It's really never too soon to begin planning for a move, and veteran movers have found that a comprehensive timetable and checklist is the best strategy to ensure a smooth relocation. It's also a great way to involve the entire family in the move and to spread some of the responsibilities to each person, including your children.
You'll feel a sense of accomplishment as items are checked off. Moreover, as the weeks roll by, your checklist will help ensure that nothing has been overlooked or omitted from your planning, and that alone will go a long way toward relieving some of your anxiety.
- Eight Weeks Before
- Six Weeks Before
- Four Weeks Before
- Three Weeks Before
- Two Weeks Before
- One Week Before
- Two-to-Three Days Before
- Moving Day
- At Destination
Eight Weeks Before
- Remove unnecessary items from your attic, basement, storage shed etc.
- Use things you can't move, such as frozen foods and cleaning supplies.
- Obtain information about your new community.
- Secure a floor plan of your new residence and decide what household items you want to keep.
- Start a possessions inventory. Don't forget your child's video game system it will only make life harder on you.
- Solicit estimates from at least three moving companies.
- Call your homeowners insurance agent to find out to what degree your move is covered.
- Create a file for documenting all moving papers and receipts.
- Arrange to transfer your children’s school records.
Six Weeks Before
- Contact the IRS and/or your CPA for tax-deductible information.
- Evaluate your possessions inventory. Can you donate anything? Do you need it all?
- Notify your friends, relatives, professionals, creditors, subscriptions, etc.
- Subscribe to a local paper in your new community and familiarize yourself with local government, community, and social news and activities.
- Begin the off-site storage process (if applicable).
- Locate high-quality health-care professionals and hospitals in your new location.
- Complete a change of address via post-office cards or an online service for the following:
- Banks; Charge cards; Religious organizations; Doctors/dentist; Relatives and friends; Income tax bureau/Social Security Administration/union; Insurance broker/lawyer/CPA/ stockbroker; Magazines; Post office; and Schools.
- Clean your closets.
- Hold a moving/garage sale or donate items to charities.
- Choose a mover.
- Contact your mover to make arrangements and inquire about insurance coverage.
- If relocating due to a job, contact your employer to see what costs, if any, they will cover.
Four Weeks Before
- Start packing!
- Send furniture, drapes and carpets for repair/cleaning as needed. Gather auto licensing and registration documents, medical, dental and school records, birth certificates, wills, deeds, stock and other financial documentation, etc.
- Contact gas, electric, oil, water, telephone, cable TV, and trash collection companies for service disconnect/connect at your old and new addresses. Also ask for final readings.
- Request refunds on unused homeowner's insurance, security deposit with landlord, and prepaid cable service.
- Notify your gardener, snow removal service, and pool service (if applicable).
- Contact insurance companies (auto, homeowner's, medical, and life) to arrange for coverage in your new home.
Three Weeks Before
- Make your travel plans.
- Arrange to close current bank accounts and open accounts in your new locale. Notify the heir to your oil fortune (if necessary).
- Notify your state's Motor Vehicle Bureau of your new address.
- Arrange for childcare on moving day.
- NOTE: For apartment dwellers, reserve the elevator for pickup and/or delivery dates.
Two Weeks Before
- Arrange special transport for your pets and plants.
- Service your car for the trip.
- Contact your moving company and review arrangements for your move.
One Week Before
- Prepare detailed directions and an itinerary with emergency numbers for your moving company.
- Settle outstanding bills with local retailers.
- Pick up dry cleaning, and return library books and rented videotapes.
- Take pets to the veterinarian and get copies of their records.
- Drain gas and oil from power equipment.
- Give away plants not being moved.
- Cancel newspaper delivery.
- Buy two-weeks worth of medication and have your prescriptions forwarded to your new pharmacy.
- Buy traveler's checks.
- Make arrangements to pay for your move.
Two-to-Three Days Before
- If you’re not doing it yourself, have your mover pack.
- Defrost refrigerators and freezers.
- Consider gathering all valuables and giving them to family or friends to hold until the move is completed.
- Disconnect all major appliances.
- Contact your moving company for any updates.
- Pack first-night items and a survival kit. Keep them in separate boxes in your car. First Night Items: Sheets, Towels, Toiletries, Phone, Alarm Clock, Change of Clothes, and Flashlight
- Mover's Survival Kit: Scissors, utility knife, coffee cups, instant coffee/tea or a coffee maker, water and soft drinks, snacks, paper plates, plastic utensils, paper towels, toilet paper, soap, pencils and paper, local phone book, masking and/or duct tape, trash bags, shelf liner, and aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Be home to answer any questions your mover may have.
- Record all utility meter readings (gas, electric, and water).
- Stay until your movers are finished.
- Complete information on the bill of lading and carefully read the document and the inventory sheet before signing it.
- Keep your copies of the bill of lading and inventory until your possessions are delivered, the charges are paid, and any claims are settled.
- Take one final look around to see if you forgot anything.
- Give movers the directions to your new home, and an emergency number where you can be reached during the move.
- Unpack first-night items and mover's survival kit.
- Be at the destination to welcome the movers and be on hand to answer any questions.
- After the job is completed, pay what is owed. The driver is obligated by law (a Federal requirement for interstate moves) to collect payment upon delivery.
- Scrutinize the unloading of your items and account for each one on your inventory sheet.
- Check promptly and carefully for any damaged or missing items.
- Place moving and other important documents in a safe place.
- Go to the post office and collect held mail.
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