There are few better feelings in the world than finally signing your name across the dotted line and entering a new chapter of homeownership. Finally, the home you’ve been dreaming is yours to claim and all of the tedious paperwork is squared away. All that’s left to do now is make the big move. Whether you’re moving across the country or just a town over, the hard work isn’t quite over.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you’ll quickly figure out just how involved the moving process can be. Without an all-encompassing moving checklist, tackling your never-ending to-do list may feel near impossible. And when you run the risk of forgetting valuables or must-haves, being organized and intentional with your packing and planning is key.
Using our checklist for moving into a new house, you’ll gain the guidance you need to enter this exciting new chapter. We’ll dive into what you need two months ahead of your move to two days ahead of your move and highlight all of the unexpected roadblocks you may encounter along the way.
- 8 weeks before your move: Getting organized
- 4 weeks before your move: Decluttering
- 2 weeks before your move: Packing
- 1 week before you move: Getting ready for the move
- A few days before: Last-minute prep
- Moving day
8 weeks before your move: Getting organized
Get organized: It should come as no surprise that packing up and starting a new chapter of your life in a new home comes with a considerable amount of paperwork. The most important thing to do with all of the many documents you’ll need to sign and store is create a safe haven for all of those papers. Consider setting aside a folder or file cabinet for all of your move-related paperwork. Dedicating a notebook to all of your notes and must-remember details can help you stay organized every step of the way, too.
Start sorting: Whether you’re moving from a McMansion to a tiny home or from an apartment to a single-family home, you probably have plenty of belongings that will need to be sorted through. Two months out from your move, you can begin sifting through your things and deciding what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. If you’re moving to a smaller place, you must be quite vigilant about your sorting process, as having too much in a tiny space is likely to become instantly overwhelming.
Research moving companies: No two moving companies are the same, which is why it is so crucial to do some independent research online to check for honest reviews. You may even consider asking friends and family for any references they may have for moving companies they’ve had positive experiences with. Take your time with your research—this isn’t something you need to rush.
4 weeks before your move: Decluttering
Get rid of the stuff you don’t need: Now that you’re down to a month to go, it’s time to start getting rid of the things you’ve sorted into your give-away or trash pile. As a general rule of thumb, if you haven’t touched the item for more than six months, give it away or sell it. Hauling things you don’t need or want to your new house only works to transfer unnecessary baggage. Do yourself a favor and cut your losses while you’re ahead.
Book a moving truck: If you’re looking to snag the lowest moving costs and most flexible deal on your moving truck, it’s smart to book early on. Four weeks ahead of your move is plenty of time for both you and the movers to come to an agreement that works for both parties.
Should you choose to rent a truck and do the heavy lifting yourself, be sure to compare your options before jumping into the first deal that pops up. U-Haul isn’t the end-all-be-all of the moving truck world, look to other competitors like Budget and Penske to see if you can find a more reasonable bargain.
Do keep in mind that the sooner you book a moving truck, the better. As time grows closer to your moving day, prices will increase and you could be left spending hundreds more simply because you procrastinated. Planning ahead almost always works in your favor.
Start collecting moving boxes now: Before diving into your moving checklist, you need to make sure you have the boxes and storage space to pack up all of your belongings. While you can go the traditional route by going to a home improvement store and stocking up on cardboard boxes, you can also get creative and seek other (and sometimes cost-free) ways to collect the boxes you need.
2 weeks before your move: Packing
The time has finally come—packing up your old home can be a tedious and tiring process, but with a solid moving checklist, you can avoid the stress and panic that comes with the territory. Printable moving checklists like the one below are easy to keep handy as you work through each room and determine what items to pack and which items to sell or donate.
The Moving Checklist
- New locks
- Box cutter
- Basic tools
- Power tools
- Assorted screws and nails
- Wrenches (plumber’s and basin)
- Tape measure
- Light bulbs
- First aid kit
- Gauze dressings
- Cotton swabs
- Safety pins
- Disposable sterile gloves
- Security system
- Basic tools
- Extension Cords
- Trash bags
- Surge Protectors
- Toaster oven
- Utensils (spatulas, tongs, measuring cups, sieves, can openers, etc.)
- Pots and pans
- Cutting board
- Silverware (forks, knives, spoons)
- Cups and glasses
- Mop and broom
- Cleaning products
- All-purpose cleaner
- Scrubbing sponges
- Dishwashing soap
- Baking soda
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash or soap
- Hand soap
- Shower curtain
- Cleaning products
- Disinfectant spray
- Scrub brush
- Tile cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Bed frame
- Sheet and comforter sets
- Lighting fixtures
- Shelving units
- Wi-Fi router
1 week before you move: Getting ready for the move
Calculate transportation expenses
When calculating moving expenses, don’t forget to factor in one of the most significant expenses: transportation. It sounds harmless—and might be if you’re just moving across town–-but it can add up when you’re traveling across state lines or moving abroad.
If you’re moving a long distance and driving a car with poor gas mileage, remember to calculate those costs beforehand. Using handy online tools like the GasBuddy Trip Calculator, you can accurately evaluate your car’s specific miles-per-gallon and take that into account when budgeting for your move.
And just to cover your bases on your journey, it may be a good idea to get a tune-up before you drive hundreds or thousands of miles to your new abode. The last thing you’ll want to deal with amidst the stress of moving your entire life to a new space is a broken-down car.
Purchase furniture to be built or delivered
Odds are pretty likely that you’ve already created a thorough wishlist of new chairs, lighting fixtures, and decor accents. One week out from your big move, place those orders so they can be assembled and delivered to your home within the next 7-14 days. This is much easier than purchasing all of your new furniture and hauling it to your new home and will save you plenty of extra weight and headache.
A few days before: Last-minute prep
Clean up: While it’s kind to leave your old property in sparkling clean condition, sometimes it’s absolutely mandatory. If you’re selling your home, it needs to be spotless for the new buyers or upcoming tours, and if you’re leaving an apartment, your landlord will likely want the space in tip-top shape for future renters. And most importantly, if you paid a security deposit and hope to get some or all of that cash back, your old home will need to be pristine. Mop the kitchen floor, paint over any unsightly patches, or if you’re not interested in doing some DIY cleanup, hire professional cleaners to get the job done for you.
Take one last walkthrough: After your moving truck is loaded up and every last box and piece of furniture is emptied out, take one last walk through your home to double-check that the windows are all locked, all lights are all turned off, and your water and furnace are shut off. Keep a keen eye out for any forgotten-about knick-knacks or papers, too.
Say your final goodbyes to your old home and make sure the keys are turned over to the appropriate party. A new home awaits!