What to Do Before You Move

Picking up and moving your entire household is a huge task—but a little planning and a solid strategy will make it much less painful.

Start with a master to-do list. Brainstorm and write down every single thing you can think of that needs to be done between now and the day you move. Assign due dates and delegate the tasks to different family members. Then organize your master list by due date and hang it in a conspicuous place. This list should include:

  • Change of address notifications: Think banks, credit card companies, magazine and newspaper deliver and the postal service.
  • End of service/start of service notifications: Get in touch with utility companies, public schools, medical offices and the like.
  • Packing schedule: Kick things off least five weeks before moving day. Start with pictures, books and collectables and rarely used kitchen items, and then go from there.  
  • Contact your insurance company: It’s a good idea to give your insurance agent a head’s up about your move. Then, once you know you’re closing date, give your insurance agent a good two weeks’ notice so that he or she can draw up a new policy for your new home or apartment. As soon as you close on your old house, it’s time to call your insurance agent one last time in order to cancel the policy on your old house. If you’ll be storing items in a storage unit, it’s a good idea to brush up on how insurance protects items in a storage unit.
  • Moving-day arrangements: This list could include renting a moving truck, recruiting volunteers, finding pet-sitters and a contacting a house cleaning service.

Packing tips

  • Gather your supplies: Boxes of all sizes, packing tape, stacks of newspaper, a sharpie pen, colored duct tape, a notebook and a pen are all essentials you’ll want on hand.
  • Pack, trash or donate: Not everything is worth keeping. Keep two large bins that travel with you from room to room. One should be for donations and one should be for trash. Lighten your load by purging furniture that is worn or past its prime. If any item has not been used or worn in a year or more, it might be time to consider letting it go. Sell items of value online or at a consignment shop.
  • Number and color-code your boxes: Don’t broadcast to the world what your valuables are. Number your boxes and take detailed notes of the contents in a notebook. Buy multi-colored duct tape and assign a color for each room (blue for bedroom, yellow for kitchen and so on) for easy unpacking later.  
  • Keep your area clear: Designate one area for stacking boxes. This will keep your living space chaos-free and make moving day more efficient. 

Now that you’re prepped and ready to go, it’s time to review how to handle things on moving day.

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