Moving is a part of life. Humans are forced to change to new environments all the time. As much as we may dislike change, we are better at it than we like to make ourselves believe. Most moves are scheduled on a Friday, allowing Sunday to be a sabbath.
What can you do to make your move the smoothest possible transaction between packing your old place, driving it to your new spot, unloading it safely and setting up blissfully? This is the ultimate moving checklist to make your first move seem like you’ve been doing it your whole life.
Six to Eight Weeks Before Moving Day
The first thing you need to do is make a list about six to eight weeks prior to your moving date. What is everything that you are going to need to do? This might make your anxiety worse, however, creating a thousand premeditated tasks to accomplish is easier than trying to attack one big task with no forethought. Once you have your list created, request time off work. This might seem like the first thing you would do, is ask off work so you can move, but you would be surprised at how this one slips through the cracks. You’re two weeks out from moving day and look at the schedule and realize you never took off work to move yourself. You don’t want to end up here. Make sure you have off well in-advance of your moving day.
Now that your work knows that you are moving, you need to let your current landlord know that you no longer plan on renting out your apartment. It is important to check your current lease and make sure you are following the rules accordingly. Most leases have a thirty-to-sixty-day notification policy, others require more. By starting your process six to eight weeks out, this allows you to hand in your written notice and still occupy your current space for the perfect amount of time before you move. This also aids your landlord by their rental space staying empty for as little time as possible, everyone wins.
The next most important thing to do is create a moving budget. How much can you afford to spend on moving? This is going to dictate whether or not you move or sell that grand piano of yours; if you are going to move yourself, hire your friends and family, or if you are going to pay the pros to move you.
After you created your budget, it is time to purge. Anything you have not used, is broken, or simply do not want, it is time to part ways with. If you think you can make money off some of your belongings, have a garage sale. If you don’t have the time or space to hold a garage sale, upload your belongings to social media. Instagram and Depop are two social medias that can be used as online second-hand stores. By making money off the things you don’t want, this will only help your moving budget by putting cash in your pocket. Maybe this will be the deciding factor if you hire your friends or hire the pros, but do not underestimate selling your unwanted belongings!
Once you have decided what you are bringing with you to your new location, it is time to organize the pile. Separate what you have as non-essential, essential, and valuables and delicate. Consolidate all your documents and critical information into one area. It’s easier to keep track of your things when they are all in one spot. This is also the timeframe where you want to learn about your new community. Where are the grocery stores, coffee shops, parks, where are the things that you want to go out and do relative to your new living space? This is also the time where you will have to resolve where you will be staying during the transition period. Are you moving across town and you will be able to sleep at your new location the same night as moving? Are you moving a few hours or states away and will you need a hotel? Do you have family or friends that will let you stay with them for free? It may seem premature, but the answers to these questions will determine your moving budget and therefore must be calculated sooner rather than later. If you are moving out of state, you are going to want to figure out how long it will take you to get a new identification card as well as a new license plate for your car from the local Department of Motor Vehicles.
Four to Five Weeks Before Moving Day
By now your garbage is full each week from purging, you have been making some money off selling some belongings, and now you have about four to five weeks before you the big day. This is the acceptable time to start gathering boxes, bubble wrap, all the things you need to move. This is the also the time where you need to start changing your address. All your bank accounts, credit cards, insurance companies, medical providers, apartment property management, and most importantly, utilities need to know that you are no longer going to be living where you are now. To keep it simple, see if you can keep your current utility accounts but have the companies transfer them over to your new address and start getting billed for them at the appropriate time. By transferring as many utility accounts as you can to your new location, this will save you time from having to create new utility accounts. You may still have to make new accounts, but it is always worth a shot to keep it simple. Remember, you created a thousand little tasks for yourself, if this makes one of those tasks easier for yourself, do it.
This is also a really good time to cancel those magazine subscriptions you have had a falling out for. Or perhaps this is the perfect time to renew a subscription for your new address. Additionally, you may want to get that general service on your car taken care of before you move. Your car is going to be weighed down, that tire rotation and oil change that happens to be coming up the same time as your move needs to be performed so that way you don’t break down on the side of the road with all your fragile valuables in your car. You will need to start eating all your leftovers and canned food. You don’t want to move food, especially perishable foods. Fruits and vegetables tend to get bruised and damaged in the move. Furthermore, you don’t want to risk food packaging breaking and spoiling making a mess out of your belongings. The best thing you can do is eat everything in your cupboards, so you are not trying to give food away or worse, you end up having to throw it away.
