Planning for a move doesn’t have to be stressful and overwhelming! You don’t need to start from scratch trying to figure out what needs to be done and when. This 3-month moving timeline will walk you through exactly what you need to do to prepare for your move and when you need to do it. Stay organized and on top of your to-do list!
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Why Use a 3-Month Moving Timeline
3 months is more than enough time to prepare for a move, but still enough time that you won’t get overwhelmed if you stay on track. If you want to get started early, I have a list of things you can do ahead of time. If you have less than 3 months before your move, just get started on the action items right away and try to catch up.
Not every item on this list will be relevant to your situation. That’s fine, just skip them. It’s YOUR MOVE so take what’s helpful for you and don’t worry about the rest.
More Than 3 Months Before Your Move
This far out from moving day your focus should be mainly on research and prep. But don’t worry! There’s plenty to be done.
Decluttering and Purging
You have to declutter before you move! Moving is the perfect opportunity to get in there and clean out all of the random crap you have held onto. Plus, the less stuff you have to move, the cheaper your move will be! Win-win. Not sure where to start? Read my post on how to declutter before a move. Don’t forget to go through:
- Closets (+ drawers, basements, etc) – clean out your wardrobe. You can resale, donate, or have a garage sale
- Food – clean out your freezer and cabinets. Get rid of expired canned/dry goods.
- Cleaning supplies – use them up
- Holiday stuff – as the holidays pass, sort through decorations, get rid of anything old or broken and pack up what you want for the move.
- Use my decluttering checklist to stay on track!
Create a moving organization system. This can be a binder, file, Trello board, notebook, or anything else that works for you. But you need to have a specific place to keep all move-related documents, notes, worksheets, checklists, estimates, receipts, etc.
Create a Packing and Labeling System
Before you start packing anything up, take 15 minutes and decide what your organization and labeling system is going to be. Write it down and put it with your master moving file. The specifics don’t matter, as long as it works for you and you stick to it consistently. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself when you are unpacking!
Plan for the unexpected. Take some time and work out what you are going to do if things don’t quite work out the way you expect. Don’t drive yourself crazy and you don’t have to get super detailed. But having some idea of your plan B can go a long way towards keeping things sailing smoothly if you hit a few bumps in the road. For example:
- What if your house sells faster than expected? Look into temporary housing to cover the gap.
- What if your house takes longer than expected to sell? Consider what options you will have, especially if you are looking to move to a new town?
- What if you need to unexpectedly store your things? Look into storage facility options.
Now is the time to do your research, especially if you are moving to an area that you are not very familiar with. Local Facebook groups and forums are great resources for information and insider tips.
If you have school-aged children, start researching schools. Definitely check out Facebook mom groups. School rating sites are not very reliable and it’s difficult to get a holistic picture of a school from a rating.
If you are moving out of tow you are going to need to find new medical providers. If you know people in the area, ask for recommendations. Try asking your current doctor for options as well.
Transferring a Car Between States
Research rules on transferring car registration and obtaining a new driver’s license. Find out how much time you have after moving before you have to transfer your registration. Different states have different rules. Make sure you include any fees in your moving budget.
Movers and Moving Options
Start to figure out your options for the move. Read reviews online. Ask friends and family for advice. Definitely take the time to shop around and get estimates from different moving companies and compare your options. There’s no best overall solution here. Select the one best suited to your situation.
Start to work out a moving budget. Don’t forget to include:
- Moving services – professional movers vs friends, moving truck or pods; professional packing or do it yourself
- Transportation costs (gas, hotels, etc)
- Supplies – what are you going to buy vs collect for free
- Insurance, security deposits, pet deposits, etc
3 Months Before Your Move
Once you hit the 3-month mark you can start to tackle some more specific pre-move tasks.
You should have your movers hired or truck reserved 2 months before your move. The longer you push it off, the more expensive it could end up being, and the fewer options you will have. Especially if you are moving during a popular season (ahem SUMMER) you need to get your mover set early. Jump on it now and save yourself the headache.
Create an inventory of what you are taking with you when you move. Photograph and document everything you plan to move (especially valuables). Determine the replacement value of your possessions for insurance purposes
Make a separate list of your valuables and put it in a safe place. Make sure you transport it personally during the move.
- Talk to your insurance agents. Will you need to make changes to your policies (car, home, rental, etc)?
- Make a list of everyone you will need to notify about your change of address.
2 Months Before Your Move
The clock is ticking! These 8 weeks are going to fly by. You may be starting to feel some pressure, but just keep ticking off the items on this checklist and you will be in great shape!
Don’t stop decluttering! Go through the stuff you have already gone through and pull out more stuff to get rid of. Just keep paring down! This one thing can have a huge impact on your move.
Gather Packing Supplies
It’s time to start gathering your packing supplies for your move. Some things you will need:
- Packing materials – bubble wrap, peanuts, etc
Start packing up your non-essentials. Remember that packing and labeling system you worked out? Use it. Your future self will thank you.
Book Your Movers
If you haven’t already, book your moving truck and/or movers now! Wait any longer and you’ll start to run out of options.
