Moving Checklist

Six Weeks Before Moving:

  • Make an inventory of everything to be moved. Photos are a good idea.
  • Collect everything not to be moved for garage sale or charity.
  • Contact charity for date and time of pickup – save receipts for tax records.
  • Contact a quality of self-storage project near your destination to reserve a unit.
  • Put together a moving kit with markers, labels, change of address forms, etc.
  • Get cartons and packing material to start packing now.
  • Contract with a local mover to load your heaviest items.
  • Be sure to identify each box. Put a special label on those that are going to your storage unit.
  • Contact insurance agent to transfer or cancel coverage.
  • Check with employer to find out what moving expenses they will pay.

Four Weeks Before Moving:

  • Notify all magazines of change of address.
  • Check with veterinarian for pet records and immunizations.
  • Contact utility companies for refunds of deposits; set turn off dates.
  • Dry clean clothes to be moved, pack in protective wrappers.
  • Collect everything you have loaned out; return everything you have borrowed.
  • Service power mowers, boats, snowmobiles, etc., that are to be moved. Drain all gas and oil to prevent fire in moving van.
  • Check with doctors and dentist for all family records and prescriptions.
  • Get children’s school records.
  • Check freezer and plan use of food over next two to three weeks.
  • Remove all jewelry and other valuables to a safe deposit box or other safe place to prevent loss during move.
  • Give away or arrange for transportation of houseplants (most moving companies will not move plants, especially in Winter). Plants can also be sold at garage sales, or are perfect gifts for neighbors.

One Week Before Moving:

  • Transfer or close checking and savings accounts. Arrange for cashier’s check or money order to pay moving company upon arrival at new residence.
  • Have automobile serviced if driving long distance.
  • Fill out Post Office change of address forms; give to Postmaster.
  • Check and make inventory of all furniture and other large items. Make a special label for items going to your storage unit.
  • Dispose of all combustible and spray cans. (Spray cans can explode or burn. Don’t pack them).
  • Pack a separate carton of cleaning utensils and tools (screwdriver, hammer, etc.) Make this a part of your moving kit.
  • Separate cartons and luggage you need for personal family travel.
  • Mark all boxes that you pack with the room they will be going to at your new residence.
  • Organize at least one room in the house for packers and movers to work freely.
  • Cancel all newspapers, garden service, etc.
  • Review the entire list to make certain that you haven’t overlooked anything.
  • Check and double check everything you have done before it’s too late.

Moving Day:

  • Plan to spend the entire day at the house. Last minute decisions must be made by you. Don’t leave until after everything is loaded.
  • Hire a baby-sitter or send the children to a friend’s house for the day.
  • Verify your inventory while loading is underway.
  • Tell everyone about fragile or precious items.
  • Make a final check off for the entire house, basement, closets, shelves, attic, garage and other rooms.
  • Keep your inventory records with you to help with unpacking and to clearly identify what’s still in storage.


(Or everything you ought to have with you when you move!)

Note: The idea of this list is for things that will be useful on or around moving day. Actually setting up in your new house will require things like a drill, picture hooks, etc. etc., but they can wait until after moving day when you’ve unpacked your full tool kit.

Pen and Paper: Useful for leaving notes, marking boxes and one hundred and one other things including doodling while waiting for the van/plumber/gas fitter etc. etc., to show up! Include a large black marker to mark boxes and make signs to tell the movers where to put stuff and to put signs in the car/van window to explain to the nice traffic wardens why they don’t want to give you a ticket!

Screwdrivers: (flat and Phillips) and Allen keys if you have furniture that requires them for assembly (you don’t want to have to dig through your boxes to find your tools if you can possibly avoid it)! If you have a screwdriver that has the little glowing bulb to let you know a socket is live, that could be very useful!

Utility knife: for opening cartons and cutting string, and scissors for the same purpose.

Hammer: and some panel pins or similar to tack things up, but you can use tape in an emergency.

Flashlight: with fresh batteries!


Tape: One or more of: packing tape, electrical tape, gaffer/duct tape, double-sided carpet tape and paper masking tape; since they all have their uses.’
Drop cloths: to protect carpets etc. etc., old blankets work well.

Tarps: to cover open back of van (incase of rain) or items being transferred from the van to the house (e.g. mattresses if not in cartons). Use tape and/or hammer and nails to hold tarpaulin up.

Candles and matches: incase of lack of electricity, and because it looks nicer for your first evening in your new home!

Mobile phone: so people can get in touch with you and you can get in touch with other people. Don’t forget to check that it will work in the area of your new house. A spare battery may be a very good idea if you’ve packed your charger. If the phone company will have the standard phone line ready for you, and you don’t know whether the last people are leaving a phone handset, it may be worth taking a phone handset with you.

Wedges: for doorstops to hold open doors.

Wood: to act as a ramp over the doorstep may be useful also.

