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You’ve persisted through long weeks of negotiations, tons of paperwork and hours of scrolling through home furnishing websites as you mentally decorated your new pad. But dreamtime is over. Now it’s time to collect those keys and rest your weary feet in your new home.
It also happens to be a time for checklists and to-dos. You want to make sure that when you finally kick off those shoes to chill, you’re doing it in a home that got all its move-in checkboxes … checked.
Pro tip: Create your moving checklist and to-dos before you move in. When the big day rolls around, you won’t be scrambling.
Our ultimate moving checklist has got you covered. You’ll learn what to do leading up to the move and get tips for moving day. We’ll also lend some insight on what you should do after you’ve settled in.
60 Days Before Moving Into Your New House
Regardless of when you’re scheduled to move into your new home, the entire process will go smoother if you start prepping for the big day 6 – 8 weeks ahead of time.
Developing a step-by-step plan can help you minimize issues and avoid last-minute headaches.
Create a moving folder
A moving folder can help you stay organized and save a ton of time. You can set it up on your laptop or a shared doc, or keep it old school with paper, binders and folders to keep track of everything. You’ll need these items:
- A moving checklist and moving day itinerary
- Sections for notes, documents and the contact info of your real estate agent, lender and movers
- Space for moving estimates, final bills and receipts from moving companies
- A schedule of appointments (utility hookups, inspections and closing dates)
- Floor plans and measurements of the home so you can plan and shop
Make a budget
You’ve spent months budgeting for a down payment and closing costs, but have you thought about moving day expenses? By creating a budget and planning moving costs, you can decide if you should hire a professional moving company or go the DIY route. Here are a few moving expenses you might incur:
- Truck rental or professional movers
- Tips and food/takeout for movers
- Packing materials and moving supplies, including blankets, boxes, bubble wrap and tape
- Gas to travel between your old and new home
- Boarding fees for pets
- Storage unit rentals
Start collecting boxes
Don’t bother buying boxes.
Pro tip: Ask friends who’ve recently moved or visit your local grocery store to ask for spare boxes. Thrift shops, retailers and bookstores are also good places to get free boxes.
Make sure you have a couple of markers, too. You’ll need them to label your packed boxes. If you’re interested in environmentally sustainable options, some companies rent durable, reusable moving boxes in a variety of sizes.
Research movers and DIY options
Find out how much movers charge or how much rental trucks cost in your area. If you decide to hire professional movers, ask friends and neighbors for recommendations and read online reviews.
Call multiple companies and truck rental places for estimates. Keep in mind that professional movers are usually busier at certain times of the year and may be more expensive – and booked – on weekends and holidays.
Make sure that your mover offers insurance. With insurance, your property will be repaired or replaced in case it’s damaged during the move.
4 Weeks Before Moving Into Your New House
As your excitement grows, so will the length of your to-do list. As you inch closer to the big day, make sure to check off these checkboxes:
Change your address
Visit your post office or the USPS website to update your address and put in a request to forward your mail. Don’t forget to register your new address with:
- Your financial institutions (bank(s), credit card companies, student loan servicer(s) and on your retirement accounts
- Insurance providers (car, life and business)
- The Department of Motor Vehicles (be sure to update your driver’s license)
- Doctors offices
- Your employer
- Schools and colleges
- Streaming services
- Your family and friends
Cancel or update subscriptions and memberships
A local gym membership may not be worth keeping if you have to drive several hours to work out. And you’ll never receive anything delivered through your Amazon Prime subscription until you update your address.
Avoid being in the dark on moving day. Make sure your utilities (water, gas, electric) are hooked up at the new house – and turned off at your old place. Schedule installation appointments with TV and internet providers, too.
Review your moving service plan
By now you should have signed a contract with professional movers or scheduled a rental truck(s). Review your contract and confirm the details – the day, moving times, location and fees. Stash a copy of the contract in your moving folder.
Start the school enrollment process
If you have kids in school and you’re moving to a new school district, you’ll need to figure out where they’ll be attending school. This may be routine for you, but we don’t want you to forget anything during the busyness of moving. To enroll your kids in school, you’ll likely need:
- Your child’s birth certificate
- Medical records and proof of immunizations
- Proof of residency
- School transcripts and details of any specialized learning plans
Arrange for pet and child care
If you have small children and/or pets, it might be less stressful – and safer – to move without them. Consider arranging day care for your two- and four-legged loved ones on moving day.
Set up temporary housing
If you can’t move out of your place and move into your new home on the same day, you may need to stay somewhere for a night or two. Allow enough time to schedule a stay at a hotel or find family or friends who’ll let you crash at their place.
Gather important documents and purge old files
Now would be a good time to update your filing cabinet and store all your important documents in one place.
Put vital records like birth certificates, medical records, Social Security cards, insurance policies, car titles, tax returns, property deeds and other paperwork in a secure place. If you have outdated records you don’t need to hang on to, scan them (just in case) and then toss the originals.
