A Six-Week Checklist
What follows is an excellent guide for making your move go as smoothly as possible. It’s not necessary to follow it to the letter; feel free to read through it and pull out a few points you may not have thought of when making your own checklist.
Six Weeks Before Move
- Call for moving estimates
- For moving to Tucson, call the Tucson Metropolitan Convention & Visitors’ Bureau and Chamber of Commerce numbers (1-800-638-8350), Oro Valley (520-297-2191), Green Valley (520-625-7575), Marana (520-682-4314), or Southside (520-620-0005) and get their new resident information packages
- Inventory all household items to be moved, and start packing now!
- Remove all items from basement, storage sheds, and attics, and plan a garage sale or charity donation for all items you don’t want to move
- Start using things that you can’t or don’t want to move, such as cleaning supplies or frozen food
- Discuss tax-related moving expenses, liabilities, and deductions with your tax advisor
- Start compiling a list of all people/organizations to contact about change of address
- Complete U.S. Postal Service change of address forms and mail them to all applicable publications, stores, and organizations
- Get copies of (or arrange for transfer at both ends of move) all school, medical, dental, veterinary, legal, and accounting records
- Contact insurance agents to transfer or cancel coverage
- If it’s a company move, check with your employer to find out what moving expenses they will cover
- Get a mail subscription for the local paper in your new location to familiarize yourself with the new community, its activities, and local issues
- Locate and obtain all automobile licensing and registration information
Four Weeks Before Move
- Get an itemized list of all moving related costs and review with mover, including packaging, loading, special charges, insurance, vehicles (if needed), etc.
- Contact all current and new location utility companies (gas, water, electric, cable TV, phone, trash collection) to set connect/disconnect dates. Remember to keep current utilites hooked up until moving day
- Make arrangements for relocation of pets and plants
- Move valuables to safe deposit box to prevent loss during the move
- If you are packing your own things, acquire packing materials and boxes and pack items you won’t need for the next month
- If a professional mover is packing your goods, schedule packing day(s) one or two days before the move
- Prepare any mowers, snow blowers, boats, snowmobiles (or other vehicles you won’t be using during the move) for the move by servicing and draining gas and oil in order to prevent a moving van fire
- Repair, send out for re-upholstery, or clean furniture, drapes, and carpeting as needed
Three Weeks Before Move
- Make travel arrangements for family for moving trip, allow for unexpected delays and cash needs that often occur in moves and house closings
- Collect all important papers (insurance, will, deeds, stocks, etc.)
- Arrange to close all local bank accounts and open new ones in new location
Two Weeks Before Move
- Prepare vehicles for the trip to the new home. Check tires and have the vehicles serviced
- Terminate newspaper and other delivery services at old address
- Give away all plants you don’t intend to move
- If you’re moving into or out of a building with elevators, arrange with management for use of the elevators on moving day
- Schedule for appliance disconnects on moving day or the day before the move, if necessary
- Contact your moving company counselor to review and confirm all arrangements for your move
- Withdraw contents of any safe deposit boxes, return library books and rental videos, pick up any dry cleaning, etc.
- Prepare specific directions to your new home for your moving company, including your travel itenerary and emergency numbers
One Week Before Move
- Defrost refrigerator/freezer
- Plan simple meals for moving day to avoid using appliances
- Make plans for care of small children on moving day
- Transfer or withdraw all funds from local banks
- Separate cartons and luggage items you need for personal travel so they don’t get packed on the truck
- Pack a box of items you will need immediately upon arrival at your new home and have movers put this box on last (clearly mark box as Pack This Last or Unpack This First) or take it with you
- Have appliances disconnected and prepared for move
- Set aside one room for packers and movers to work in freely
- Arrange to have utilities turned on at new home
- Notify frends and neighbors of new address and phone number (if available)
- Fill any necessary prescriptions or medications needed for the next two weeks
- Set aside manuals and instructions for your current home for the new owner
- Plan on spending the entire day at the house with the movers. Don’t leave until the movers have gone
- Record all utility meter readings (gas, electric, water)
- Stay with the moving van driver to oversee inventory of items
- Give moving van driver directions to new home and numbers where you can be reached prior to delivery
- Get routing information from moving van driver
- Review carefully and sign the bill of lading and inventory, and keep your copy in a safe place until all charges have been paid and all claims (if any) have been resolved
- Make a final walk-through of the house, including the basement, attic, and closets, to make sure it’s empty
How to Pack Like a Pro
- Plan ahead by organizing and budgeting. Develop a master “to do” list (such as the one above) and a master “to pack” list so you won’t forget something critical on moving day. Also create an estimate of moving costs.
