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On The Move? Check Your Must-Do Moving Checklist

Tuesday, April 25, 2023
A woman getting ready to write her moving checklist while planning her relocation

When making a big move it is important to make sure that you have everything organized. As well as to make sure that you do not forget anything important for the new chapter in your life. That is why having a moving checklist is essential. In addition to our list below, we've created a downloadable version of Shyft's Moving Checklist. Download it now and print it out or fill it in on your phone. 

General Moving Checklist 

When it comes to getting ready to move whether it is a domestic relocation, moving out of state, or international relocation you should start planning and making your moving checklist early. 

8 Weeks Prior to Moving Day

  • Sort- The first thing you want to do is to make a list of what you are taking with you. And another list of what you will donate, and sell. The latter can help increase your budget as well as clear out unnecessary items.
  • Research- Look into where you will be moving to and check out which relocation management companies there are for you to use. Get their quotes and compare the moving prices. 
  • Moving Binder- This can fall under research since you would have to keep note of what you find. As well as all your paperwork such as the aforementioned lists of items that you will take with you. Nothing too fancy, just so you can keep up to date with everything.
  • Inventory- Start your inventory list and keep updating it throughout the whole moving process even after the moving day. 
A blank checklist with a black pen next to it ready to be filled in with moving options

6 Weeks Prior 

  • Order/ Get/ Make a Moving Supplies List- When moving you would have to pack. To pack you need certain packing materials for moving such as cardboard moving boxes, tape, bubble wrap, foam packing material, markers (for labeling), etc. Make a list of what you need and start looking for them. You can ask your local grocery store to give you their cardboard boxes, while everything else you may have to order.  
  • Vehicle Transport Services- Reach out to vehicle transport companies if you need to ship your car, motorbike, etc to another state or country. 
  • Use What You Have- You should start to use cleaning products that you have currently in your home instead of buying new ones. You would not want that to go to waste. Plus, also begin eating food you have in your home, particularly in the pantry or the freezer. However, if you reach moving day, and you did not finish all your food you can donate it to Move4Hunger instead of throwing it out. 
  • Measure- When you find your new home, get the measurements of it. This is so you can measure the furniture that you already have. You would want to make sure that your current stuff can fit into your new home. And if not, you would have time to check out marketplaces to order new stuff. 

4 Weeks Prior 

  • Find Movers- Now would be a great time to lockdown which moving company you are going to use. As well as work out the details, and the relocation costs. 
  • Packing- Now would be a good time to start the process of packing. Go from the least used to the most. As well as the items that are more costly to have a very good package surrounding it such as for a computer, or a fridge, or anything breakable, etc. Also label your boxes, packages, luggage as you go so you know where is what, and what is what. Look up packing tips and tricks, to make your life easier and quicker. 
  • Change of Address- Go to your post office or go online at usps.gov to fill out the forms for a change of address.
  • Alert Companies- This means to let your banks, brokerage firms, HR department, etc. know that you are changing addresses. And also forward your medical reports to the new nearby hospital. 
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An elder doctor writing a medical report on a clipboard

2 Weeks Prior 

  • Two Weeks Notice- Let HR know that you have to take your moving day off of work to supervise the move. 
  • Car Tune-Up- If you are traveling by car, now would be the best time to take your car for a check-up. As well as to ask your mechanic what services you will need if you are moving to another climate.
  • Safe- Deposit Box- If you have a safe deposit box and are changing banks then you should clean it out. And, take the contents in a safe box that you will take with you. However, if you are uncomfortable with this, you can leave this step for after your move. 
  • Check-in With Your Moving Company- Just to make sure that they are on track, and if anything changed. 

7 Days Prior 

  • Prescriptions- Get your prescription filled up and get them to last a few weeks. Medicine is important, and it may take you a while to find them in your new location.
  • Suitcases- Pack your suitcases with your clothes. However, leave out some items to wear for the next few weeks. This is the part where you can move your packing list to the more used stuff. Such as cutlery but just leave a few items out to use. You can always wash them. 
A cute French Bulldog waiting in the doorway

 Few Days Prior 

  • Defrost- If you are moving your fridge or/and freezer make sure that you defrost your freezer at least 24 hours before you move. This can make it easier to move around, as well as to pack. 
  • Details- Make sure to check the arrival time as well as all details about the move. When are the movers coming? What are the travel directions to your new home? And get your friends’ contact information if you haven't yet, just in case you happen to need more help around the house.
  • Payment Plan- Make sure that the finance is ready to go. As in that, the movers will be paid on time. Including the tip or refreshment. 

On Moving Day 

  • Verify- Make sure that the moving company truck that comes to your old house is the one you are using. You can do this by checking the USDOT number that is painted on the side. It must match the number on the paperwork. 
  • Inventory- Check your inventory while the items are being moved, and make sure that you get all the signatures you need from the movers. And keep a copy. 

Family Moving Checklist 

A happy family sitting on a grey couch after moving in

When it comes to moving families the general list above still applies. However, there are some other items that you should tick off and be made aware of. Especially if you have kids and pets. For more tips on moving with kids, you can read our moving guide.

