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The Ultimate Moving Checklist

By Jacqueline DeMarco · September 30, 2021 · 7 minute read

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The Ultimate Moving Checklist

So, you’ve decided to move. Be it for a new job, a fresh start, or just for an adventure in an exciting new locale, moving is a great way to kick off change in your life.

But before you start assembling boxes, folding clothes, and bubble wrapping your most prized possessions, there are a few key steps — some financial and some practical — you might want to take to ensure a seamless transition. Here’s a moving checklist that might help you get from your old home to your new place with relative ease.

3 Months Before the Move

Pick a Date and Make a Moving Budget

Pick a day to move. Assuming your new place is ready to go and you’ve already discussed the move with your current landlord or have sold your current home, a good first step is to decide on a moving day.

The least expensive times to move are typically during the week and in the mornings. Moving companies might offer better rates on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday because they aren’t typically as busy as on weekends.

Beyond the day of the move, you might also consider attempting to schedule your move in the morning because the temperatures aren’t as hot then, making the job just a bit easier for your movers (and for you, if you’re assisting). And, as an added bonus, it could help you get to your new home by the afternoon if your new home is close by, which means you’ll have the entire day to unpack.

Choose a moving company. Once you’ve picked the day it’s time to pick the mover. You could send out a few quote requests to local movers, check out the reviews online, and go with your gut on who you believe will take the best care of your belongings. Ask if the mover offers moving insurance. If not, it may be a good idea to seek out a third-party moving insurance vendor.

Create a budget. You know those movers above? Yeah, they can cost a lot of money. According to Zillow , the average per-hour cost to move fewer than 100 miles with the help of two movers is between $80 to $100 per hour on average. For a move 100 miles or more you should expect to pay anywhere from around $2,000 to $5,000 (or more).

When you create your moving budget, factor in the cost of movers; any penalties you might incur for leaving a lease early; ending a phone, cable, or internet package early; any and all repairs you need to make for your new home; and the transportation cost to get to your new place. Then, add in the cost of any additional items you need to buy for your new place.

Inform the important people in your life. Now might be the time to share the news of your move. Yes, tell your family and friends, but also tell other important people about your departure schedule, such as your children’s school and your employer. That way they have plenty of time to make plans.

Beyond people, you may also want to contact a few government agencies. For example, the Postal Service recommends setting up mail forwarding about two weeks in advance of a move. The service may be in place in a few as three days, but it’s smart to have some wiggle room.

If you’re moving to a new state, you may also want to set up an appointment at your new state’s department of motor vehicles, as you may be required to get a new driver’s license or register your vehicle in that state. And, if you’re moving during election season, reach out to your new area’s voter registration office to ensure you’re all set up to cast your ballot.

Need help financing your move?
Check out SoFi’s relocation loans.


1 Month Before the Move

Evaluate Your Belongings and Declutter

Walkthrough. You might want to do a walkthrough of your current home and look at each and every item you own. Then grab two sticky note pads with different colors, one to represent the things you want to keep and one to represent the things that must go. Every single item should get a sticky note. If you’re long distance house hunting, your real estate agent may be able to arrange a virtual walkthrough for you so you’ll have an idea of the kind of space you’ll be moving your belongings into.

Start selling. Instead of simply throwing away the things you no longer want, you could try to sell them online. After all, your trash could certainly be another person’s treasure. And this way you could have a few dollars in your pocket to spend on buying new things for your new home.

Donate unwanted, but still usable, items. Want to donate a few items? You can drop off clothing donations to thrift stores or a local homeless shelter. If you’re hoping to donate large items like furniture you may need to schedule a pickup and delivery.

Call your current and new cable and internet provider. Now might be a good time to call your current cable company and let them know about the move. If it offers service in your new location you could ask about switching over the service on the day you move. If it doesn’t, give them a cancel date for the day you move to ensure the service has ended and you aren’t paying a double bill. For your new place, you can research which companies are available, call around for a quote, pick your favorite, and set up an appointment for the day you move. This way you have service the second you walk in the door.