- Sort and get rid of things you no longer want or need. Have a garage sale, donate to a charity (such as Goodwill), or recycle.
- But don’t throw out everything. If your inclination is to just toss it, you’re probably right. However, it’s possible to go overboard in the heat of the moment. Ask yourself how frequently you use an item and how you’d feel if you no longer had it in order to minimize regrets after the move.
- Pack similar items together. While this might seem obvious now, it might not be at the front of your mind during the actual packing process. Put toys with toys, kitchen utensils with kitchen utensils. It will make unpacking much easier.
- Decide what, if anything, you plan to move on your own. Precious items like family photos, valuable breakables, or must-haves during the move should stay with you if possible. Don’t forget to keep a bag or box of necessities, such as tissues, snacks, and other items you might need on moving day.
- Consider a safety deposit box at your bank for especially valuable or sensitive items. The contents of a safety deposit box can be moved for you by your bank.
- Remember, many movers won’t take plants. If you don’t want to leave them behind, make sure that your mover will take them or that you can move them on your own.
- Use the right box for the right item. Items backed too loosely are prone to breakage.
- Put heavy items in small boxes so they’re easier to lift. Keep the weight of each individual box to under 50 pounds if possible. You might be okay with lifting it now, but will it be okay after moving a few dozen other boxes?
- Don’t over-pack your boxes. It increases the likelihood that that items inside the box (or the box itself) will break.
- Wrap every fragile item separately and pad their boxes. This is a case where a little more effort can save you a lot of stress in the long run. If necessary, purchase bubble wrap or other padding materials from a moving or shipping store.
- Label every box on all sides. You never know how they’ll be stacked and you won’t want to have to move other boxes to find out what’s there.
- Use color-coded labels to indicate which rooms/areas each item should go in, and color-code a floor plan for your new house to help yourself and movers. Colored labels are available at moving stores, or just use colored permanent markers on plain labels.
- Keep your moving documents together in their own file. Include important phone numbers, driver’s name(s), and moving van number. Keep your address book handy.
- Print out a map and directions for the movers. Make several copies and highlight the route. Include your cell phone number on the map. Don’t forget to make copies for friends, family, and anyone else who is helping out on moving day.
- Back up your computer files before moving your computer, and keep the backup with you or in a safe place. An offsite backup is the most preferable option if possible.
- Inspect each box and piece of furniture for damage as soon as it arrives.
Finding the Right Mover
Begin your search immediately after you know your moving date. This is especially important during the peak moving season, which stretches between May and August.
- Check with your Realtor. While friends or relatives might have gone through a move and can make suggestions based on it, Realtors oversee a lot of moves in their careers and can most likely recommend one or more movers based on more than one instance.
- Open up the Yellow Pages. There are almost always local subsidiaries of well-known national moving companies. Such companies have a reputation to uphold, and therefore their subsidiaries will have to adhere to their standards. Most large movers will have websites which provide more information.
- When you do get a recommendation, be sure to request the details. Were they prompt and courteous? Did they know the best route? Did they follow directions well, and did they place items where they were supposed to go?
- Get at least two or three estimates from different companies, and compare their services offered. Most estimates are based on hourly costs by a certain number of movers and what needs to be moved. Be sure you are provided with the number of movers the job will require, how long it will take (including transportation time), and the number of trucks or trips. Ask for estimates within the estimate – how much would it cost if the movers packed rather than yourself? If they pack, will they also unpack, including furniture assembly if necessary?
- Ask for references and contact those references, making certain they are “real” people and not just a friend or relative of the mover. Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if they have any helpful information about the movers that you should know.
- How careful will they be with your things? Do they wrap furniture in protective materials? Do they pack computers, appliances, and breakable objects carefully?
- What about specialty items? Not all movers are capable of moving things such as antiques and pianos, and you might need to find specialty companies for these items.
- Ask about extra costs. With some companies, moving items up and down stairs will cost extra. Sometimes, moving on a weekend or a holiday will incur a fee.
- When you have decided on a mover, you’ll most likely need to make a deposit (usually about 10% of the final estimate) before the movers will begin working. Plan to have someone you trust on hand when the move is underway, and plan to be at the house the entire day. You will need to be there to supervise and answer any questions the movers might have. Do not hesitate to complain to the crew foreman or the office supervisor if things are not going as promised at any time during the move. Lastly, have some money on-hand for a tip. A typical tip is $50 per mover for an eight-hour move.