Plan well in advance and start taking steps now to make your move more manageable.
8 Weeks Before Moving
Budget for moving expenses and start collecting estimates.
Start by creating a "move file." You'll need a place to keep important information and receipts for moving related expenses.
Research your new community . Start with a relocation packet. You'll also want to order a phone book and city map for your new location. This will allow you to start researching new schools and service providers and is a must for your "essentials" box. Finally, consider ordering a local newspaper.
Start Paring Down. Draw out a floor plan of your new home and start deciding what function each room with serve and what will put in it. Moving is tough, but it can also be an opportunity. This is the perfect time to get rid of the extra "stuff" you've accumulated. Take it one room at a time and prepare to make tough decisions. Survey each room and ask yourself: Does this have sentimental or monetary value? Does anyone really use it? Is it worth lugging around? Is there room for it in our new home? If it doesn't make the cut it! Plan a yard sale, post an online auction or simply donate anything that does not meet your criteria. This is a great way to earn a little extra cash or another tax deduction.
Start using up items that can't be moved to your new home. Properly dispose of flammable or potentially hazardous chemicals. This would include anything in an aerosol can, cleaning and lighting fluids, paint, matches and ammunition. Eat foods that are frozen or stored in glass jars and don't plan on replacing these items until you are in your new home. Finally, be aware that live plants cannot be shipped with your other household goods. Plan on taking them in your car or find new homes for them.
7 Weeks Before Moving
- Start pulling together medical, eye doctor, and dental records - including prescriptions, eye glass prescriptions, x-rays, and shot records. Ask your existing doctors if they can refer you to a care provider in your new city.
- Arrange to have school records transferred to your children's new school district and/or daycare.
- Get copies of any legal and financial records you need, especially birth records.
Check with your lawyer to see if your will needs to be re-written in your new state.
- Arrange for veterinarian records to be transferred.
- Call your insurance agent to see what changes to expect in your policies for changing states. Ask if moving is covered and arrange for insurance for your new home.
- Contact health clubs or other organizations you have joined. Ask how you can end, sell or transfer your membership.
6 Weeks Before Moving
- Make a list of things that are valuable or difficult to replace. Plan on shipping these by certified mail or carrying them with you.
- Make a list of friends, relatives and businesses who need to be notified of your move.
Sorting through your home gives you the opportunity to take inventory of your belongings. Make a list of everything you decide to keep and assign replacement values for insurance purposes. Make note of items that are difficult to replace. Either carry these items with you or ship them by insured or certified mail. Such items might include:
- Photos and home videos
- Birth certificates, wills and other legal documentation
- Jewelry, rare coins and special collections
- Stock certificates, insurance policies and financial records
- Computer diskettes with backups of important files.
Know what you will need upon arrival to your new home. Plan ahead and make a checklist of things you will need to pack in suitcases and an "essentials" box. Allow for extra clothing and be sure to make room for treasures, toys and snacks for the kids. Your essentials box should include things you'll be scrambling for upon arrival.
- Scissors, masking tape, utility knife, can opener
- Coffee cups, paper plates, paper towels
- Plastic forks, spoons, knives
- Dish soap, trash bags, towels
- Instant coffee, tea, beverages
- Toilet paper, toiletries
- Prescriptions, aspirin or other pain relievers
- Flashlight, light bulbs, hammer
- Phone books, pencils and paper, your "move file"
- Telephone, radio, batteries
Plan on keeping your essentials box and luggage handy, preferably in your automobile.
5 Weeks Before Moving
Getting Close: Need To Get Packing Supplies:
- various size boxes
- plastic sheets/tarp
- padding/bubble wrap
- newspaper/wrapping paper
- box/shipping tape
- scissors/pocket knife
- small tool kit
- sandwich bags (to hold appliance/furniture hardware)
General Packing Principles
- Start packing several weeks before your move date
- Take it one room at a time. Begin with things you use less frequently, such as books and knick knacks. Pack each room in separate boxes and label each box with its contents.
- Pack as much as you can into boxes. This will provide greater protection for your belongings and will make loading much easier. Unusually shaped items take up more space and make loading more difficult. Packing and padding your items are keys to having a successful move. Don't skimp on packing supplies. They are far cheaper than broken or damaged belongings.
- Reinforce the bottom of all boxes with tape. Fill each box to its capacity, using paper or fillers to eliminate empty spaces. The top and sides of each box shouldn't bulge, nor should they cave in when closed.
- Pack heavy items, such as books, in smaller boxes. Keep the weight of each box down to a manageable level.
- Leave lightweight linens and clothing in their drawers. Pack extra linens, pillows and stuffed animals in large garbage bags and tape closed. Plan to use these bags as cushions or fillers.
- Disassemble any items you can. Be aware of items with sharp corners or projections and keep them from puncturing or scratching other objects.
Pack your valuables and essentials separately and plan on keeping these items with you.
Whenever possible use original shipping boxes for computers, printers and other electronic items. You might even consider double boxing. Follow manufacturer's instructions for moving when available. Immobilize moving parts and remove all detachable cables and wires. Color code or label wiring for easier reinstallation. Tape electrical cords to back of appliance to prevent plug damage and wrap each piece with bubble wrap. CDs and software do not survive high temperatures. If you are shipping your goods during the warmer seasons, consider keeping these items with you.
