One of the best things to have when performing any large task is a checklist – and a move is a large task. This is not to say that the items listed below are all you must arrange or that every item on this list is required for your move. This is only meant as a starting point. There are items that will be specific to your move that we couldn't anticipate and some of these items won't apply to your move. Make the best use of this list for your purposes.
Six Weeks to Move
Organize - Begin your move organization as soon as possible. And keep track of everything. Create a folder specifically for the move and keep all information in that folder. Examples of items to go in this folder are receipts, contracts, insurance policies, prescriptions (medical and glasses), school records (if moving during the school year), maps, itineraries, airline tickets, etc.
Valuables Folder - Certain items are difficult, if not impossible, to replace. Wills, stock certificates and jewelry, for example. You might consider carrying these items with you during the move rather than packing them. Get a box large enough to hold all these items but still not too bulky.
Insurance - If you're moving to a new state, you're certainly going to have to have auto insurance in that state. Contact your insurance agent at this time and see about making arrangements for this as well as your property and medical insurance.
Clubs - Do you belong to any local clubs or clubs that have affiliates in other states? Begin the process of terminating or transferring those memberships.
Visit - Go to your new community and begin familiarizing yourself with your neighborhood at the very least. If you arrive late at night after your move and need something, it'll help if you know where that drugstore or grocery store is located.
Travel Arrangements - All airlines give you a better price for purchasing tickets ahead of time. Make those arrangements and purchase airline tickets at least six weeks out, if not earlier. In addition, if you're flying, make arrangements for a rental car until your vehicles arrive.
Five Weeks to Move
What - It's decision time. Just how much of that junk that you've been collecting for the last 10 years are you going to keep, meaning move? Begin going through items at this time and decide if it's worth moving or not. If not, how are you going to dispose of it? Does it get donated to a local charity? How about giving it away? You can raise some additional money by having a garage sale.
Who - Out of the items that are going to be moved, begin deciding who's going to move what. They are to be separated into 3 categories according who's going to actually move it: you, your mover or shipper.
Mail - Visit your local post office and pick up a handful of address-change cards. Fill these out for all your magazine subscriptions at this time. It'll take them at least 5 or 6 weeks to take effect. In addition, as you pay your bills from now on, indicate an address change on them.
Four Weeks to Move
Time - You don't have as much time as you think at this point. Only 28 days remain until the moving truck shows up and begins loading.
Children - If you haven't begun discussing your impending move with your children, now's the time. Tell them where and why you're moving and begin to include them in the planning process. Also, let them begin packing some of their items. It'll make them feel more involved in the entire process.
Packing - If you're going to be packing yourself, begin collecting boxes, tape, markers and packing material. Surely you have plenty of seasonal items you could have packed at this time. Remember, though, that we're professionals and will do a much better job of packing.
Pets - Make arrangements for your pets on move-out day, transporting them and move-in day at your new location.
Three Weeks to Move
How Much - Talk to us and decide how much you're going to pack and what we will handle.
Survey - By now, we should have done a survey and given you a quote on your move. If not, call us and arrange that, especially if your move is more than across town. Moves across the country take a little longer to set up.
Young Children - If you have any young children that won't be able to help on moving day, arrange for a babysitter on moving day. That way, you'll be able to concentrate on the move rather than changing diapers, feeding, etc.
Valuables - As indicated above, you'll probably want to move your valuable items yourself. Quite a few people have them 'hidden' in various places around the house. Gather them up and put them all together in a convenient spot.
Plants - Are you going to try and move your house plants? If so, check state guidelines for your destination. Some do not permit transporting plants in from out of state. If you're not going to move them, begin giving them away.
Borrowed Items - Everybody has something they borrowed a while back that needs to be returned. Perhaps it's your neighbor's edger, your Aunt Martha's sewing machine, library books, videos you rented or anything else you can think of. Begin gathering these up and returning them to their rightful owner. Who knows, you'll probably surprise somebody who forgot who they loaned it to. At the same time, you might start retrieving those items you loaned out years ago.
Cleaning and Repairs - You may have some clothes at the cleaners or an electronic item in for repair. Pick up these items, especially if they won't be ready by move time.
Utilities - Arrange to have your utilities disconnected a couple of days after your move and your utilities connected at your new location a couple of days before your move. Be sure they understand the dates. There's nothing like trying to move into a new place without electricity, gas or water.
