Moving Checklist: A Timeline & Checklist for Moving Out

Inspire Clean Energy

Nov 17, 2023

1 min read

category: Sustainable Living

Moving Checklist: A Timeline & Checklist for Moving Out

If you’ve ever moved houses before, then you know how stressful the undertaking can be. There’s even research to back up moving’s status as one of the most stressful life events, right up there with break-ups, starting a new job, and even losing a loved one. 

But rest assured, there are steps you can take to reduce the strain and anxiety of the moving process. And we use the term ‘process’ on purpose: If you make moving a systematic, gradual event, you can have much more control over the chaos.

Here’s how to do it: using a move out / move in checklist that kicks off eight weeks before your move date, and tackles every big and small moving list task in a timely manner. How to handle valuables? Check. How to organize your stuff to make it easier to unpack at the other end? We got you. How to get the right supplies, make sure your mail is forwarded properly, and find the best moving company? Yes, yes, and yes. So without further ado, let’s dig into the ultimate checklist for moving.

Eight Weeks Before Moving Checklist

Create a folder for your move

Whether you’re a Google Drive fan or prefer a physical binder, this new folder will be the command center for your relocation. Fill it with photos of your most valued items, estimates, receipts, an inventory of your possessions (more on that later), a master list of tasks, and anything else relating to your move. Having a consolidated place for everything will bring peace of mind from the jump.

Take stock of your stuff (aka “move it or lose it” time)

Channel your inner Marie Kondo, and be ruthless: Go through every room in your house or apartment and sort your belongings into three categories: keep, donate, recycle/trash. If you’re not going to use it at your new home, don’t move it. The lighter your load, the easier (and cheaper) your move. 

Research movers

You don’t want just anyone in your house and handling all of your belongings, so make sure to do plenty of research up front. Deep dive into online reviews, consult the Better Business Bureau, join a subscription-based local service provider directory such as Angi, HomeAdvisor, ProReferral, Porch, or ask friends who’ve moved recently. You want insured, experienced movers with solid reputations and fair prices.

Backup your data

Save all of your photos, important documents, and data to the cloud or to an external hard drive. You don’t want to lose precious family keepsakes during your move.

Measure for measure

Measure your large pieces of furniture and compare to the dimensions of your new home (if possible) to make sure everything you want to fit, will in fact fit before you move it. Keep this list of measurements in your moving folder.

Schedule the disconnect and reconnect of utilities

Let your utility providers know you’ll be moving in eight weeks so you can cross this item off your move-in checklist, and schedule the cancellation of services. You can also provide your new address so they can send final billing after you relocate. If possible, use this time to schedule the services you’ll need at your new home. Among the utility providers to contact are internet/cable, water and sewage, electricity, gas, and trash/recycling.

Six Weeks Before Moving Out Checklist

Your move date is inching closer, but thanks to your new moving checklist, we hope your stress levels are in check. Now you’re ready for Phase 2:

Create a room-by-room inventory

Now that you’ve decluttered and organized your possessions into a manageable, moveable group, you’re ready to categorize all of your stuff into a master list. Don’t forget to add the final list to your folder. It’s impossible to overstate how grateful you’ll be for this list if anything goes missing or gets damaged.

Order your supplies

You’re going to need boxes, along with packing tape, bubble wrap, packing paper, permanent markers, box cutters, and trash bags (for trash, as well as overflow items like linens, pillows, or stray cushions). 

Quick box-related tips

  • Check with local businesses such as grocery stores, furniture stores, pharmacies, recycling centers, or big-box stores to score free boxes for your move. Save money while crossing things off your moving checklist. That’s a win-win.
  • You can also substitute newspaper for packing paper, to further cut costs and recycle.
  • Don’t overpack book boxes! Hardcover or paperback, books get heavy quickly.
  • If an item can be boxed, you should box it. Some moving companies will not move unboxed items (and that can include belongings you’ve packed into plastic containers you own).
  • There are numerous things movers can’t move, for legal or liability reasons. Think liquor across state lines, extremely valuable items, etc. Here’s a list of those.

