In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that roughly 10% of the U.S. population moved. That works out to be 32.4 million people, but that’s a low figure compared to previous years when up to 20% of people moved.
The majority of people moved within their current county, but at the end of the day a lot of work goes into changing your address. Whether you’re moving down the block, downsizing or going from an apartment to a house, there are some things about a move that remain the same no matter what.
This is the quintessential moving checklist for those essential to-dos. Hopefully it will help you keep track of all the moving pieces and stay organized so you can focus on enjoying your new home.
Moving Checklist: Essential To-Dos
Create a Moving Budget
Budgeting for the move may seem like an extra task you don’t have time for, but it can actually help you save money. Creating a budget a few months in advance of moving helps to get things organized and you’ll be able to prioritize the expenses. You may discover it’s worth it to hunt down used moving boxes or do part of the move DIY to save money.
Create a Moving File Folder
Keeping things in order is essential for your sanity. All you need is a file holder or Google folder to serve as a repository for all of the estimates, invoices and paperwork. If you’re moving for a job you’ll definitely want to keep this in order since most expenses are a tax write off if you have a receipt.
Reserve Moving Services
Plan to hire a moving company or packing service? The sooner you get them lined up the better, especially in the summer. It’s the busiest season and good moving companies can get booked up a month or more in advance. Make sure to read over all the documents and agreements carefully before signing. This is also a good time to discuss any specialty items and how they will be moved. Some items like a piano or pool table may cost extra or require help from another company.
Keep an Eye Out for Boxes
Moving boxes can be a major expense. NorthStar Moving Company did the math a few years ago and determined the average three bedroom house required 80-100 boxes. A two bedroom apartment needs at least 40-60 boxes. The general rule in the moving industry is each room will require 10 small boxes, 8 medium size boxes and 5 large boxes. Start looking for free boxes ahead of time at your local grocery stores, liquor stores, bookstores and online.
Do a Possession Purge
You’ll use fewer moving boxes and spend less time packing by using this time as an opportunity to get rid of stuff you no longer need or use. Go through each room and set aside items for donation, to sell and to trash/recycle.
Create an Inventory of All Your Items
As you go through everything make an inventory of everything you plan to keep. It’s also a good idea to take photos of expensive or delicate items. This may seem tedious and overboard, but if something goes missing or gets damaged in the move you’ll be glad you have it. An inventory of your items is also useful for renters or homeowners insurance.
Update Your Utilities
The first day in your new home will be a drag if you don’t have water, gas and electricity. You know, all of the necessary utilities that make a home liveable. If you’re moving to a new city check ahead of time to see if it’s in an energy deregulated area. If so, you’ll be able to choose your energy supplier. Be sure to compare rates and read reviews to get a better feel for the quality of service suppliers offer. Another thing to look at is the type of plan being offered. Not all suppliers have fixed rate and flexible rate plans for different durations like Spark Energy.
Search for a New Internet Provider
Like utilities, each area has its own internet service providers. Check out the options ahead time to see if you can continue service with your current provider or if you’ll have to switch. Are you a fan of cable TV? Now is a good time to search for that too.
Update Your Address With the Post Office
At least two weeks before the move update your address with the USPS. It can be done online or at your local post office.
Make Banks, Credit Cards and Other Financial Services Aware of Your Move
Financial institutions will also need to be alerted about the move. A week out contact customer service or log in to your online accounts to update your address.
Watch a Few Professional Packing Videos
There’s an abundance of video tutorials on how to pack like a pro. You’ll even find money-saving hacks like using items from around the house in place of packing paper.
Starting about a month before the move pack a little away each day. This will make packing up the entire home a lot less daunting. Begin with seasonal items that aren’t in use and items that are already stored away in the closets.
Check Your Insurance Policy
Renters and homeowners insurance will sometimes cover items that are being moved, but it isn’t a guarantee. You may also discover that you’re currently underinsured. Make adjustments as necessary, and update your insurance policy with your new information.
Find a Pharmacy Closer to Your New Home
If you use a chain pharmacy check to see if there’s a location closer to your new home. Prefer mom and pop pharmacies? Do a Google search using your new address to find nearby pharmacy businesses.
Clear Out the Fridge and Pantry
Try to minimize grocery shopping a few weeks before moving and use up the food you already have. Dry goods can be packed up shortly before the move, but food in the fridge and perishables may not make it through the trip.
Check on Scheduled Deliveries
Whether it’s a one-off or regularly scheduled delivery, you’ll want to check the status and reroute anything that won’t arrive at least 1-2 days before the move. Go ahead and update your address with Amazon, magazines, etc.
Measure Doorways and Bulky Items
Avoid logistical nightmares on moving day by measuring furniture and doorways ahead of time.
Prepare Appliances for the Move
Refrigerators, washing machines, freezers and stoves need to be prepped a day or two before the move.
Back Up Your Computers
Safeguard against any potential moving problems by backing up your computers to the cloud or an external hard drive.
Pack Up Your Vehicle With Sensitive and Valuable Items
Professional movers will tell you it’s best to keep items like jewelry and personal documents with you at all times during the move.
Pack a First Night Box
After a long day of hauling and loading you probably don’t have the energy to start unpacking everything. Planning ahead can make the first night much more comfortable. Pack a first night box with all the necessities like a shower curtain, a few towels, paper plates, toilet paper and bed sheets. Also have each person in the family pack a first night bag with toiletries and a change of clothes.
Check the Weather Forecast
Hopefully it’s a sunny, temperate day when you move. But if there’s a chance of inclement weather it’s best to prepare in advance.
Clean Up Your Current Home
Whether you rent or have sold a home, you’ll need to leave the place spic and span for the next occupants. If you’re running short on time consider hiring a maid service to come in the day after your move to handle the cleaning. Once they’re done take pictures of every room to verify the condition.
Need to find a new electricity or natural gas supplier? Spark Energy offers energy plans all over the country. Check to see if services are offered at your new address!