Whether you’re moving across the country or across town, it’s never simple. It’s always best to plan early because following a detailed, week-by-week checklist can often help things go smoothly. Follow this timeline to make your next move easier.
8 WEEKS OUT
Inventory the stuff you’re taking. You want to give the shortest, most accurate list to a mover or a truck rental company, so avoid overestimating—and overpaying for too many boxes or too large a truck. Rather than trolling the web blind, ask friends for referrals, says Alyse Ainsworth, a moving and relocation expert from Move.org. Ask about current promotions or discounts.
7 WEEKS OUT
Book your move. Nail down your move-out date, sign your estimate and confirm your plan. For DIYers, lock in a rental truck now to avoid heavy last-minute rates.
6 WEEKS OUT
Change your address. It will take businesses about six weeks to process your move, so fill out a change of address form with the post office or online at USPS.com. When possible, update your address directly with your bank, insurance providers, credit-card issuers, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, and professionals like doctors, lawyers and accountants.
5 WEEKS OUT
Purge your junk. Go through every room in your house and donate, sell, toss or recycle anything you don’t want or need. Continue to get rid of stuff each weekend right up to moving day.
4 WEEKS OUT
Quit stocking the cabinets. Eat as many perishables as possible and stop grocery shopping, says Ainsworth. Now is the time to reduce the food you’ll have to toss or pack. Think of each emptied cabinet as one box you won’t need to pay for.
3 WEEKS OUT
Start packing. To save money on supplies, Ainsworth suggests searching on social media and Craigslist for free or deeply discounted moving supplies. As you pack, set aside items that you’ll need for your trip and the first few days in your new home. Put them in a box labeled “first day,” so you know to open it once you arrive.
1 DAY BEFORE
Finish packing. Pore over the bill of lading. Don’t sign it until you check every charge, since this contract spells out the rules of your move. Scrutinize it, since you don’t want any unpleasant surprises (like missing items) when you unpack in your new home—or when you see your final bill. Label any boxes you’ll want to open first as fragile.
Do a final walk-through. Visually check whether everything is loaded onto the truck and all paperwork is complete. Take a final tour of your home to make sure that the water, furnace, air conditioner and light switches are turned off, windows are closed and locked, and nothing is left behind. When the moving truck arrives at your new home, check your belongings again as they’re unloaded; this time you’re looking for damaged and missing pieces. Keep a map of your new place handy to direct movers where to place furniture. Store all of your moving paperwork—you’ll need it for your federal income tax returns.
Start settling in. Visit your new post office to pick up any mail being held and ask for delivery to begin, check state requirements for vehicle registration and driver’s license.
Slash stress by checking out these 11 packing tips to make moving a breeze.
Whether you’re relocating across town or across the county, GEICO can help protect you and your stuff during your move. Call to find out about insuring the move and updating your current homeowners or renters insurance policy.
By Celia Shatzman