Choose your moving company

You’ve done the research, double checked the Yelp, Google, and home-service reviews, and maybe most important, gotten references from friends. You’ve secured your estimates, and talked to the companies. Now you’re ready to lock in your choice. Officially confirm (in writing) the details regarding date, price, and what the movers will and will not move. If you’re moving to a new state, make sure the company you choose is licensed with a US Department of Transportation Number (USDOT). Double-check it here

Four Weeks Before Moving Checklist

You’re moving in a month! Fortunately, you’ve been preparing for a month, and you’re in great shape. Knock out these next tasks, and be even better prepared for the big day:

Start packing!

Begin with things you won’t be needing urgently in the next four weeks, stuff like your soufflé maker, books, board games, or fine china. Use the inventory you added to your digital or physical folder and go room-by-room.

Number, tag by destination, and label all your boxes

Use clear labels like “1 / Kitchen/ Fine China,” or “5 / Living Room/ Books.” The numbering will ensure you don’t lose any boxes or belongings, while the label and destination-room will streamline your move in.

File a change-of-address with the USPS

This is one of the greatest services the post office provides. You can do it in person or online, and they will forward your mail for a year, free of charge. Now is also a good time to notify important senders—your bank, credit card companies, doctors and dentists, employers, friends, and families.

Changing Energy Providers: Clean Energy Options

Speaking of changing utilities, moving provides a great opportunity to make a clean start (literally) when it comes to your energy provider. The vast majority of homes in the US run on “dirty” energy to generate power—a process that produces pollution, unhealthy conditions in communities, and worsens climate change. 

Renewable energy, by contrast, involves none of these risks, provides numerous benefits, and is often cheaper than, or at least cost-competitive with, fossil fuel–based energy. Clean energy produces almost no greenhouse gasses and decreases some types of air pollution. It diversifies the country’s energy supply and reduces dependency on imported power sources. Going green also has positive economic impacts, providing development and employment opportunities in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance.

As more and more people become aware of the dangers of climate change, they struggle with what to do about them. Here’s a chance to help make an actual impact by enrolling your home in a renewable energy plan.

Two Weeks Before Moving Checklist

Almost there! Let’s cross the finish line strong. 

Finish packing

You started this part of the process two weeks ago, but you can’t expect to be done with it yet.That’s the whole point of the checklist for moving—it organizes and breaks up the task into manageable portions. Plus, you’re still living in your current house at this point and can’t have everything in boxes just yet.

Tune up your vehicle

If you own a car, and especially if you’ll be driving that car to your new house in a different part of the country, you should take it to your mechanic for an oil change, fluids top-off, tire pressure check etc. This is also a good time to confirm your insurance coverage (moving to a new state may require changes).

Empty your safe-deposit box/ organize your valuables

Most moving companies will balk at moving extremely valuable items (and the feeling is likely mutual). Now is the time to clear out your safe-deposit box, and collect high-end items like jewelry, sterling silverware, or family heirlooms. Pack these up together and move them yourself.

One Week Before Moving Checklist

The tasks are falling like dominoes. You’ll be relaxing in your new place in no time.

Confirm with your movers

Contact the company you’ve booked and confirm the details. It can’t hurt to double-check the finer points, such as contact info for their driver, the aforementioned what-they-will-or-won’t move, and whether or not they provide extra boxes on moving day. You can adjust your packing accordingly.

Pack move-in luggage

Once your long-term packing is finished, you should pack one bag for everyone in your household, containing clothes and sundries to last the first four or five days in your new house or apartment.

Moving Out Checklist: The Final Days

Do a solid clean, and take photos

There are several benefits to this moving to do list item. If you’re a renter, it will increase your chances of getting your security deposit back, with photos proving you left the unit in good condition. If you own the home you’re vacating, it will help with the sale.

Clear out the fridge and defrost the freezer

Hopefully you’ve eaten all your perishables by this stage and your fridge is pretty much empty, making the first part of this task a snap. If you’re taking your refrigerator to your new residence, you’ll need to defrost the freezer as well.

Get cash

You will likely pay your movers’ fee with a credit card, but if the team does a good job, you should tip them between 15% and 20% (depending on your region), and tips are best in cash.

Confirm, check, verify

On moving day, confirm both addresses with the moving company. When the movers arrive, check the paperwork for the correct details, and, for interstate moves, the correct USDOT number. Before they finish, get a copy of the movers’ inventory or bill of lading to verify that everything is accounted for.

Congrats, you made it. The only thing left is to start unpacking.

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