The Ultimate Moving Checklist

By Jacqueline DeMarco · July 23, 2023 · 9 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 can be 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 can 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. Moving companies will often offer better rates on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday because they aren’t typically as busy as on weekends.

You might also want to try to schedule your move in the morning. This is helpful during the summer, since temperatures aren’t as hot. Also, if you aren’t moving far, an early move will give you a good portion of the day to start getting settled in your new home.

Choose a Moving Company

Once you’ve picked the day, it’s time to pick the mover. You might start your search by asking people you know who have recently moved for recommendations. You can also check out the reviews online and send out a few quote requests to local movers. It can be a good idea to interview and get estimates from at least three movers before making a choice.

Create a Budget

Moving can be costly, and movers may be one of your biggest expenses. The average per-hour cost for a local move is $25 to $50 per mover, per hour. So if you use a two-person team for four hours, it can run at least $200 to $400, just for labor. You may also have to pay for transportation fees, materials, and gas.

For a long-distance move, costs go up considerably. You may need to factor gas, tolls, and lodging if the trip is more than one day, along with additional fees for drivers. All told, a long-distance move can run anywhere from $600 to $10,000 (or more), depending on the moving company you choose, the distance, and the size and amount of your belongings.

When you create your moving budget, you’ll want to factor in other moving costs, which may include:

•  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

•  Transportation cost to get to your new place

•  Any additional items you need to buy for your new place

Recommended: Things to Budget for After Buying a Home

Inform the Important People in Your Life

Now might be the time to share the news of your move. Your friends and family may already know, but don’t forget to 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 any necessary arrangements.

You may also want to contact a few government agencies. For example, the U.S. Postal Service recommends setting up mail forwarding about two weeks in advance of a move. The service may be in place in as 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


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.

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

If you’d prefer to donate some or all of your gently used but no-longer-needed possessions, you may want to reach out to The Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, a local thrift store, or a nearby homeless shelter to arrange for a pickup or delivery.

Recommended: 23 Easy Ideas to Pay It Forward

Call Your Cable, Internet, and Utility Providers

Now might be a good time to call your current cable, internet, and utility providers to let them know when you will be cutting off service. You’ll also want to reach out to providers that service your new home to set up services. That way, you’ll have electricity, WiFi, and everything you need up and running as soon as you get there.

Cancel Other Subscription Services

If you belong to a gym, community supported agriculture (CSA), or any other local group or subscription service, you’ll want to be sure to cancel your membership so you don’t continue to get charged after you move.

Three Weeks to One Week Before the Move

Collect Boxes and Start Packing

Collect Boxes

As the moving date gets closer, it’s time to acquire boxes. You can buy them or, to save money, start hunting down free boxes. Good sources include local restaurants, liquor stores, coffee shops, and supermarkets. Simply call or stop in and ask what days they typically get deliveries and if you can come to take the used boxes off their hands. Then, over the week or so, stop in and collect as many boxes as you can.

Buy the Moving Supplies You Need

You’ll also need to pick up some other items for 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, plus 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.

Recommended: How to Move Across the Country

1 Week Before the Move

Tie Up Any Loose Ends

Finalize Important Details

By now, you’ve likely already canceled your local services, subscriptions and memberships, but there will likely still be a few loose ends to tie up. Think about how you can make the transition into your new life as seamless as possible. For example, do you need to switch banks? If you have a pet, you may want to select a vet in your new neighborhood in case your pet needs care soon after you move.

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 (if applicable), 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 out for day-to-day living and make sure all your boxes and suitcases are ready to go 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

Consider ordering your favorite local takeout, having friends over for a farewell drink, and giving thanks to everything this home has provided for you. It deserves it.

Move-In Day Checklist

Embrace a Blank Slate

Make Sure Everything Arrived

On move-in day, you’ll want to focus on finalizing your move. There will be plenty of time later to rearrange furniture and to organize your new walk-in closet. Instead, you may want to concentrate on making sure all of your belongings made 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, this can be a great time to give your new home a deep clean. 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.

Recommended: 32 Inexpensive Ways to Refresh Your Home Room by Room

Unpacking Checklist

Unpack and Get To Know Your New Home


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 at hand 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 can be stressful, but you avoid ever feeling completely overwhelmed by making a moving checklist well ahead of your move date, then tackling each project one at a time.

Moving can also be costly, so you may also want to make a plan for how you’ll pay for your move well in advance. This gives you time to save up what you’ll need or, if necessary, explore financing options. You may be able to get an unsecured personal loan to cover the cost of a move. Sometimes referred to a moving or relocation loan, this type of financing typically comes with fixed rates and set repayment terms, and rates tend to be much lower than credit cards.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

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