8 Weeks Prior 

  • DIY or Movers- This point can depend on where your family is moving to. If it is a local move then you can get away with doing it yourself with the help of your family and friends. However, if it is moving cross-country or overseas then hiring a vetted moving company would be the best option, as well as easier and safer for you. 
  • Tell The Kids- A lot will change for your kids when they move from their homes depending on their age. Therefore, you should tell them about the move as soon as possible. Also, let them have a say in certain things to make them feel included. And, remember that this can be hard for them so always be a listening ear, now more than ever. 
A father and his child are sitting on the grass in front of trees in a park, the father is talking to the child

4 Weeks Prior

  • School Records- If you have children that are in school, and you are moving school districts then you should find the school that they will be going to. As well as to make sure that their school records are transferred, and check-in if they have arrived. You can do this a few days later. However, make sure that your children are registered at a good school.
  • Pets To Vet- If you have pets it is a good idea to take them for their check-up. It is here that you can also get anti-anxiety medicine just in case they need it. Certainly, if it is their first move. Plus, you should also get a copy of your pet’s records so that you can register them at their new vet after the move.
  • Pet transportation - Make sure that you not only plan how to get your family to the new home, but how to relocate your pets there, too. You can ask your vet for advice.
  • Doctor References- Ask your doctor if they know of any family physician in your new home location. If not, then you would have to research to find one. And while you are at your old doctor remember to get copies of all your family members’ medical records as well as immunization documents
  • Vehicle Transportation- If you are moving far and cannot drive to that location be it overseas or cross-country then you may have to look into hiring a car shipping service to get your car there. If you do not mind driving but have more than one vehicle you should still organize for the second to be transported to your new home.

2 Weeks Prior 

  • Plants- If you are a plant lover and want to take your colorful beauties with you then you have to figure out how to do so. Plants are very fragile to the point that moving companies usually do not want to move them. You can ask, but make a backup plan if they say “no”. You can transport them in your car. If it is not possible then you would have to give them away as gifts or sell them for extra moving money. 
  • Transfer/ Change Home Utilities- Make sure that you let your utility company know that you are in the process of moving. As well as that when you get to your new home, everything like heat, internet, electricity, water, etc. will be set up and ready to go. 
A bird’s eye view of a woman looking after pot plants inside her home

7 Days Prior 

  • Check The Packing- This would have been started at the beginning of the moving process. However, now is the time to check how it is going. Are your kids packing their stuff away? Is there something you need to buy for your new home? Etc.
  • Essential Bags- This is when you make sure that every member of your family, including yourself, has a bag of essentials for the trip as well as the first few days in the new home. It will take some time to unpack everything but you would not want to be without your toothbrush or shampoo during this time. As well as lining for the beds, or your kids' favorite toys for the trip. As well as medicine for the family and pets. 

Moving Day 

  • What To Wear- When traveling everyone must be in comfortable clothes. And it is also important that the kids are entertained while on the drive/ flight to their new home. 
  • Say Goodbye- When leaving a family home with young children it is wise to let them have time to say goodbye to it. If this is their first time moving then it can be a hard pill for them to swallow. Also, you can take a moment to check that you did not leave anything behind before you lock the door for one last time. 

After Moving Day 

  • Unpacking- As soon as you can you must start unpacking. However, do your children’s rooms first. This can give them more time to get used to the new place. And then make a space for your pets to feel at home as soon as you can. 
  • Child-Proof- Depending on the age of your kids you would have to make sure that the house is safe for them as soon as possible. Certainly in their bedroom.
  • Give Your Pets Time- Let your pets get used to the new environment. If you have a cat, keep them indoors for the first week, usually in one room with all that they need. With a dog, you would have to take them for walks around the town to get used to the sights, sounds, and smells of the place. 
  • Separation Anxiety/ Homesickness- When making a big move there is a chance that your kids, your pets, even yourself can feel homesick. It is important to be aware of this as well as to be there for other members of your family. 
Move Now, Pay Later

Work Relocation Checklist

An employee shaking hands with his employer while handing over his employment agreement document

When relocating for job purposes the steps are somewhat similar but there is some more that you should do. This is true if you have gotten an office job. 

  • Visit The New Office- Before you start your relocation process you should try to head down to your new office space to get a feel for it. However, let the boss or HR know beforehand. Plus, this can give you a chance to figure out where it is so that you are not late on your first day.
  • Relocation Packages- Ask your employer if they have relocation benefits, as well as if they can give you some relocation help or if there is any relocation allowance for you. 
  • Cost of Living- While relocating for a new job is great you still have to live in the new place. Therefore, you should work out how much is the cost of living there. As well as how are you going to get to work.
  • Travel Receipts- Keep all the receipts that you get while you are organizing your move. This can be from the moving company, utilities, gas, etc. 

Prep Your Clothes- This is for the drive/ transport to your new work home. Therefore, make sure you are wearing something comfortable as well as that you have a jacket in case it gets chilly. Furthermore, you should also make sure that you have clothes ready for the first few days of work. This is in case you do not have enough time to unpack everything, and that you can still look your best while at work while everything is still in boxes.

Man is an orange hoodie, smiling, and standing in front of a purple background

Military Moving Checklist 

There is a lot that goes into a military move, and it can often feel like a quick thing. It can be more daunting when dealing with a military family move. 

However, there is Shyft that can organize your move for you in record time. As well as give you a Move Assistant to keep you on track. They are there for you and the family from the start to after the move is completed. Plus, they can also help you as a moving guide, while getting you quotes from three different vetted moving companies. 

But to get yourself started here is what you should do, according to military.com, which is a great source for your military checklist needs since they go into never-ending detail:

3 Months Prior 

  • Make an appointment for a counseling session at your base transportation office if you are an active member.  
  • Choose between going with a Personally Procured Move (PPM), or letting the government do it all for you.   
  • Talk to the children and help them overcome their fears, sadness, and stress if need be.
  • Start planning in terms of which movers to use, when to pack, how to get everyone across safely, etc.
  • Let your utilities and landlord know that you are in the process of moving. 
  • Organize shipping for cars, military equipment, etc.  
  • Create an inventory list of everything you will take with you. By the way, Shyft can do this quickly with one video call, saving you time. 
  • Have your important documents like insurance papers, warranties, birth certificates ready to take with you on your trip. As in they are on your person not in a box.

We hope these lists can give you the moving guidance that you need.

 Woman holding up the heart eye emoji face standing against a pink background