Dishes and Glassware
Wrap breakables in tissue paper and use newspaper to fill extra spaces in boxes. Pack plates on their edges. Consider using pot holders and dish towels to cushion the bottom and sides of your boxes. For greater protection, consider purchasing "dish packs" sold by packaging stores. Fine silver should be wrapped in cloth or silver paper.
Lamps and Decor
Remove all bulbs and shades from lamps. Pack in sturdy cartons labeled "fragile". Wrap each wall hanging individually with bubble wrap, blankets, or towels. Pack flat items on their edges. For large mirrors or pictures, cover both sides with bubble wrap and heavy cardboard, then bind with tape.
Lawn and Garage Items
Drain all gasoline and oil from lawn mowers, weed eaters, chain saws and other equipment. Disconnect all batteries. Empty propane tanks from barbecue grill and properly purge hose. Secure lid and immobilize moving parts. Strap long garden tools together into a bundle. Pack heavy power tools into small sturdy boxes and fill spaces with newspaper.
Poisonous, flammable and corrosive items cannot be shipped. Pleasesee the list of items that fall into this category. Your shipment should not include anything that is poisonous, flammable, corrosive or perishable. Such items include, but are not limited to, the following:
4 Weeks Before Moving
- Reserve your mover
- File a change of address not only with post office, but also with all friends, relatives, subscriptions, charge accounts, credit cards. Notify VA or Social Security if applicable. If necessary, ask the postal service to hold your mail in their office in your new city.
- Schedule disconnection of all utility services at your old home, and connection of them at your new one. Be sure to disconnect the day after you leave and connect the day before you arrive. If you have "last month" deposits with services, such as the water or gas company, request your refund. Remember the TV and Cable companies at both ends of your move.
- Make travel arrangements for your pets, do not forget to include necessary medical and immunization records.
- Call your newspaper courier and set a date to cancel your subscription.
3 Weeks Before Moving
- Make sure all library books have been returned and all dry cleaning or items out for repair have been picked up. Also retrieve any items out on loan.
- Contact your utility companies on both ends of the move to order dates for termination or turn-on.
- Decide if you will keep your plants or give them away. Remember plants cannot be loaded with your other household goods.
- Dispose of flammables, corrosives and poisons.
- Have your automobile(s) serviced.
- Prepare auto registration to be transferred.
2 Weeks Before Moving
- Contact your bank and/or credit union to transfer or close accounts. Clear out safety deposit boxes. Pick up traveler's checks or cash for "on the road" expenses.
- Confirm travel arrangements for pets and family.
- Notify any creditors of your move.
- Plan meals for the last week of the move to help empty the refrigerator and avoid using appliances that will already be packed.
- Assemble a folder of important information about the house for the new owner of your home.
- Finish packing and prepare an "essentials" box. Designate several boxes and items as "last load" items. Pack your suitcases, jewelry, documents, and other valuables separately.
- Drain all gas and oil from your mower and other motors. Gas grills, kerosene heaters, etc. need to be emptied as well.
- Drain water hoses and waterbed.
- Empty, defrost and clean your refrigerator at least 24 hours before moving day prepare appliances for loading and moving.
- Arrange for cleaning not just the house, but clothing too.
- Fill any prescriptions or medications you will need for the next couple of weeks.
- Make childcare and pet arrangements for moving day especially any special care needs.
- Notify friends and family of your new address and phone number.
- Make sure car is tuned up for trip to new destination.
- Make sure that the mover loads your goods in a pre-designated order, saving "last load" items for the rear of your shipment. This might include your vacuum cleaner or bed sheets.
- Check every room, closet and cabinet one last time before deciding everything is loaded.
- Take note of utility meter readings.
- Make sure the destination address and contact information for your mover is correct.
- Leave a note with your new address in the house so that future residents can forward any stray mail. Also leave in house all keys, garage door openers, instructional manuals any other things that the new owner will need when they move in.
- Keep a friend or family member informed of your plans and "whereabouts" in case of an emergency or unforeseen event.
- Make sure you have enough cash or travelers checks for travel and to pay moving costs.
- You are likely to arrive at your new home ahead of your shipment. Take this time to look things over and to ensure your new utilities have been connected.
- Check appliances especially pilot lights, utilities (telephone, gas, electric, water, TV, Cable, and garbage) and systems to ensure all are working properly, and arrange for repairs if necessary.
- Check to see if your mail is making it to your new address or pick up any mail being held.
- Consider drawing out your new floor plan and decide where you want furniture and appliances placed.
- Keep track of your shipment and work with the local terminal to schedule delivery of your trailer. Plan ahead for parking.
- Unless you are paying by credit card, have a cashier's check or money order ready for the movers.
- Keep all receipts and documentation in your move file and store the file in a safe place. Be sure to include your Bill of Lading and delivery receipt. You'll be glad to have everything in one place at tax time.
- Get a new driver's license and new tags for your automobile.
- Register to vote, register children in school, and check on religious affiliations.
- Arrange for medical services: doctor, dentist, vet (check for any pet registrations or vaccinations), ophthalmologist etc.
- Arrange for banking services and accounts.
- Notify or arrange for life, health, fire, and auto insurance.
- Contact the local paper for a new subscription.