Cancel other subscription services. Are you a part of a local gym, CSA, or delivery service? Consider canceling these recurring payments so you aren’t charged for an extra month.

Three Weeks to One Week Before the Move

Collect Boxes and Start Packing

Collect boxes. As the moving date closes in, it’s time to get packing. If you’re looking to save a pretty penny, you could head to a local coffee shop, grocery store, restaurant, or shop and ask what days they typically get deliveries and if you can come to take the used boxes off their hands. Then, over the next three weeks, stop in and collect as many boxes as you can.

Buy the moving supplies you need. You will still need to buy a few items to get packing, including heavy-duty packing tape, a marker for labeling things, and bubble wrap for fragile items. If you’re not hiring a moving company, you might consider renting a dolly, which can make moving heavy items much easier, and furniture pads to protect your belongings from scratches and dings. Sheets and towels can also be used to protect furniture and as padding inside of boxes.

Start packing. At this point, it’s probably safe to start packing the things you aren’t currently using — out of season clothes, most of your dishes, extra blankets, towels, framed photos, and decorations. You’ll want to leave out the essentials so you’re not looking through boxes to find things you use on a daily basis.

1 Week Before the Move

Tie Up Any Loose Ends

Finalize important details. At this point, you’ve already cancelled your local subscriptions and memberships, but there will still be a few loose ends to tie up. Have you arranged to transfer banks yet? Do you have a vet picked out near your new home in case Fido gets sick right after you move? Think about how you can make the transition into your new life as seamless as possible.

Confirm bookings. You’ll have a lot of things to do before moving, but it’s important to take some time to double check all of your bookings. Confirm when your movers are coming, what time your flights are booked, and that you’ve arranged for your new utilities to turn on. There are a lot of moving parts that come with a move, so it’s easy to get booking details mixed up or to let things fall through the cracks.

1 Day Before the Move

Pack Your Final Belongings and Say Goodbye

Pack up. Pack up any of the remaining items you’ve left behind and make sure they are all ready to roll for the move.

Create a folder of important documents. Have a folder ready for the move that includes your old lease (if you’re renting), along with the new signed lease, the contract for the movers, and all receipts from the move.

Say goodbye — your way. Order your favorite takeout, have friends over for wine, and give thanks to everything this home has provided for you. It deserves it.

Move-In Day Checklist

Embrace a Blank Slate

Get everything from A to Z. On move-in day, the priority should be finalizing your move. There will be plenty of time later to rearrange furniture and to organize your new walk-in closet. Focus on making sure all of your belongings make it from Your old home to your new one, so you can start fresh tomorrow without making a trip back to grab that last box you forgot.

Clean up. As tempting as it can be to start unpacking right away, a great time to give your new home a deep clean is before the contents of those boxes are strewn about. Once you unpack, it won’t be so easy to clean the inside of every cabinet and to vacuum every inch of carpet. This may not be one of the most fun things to do when moving, but it can be a good way to make your new house more homey.

Unpacking Checklist

Unpack and Get To Know Your New Home

Unpack. Now that the hustle and bustle of the move is over, you can focus on unpacking and taking your time to find the right spots for all of your belongings. Unpacking in the reverse order of how you packed allows you to access your most-needed belongings first.

Think ahead. While you’re unpacking, you’ll get a lot more familiar with your new home and all of its needs. Keep a pen and paper ready so you can create a post-moving to do list. Take note of any repairs you want to make now and create a maintenance checklist you can refer back to in the future.

The Takeaway

Moving is stressful, as you can see by reviewing this checklist, and the last thing you want to do is worry about money. As we outlined above, moving can be expensive. According to HomeAdvisor , the average move in 2021 will cost $1,513, with a typical range of $829 to $2,220. A high-end move could cost upwards of $11,000.

If you don’t have that kind of cash on hand, you could consider applying for an unsecured personal loan to help cover the cost. SoFi offers low rates and no fees on its unsecured personal loans, which can be used to pay for moving expenses as well as other expenses that life brings your way.

Enjoy your move without having to unpack all your finances, too. See if a relocation loan from SoFi is right for you.


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