Gloves: (e.g. gardening or work gloves) to protect the hands while moving heavy objects, avoids splinters and sharp corners etc. etc., and protects the fingernails.


  • Coffee Pot
  • Mugs
  • Tea, coffee, milk, sugar, sweetener
  • Food and snacks, (crackers, cup-a-soup/granola bars/chocolate), especially if the kids are ‘helping’.
  • Soft drinks, water (at least a gallon of normal water just incase the plumbing isn’t working when you first move in).
  • Something to celebrate with. (Champagne and glasses? Beer?)
  • Paper plates, plastic cutlery, paper towels, paper napkins/serviettes, plastic/paper cups (unless you’re going to eat the burgers/pizza straight from their boxes, in which case a handful of paper napkins (or a kitchen roll) is still a good idea!
  • Bottle opener/corkscrew
  • Can opener. A good Swiss Army knife is worth its weight in money during the moving process.
  • Phone number of pizza delivery.

Cleaning up the House

  • Garbage bags
  • Brooms (indoor and outdoor brooms)
  • Dustpan and brush
  • Vacuum cleaner (preferably a wet/dry vac, if it can clean carpets/upholstery; so much the better).
  • Detergent
  • Towels for dishes and after showering
  • Mop and bucket
  • Scrub brush and cleanser
  • Kitchen Paper/Paper Towels
  • Sponges
  • Shelf lining paper if you use it.
  • Disinfectant


  • Radio/Cassette player with fresh batteries for music/travel/weather/news. Don’t forget to take a favorite cassette/CD/mini-disc to help make the new place more welcoming.
  • Change of clothes for emergencies (ripped pants, spilled liquids etc. etc.) or to wear to work the next day. If you’re not unpacking right away, and perhaps even then…what happens if the van is delayed and you have to be in work the next morning?!?
  • First-aid and wash kit with toothbrush/toothpaste, aspirin, Band-aids, toilet paper, prescriptions, female sanitary products, diapers, allergy medicines (especially your inhaler if you’re asthmatic or allergic to dust), disinfectant, soap, deodorant, towels, etc. etc.) Don’t forget a packet of tissues.
  • Sleeping bag. If your bed doesn’t arrive/isn’t set up on first day.
  • Cash/cleared funds to pay movers.
  • Weather dependant stuff: If it is cold and icy, sand/salt/kitty litter to put on path/driveway. If it is very hot, desk fan or similar to keep air moving inside house. If you are moving in the summer and in an area that gets mosquitoes, insect repellent.
  • Spare pair of eyeglasses/contact lenses incase you break/lose your main pair and need to be able to see afterwards!
  • Local map to direct people to/from the new property.
  • Local Yellow Pages/business directory so you can find an emergency locksmith/glazier/plumber/roofer if necessary. Directory enquiries may be good enough.
  • Sheets or something (black plastic bags can work quite well in an emergency) to hang in windows until curtains are put up, plus appropriate hardware to keep them up there (string and nails, tape or whatever.)
  • A clock is surprisingly useful and stops you worrying about damaging your watch (or losing it because you took it off while moving boxes through a narrow doorway and now can’t find it!)
  • Anything of a symbolic/ritual nature to initiate the new house (perhaps a special piece of music, or a lucky horseshoe, or a cutting from a tree that you want to plant in the new garden to symbolize continuity/growth, or some incense, or a wind chime, or a religious symbol, or a family photo. Someone took their guitar and sang ”Our House” by Graham Nash, or Crosby, Stills & Nash, you know, the one that goes, “Our house, is a very, very, very fine house. With two cats in the yard. Life used to be so hard. Now everything is easy ‘cause of you’!)

Vital Papers etc.

  • In the process of moving in you can bury things quite easily, so make sure that you can find things like your credit cards, any vital work papers (e.g. briefcase), drivers license, car keys, wallet etc. One suggestion is to lock them in the glove compartment of your car so you’ll know where they are. (Note: Don’t lock your car keys inside.) Also a list of the phone numbers for each of the professionals you expect to be arriving (e.g. locksmith, gas fitter, phone company, plumber, moving company etc. etc.) so you can contact them either in an emergency or if they don’t show up (okay, so that’s an emergency too!) A spare set of car keys, and the phone number of the van hire company (incase you drop the keys down a drain and can’t unlock the van) are also useful things to have. Finally, having someone who can jump in a car and run down to the local DIY shop/supermarket/Chinese Takeout while you’re in the middle of some emergency will also help make moving day easier! If there is a pay phone near you that takes phone cards (and you’re not carrying a mobile phone) then a spare phone card might be worth considering. If you’ve got all your important phone numbers on your PDA/Newton/Psion/Laptop, then for goodness sake, print out a paper copy just incase!
  • Don’t forget to have the money for the moving company (many need to be paid before they will unload the van.)
  • The address, keys and directions for the new house (you won’t believe how stupid you’ll look if you have to drive around in circles for hours to find the place then have to break in through a side window because you’ve left all this stuff behind!)