Moving can be a lot—there are a million things to do and seemingly not enough time to complete every task. Everybody could use a helping hand during a move, especially when it comes to sorting and packing. That’s why we created a comprehensive move-in checklist, detailing everything you need to know to ensure a smooth and stress-free transition. Time to get busy!
Two Months Before Move-In Day
Preparing for your big move two months in advance is usually enough time to get things done. Here are some key steps to take 60 days out:
Give notice to others.
Check your lease or governing documents for details regarding how many days in advance you must notify your landlord, property management company, or homeowners’ association (HOA) of your move.
Often, a lease agreement requires a 60-day notice, and an HOA agreement is likely to have a similar deadline. Break the agreement, and there could be consequences or extra fees.
Say goodbye to unused belongings.
De-cluttering your house will not only reduce your stress, but also lighten your moving load—it’s a win-win!
Sort your belongings and get rid of what no longer serves you or makes you happy. Consider rehoming your items in these ways:
- Sell your stuff on Facebook Marketplace. Many people looking for affordable options go there to get the best value at a reasonable price.
- Host a garage sale. Select what you want to sell, set it up outside or in your garage, and announce it in your neighborhood app or HOA forum. Look into making a quick post on Facebook if you’re part of any community groups to get even more people interested.
- Donate to a local charity. From bulky furniture to smaller clothing items, anything that you don't use and is in good condition can be donated.
Consider your need for extra storage.
If your moving times don’t line up, you may need to store your furniture or décor somewhere temporarily.
Need a storage unit? Here’s what to do:
- First, identify how much storage space you need and how long you’ll use it.
- Second, check nearby storage units and compare prices. Depending on the size, prices can range from $14 to $2,500 per month.
- Third, if you have a limited budget, consider asking friends and family to store your items for the time being.
Choose a moving company or find moving trailers.
The decision to hire a moving company or use a moving trailer is all your own. You might want to ask yourself:
- How much stuff do I have?
- Can I handle the heavy lifting on my own?
- How big of a truck do I need?
- How long can I commit to moving stuff back and forth?
- What’s my budget?
Self-evaluating your needs and budget will help you make the right choice. To find the perfect moving company:
- Search for providers.
- Check prices.
- Read reviews.
- Solicit bids.
- Call and book your best option.
One Month Before Move-In Date
One month before your move is when you transition from planning to doing. It’s time to take action, get your belongings in order, and prep to move out.
Stock up on packing supplies—and start packing!
For effective packing, be sure to have the following for each room:
- Boxes of different sizes
- 3-10 small boxes
- 2-4 medium boxes
- 1-2 large boxes
- Packing tape
- Thick permanent markers
- Bubble wrap (or use newspaper if you have any)
- Fragile stickers
Then, get to work and start packing everything except the essentials. Clearly label the contents of each box to make the unpacking process easier.
Check in with your utility and service providers.
Review your service contracts for cancellation, transfer, or reconnection fees. Then, determine what you want to keep or cancel.
Connect with your providers to see what your options are—you may be able to save some cash by renewing a service plan or transferring to a different tier of service.
Here's a list of services or people you'd want to get in touch with:
- Cable TV
- Trash & recycling pick-up
- Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance
Two Weeks Before Move-In Day
As saying buh-bye to your old place nears, do this:
Request to change your address.
In addition to letting your friends and family know about your move, change your address for these services:
- Social Security
- Employer W2 form
- Toll tag services
- And any other that sends you physical mail.
Consider doing an online change of address at the USPS website.
Arrange for a day off from work.
It’s tough to balance work duties with personal move duties. You need to be present on moving day to supervise movers, pack last-minute things, and handle any mishaps.
Ask for a day off; it’s better to take PTO than to seem unavailable to your employer.
One Week Before Move-In Day
Here are some final to-dos before finally exiting your previous home:
Think about your food.
Take this time to determine what you’re going to do with your food:
- Perishables – Find your inner chef and get creative with your leftover food. From cozy slow cooker recipes to festive charcuterie boards, take this chance to eat through all the food left in your fridge.
- Non-perishables - Pack these up in a box to take with you or donate them to your local food drive or shelter.
- Seasonings/cooking basics – Find a box to pack these up in. The day before moving out, wrap them in newspaper or bubble wrap, and you’re good to go.
- Freezer food – Eat frozen food before you move or transport it in a cooler with ice that’ll keep everything cold on the day you move out.
Deep clean your house.
Clean every nook and cranny of your house, and pay attention to the details. If you’re renting, your HOA or landlord may determine how much of your deposit they return to you based on cleanliness.
Also, remember to spackle over nail holes in walls and repair slight damages. Even if you’re selling your house, you’ll want to clean and fix it up—it makes all the difference in attracting potential buyers and amping up the sale price!
Confirm dates and times with the moving company.
If you’re getting help from a moving company, call them to confirm that everyone will arrive on schedule.
You'll also want cash on hand, so it’ll be easier to tip the movers once they finish up. A good rule of thumb is to tip 10-15% of the total fee to each mover; refreshments are always a nice touch!
Before leaving your old house, arrange a final walkthrough with your landlord or community manager, double-check you have everything with you, and securely lock up or follow any other instructions when you go.
For your new home, we suggest:
- Scanning the house for cleanliness.
- Choosing where to put heavy furniture and figuring out the layout.
- Ensuring water, gas, and electricity are up and running.
If you see anything off, here are a few steps you can take:
- Take a picture of anything that’s damaged.
- Check your contract to see if any issue is covered by guarantees or warranties.
- Contact the seller or agent if you notice the problem before closing, and ask them to fix any issues. If they didn’t say anything about the problem before closing, you may be able to negotiate fixing costs with the seller.
- Hire a contractor or specialized technician to fix up what’s broken or damaged.
Feeling that sense of newness is refreshing and invigorating. Now that the stressful part is over, you have time to clean before you unpack and organize your things at home.
You may want to:
- Review your HOA rules and regulations if applicable.
- Confirm that everything is working properly.
- Update your locks and keys.
By taking these last steps of your move-in checklist, congratulate yourself for all the hard work you put into making this happen!
Celebrate Your New Home!
Moving to a new home can be an overwhelming experience. However, with proper planning and a move-in checklist, it can be a stress-free and exciting adventure. And if you’re looking to spice up your life with a bit more in your new home, consider when to DIY or hire a pro for home renovations.