The Essential Moving Checklist and Timeline

Oct 19, 2023 4 min read

Moving is a time for excitement and change, but keeping track of all the details related to your move can be overwhelming. When should you change your address? What should you pack last? What should you do with important documents? Luckily, a little bit of organization and advanced planning can go a long way. 

Your Moving Timeline: What to Do When

Whether you’re moving out of state, across town or around the corner, there are some things you need to do to prepare. Use this checklist for moving to ensure the big day goes as smoothly as possible.

Two Months Before You Move

A few months is a long time to prepare for your move, and in most cases, you might not have a full two months before you take possession of your new property. Don’t let that stop you from thinking ahead about some of the most critical components of moving: the proper preparation!

Start by creating a folder for all the important documents related to the move. This will help you keep moving truck reservations, moving crew notices and packing supply lists in check. Simple steps help ensure you’ll be ready to go when it’s time to move. Start by sorting through closets, drawers and cabinets for any unwanted items you can give away or discard. Now is a good time to create or update your home inventory list, which will come in handy should any item be lost or damaged by a moving crew.

Scheduling time for important tasks like cleaning out freezers or collecting boxes and packing materials will have you well ahead of the game.

One Month Before You Move

Start off your one-month countdown by booking the movers or rental trucks. It may seem like a long way off, but moving companies will love you for it. Now is also a good time to call utility companies in preparation for your move. Shutting off utilities in your old home, turning them on in your new home, and forwarding any wanted services to your new residence are all vital to feeling at home from day one. If you’re moving from an apartment, 30 days before moving is a good time to contact your landlord about maintenance issues that will need to be scheduled before you leave. Smaller jobs like filing your change of address with everyone from the USPS to your Uncle Sam will ease any headaches you might feel after the move.

The most important step of your one-month deadline: start packing! Determine which room in your home you use the least and begin packing there. Make sure you do it safely and strategically. If you fill a large box with books, magazines, pots, pans and other weighty items, it’ll be hard to lift, carry and load. That means you’ll need more hands, more time and more effort to move one box. Packing weighty items may increase the likelihood that a box will break, or you can potentially hurt yourself trying to lift it.

Instead, use large boxes for bulky, lightweight items like fluffy comforters, pillows or hangers. Reserve smaller boxes for dense, weighty items like books, magazines and DVDs to make moving these items easier.

Two Weeks Before You Move

Other people would be scrambling right now, but not you. Your preparation has put you in control and you are ready for the next steps. Call to confirm your rental truck or moving company appointments to be sure you’re ready to go on moving day. Make sure to safely dispose of hazardous materials that won’t be making the trip, like gasoline from yard tools or high-power cleaners.

This is also when you will want to create a moving plan. What path do you plan to take to get items to and from the moving truck? Are there any obstacles that could make moving bulky items more challenging? How do you plan to load the truck? Will you load boxes first, or will your items be more secure if you load furniture first?

By thinking through the details of your move in advance, you can eliminate unnecessary lifting (like unloading and reloading the truck), reduce the strain on your body and avoid the risk of injury. Planning your move beforehand also means everyone in the moving process is on the same page, which means better collaboration and safer outcomes.

One Week Before You Move

Even though it will feel like time is of the essence, your preparation and early packing will put your mind at ease. It’s all about taking steps now, so there’s no panic later. One essential item to create is a “first-night” survival kit. Tools, sheets, toiletries, chargers for phones or laptops, a few sets of clothes, a first aid kit and some cleaning supplies are all items you’ll be glad to have the day after you move.

One Day Before You Move

The night before the move you will be calm and confident if you’ve followed our tips for preparation so far. It’s time to finish packing and wrapping up any loose ends in your house. However, you may want to save your “first-night” kit and any truly valuable items to take with you in your vehicle.

Moving Day

Today is the day. You’ve packed, you’ve prepared and now it’s time to move. Load up the moving truck, help direct movers or even stay out of the way; whatever you can do to make things go smoothly should be your goal. Be sure to walk through your home after everything has been moved out to close windows and doors, pick up any missed items and shut off the lights.

Arriving at your new home is exciting. Make sure you do a pre-move-in walkthrough to locate important items like the circuit breaker, water or gas shutoffs, water heater, and air conditioning units or controls. Now is also a good time to ensure the internet and cable services, if forwarded, are in working order. Finishing your walkthrough means you can finally move in!

Protect Your Investment

It will feel great to check off that last box on your moving checklist on the big day. Everything will be in its place, and everyone will start to feel at home, but are you still missing something? Learn more about home and property insurance options from a local Farm Bureau agent and turn your house into a home.

Want to learn more?

Contact a local FBFS agent or advisor for answers personalized to you.