The Ultimate Moving Checklist: How to Plan and Organize Your Move

By: Harrison Gough Last Updated: Jan 01, 2024

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Moving means tons of boxes, a long drive, and stress. Lots and lots of stress. Fortunately, a thorough moving checklist can keep you sane, systematic, and stress-free.

The Ultimate Moving Checklist: How to Plan and Organize Your Move

Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, a move is a big deal. No matter the distance, a move requires plenty of planning and organization to ensure a smooth transition to your new home.

This article is your checklist for a better move. We’ll walk you through all the important steps, and we’ll even throw in a few tips about how you can make your life a little easier – before, during, and after moving day.

Pre-Moving Checklist

1. Research and Planning

Before you grab the bubble wrap, it’s important to know what you’re really getting into. Here are some important steps you should take care of during the pre-move planning stage:

2. Research your destination

You’d be surprised at how many people decide to go through with a move without really getting to know their destination first. We recommend taking at least a few trips to your new hometown before you pull the trigger and commit to the move.

3. Research moving companies

It’s possible to DIY a move, but should you? Booking professional movers may cost you a little extra, but it’s worth it if you want to cut down on stress. When you shop for movers, think about the hardest part of your move, and how the pros can help.

Check out reviews and feedback to make sure you’re dealing with a legit company, and ask at least three moving companies for quotes so you can compare prices.

4. Budget for the move

Once you have a few quotes for reference, you can start building your budget around your other major moving expenses. Make a list of must-haves and their prices, including the cost of your movers, packing materials, and any additional services you may need.

5. Create a moving timeline

Create a moving timeline and outline all the tasks you need to complete leading up to moving day. This helps you stay organized, and it also gives you a schedule of important dates and to-dos.

Organizing and Decluttering

Before you start packing, take some time to organize and declutter your belongings. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Create an inventory

If you don’t keep track of everything, you could end up forgetting some important stuff. Create a room-by-room inventory list of your belongings. This will help you keep track of everything and ensure that nothing gets lost or left behind during the move.

2. Organize belongings by room, then a category

Pack room by room, and organize each room’s contents by category (e.g., clothing, books, kitchenware). This gives you a good idea of what boxes you’ll have to prioritize when you’re unpacking everything, and it’ll also give your movers a good idea of what boxes go where.

3. Declutter unwanted items

Now’s the perfect time to get rid of unwanted items. Sort through everything you own and decide what you can sell or donate. Keep in mind, the money you get from selling off unneeded items can go straight to your moving budget.

Packing Checklist

Packing is one of the most time-consuming parts of your move, but with our checklist, it can be a breeze:

1. Gather packing supplies

Before you start, get everything together. Gather all the packing supplies you’ll need, including boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and packing paper.

2. Packing fragile items

Wrap fragile items in bubble wrap or packing paper to protect them as much as possible. When you put your fragile items in a box, use more packing paper to prevent them from moving around during transport.

3. Label boxes

Label each box with its contents and the room it belongs in. Don’t forget to clearly mark if a box has fragile stuff inside.

4. Create an essentials bag

You don’t want to go digging through all your boxes for a toothbrush or a razor. Pack a suitcase or a backpack as if you were going on a mini-vacation, and get used to living out of it for a while.

Keeping all your toiletries, chargers, and a few changes of clothing in one place will make the days leading up to (and after) your move much less chaotic.

Notify Services and Organizations

It’s important to notify all relevant services and organizations of your move. Here are some important ones to remember:

1. Update your address with the post office

Update your address with the post office to make sure your mail is forwarded to your new home.

2. Notify utility companies

That post-move shower or bath is a must. Dry faucets, not so much. Notify your current and future utility companies (e.g., gas, water, electricity) so they can cancel, transfer, or start your services.

3. Notify banks and credit card companies

Update your address with your banks and credit card companies so you continue to receive your important financial information and statements at your new address.

4. Notify healthcare providers

Notify your current and future healthcare providers, and transfer your medical records to your new provider ahead of time.

Moving with Pets

If you’re moving with pets, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure their safety and comfort during the move. Here are some important steps:

1. Find a pet-friendly moving company

Most movers have a no-pets policy, so make sure you ask ahead of time. Look for a pet-friendly moving company with plenty of experience moving pets.

2. Acquire pet health records

Make sure you have all of your pet’s important health records and medications before the move.

3. Prepare a travel kit for pets

You’ve packed an essentials bag for yourself, but did you make one for your pet? Pack a travel kit for your pets, including food, water, toys, and any necessary medication.

4. Set up a safe space for pets

Moving can be chaotic for people and pets alike. Set up a safe space where your pets can play and unwind while you’re handling the heavy lifting.

Moving Day Checklist

1. Moving Day Preparation

On moving day, it’s important to be prepared. Here are some tasks to take care of before the movers arrive:

2. Confirm the move

Double (and triple) check that everything is in order and on schedule. Confirm the details of your move with your moving company.