1 Week Before Moving Day
You’re 7 days away from the big move, and it’s starting to feel real. One week from now, you’ll be sleeping in your new home. Check off these important tasks before moving day to help you dial down the frenzy:
Disassemble furniture and other big items
Start breaking down large items, like beds, bookcases, sectional couches and desks. This can save time and help you avoid potential headaches on moving day.
Deep clean your current home
Whether you’re turning over the keys to your landlord or selling your home to a new owner, leave your place as clean as possible. Scrub the bathrooms, vacuum the rugs and sweep the floors or hire a cleaning service to do all the work.
Clear out perishable food
You may be able to fill a cooler and take some perishable food items with you on moving day. If you’ve got food or pantry staples that won’t move well, consider donating them to a local food bank or charity.
Plan moving day breaks and meals
Moving day is going to be a crazy, busy day. And chances are you’ll have a few people helping you. Plan out a few meals. Make sure there are snacks and plenty of water or other beverages. Create a comfortable spot in both homes where everyone can take breaks.
Schedule final walkthroughs
Do a walkthrough of your new home with your real estate agent to make sure the house is clean, and everything is in good condition. If you’re selling, you’ll also need to do a walkthrough of your current home with your landlord or the buyer’s agent. After the movers leave, do a final check of your old place to see if you forgot anything.
Moving Day Essentials
It’s officially moving day! You’ve waited months for this, and it’s finally here. The next 24 hours are likely to be a whirlwind. To reduce your stress, create a list of essential to-dos.
Make sure you have enough cash
You’ll need cash to tip your movers and order food during the move. Professional movers are usually tipped 15% – 20% of the total bill for large moves and 5% – 10% for smaller moves.
Pack must-have items
Pack up the items you’ll need during your first few days in the new place. Your box of must-haves should include your car keys, phone, new home keys, garage door opener, phone charger and this checklist.
Include clothing, bedding, towels, personal items, toiletries, prescriptions, bottled water and extra cash in your box (or boxes) of must-haves. Label the boxes and stash them in your car so you can easily access them on moving day.
Take pictures before you leave
Even if you’re never required to use the photos to prove the house was in great condition when you moved out, moving day pictures will make a great scrapbook page in your photo album.
Things To Do After Moving Into Your New House
You did it! You’ve settled into your new house, and you’re probably surrounded by towers of boxes. Hit pause on planning the housewarming because there are still a few tasks left to complete. But don’t worry, you’re almost at the finish line!
Plug in the fridge and test the appliances
Make sure the fridge is plugged in and working properly and check that your other appliances are in working condition. Run a cleaning cycle on the dishwasher before using it and make sure the filter is clean. Test the lights, toilets and bathroom and kitchen faucets to make sure everything works.
Go grocery shopping
You’ve likely been eating takeout for a few days. Stock up the fridge with your favorite foods and enjoy some homemade meals and snacks.
Change the locks
You don’t know who may have a spare key to your new place. Get the locks changed to keep the house secure.
Install and test smoke detectors
If your new home has smoke detectors, test them to make sure they work. If necessary, change the batteries. If your home doesn’t have detectors, buy a few and get them installed.
Are there rooms in the new home that could benefit from a fresh coat of paint? Maybe you want to freshen up the decor. Either way, it might be easier to complete a few paint jobs while your stuff is still boxed up.
Clean before you unpack
It probably feels like you just finished cleaning a house or apartment, but your new home may need some scrubbing, too. Like painting, cleaning might be easier while everything is packed up and out of the way.
Find out about trash pickup
You’ll likely have boxes, trash and recycling to get rid of after the move. Find out about your trash pickup day(s) so you know when to haul everything to the curb.
Install a security system
Decide if you want a security system at the new house. If you want to use a service, you’ll likely have to call and schedule an appointment for an installer to come and set it up.
Learn more about your HOA
If you moved to a neighborhood with a homeowners association (HOA), make sure you know the rules and understand its policies on trash cans, pets, lawn care, etc.
Get spare keys made
After you change the locks, get a key made for everyone in the house and keep a spare key in a safe place, or give it to a friend in case of emergencies.
Let’s Get Moving
Use this new homeowner checklist to get organized ahead of your move and minimize stress and potential headaches when moving day arrives. You may need to adjust or add to it as you go because appointment times can get moved and dates can change.
Once you’re past moving day, you’ll get to relax a bit and enjoy your new home. You can hit start on your housewarming party planning and go meet your new neighbors.
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The Short Version
- Create a moving folder and plan a budget 6 – 8 weeks before moving day so you're prepared well in advance
- The first order of business when moving into a new house should be checking the smoke detectors, installing a security system and, if necessary, changing the locks
- Moving day essentials include extra packing materials, cash to tip the movers, water to stay hydrated and bedding