Checklist for Moving Into A Home

You’ve done all of the work to find your new dream home, including the financial preparation, selecting a good neighborhood and maybe even going through the process of building a new home. You may feel that you are in the home stretch, but there’s one more big project to undertake -- the move itself. Preparing for a move, whether across town or a big move across the country, requires organization and forethought. By following the moving checklist below, you’ll get a handle on everything from the best way to move furniture to determining the cost of moving. You’ll even find out how to ensure your first night in your home is a great one.


What do you do before you move?


  • Start early gathering materials for your move. Get boxes, save newspapers, or purchase a moving kit from a home improvement store or moving company. Consider ordering color-coded labels for the various rooms in your new home -- they can save a great deal of time on moving day, and time is money.
  • Get in-person estimates from three or more moving companies. Ask the companies to break down the estimates into packing, the move itself, and unpacking so that you can determine which services fit within your budget. If you choose to have the moving company pack for you, you’ll save money on moving supplies. If you choose to have the moving company unpack, they’ll haul away boxes and packing materials for you. Weigh the cost and benefits of each when making your decision.
  • Create a budget for your move. Once you choose the moving company you want to use, you can begin creating a budget for your move. This may include a variety of factors depending on where you are moving and how long it will take. Even a move across town might require you to eat out for a day or two until you’ve had a chance to go to the grocery store and get your kitchen in order. These costs can add up, so be sure to factor them into the budget.
  • Contact utilities where you currently live and at your new home. You’ll need to schedule power start up and shut off, cable installation, and other services. You’ll also want to transfer your mail delivery from your old home to your new one. This is the time to notify your creditors of your new address and information. Finally, if you are changing to a new bank, you’ll want to ensure that all automatic deposits and withdrawals are transferred to your new account to ensure that you don’t miss a payment.


Before Moving Checklist

  • Start early gathering materials for your move.
  • Get in-person estimates from three or more moving companies.
  • Create a budget for your move.
  • Contact utilities where you currently live and at your new home.


How do you start packing for a move?

Many people automatically pack room by room, but a better way to prioritize is to proceed with unnecessary items first, leaving necessities for the last round of packing. Here are some helpful tips as you start to pack for moving:


  • As you begin to pack, develop a list of priorities and pack according to that list. You may want to start with decorative items that do not serve a practical purpose in your day-to-day life. Then move on to books and other media like CDs and DVDs. Artwork could also be packed at this early stage.
  • In a kitchen, there are many items which you might not use on a day-to-day basis. Pack fine china, specialty baking pans, or other rarely used elements in this early stage. Save everyday dishes and utensils for last.
  • In a bedroom, pack off-season clothing early in the process. If you have a large shoe and handbag collection, pack the bulk of those items at an early stage.
  • In your linen closet, pack most of your spare towels and sheets as well as table linens at an early stage of your moving preparation. Since you probably won’t be hosting guests in the middle of the move, this is also a good time to pack up the guest room.


The goal is to pack as much of the house as possible early on, while leaving the day-to-day necessities of life for the last round. This makes accomplishing larger tasks such as moving furniture more convenient, and allows you to continue living your daily life as normal during the time up until the actual move.


Home Moving Packing Tips

  • Pack decorative items first
  • Pack lesser used kitchen tools before everyday dishes
  • Pack off-season clothing early
  • Pack up guest room essentials


When should you start packing to move?

If you have decided to pack your own belongings, the time to begin packing is as early as possible! If you are selling a home, you may even want to begin packing at the time you put your home on the market. Items such as personal photos, decorative pieces, and tchotchkes can be packed away as part of decluttering your space in preparation for showing.


How do you prepare for a long-distance move?

Thinking about moving to a new city? There are a couple things you will want to keep in mind as you prepare for a long-distance move.

  • Downsizing is Key.  Since many movers charge based on the weight of the materials moved, the less you have to move, the more money you’ll save. This is the time to consider purging your home of items you no longer want or need such as clothes you no longer wear, electronics that are out of date, and furniture that is in disrepair. You may even consider selling or donating many large items and replacing them when you arrive at your new home.
  • Your Budget will be Bigger. Your budget will expand with a long-distance move, because you will have to factor in travel costs and time. For a long-distance move, you may need to factor in things like: meals, hotel rooms, fuel, vehicle shipping, missed time from work and other travel costs.
  • You will need Paperwork. Start early gathering the paperwork you’ll need to transfer medical records, school records, and other items. Put these together in a file folder or small box and bring it with you in your personal vehicle. You don’t want to search through the entire house upon arrival in order to find these important documents.
  • Have a Comfort Box of Favorite Items. For adults, this may be a favorite snack food, favorite coffee mug, necessary medication or supplements, a favorite book, or other necessity. For children, you may pack a favorite toy or stuffed animal, a favorite bedtime storybook, blanket, snacks, and other comforting items. These should travel with you so that they are easy to find as you travel, stay in hotels, or for the first night in the new home. That little piece of familiarity can be an important part of making the transition easier.


While it can be intimidating to contemplate a big move, the rewards are worth the effort. Once you find your perfect new home you’ll be counting the days until you can move in. Use this checklist to ensure that you have all of your bases covered.



Contributed to Your Home blog by Christy Murdock Edgar

Looking for more tips, ideas or inspiration? Return Home here.

Published 7.12.19

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