Moving Checklist

moving checklist

A couple of years have passed since my last major move, and hopefully, it will be the last for just a little while. Since I was very pregnant, I had to get organized so I get things done in time. Over the years, I’ve easily moved more than a dozen times. However, this last time, I had to develop somewhat of a moving checklist to make sure nothing fell through the cracks.

The Lose the Cape Moving Checklist

Two months before

Sort and purge

As early as two months before, you can start to sort and more importantly, purge. Start one room at a time, open the closets, dig through the drawers and find those things that you don’t want to carry with you to your new place. Typically, I create four piles: give away to friends, give away to charity, throw away, and not sure. This “not sure” pile is the place where I put stuff that I know I should toss, but I’m emotionally not ready to throw away. Often, I have to look at this pile several times before I can commit to getting rid of it.

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Start investigating moving company options. I really wanted to do the pod system, but it was really expensive. My husband did some additional research and found out that a company called Estes rents out portions of their truck, and you place a divider between your items and the next person. This was a good solution for us after buying six feet of trailer space. We also shipped our car, so we used our car for storage as well.

Do not rely on a quote over the phone, make sure you get a written estimate via email or fax (do people have faxes?). Get an estimate in writing from each company, and make sure it has a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number on it.

Organize your moving documents.

During this time, you’ll need a place and a way to organize the estimates, your receipts and an inventory of the items you’re moving. You can use a binder, a folder or any system that you would actually use.

Transfer School Records

Don’t forget the kiddos. Go to your children’s school and arrange for their records to be transferred to their new school district.

Six Weeks Before

Get Your Supplies

I don’t buy what I don’t have to. I find boxes from grocery stores, friends, etc. Find boxes and other supplies such as tape, Bubble Wrap, and permanent markers. Don’t forget to order specialty containers, such as dish barrels or wardrobe boxes.

Think about whether any items will require special packing or extra insurance coverage.

Use it or lose it.

Start using up things that you don’t want to move, like frozen or perishable foods and cleaning supplies.

Take measurements.

Determine whether your current furniture will fit into your new place. Measure rooms and doors to make sure that you can get all of the stuff you’d like to take into your new house.

One Month Before

Confirm Mover

Determine which company fits your needs and your price range and get written confirmation of your moving date, costs, and other details.

Begin packing.

Begin packing the items you rarely use, like seasonal clothing and party supplies. Make sure to declare, in writing, any items valued over $100 per pound, such as a computer.


I love labeling. Labeling boxes are the best when you arrive in your destination. I suggest using different colors and a corresponding letter-number combination (i.e., pink Bd1 for pink Bedroom 1). I like the letter combination which is helpful when you first arrive, but after a while, the color will make it easier to see. Pull out your essentials and make sure that you put this box in a place that you can easily and quickly access.

Keep Your Valuables with You

You should keep all of your valuables with you when you travel. No matter how you plan to get to your destination, you’ll find that there are sticky fingers everywhere. Keep all important documents necessary for your move with you as well, including estimates, receipts, etc.

Change Your address.

Make sure that you file a change of address form with the post office. There are several options. You can file for the entire household (that has the same name) or for each individual. I opt for both, to make it less likely that there’s a mistake. You can do it in person or online at for a fee.

Call or go online to change your addresses with all the companies who send you mail, including but not limited to, banks, brokerages, employers, subscriptions, credit cards, insurance and utility companies.

Forward medical records.

You need to make sure that you take your medical records with you, especially if you have any medical issues. Since I was pregnant, I needed to take my ob-gyn report with me to my new doctor. For me, it was free if I had the doctor sent the report directly to another doctor, but had to pay per page if I was going to receive it myself. If you can, seek out a referral to have the documents delivered. It also keeps you from possibly carrying a book of private information on your trip.

Two Weeks Before

Prep your Car

Make sure that your car is up and running with all of the maintenance up to date. Whether you’re driving or having it shipped, the last thing you’d want to do is have your car in the shop soon after you arrive.

Clean out your car so that you have the best use of the space, especially if you’re driving.

Contact the moving company.

Reconfirm the arrangements.

One Week Before

Refill prescriptions.

Stock up on prescriptions you’ll need during the next couple of weeks.

Pack your suitcases.

Aim to finish your general packing a few days before your moving date. Then pack suitcases for everyone in the family with enough clothes to wear for a few days.

A Few Days Before

Defrost the freezer.

If your refrigerator is moving with you, make sure to empty, clean, and defrost it at least 24 hours before moving day.

Double-check the details.

Reconfirm the moving company’s arrival time and other specifics and make sure you have prepared exact, written directions to your new home for the staff. Include contact information, such as your cell phone number.

Plan for the payment.

If you haven’t already arranged to pay your mover with a credit card, get a money order, cashier’s check, or cash for payment and tip. If the staff has done a good job, 10 to 15 percent of the total fee is a good tip. If your move was especially difficult, you might tip each mover up to $100. Don’t forget that refreshments are always appreciated.

Moving Day


Make sure that the moving truck that shows up is from the company you hired: The USDOT number painted on its side should match the number on the estimate you were given. Scams are not unheard-of.

Take inventory.

Before the movers leave, sign the bill of lading/inventory list and keep a copy.

Pray to God it all makes it there! 🙂

Do you have a moving checklist? Does it have anything we missed?

Download your free Moving Day checklist Printable HERE: