Apartment Guide Moving Checklist

Consult this handy checklist to help keep track of all the details of your move.

Consult our handy checklist to help keep track of all the details of your move!

Moving can be overwhelming. No matter how much time you allow, it’s hard to keep track of everything. This moving checklist will help you reduce stress, keep track of loose ends and stay calm, cool and collected while moving into your new place.

If your moving timetable is shorter than the one in this checklist, don’t panic! Just use this list as a guideline to keep you on track and adjust the weeks to match your timeline.

Six to eight weeks before your move

  • Set up a moving file or notebook to keep all of your moving information in one place.
  • Make a moving decision. Will you hire a moving company or move yourself?
  • If you are hiring a moving service, research and hire a moving company.
  • If you are making a long-distance move, check to see if there are any special considerations you need to make, such as arranging for auto shipping.
  • Calculate the costs of your move and set up a moving budget.
  • Do some research on the area you will be moving to and research local schools and community resources.
  • Check your current apartment lease to see how much notice you need to give to move out.
  • Find out if your move is tax deductible.
  • Finalize move-in details with your new apartment. Ask if there are any move-in regulations or special parking arrangements you have to make for moving day.
  • Find new care providers for you and your family (doctors, child care, etc.). Transfer any school or medical records.
  • Contact your insurance company to arrange for renter’s insurance at your new apartment and set a date to cancel your current policy after you move out.
  • Make a list of who to notify about your move and when. This list should include friends, creditors, doctors, schools, your current and former employers, and any church or professional organizations to which you belong.
  • Start gathering moving supplies and moving boxes.
  • Start thinking about how you will arrange your furniture in your new floor plan.
  • Give notice to your current apartment.

Four to five weeks before your move

  • Make a list of valuables and items that you will have to make special moving arrangements for.
  • Begin packing your belongings starting with the items you use less frequently.
  • Donate or throw away items you don’t need.
  • Start using up household items, such as frozen food or detergent, that you will not want to move.
  • Hire movers or arrange to rent a moving truck for your move.
  • Cancel or transfer magazine and newspaper subscriptions.
  • File a change of address form with the United States Postal Service.
  • Call your utility providers and make arrangements to have your utilities canceled after you move out. Utilities to cancel may include phone, power, water and cable/satellite.
  • Talk to your employer to make sure you can get your moving day off of work.
  • If you are moving to another state make travel arrangements for you, your family or your pets.
  • If you are moving in-state or in town, make arrangements for someone to watch your children and pets on moving day.
  • Get your driver’s license and car tags updated as required. Most states have online DMV guides explaining the rules. For an in-state move, you may be allowed to update your address online.
  • Call your bank and credit card companies and ask about the process of changing or moving your accounts.
  • Close any accounts you will not be transferring (savings, checking, safe deposit boxes, p.o. boxes, etc.)
  • Arrange for temporary storage of items if need be.

Two to three weeks before your move

  • Check with your moving company or truck rental company to determine what you can’t move. Make special moving arrangements for these items.
  • Return any library books and collect any items out for repair or cleaning.
  • Make a meal plan that allows you to use up food in your refrigerator, freezer or pantry.
  • Review your lease agreement to see what kind of cleaning is necessary when you move out.
  • Set up your utilities at your new apartment. Utilities to set up may include phone, power, water  and cable/satellite.

The week of your move

  • Confirm your travel and pet/childcare plans.
  • Confirm appointments with cable or Internet services.
  • Order new checks with your new address.
  • Clean your apartment and prepare it for the check-out process.
  • Confirm moving day details with your moving company or truck rental company.
  • Withdraw any cash you will need to pay movers and get through travel to your new apartment.
  • Make a box of cleaning supplies to keep handy if your new apartment needs cleaning.
  • Pack the essentials you will need shortly after you move in a Priority Box.
  • Pack the clothes, toiletries and personal items you will need in the days following your move in suitcases.
  • Arrange and conduct your apartment check-out walk-through. It’s important to be present at the check-out walk-through to discuss any issues and make arrangements regarding your security deposit.

Moving Day — Leaving your old place

  • Finish any last minute packing, remembering to put any items you will need right away in your Priority Box.
  • Perform any last minute cleaning, and take out the trash.
  • Print out directions to your new home for you and anyone helping you move. Also, have a map in case you need to change routes.
  • If you are using professional movers, confirm payment method. Some moving companies prefer to be paid in cash on the day of the move, while other companies accept checks or credit cards.
  • Set out water or cold beverages for you and those helping you move.
  • Have someone watch your children or pets during your move, or designate a special area of your residence where they can stay during the move.
  • Set aside any boxes/items that require special care and might need to be moved separately in a car. It is also a good idea to move any personal bags, suitcases, and your Priority Box separately so you can get to any items you might need immediately.
  • If you are moving out of an apartment, talk to your apartment manager to see if you can reserve a space for your moving truck.
  • If you are moving yourself, pick up your moving truck and any moving accessories. Inspect the truck to make sure it is in good condition and that you have all the accessories you need. Make sure to pay attention to all the conditions you have to meet before you return the truck.
  • If you are moving yourself, load your rental truck carefully. Load the items you will need right away last so they can be unloaded first.
  • If you are using a moving company, give the movers any special moving/handling instructions. Review and sign any paperwork when your movers arrive. Make sure that you understand what you’re signing and ask questions if you need to.
  • Trade contact information with the movers so you can get in touch should something happen during transit.
  • Do a final check of your old residence making sure you aren’t leaving anything behind.
  • Turn off all lights, and turn off the thermostat.
  • Make sure that all doors and windows are locked.
  • If you are leaving an apartment, sign any final paperwork, perform any necessary final walkthroughs and turn over your key. Get a copy of any final paperwork for your records. Make sure to give your former management company your new address so they know where to send your security deposit.

Moving Day — Moving into your new apartment

  • Make sure you arrive at your new apartment before your moving van.
  • Check in with your apartment manager to perform an apartment walkthrough and get your apartment key, if you have not done so already. If you have made any special move-in arrangements, confirm those details with your apartment manager.
  • Check to make sure the necessary utilities have been hooked up.
  • If you are moving yourself, unload your belongings off your moving truck.
  • If you are using a moving company, take note of items as they are unloaded to make sure nothing was damaged in transit. Once all of your belongings have been unloaded, read and sign any final paperwork (inventory, bill of lading, etc.) Keep a copy for your records.
  • Pay and tip your movers.
  • If you are moving yourself, perform any necessary tasks before returning your rental truck.
  • Unpack your priority box and set up any furniture you will want to use that day, such as beds, chairs, etc.

Also, check out these articles for tips on what to do during the the first days after your move, advice on unpacking, what to do with your moving boxes, and more!

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

20 thoughts on “Apartment Guide 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!

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  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!

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  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.

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