Two Weeks to Move
Disposables - We've all got a garage and a basement full of items that couldn't possibly or just shouldn't be moved, including flammables, poisons, detergents, ammunition, etc. Decide which you're going to move, and if they require special handling, make those arrangements. Fill up your car with the gas that's in the container. Run your lawn mower until it's out of gas. Give the poisonous items away.
Packing - It's time to make final arrangements for packing. Finally decide who's going to pack what and notify us so we can arrange for the required number of packers.
Food - You don't want to move a freezer full of food. Begin using up the food there and don't buy any more.
Autos - If you're going to be driving and your car's in need of service or repair, get it done. You'll need it for those last-minute trips the next couple of weeks.
Prescriptions - If you're not using a national chain for your prescriptions, get a written copy or have them transferred to a pharmacy local to your new location.
Safety Deposit Box - Don't forget to retrieve the items in your safety deposit box and close that out.
Banking - Again, if you're using a national bank, it's relatively easy to transfer that account. If not, open an account at a bank in your new location and put some money in it. Order checks and debit cards for that new account.
Cell Phone - It's not a bad time to think of transferring your cell phone to the new location or even getting a new number and account, thus making your old number available for a while.
One Week to Move
Review - This is the last week before your move. Be sure you've covered everything above that's required and at least reviewed those items that are optional.
Do Not Load - Be sure all items you're going to be carrying with you are labeled 'Do Not Load' and placed in a separate location. Be sure to point out these items to us on your move day. Neither one of us wants to have to unload and reload the truck because something was packed that you were going to carry.
Load Last - Items that you're going to need almost immediately at your new location, but which we're still transporting, should be marked 'Load Last'. Again, point these out to us.
Fragile - Any items you've packed that are fragile should be marked as such. If not, how can our loaders know that?
Travel Arrangements - Verify your travel arrangements and make sure you have your tickets in hand.
Contact - Be sure we have contact information for you during the entire process. Leave us your Aunt Martha's phone number or your cell phone number.
Refrigerator and Freezer - Empty and defrost these at least 24 hours before the move. We don't want to pack a freezer with melting ice.
Suitcases - Be sure your suitcases are packed and ready to go at least 24 hours before we arrive. You'll be living out of them for the next few days and don't want something packed that will be necessary.
Bedding - Strip your beds and put your bedding in one of the 'Load Last' boxes.
Responsible Adult - If you're not going to be available on move day, be sure you have made arrangements for another adult to be there. Also, notify us who that will be so we won't be surprised. Be sure they can get in contact with you and understand they'll have to sign documents for you.
Delivery Date - Confirm the delivery date and time at your new location. If we show up on Wednesday and you're not there until Friday, it's a little difficult for us to unload.
Directions - Be sure our driver has directions, including full address information, to the new location.
Local Agent - If we're having local agent unload, we'll provide you with contact information for them.
Pre-Load - Review any special requests or items with our on-site supervisor before loading actually begins. In addition, be sure they know which items are 'Do Not Load', 'Load Last' and 'Fragile' that you've packed.
Responsibility - It is your responsibility to be sure everything is loaded. You or a designated adult must remain on-site until loading is completed.
Cleaning - Cleaning products and vacuum cleaners should be packed last so you can perform a final cleaning of your house.
Paperwork - Stay in your house until the last item is packed and you've signed the paperwork indicating so. Anything left in the house after that is your responsibility.
Contact - We'll contact you 24 hours before your scheduled move-in time. If you cannot be reached, you must contact us. We don't want to show up without you and you don't want to show up without us.
Responsible Adult - Again, a responsible adult must be on-site at all times. If you can't be there, be sure you've made arrangements for someone else. They will be making decisions about the placement of everything that's unloaded. It might even be a good idea to have somebody at the truck pointing out the destination of every item as it's unloaded.
Condition - That responsible adult will also be making notes about the condition of items as they're removed from the truck. We have an exemplary record for damages, but it still happens.
Payment - Unless other arrangements have been made ahead of time, have payment ready for our driver upon completion. We'll gladly accept major credit cards, money orders or cashier's checks for payments. For out-of-state moves, unless previous arrangements have been made, personal checks are not accepted.
Utilities - At least 24 hours before we arrive, be sure your utilities have been turned on.
Floor Plan - It makes life much easier on everybody if you have a floor plan available as we're unloading.
Plan, plan, plan, plan, plan...I think you get the idea.