This is also the time to make travel arrangements for your move. Are you driving a moving truck? If not, are you flying or driving? If you are flying, how are you moving your car?
Collect Important Records
Notify your local personal service providers about your move and gather important records if you are moving to a new community. Places to contact include:
- Lawyers (wills, deeds, etc)
- Veterinary office
- Schools (academic records)
6 Weeks Before Your Move
You’ve reached the halfway point on the moving timeline. Continue working through the checklist! It’s ok if you’re a little behind, but try to catch up. You want to be on track by the 1-month mark or your task list is going to start piling up quickly.
Contact New Schools
Contact your children’s new schools to follow up on enrollment information and their school schedule.
Arrange Help for Moving Day
Arrange any extra help you may need for moving day. Consider if you will want childcare, petcare, general manpower, etc. If you are hoping for help from friends and family, be considerate and give them plenty of notice.
Use Up Your Food
Keep working on cleaning out your fridge and pantry. Meal plan ahead to help use up your extra food.
Make a Plan for Your Pets
Make travel arrangements for your pets, if necessary. Get them into the vet for updated vaccinations and to discuss your options for travel.
1 Month Before Your Move
Things are starting to get real! Only 4 weeks to go. Your moving day is going to be here before you know it!
Confirm Your Movers
Reconfirm your moving date with the movers. The last thing you want is to be all set to move and not have a moving truck!
Keep packing. At this point, you should be packing up all nonessentials. Anything like decor, holiday items, off-season, books, etc are fair game. Label everything consistently with your chosen system.
Contact Service Companies
Contact your current service companies to cancel and identify an end date for those services (cable/internet, gas, electric, garbage services, trash collections, newspapers/magazines)
Also contact new service companies to set up services for the new home so you will not have any interruption in service (cable/internet, gas, electric, garbage services, newspaper)
3 Weeks Before Your Move
Start your final preparations this week. You’re in the home stretch now. Don’t relax yet!
Open New Bank Accounts
Open new bank accounts in your new community, if necessary. Getting this done now before you move, will save you unnecessary hassle later.
Take Your Car to the Mechanic
Get your car serviced, especially if you are driving a long distance to the new location. The last thing you want is to have your car break down in the middle of a move!
Change of Address
Start working through your change of address checklist. You can do the USPS form on their website. Notify any family and friends that you haven’t yet about your move.
Make a Moving Day Plan
Write all of your moving day information on one sheet of paper and put together a moving day survival kit. Put everything you will need on your moving day in one spot. It will save your life on the day of the move.
2 Weeks Before Your Move
Are you freaking out yet? Stay focused and don’t forget to set some time aside to relax!
Pack All Nonessentials
Finish packing all nonessentials. Pretend you are getting ready to go on a long vacation. What will you need? Pack everything else. Obviously, be reasonable. Like, don’t pack up all your dishes yet. Just leave the stuff you use every day. Everything else will keep.
Reconfirm Your Moving Details
Reconfirm your moving details. Contact your mover and reconfirm the details of your move, including:
- Old and new address
- Pick-up date
- Delivery date
- Cell phone number
Arrange for a deposit payment if required.
Begin to deep clean as you pack. You don’t want to leave it all for the end.
- Return any borrowed items, including library books.
- Give away any plants not being moved. Don’t forget to say goodbye!
- Pick up your dry cleaning
1 Week Before Your Move
You are in the final stretch!
Be a Packing Machine
Pack a suitcase with the clothing you’ll need from now until you move. Pack everything else. Stick with your labeling system!
Thoroughly clean your house. I mean deep clean everything! Clean out the fridge. Hopefully, you have been cleaning as you pack and you won’t have to start from scratch.
- Set up an appointment with a local locksmith to change the locks in your new place. You can’t be too careful, unfortunately.
- Get your payment ready for the movers (including tip!).
- Set your mail forwarding
- Empty gas from your lawnmowers or any other power equipment that is being moved
- Cancel newspaper subscriptions
2-3 Days Before Moving Day
Finish up any uncompleted tasks and also do the following:
- Pack a first 24 hr survival kit. Set aside a box or suitcase with the things you will need right away at your new home. Load it into your car or pack it last onto the moving truck.
- Finish cleaning pantry and cabinets. Donate unused nonperishables to a local food pantry.
- Clean the major appliances at your house (like the fridge)
- Get cash to have on hand for tips and other expenses
You made it! And because you planned ahead and followed the checklist, you are ready to rock your move.
Follow Your Moving Day Plan
You made your plan, now use it! Just a few reminders:
- Make sure you review any documents before signing
- Pay the movers. Don’t forget to tip!
- Do your final walkthrough. Make sure everything is clean and nothing has been left behind. Unplug major appliances at the old residence. Turn out lights, lock windows and doors.
You survived! Order takeout for dinner. Please don’t try to cook. Take a break, you deserve it!
You thought you were finished! Don’t worry, the hard part is over. Now you just need to wrap up loose ends.
- Confirm your new address with your employer, bank, creditors, DMV, etc
- Finish your address change checklist
- Leave a review for the movers
- Unpack and get organized
- Get out and explore your new neighborhood. Meet your new neighbors!
- Enjoy your new home!
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