Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
A moving checklist is your guide to the last stage of buying a home. Even the simplest moves are too complex to be able to just wing it. If you love to plan, this will be a great exercise. If you don’t, then you may want this moving to do list even more. There’s just too much going on when changing your address, and the printable moving checklist PDF we offer here can really help.
We could have just plunked everything we could think of into this list, but we wanted to be more helpful than that. That’s why we divided the moving day checklist into four stages:
- Two months out
- One month out
- Two weeks out
- One week out
“I don’t have two months!” No worries. You still have plenty of time to adjust this checklist to fit your situation.
To make it easy, here’s the printable moving checklist PDF, in case you prefer to get a move on.
But, if you have a few minutes, below we break down each of the four stages in greater detail to prepare you for the things you may need to get done.
Moving Checklist: Two Months Before Moving Day
- Create a moving binder to store paperwork like quotes, receipts and records for your move. Sometimes a move can be tax deductible but you’ll need proof of moving expenses. As soon as you know your moving day, begin the process of reserving a moving company. If you are recruiting friends and family members, let them know they should save the day. Also reserve a vehicle for your move.
- Important Moving Checklist Financial checkpoint– Determine your moving budget. Moving takes a lot of energy, elbow grease and money. Make sure you’ve set aside enough money to cover all the costs. For reference, according to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost of a long-distance move is $4,000. The average cost of an intrastate move is $1,500. Some movers charge by the hour, but they should be able to give you a good with a little information from you.
- Request time off from work for your upcoming move day and maybe a little more for after the fact. You may want to take additional days off after the move to get settled in, unpacked, and take a breather and enjoy your new home.
- Confirm the new school or schools your children will attend. Transfer your children’s school records from their current schools to the new schools.
- Plan a garage sale to get cut down on clutter. Packing things you no longer use can add additional costs to moving and take precious time to pack and unpack. Host your garage sale over one weekend, 2-4 weeks before your moving day.
- Confirm your moving company is licensed and insured by checking the status of their Department of Transportation number (DOT number).
- It’s a good idea to collect free boxes from local restaurants, grocery stores, liquor stores, office supply stores, and bookstores. It’s worth noting that most moving companies offer cardboard boxes for purchase, while some have an option for reusable, durable plastic totes to rent. You can also check online sources such as craigslist.com or Facebook marketplace for free moving boxes
Moving Checklist: One Month Before Moving Day
- If you are renting, begin making repairs – this could mean the difference between getting your deposit back or not.
- Label moving boxes according to each room. Remember to mark “fragile” boxes.
- When disassembling furniture, place all hardware in ziplock baggies. Label and store them for reassembly later.
- Get a changing address checklist from your local post office or use the U.S. Postal Service online.
- Begin to clean out your closets, the garage, attic, and other storage areas. These can be the easiest to start with because it’s typically full of items you don’t use frequently.
- Gather infrequently used/worn socks, t-shirts, towels and linens to wrap dishes and other fragile houseware items for packing.
- It’s paperwork time. Contact financial partners, banks, lenders, credit cards services, insurance companies, and employers about your move. Fill out any necessary paperwork they require to update their records.
- If you’re moving a long distance, have a mechanic or dealership give your vehicles the once over.
- If you are moving from or to a busy city, find out if your moving truck will need a permit to park on moving day. If you go with a moving company, they should do this for you.
- Important Moving Checklist Financial checkpoint–Compile all important documents: financial and legal records, medical records, birth certificates, social security cards and passports. Designate a safe and secure storage space for these items for moving day.
- Return all library books; Librarians will track you down if you don’t.
- If you’re moving out of town, locate a new doctor, dentist and the local ER. If anything happens during the move, it’s better to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it. Your realtor may be able to help you with this.
- If you’re leaving town and have pets, find a new vet so you’re prepared in case something happens during the move. Also, request copies of all vet records.
- Shop around for wireless providers. It can take up to two weeks to get on the schedule for these companies for installation. If you need WIFI as soon as you arrive, you’ll want to book the appointment sooner rather than later.
- Locate garbage and recycling services.
