The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Moving can be an incredibly stressful time, as you pack, move and unpack your belongings. What makes the whole experience more stressful, however, is being unprepared.

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Really, moving should be exciting– after all, you’re getting a whole new place just waiting for you to add a personal touch. Organizing and preparing can help you remove the anxiety and enjoy the thrill of re-establishing yourself in a different location. With that in mind, here’s our moving checklist, sure to prevent you from losing yet another favorite T-shirt in the abyss of moving boxes:

6 to 8 Weeks Before You Move

This is prime time for prep work. It’s also when organizing is the most important. You’ll reap the benefits of the work you do now when you’re in your new apartment.

The Ultimate Moving Checklist - 6 to 8 Weeks Before You Move

Here are the tasks you should get done six to eight weeks prior to the big day:

  • Read your current lease to discover proper protocol for informing your landlord that you’ll vacate– follow the agreed-upon directions. Most landlords require a letter or a signed document one month before you leave. That way, they can take photos and list the property to attract new tenants right away.
  • Decide whether your move will be DIY or if you want to hire help.
  • Research moving companies if you plan to hire professionals. Look at reviews and ask friends for references. Compare prices. You’ll likely have to schedule an in-home estimate, so add that to your calendar.
  • Create a physical folder where you can store important moving information, such as agreements you sign with a moving company or your new lease. Also keep a copy of your vacate letter.
  • Schedule a date with your moving company of choice. You should get a written confirmation of your moving date and an itinerary.
  • Devise a moving budget. It should include the cost of movers, any new furniture you’ll need to buy and eating out during your move (who wants to cook when they’re still unpacking kitchen boxes?).
  • Inform the proper parties of your move (i.e., your child’s school, doctors, employers, and groups you belong to).
  • Transfer your renters insurance to your next apartment.
  • Start accumulating supplies like boxes and packing tape.

4 to 5 Weeks Prior

As you reach the one-month range, you should start buckling down on moving tasks.

The Ultimate Moving Checklist - 4 to 5 Weeks Prior to Moving

  • Check with your moving company to see if you have any items you can’t move. If you do, make arrangements to get those belongings to your new place.
  • Start sorting through your stuff. You don’t have to pack it all yet, but begin purging things you don’t need. For instance, if your worse-for-wear end table won’t fit in your next apartment, either sell it or donate it.
  • Fill out the change of address form provided by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Schedule cancelation or transfer of your utilities, including gas, electricity, and Internet or cable service.
  • Make arrangements for pet care if you’re moving out of state and need a petsitter during this time.
  • Ensure you can get a day off work if you need it.
  • Get vehicle stickers for your new location, as many towns require them.
  • Arrange for any necessary temporary storage.
  • Change your address with your bank and move accounts if necessary.
  • Start using perishable items you don’t plan to move, such as food.
  • Have a yard sale if your landlord allows it. This way, you can make a little extra money off some of the items you won’t keep.

2 to 3 Weeks Prior

The Ultimate Moving Checklist - 2 to 3 Weeks Prior to Moving

  • Pack all nonessentials.
  • Return library books or rented DVDs.
  • Finish making arrangements with the utility companies, and reconfirm your date with the movers (which can also include friends who are helping you move).
  • See what cleaning is required in your lease and schedule a cleaning day.
  • Schedule any time off you need from work.

1 Week Prior

The Ultimate Moving Checklist - 1 Week Prior

  • Finish packing. Label each box with what’s inside. Consider packing by room so unpacking is easier. For instance, your kitchen box should have all kitchen items inside.
  • Create an inventory of all the boxes you have. You might even number them. This will help you ensure you have everything after you move.
  • Pack one essentials box that has everything you need for your first night in your new place.
  • Fill a cleaning supplies box, as scrubbing your old place is likely the last thing you’ll do before you turn in your keys.
  • Confirm plans for pet or childcare.
  • Confirm the installation date of new utilities, such as Internet, gas, and electricity.
  • Confirm details of moving day with your moving company or your helpers.
  • Withdraw any cash you’ll need for moving day, such as money for the movers and cash for ordering food.
  • Clean the apartment to the required specifications.
  • Schedule and complete a walk-through of the apartment with your landlord. Skipping this step forfeits your ability to argue with any security-deposit decisions your landlord makes. If you’re around, you can point out any details and remind your landlord of what is and is not your fault.
  • Ask your landlord if you can reserve a parking spot for moving day. That could mean pulling into the back alley or getting the prime parking right out front.

