mail.
Change Social Security & Medicare Mailing Address
If you receive Social Security or Medicare benefits, be sure to update your mailing address online before moving.
2 WEEKS BEFORE
Forward Medical Records
Contact your doctor and dentist to inform their offices of your move. If you haven't selected a new doctor, request referrals from your current doctor. Once you've made your selection, arrange to have your medical records transferred.
Transfer Your Prescriptions
Now is the time to transfer your prescriptions to a pharmacy close to your new home. You should also bring a month's supply of medications with you on the move, so that you have enough to get you through the first few weeks in your new home.
Take a Look at the New Home's Blueprint
Before moving, take a look at your new home's blueprint to decide what will go where on moving day. By planning all furniture arrangements ahead of time, movers will know where to place your belongings in the house.
Order New Furniture & Decor
After looking over your blueprint, determine what items you still need. For big ticket items, such as a couch, sectional or bed, order these at least two weeks in advance to ensure that they will be delivered during the first month in your new home. For a look at furniture stores that offer white glove delivery service, check here.
Secure a Parking Spot for the Moving Truck
Before moving day, you'll need to figure out the best place to park the moving truck. If hiring professional movers, be sure to let them know the parking details as soon as possible. Those who live in a busy city may need to obtain a special parking permit as well.
Schedule Painters for New Home
Unless you're planning to paint the home yourself, you'll need to hire professionals for the job. Those looking for painters to paint the new house before moving in will need to schedule a date and time beforehand.
Take Your Pet to the Veterinarian
Don't forget to take your pet to the vet for one last check-up before you move.
Be sure to obtain all shot and vaccine records as well.
Update Bank Account & Credit Card Billing Addresses
It's time to update your bank account and credit card billing addresses. Fortunately, this can be done in less than a minute online or by phone.
Request Time Off From Work
Need to take off work to move? If you're moving on a weekday, go ahead and request a personal day from your employer. Those unable to take off from work for the move will need to arrange for a friend or family member to meet the movers on moving day.
Gather All Warranty Information & Manuals
Help future residents by gathering all of your warranty information, instruction manuals, and receipts for appliances and electrical devices. Leave these in an easy-to-find location in your home before moving out.
1 WEEK BEFORE
Clean Old Home
Don't forget to clean your old house before moving. A little bit of effort could save you a cleaning fee or charge against your security deposit. Be sure to thoroughly clean out the refrigerator and pantry as well.
Finish Last Minute Errands
Make sure you finish running any last minute errands before moving day. These could include picking up dry cleaning, getting prescriptions, cleaning out your gym locker and returning items to friends.
Inspect Old Home With Landlord
Renting? Conduct a final inspection with your current landlord before you move out. Be sure to discuss any damages that could be deducted from your security deposit. If there is a dispute, remember that it's often better to negotiate in-person than over the phone.
Pack Kitchenware & Essentials
It's time to finish up the packing process by boxing up kitchenware and other essentials. Be sure to label these boxes as clearly as possible to avoid losing track of them during the moving process.
Take Care of Trash Removal & Recycling
Make arrangements for final trash and recycling pickup. If you're leaving before the next pick-up date, ask neighbors to place your trash can back where it belongs after it's been picked up. You can also try dropping off trash at your local dump and recycling center before you move.
Pack Suitcases & Essentials
The day before you move, be sure to pack all necessary suitcases that you plan on taking with you. These should contain your first week essentials including pajamas, toiletries, clothing, shoes, medications, pet and baby necessities, as well as any important documents or valuables. You may also want to consider packing a special “Moving Day” box with trash bags, light bulbs, scissors, tools, flashlights, paper towels, toilet paper and bed linens. Read more tips on packing essentials here.
Tell Neighbors About Your Move
If you live in an HOA community or share a driveway with other neighbors, be sure to give them a heads-up about the move. Not only is this the respectful thing to do, but it will also give them plenty of time to move their cars.
Get Cash for a Tip
Tipping movers is a nice gesture for a job well done. If you plan to tip your movers, head to the ATM now to get cash for moving day. For more information on how much to tip movers, check here.
Have Water Bottles On-Hand
Moving is a strenuous and exhausting process. The last thing you want is for anyone to become dehydrated on moving day. To prevent this from happening, be sure to have plenty of water bottles on-hand for your friends and movers.