Two to Three Weeks Before Moving Day
You will want to start prepping your pets for the move. This may mean moving your cats’ litter box to where it will be in your new location. Maybe this means you will have to start taking your dog out on a leash to use the bathroom instead of running around a fenced-in yard. Likewise, you might want family or friends to meet your pets if they will be hosting and taking care of them for a few days while you move from one place to the next. Getting your animals acquainted with their watchers will ease your pets’ tensions and make them feel safer during the time they are separated from you.
Now is when you want to transfer your renter’s insurance over to your new apartment. This will set you up for success as your new location will be covered under your policy as soon as you step foot inside. Set aside your valuables, important documents and files, as well as your essential day-to-day belongings. These should all go in a box(es) and stay with you and in your vehicle during the entirety of the move. Set aside a week to a week and a half worth of clothes. This will allow you to pack all your clothes away and only force you to do a couple loads of laundry while in the midst of packing. If you intend to stay at a hotel or with a friend for a night or two, pack an overnight bag and keep it in your vehicle. Anything you plan on using for the next couple weeks can remain unpacked, but everything else should get boxed up and placed by the door.
The biggest mistake one can make is packing too quickly. Everyone is in a hurry to get their life packaged and moved to the next spot, but haste makes waste. The only thing worse than packing is unpacking, and the only thing worse than unpacking is unpacking a bunch of broken, priceless artifacts. Glasses, plates, lampshades, mirrors, and audio equipment suffer the most damage due to packing to quick. Slow your roll, pack properly and cautiously so you are not disappointed when you unpack everything at your new apartment.
Now that the majority of things are boxed up and centrally located, clean your apartment. Don’t wait to do this on the last day. The sooner you start the deep clean, the sooner you get to the stage of maintaining the cleanliness.
By this time, you’re probably exhausted and spread thin, but everything is ready to go, and your apartment looks clean. Take a mental health break. You have been working hard, coming home and still working hard, it’s about time you did something for yourself. If you’re up to it, host a going away party with your friends. Otherwise, set a date and meet up at your favorite local bar, restaurant, or even just get together at your local park pavilion if that is all you feel like organizing. Give your brain a break, it deserves it.
One Week Before Moving Day
The days have been counting down fast and you only have seven days before you transition. Because you were smart and labeled boxes with what they have inside as you packed them, now would be a good time to write on the box what room you want specific boxes to end up in at your new apartment. The less you are lifting, the better. By labeling boxes with the proper room, this allows you to only lift once and will equal less strain on your body. Keep your valuables and your essentials in your possession. Just because they’re your friends and family or professional movers does not change the fact that you want them responsible if anything gets lost, stolen, or broken. By having these invaluable belongings in your hands, you are the only one liable for their well-being. If anything happens to them, at least you cannot blame anyone else for it. This is the position you want to be in.
With a few days out, make sure you confirm all plans as far as child and animal care, hotel reservations, and utility installations. You want a few days buffer to make all systems are a go when moving day dawns. This is also when you want to schedule your final walk through for your apartment as everyone wants to see their security deposit returned to them in full. This means your apartment needs to be spotless. If you intend to hire professional cleaners, be sure this scheduled to happen prior to your final walk through. If your deposit return is big enough, you may not even have to withdraw any cash that you’ll need for the day, whether that would be gas or tipping the movers. Your security deposit can act as a bonus towards your moving budget; however, you need to be one hundred percent certain that you will be seeing your deposit returned to you in timely manner to be able to do so. Never assume you will see your deposit returned to you in full!
The day is here, what do needs to happen before you start moving out the door? Make sure all your boxes are placed neatly to the door. This will allow for a quick, efficient load out will also keeping the rest of the apartment clean by not having shoes trek dirt and debris all over your freshly cleaned apartment. Take out your trash. If your final walk-through is occurring after you are already gone, this may make your landlord less inclined to give you a full return on your security deposit. Better yet, take another walk through. This is called the “dummy check”. You are certain you did not miss anything, but better safe than sorry. Make your dummy check and see if there is not anything else required of you on your lease to get your full deposit back. Before you drive off, talk with anyone helping you move and communicate where you expect to meet them. Exchange phone numbers so any party can contact another party at any time, for any reason. Return your apartment key, be sure your car is packed carefully, and be on your way.
It is not unusual to arrive to your new location before the movers. This works in your favor. Do a quick walk through with the property manager, note any preexisting issues together so you don’t get penalized for it when move-out day comes. Ask if there is a designated load in/load out space for movers and communicate that to your movers (if applicable). You will want to load out your car of valuables and essentials into an empty closet in your apartment. Out of sight, out of mind. This allows you to be present as your movers are loading in and you can direct boxes to the correct room or area. It would be wise to have a large case of water on hand as movers will be grateful to stay hydrated in the summer heat. After you pay and tip your movers, be sure to lock any doors and gates you propped open for them. Take a five-minute break, catch your breath, and begin leisurely arranging your new space.