Moving Day: Your Old Apartment

The Ultimate Moving Checklist - Moving Day - Your Old Apartment

Moving day, or weekend for many, really has two steps: tying up loose ends at your old place and settling into the new one. This is what you should do to end your stay at your old apartment:

  • Finish packing, check every nook and cranny to be sure you didn’t leave something behind.
  • Take out the trash and complete any other last-minute cleaning tasks.
  • Confirm payment method with your movers– when it comes to your friends, that might mean ordering a pizza and pulling out a pitcher of cold drinks.
  • Keep pets and kids away from the action. Having a family member watch them is the safest option.
  • Pick up your moving truck (if you’re moving yourself) and inspect the vehicle. If you’re using your own car, make sure it’s in good condition. You don’t want to deal with car troubles on moving day.
  • Swap contact information with your movers.
  • Pack your vehicle carefully.
  • Turn off all the lights and put your keys in the designated spot. That could be on a counter or into your landlord’s hands.

Moving Day: Your New Place

Getting out of your old apartment feels great, but it’s only the first leg of your journey.

The Ultimate Moving Checklist - Moving Day Your New Place

You might have to go back and forth a few times if you’re moving yourself, so adjust this checklist as needed. Once you’re moved into your new apartment, follow this checklist:

  • Arrive before the moving company or your friends and unlock the apartment.
  • Prop open any gates that lead in and out of the building so you have a safer and clearer path to your unit.
  • Walk through with your new landlord before you start moving your boxes. Take photos and detailed notes. This is important when it comes time to get your security deposit back.
  • If you have time, clean the new apartment before you put boxes down. Prioritize sweeping and mopping, as apartment showings have likely introduced dirt and dust to the floors.
  • Start moving in boxes. Place each box in the correct room, based on the labels you wrote while packing – i.e., the kitchen boxes go in the kitchen and the bedroom boxes go in your bedroom.
  • If you hired movers, take inventory of your belongings to ensure all the boxes are there and nothing is damaged.
  • Pay and tip the movers, and give your friends whatever compensation you agreed upon, such as pizza.
  • Return any rental truck you used.
  • Unpack your priority box first, then get to work on anything else you have the time and energy to do.
  • Enjoy your new apartment!

Moving is hard work, whether you do the entire task with your car or if you hire movers. This moving checklist should streamline the process, but don’t be afraid to personalize it. You may have a unique timeline and different items that will keep you organized. Congrats on the new place and good luck moving!

Pin this post:

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

20 thoughts on “The Ultimate Moving Checklist

  1. One thing that is not on the list is to remember to check your lease to see if you will be required to get the carpet cleaned before you move out.

    This is often overlooked, and can cost the vacating resident money. If the management company has the carpet cleaned, they will charge the resident, often much more than what it would cost to have the resident set up the cleaning themselves.

  2. I would have never thought of all these things on my own – a lot of ‘must have’ knowledge. I printed it up and will follow as much as possible. This is a great list to at least go by. Thank you so much for this!

  3. Pingback: Cambridge Park Apartments | Springfield, MO

  4. Pingback: Find Furnished Apartments for Rent in Richmond |

  5. Pingback: My Homepage

  6. 35 years since my last move. Thank you very much. I did see a site where you had how to negotiate leases, but can’t find it. You are a God send for a senior citizen who lives alone and is very nervous about this move. Thank you, Thank you.

    • Great list. I’m also one of those seniors who is moving to a new place after decades of being in one apartment. I’m very nervous and anything that takes the “mystery” out of moving is appreciated. Thanks!

  7. Pingback: Palm Village Apartments | Springfield, MO

  8. Pingback: Tour Online to Find Right Neighborhood for You |

  9. Pingback: Palm Village Apartments | Springfield, MO

  10. Pingback: What to Do Before Moving In: Infographic |

  11. Pingback: Cambridge Park Apartments | Springfield, MO

  12. Pingback: Cedar Place Apartments | Republic, MO

  13. As a property manager, I personally don’t like the turning off of the thermostat. I had several residents do that this past winter and I cost us thousands of dollars in repairs. We had pipes freeze and burst flooding units. I would have them set thermostat to a low heat during the winter or off during summer months.

  14. Wow! Nice checklist for moving to an apartment. Somebody did their homework. I loved looking through this and seeing what I need to remember. Of course I also just bookmarked it.

  15. Fantastic preparation ideas and objectives! I love the fact that it is not simply a checklist of items needed for the new apartment. The little things that are included, that I personally wouldn’t have thought of, definitely help me to not forget anything important! Once again, great article!

  16. In less than two years I’m going to be retiring, and most likely moving to a new address. I’m researching moving tips like crazy, along with sites on affordable apartments in my area. This information will be very helpful to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>