3. Prepare your home for movers

Clearing a path and protecting floors and walls. It also helps to keep all your boxes in one easily-accessible room or corner.

4. Prepare yourself for moving day

Get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and dress comfortably.

5. Review the moving plan

Review the moving plan with your movers to keep everyone on the same page.

Loading and Transporting

During the loading and transporting stage, it’s important to keep a close eye on everything to avoid loss, damage, or injury. Here are some tips to keep things running smoothly:

1. Assist movers with loading

Unless your movers insist on handling everything, you can lend a hand with loading and unloading items.

2. Secure items during transport

Your movers should have this squared away but double-check to make sure all items are secured during transport to prevent damage.

3. Track the shipment

Keep track of your shipment and make sure it arrives on time.

4. Be present during the unloading

Unless you want to pay a late fee, be present for unloading. Your movers will need you to unlock the door, and besides, this way you can keep track of what boxes are going where.

Unpacking and Settling In

Once you arrive at your new home, it’s time to start unpacking and settling in. Here’s how to make a smooth transition:

1. Unpack and organize items

If you labeled your boxes by room, this step should be a breeze. Go room by room when you unpack and organize your belongings to make the process easier.

2. Set up essential systems and utilities

You’ll want to unwind in between all the unboxing and unpacking. Set up essential systems and utilities (such as internet and cable) to really make your new home feel comfortable.

3. Check for damage

Check for any damaged or missing items and report these losses to the moving company. The sooner you report damaged items, the better.

4. Get to know the new community

If you’re ready for a break, take some time to explore your new community. This is a great chance to get to know your new neighbors.

Post-Moving Checklist

1. Finishing Touches

You’re not out of the woods just yet. Here’s how to tie up loose ends:

2. Clean the old home

Clean your old home thoroughly before leaving to ensure that you get your security deposit back.

3. Complete a final walkthrough

Walk through your new home and test out your appliances and utilities to make sure everything’s working as intended.

4. Collect deposits and refunds

Collect any deposits or refunds owed to you from your old home, such as your security deposit.

5. Complete address updates

Complete any remaining address updates to ensure that you receive all important mail, deliveries, and information at your new address.

Stay Organized

You’ve stayed organized this far, so why not keep up the habit? Here’s how you can keep things tidy and manageable at your new place.

1. Keep track of receipts and documents

Keep all receipts and documents related to your move in a safe and organized place.

2. Organize new belongings

Organize your new stuff by category to make unpacking and organizing easier.

3. Create a new routine

Create a new routine in your new home to help you adjust to your new surroundings.

4. Plan for future moves

Your move is fresh in your memory, so take some time to plan out how you can improve on the process during your next move – whether it’s in a few months or a few years.

Create a moving binder with all your important information and documents, and you won’t have to scramble for everything later.


What should be included in an essentials bag?

An essentials bag should include stuff you’ll need on the first few nights in your new home, such as toiletries, a change of clothes, and important documents.

How early should I start planning my move?

It’s a good idea to start planning your move at least two months in advance. While some movers can offer last-minute moving, giving yourself more time to prepare and pack is much better for your stress levels.

Should I hire professional movers or do it myself?

If you’re trying to DIY to save some money, keep in mind that between the gas, truck rental, and time off work, you may not be saving as much as you’d expect. Hiring professional movers can be a little more expensive, but they’ll save you time and effort.

How do I prepare my home for movers?

Clear a path for your movers, protect floors and walls with moving blankets, and remove any fragile or valuable items from high-traffic areas. It’s also a good idea to stage all your boxes in one convenient location.

What should I do with unwanted items?

This is your chance to declutter and minimize your stuff. You can donate, sell, or dispose of unwanted items before the move to reduce your moving expenses. Some movers also offer junk removal services.

How can I save money on my move?

Savings come in all shapes and sizes, but we always recommend decluttering and minimizing the amount of stuff you have to move. You should also get a few different quotes from a few different movers so you can pick the best option for your budget.

How can I make sure my belongings are safe during the move?

Professional movers will keep your stuff safe, but there’s always a chance of something getting damaged or destroyed. Label your fragile items clearly, and look into getting full-coverage moving insurance, either from your movers or from a third party.

What should I do if I need to move at the last minute?

If you need a last minute move, try to stay organized and prioritize your essential tasks. Go over our checklist and keep track of the must-haves. Also, prepare your wallet accordingly. Last-minute moving services exist, but it’s not cheap.

Happy Moving Day!

Moving is a big step, and it’s important to make sure you’ve kept everything organized and planned to keep your big day as smooth as possible. Now that you’ve seen the checklist, you can take the necessary steps to prepare for you move without stressing out.

If you’re getting ready for your move, there’s no better time to start. Take care of a few tasks every day (even on weekends), and keep in touch with your movers. Don’t forget the essentials bag!

Best of luck with your move, and don’t forget to check in with Moving Feedback for more tips and tricks for moving day!