- Update pet ID tags. We’ve all heard the stories of pets who got lost in the move and couldn’t find their way home.
Moving Checklist: Two Weeks Before Moving Day
- Dedicate one closet for the final clean up. Stock this closet with what you will need for moving day, including all of your cleaning supplies, packing supplies, garbage bags and snacks.
- Recycle or dispose of any harsh chemicals or flammables according to local laws.
- Plan 2 weeks of simple meals to minimize the amount of groceries left in your refrigerator on moving day, and really try to use all of your freezer items. Frozen pizzas are your friends.
- Return items, tools, books you borrowed from friends, family or neighbors.
- Backup your computer to the cloud or wherever you do your backups.
- Important Moving Checklist shut-offs and turn-ons–Schedule all disconnects for your current residence including gas, electric, water, telephone, cable, internet, phone and garbage. Now reverse this process for the new house and schedule all new connections.
- Remove all light bulbs from lamps you’re moving to avoid breakage. Store them in a box marked fragile.
- Fill your prescriptions. If you’re leaving town, locate a new pharmacy in your new town.
- Prepare a list of emergency service technicians (plumber, electrician) for the new home – just in case.
- Determine the best route to take to work from your new home (car, public transportation). There’s a cool report from Texas A&M called the Urban Mobility Report that might help you plan your commute.
- To keep kids safe and out of the way, set up a babysitter or a playdate for the day of the move.
- Find somewhere comfortable, safe and ideally familiar for your pets during the move (friends, family or dogsitter).
- Send out moving announcements to friends and family so they are aware of your new address and they can update their contact information. Make sure to include the date you’ll be available at the new address.
- Important Ultimate Moving Checklist financial checkpoint–Change your address for the following government benefits and services within 10 days of moving (the IRS can be done any time, and most people do it when they file their next tax return):
- Transfer homeowners insurance, or get a new policy, to your new home.
- Cancel or transfer your fitness clubs memberships.
- Update the address on your driver’s license.
- Do a change of address for any monthly subscriptions: meal kits, magazines, etc.
One Week Before Moving Day
- Pack an “essentials box” with everything you’ll need for the first 24 hours in your new house. Don’t forget toilet paper, snacks, refreshments, prescriptions, phone chargers or any personal items.
- Empty oil and gas from equipment like lawn mowers or snow blowers. Turn off the gas on your grill before moving it.
- Clean your current home thoroughly from top to bottom. If you’re moving from a large home or have areas that will need a deep clean, you may even want to start cleaning earlier than a week before the move. Remember to fill all nail holes and putty any nicks.
- Keep cash on hand to tip movers or pay for any last-minute expenses.
- Take pictures of your old home so you have documentation that you left it in good condition. This is especially important if you’re selling your home and agreed to certain repairs or upgrades. If you’re renting, this will make sure your landlord doesn’t invent damages to try to take more of your security deposit.
- The night before the big move, unplug your refrigerator and freezer to let them defrost. But be sure to put a towel down so you don’t leave a mess.
- On the big day, go through your moving checklist one last time to make sure you’ve done everything on your list.
By using this Homes for Heroes printable moving checklist PDF, you can feel confident that you’ve covered all the things on the to-do list before moving into a new house. There will always be bumps along the way, but you will be ready for them. If you are a community hero, be sure to check out the Homes for Heroes Local Deals for special moving discounts or deals on moving supplies.
Homes for Heroes has been helping community heroes – firefighters, the law enforcement community, military service members, veterans, teachers, healthcare workers and EMS professionals – buy and sell their homes for more than 20 years. If we’ve learned anything from all of these years, it’s that many expenses can crop up after closing.
That’s why we give our heroes a check that averages $3,000 after closing on a home or mortgage. Recipients have used that check for everything from new appliances, to new furniture, to renovations, to landscaping.
That’s our way of thanking you for your service. If you didn’t use our services and save money with our local specialists this time, keep Homes for Heroes in mind for your next move (or please tell the heroes you know who might be thinking about moving). In the meantime, we hope you find our printable moving checklist PDF to be a great tool.