Handy Relocation Checklist

unorganized moving truck

Photo Credit: vnoel via Compfight cc

It’s safe to say that moving is pretty high on most people’s lists of things they hate to do. Changing your life and where you live, especially moving to a new town or state, is never easy. But we’ll let you in on a little secret: Procrastination stinks even more. There’s nothing worse than frantically dumping your stuff into trash bags as the movers wait. If you don’t stay on top of things, you’ll be forced to deal with last minute decisions and items on moving day.

Packing up an entire household can seem daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. But have no fear, first-time movers — we’ve put together a timeline and a ton of handy-dandy tips that should ease some of your stress.

Moving is a Process, Not an Event

Unless you have been chased out of your home by a landlord with an eviction notice or a sheriff’s deputy brandishing a foreclosure order, in all likelihood you can anticipate when you are going to make your move and plan accordingly for the ordeal. As such, unless all of your worldly possessions will fit in a single duffle bag that can be readily tossed into storage, you will want to consider a timetable of six to eight weeks out when drawing up your relocation checklist.

6 to 8 Weeks Prior to D-Day

Approximately 2 months before your move, you should look into the services of a professional mover, or reserve the truck and trailer that you will need to complete the move yourself. If utilizing the services of a professional moving service, be sure to account for everything that is going to be handled on the day of the move when arriving at a cost estimate. The morning of the move is not the time to decide that you want to keep the Baby Grand piano after all. Such last minute change of plans is guaranteed to fall outside the scope of your written estimate and will end up costing you more than you had planned. To quote Benjamin Franklin, “if you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail.”

4 to 6 Weeks Prior to D-Day

A month to a month and a half out from the big day, you’ll want to start notifying friends, family, and businesses of your impending move and cancel utilities and transfer services to your new address. In the hustle and bustle of a move, however, it’s easy to let important details slip through the cracks, so here’s a handy reference list of places to notify of your move:

  • Utility company (electric, gas, water, trash, sewer)
  • Cable/Satellite (don’t forget Internet!)
  • Lawn Service
  • Post Office
  • Credit card companies
  • Finance companies
  • Probation officer (we’re not judging)
  • DMV (don’t stand in line — see if there’s an online form)
  • Social Security Administration
  • Human Resources/Personnel Department
  • Magazine or newspaper subscriptions

Taking care of these notifications ahead of time ensures that you won’t be billed for services past your move date — and it guarantees that service won’t be interrupted at your new abode. The last thing you want to do is stand on hold, the day before the movers arrive, attempting to cancel and transfer numerous accounts.

Now is an excellent time to deal with the debris that has become of your life. The last thing you want to do is move the box that apparently hasn’t been opened since your previous move four years ago. Set aside some time to go through your old belongings and bid a fond and final farewell to those things that you have not seen in years. As such, be sure to parse through your belongings and consign them to either the rubbish pile, garage sale pile, or donation pile.

A Note on Moving Storage Units and Storage Units for Rent

An excellent way to get some elbow room and mental composure is to consider staging your packed goods at a nearby local storage unit. You can retrieve items easily on moving day. Mini storage units provide you with the flexibility to ease moving out, and storage unit prices are highly competitive. It’s well worth your time to explore options.

Storage units provide the perfect solution when your new property isn’t up to snuff. For instance, you can stage your property at a Charlotte self storage before having it shipped and warehoused at a New Orleans self storage site until your new place is ready for occupancy. The purpose of a self storage facility is to simplify your life, so you might as well take advantage of them during that time of your life that’s screaming for simplification.

2 to 3 Weeks Prior to D-Day

At this point, you probably have more boxes that need packing than you have days left to pack them. As the stress mounts, it’s always good to take a step back —  and glance ahead. During this time you should check with your mover to confirm pickup dates and times, and any special details regarding your relocation. If you are a do-it-your-selfer and rented a truck with an eye towards doing the driving yourself, be sure to call the rental company to make sure that your truck will be available at the time and location you require.

1 to 2 Weeks Prior to D-Day

The countdown is imminent as you race about completing the final details that are accumulating. Now is the time to start making a determined effort to consume all those heavy canned goods in the pantry and perishables in the fridge should be eaten with only the necessary groceries refilling the shelves.

Unless you have plans for somehow getting your plants from Point A to Point B (many moving companies will not transport them), you may need to look into giving them away. Friends, family, hospitals, and hospices are all great places to deliver an orphaned plant.

Since your pet is probably convinced that something is up, what with all the activity and such, you should consider your pet’s needs in terms of possible boarding or transportation issues. Moving is as stressful for the family pet as it is for the family, so be sure to attend to their emotional needs and security. Open gates, busy movers, and stressed out animals is a perfect storm in terms of being unable to find your cat 3 hours after you should have already been on the road.


The day of the move will be tinged with excitement and overlaid with exhaustion, so be sure to get enough sleep the night before and enough caffeine the day of the move. Generally speaking, if you have hired a professional mover, it is your responsibility to make sure that all your property has been loaded onto the truck. Work with the movers to ensure that they have the exact destination, and find out from them when their ETA in the new city is expected.

Getting a new place is exciting and stressful, but with a little organization and advanced planning you can lessen the stress and make a seamless transition to your new place and life.

SSF Team

SSF Team

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SSF Team

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