Take inventory of all belongings. This way you can keep track of what you have and what the movers are transporting. Check your driver's inventory sheet as well. If anything is missing or damaged make a note of this beforehand. It may also be a good idea to take photos of fragile items such as appliances or lamps for liability coverage and insurance purposes.
Do a Final Sweep of the House
To avoid leaving anything behind, be sure to do one final sweep of your home before you move out. Don't forget to look in your bathtubs, washers, dryers, kitchen cabinets and any other easy-to-miss spots.
Hand Over the Keys
Unless you're planning to come back after the move to tie up loose ends, go ahead and hand over the keys to your landlord or new owners.
1ST MONTH AFTER
Don't let the process of unpacking overwhelm you. Start with the contents of your suitcase, kitchenware, bed linens and other essentials. After you've unpacked these important items, go room by room until you've finished unpacking the rest of the house.
Clean the New House
There's nothing better than a fresh start in a new (and clean!) home. During the first week post-move, give your place a good, thorough cleaning. That means mopping, vacuuming, and dusting all surfaces. If you simply lack the time, try arranging for a professional cleaning crew to come sometime during the first month.
Check on the Return of Security Deposit
If you rented your last home, check with your former landlord about the status of your security deposit return. Also, make sure the landlord knows your new address, so that your check doesn't get lost in the mail.
Explore the Neighborhood
New to town? Walk, drive or bike around the new neighborhood to get a good sense of the area. By exploring the community, you'll be able to find nearby grocery stores, parks, schools, museums, libraries, hardware stores and pharmacies. Discover more about your neighborhood through Moving.com's Neighborhood Guide.
Change the Locks
One of the best ways to keep your house safe and secure after a move is by changing the locks. After all, there's no telling who the former residents gave their keys to over the years. If changing all the locks sounds a bit too much for you, try installing an additional deadbolt instead.
Figure Out Trash Pickup Days
Trash and recycling pickup days differ from city to city. To figure out pickup days, try asking a neighbor or calling your city's sanitation department for details.
Check Smoke Alarms
Are your smoke alarms beeping? If so, you need to change the batteries as soon as possible. In addition, you should purchase a carbon monoxide detector for each floor in your home.
Call for Pest Control
Arrange for a local exterminator to pay a visit to your new home to identify any potential bug problems.
Change Your IRS Address
Those moving should update their information with the IRS to ensure that they receive tax refunds and correspondence. You can do so by either writing the new address in the appropriate boxes on your tax return or by using Form 8822 to submit an address at any time.
Establish Domicile in the New State
Moving to a new state? You may need to establish legal domicile for tax purposes. To find information on the various ways to establish domicile in your new state, check out the state's official government website.
Update Driver's License
If you have a car, you'll need to get a new driver's license from your state's DMV. Many states require new residents to obtain a driver's license within a specific time window after moving. You'll most likely need an existing driver's license, proof of residency, proof of your social security number and an additional form of identification.
Register to Vote
Visit or call your local town hall about changing your voter registration. Tip: When you visit the DMV to get a driver's license, you may be able to also register to vote and establish domicile on the same day.
Baby-Proof the New Home
Moving with a baby? Make sure you baby-proof the home during the first few weeks to ensure that your kiddo stays safe and sound in the new digs. Start by removing any potentially dangerous packing materials as soon as possible. You can also set up baby gates to block stairs and place outlet covers over electrical outlets near the floor. For more tips on moving with a baby, check here.
Meet the Neighbors
After you move in, introduce yourself to your new neighbors. Don't be afraid to ring the doorbell and say “hello.” Most people will appreciate the gesture, and you might make a few new friends in the process.
Register Your Pet
If you're moving out-of-state or across county lines, you should look into registering your pet during the first few weeks post-move. While requirements vary depending on the state, many areas require owners to register their pets and purchase a license within a month of moving. This is mainly to ensure that animals receive their necessary shots for public safety purposes.
Schedule an Electrician
Find a well-reviewed local electrician to come to your new house to check any outlets that don't work or are overheating. They should also be able to assist with hanging light fixtures, and assessing whether or not your electrical panel needs to be updated.