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Moving Soon? Follow This Weekly Checklist for a Smooth, Stress-Free Move

Good Housekeeping logo Good Housekeeping 4/12/2018 Amanda Garrity
a close up of furniture: Follow week-by-week checklist to make moving to your new house easy and stress-free. Start planning packing eight weeks before the big move for best results. © Feverpitched - Getty Images Follow week-by-week checklist to make moving to your new house easy and stress-free. Start planning packing eight weeks before the big move for best results.

If all of your belongings could magically appear in a new home without any stress or sweat on your part, you'd move in a heartbeat. But actually, the moving process can be less of a chore if you break down the tasks - scheduling, packing, and cleaning - into weekly to-do lists. Follow this eight-week guide for a stress-free move, or download this printable checklist so that you can check off the boxes (so satisfying!) while you accomplish tasks.

8 weeks

The papers are signed. The plans are underway. Now, it's time to figure out the logistics of how and when you'll move, along with the plan for when you first step foot in your new home.

  • Research moving companies with the Better Business Bureau and get recommendations from friends and family who have recently moved.
  • Learn about your rights and responsibilities as you prepare to work with a moving company from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Consider extra insurance coverage you may need for your move. Ask prospective moving companies what insurance is included and check your homeowners' policy to see what it covers.
  • If you are moving to a new area, research banks, doctors, and schools. Gather all the proper paperwork you need to set up new accounts.

7 weeks

You're on a research kick - keep it going. Seven weeks out from the big day, lock down the moving company that you'll use and start tracking all relevant expenses.

  • Get estimates in writing from at least three licensed moving companies. If possible, have an estimator come to your home to do an inventory.
  • Start a binder or folder where you can keep all of your moving estimates and moving-related paperwork.
  • Make a list of businesses you will need to contact to change your address. Don't forget to list your online accounts, too.

a person sitting on a table: Moving Checklist © Jamie Grill - Getty Images Moving Checklist

6 weeks

Put your plan to action by going around your house - closets, basements, and storage areas, especially - and deciding what makes the cut. Once everything is sorted, start packing non-essential items (think: holiday decorations and craft supplies).

  • Get the packing process started by assessing your closets and getting rid of clothing that doesn't fit or you no longer want. When the closets are done, start to assess items room by room.
  • Do a first round of donations of unwanted goods to charity, sell items online, or have a garage sale to help pay for your move.
  • If you have children, work with the current and future school to transfer school records and make plans for a smooth transition.
  • Begin packing items that aren't used frequently. Seasonal items, rarely used gadgets, and items stored in the attic or basement are a good place to start.

5 weeks

Before you start throwing everything in boxes, map out a room-by-room plan. Oh, and give loved ones a head's up that you'll have a new address next month.

  • Use up food from the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. Refrain from buying too many groceries, especially bulk orders, from here on out.
  • Get the word out to friends and family members that you're moving. Send them your new address or send a moving announcement via snail mail.
  • Purchase moving supplies including boxes, packing material, tape, labels, and box cutters. Remember to order specialty items like dish boxes, wardrobe boxes, and mattress bags if your mover is not supplying them.
  • Get a box-labeling system in place. Numbered boxes, color-coding by room, and a master list with inventory are key elements.
  • Make a room-by-room packing schedule and start packing!

4 weeks

It's official: You're moving this month. Ditch the packing tape and boxes this week, and spend your time getting all of your official documents in order.

  • Fill out an official change-of-address form with the U.S. Post Office.
  • Consult your list of businesses and services and make address changes on all relevant accounts.
  • Put in for vacation time at your job for the days surrounding your move and schedule a babysitter if necessary.
  • Confirm major details, especially insurance coverage, with your mover.

3 weeks

Now that the basics are out of the way (the bank and post office, especially), sort out your annual subscriptions, valuables, and sentimental items.

  • Cancel all newspaper home delivery and set up delivery in your new neighborhood.
  • Gather valuable paperwork, jewelry, and small family heirlooms. Keep these special items separate from your moving boxes and make a plan for transporting them by hand or via a trackable shipping service with insurance.
  • Take photos of any high-ticket items. Note any existing scratches, dings, or damage to your furniture.
a person standing in front of a box: Moving Checklist © Westend61 - Getty Images Moving Checklist

2 weeks

Pretend you're going on an extended vacation: Pack your belongings, ditch any perishables, go the bank, and double-check prescriptions.

  • Pack little by little so that you don't save it all for the last week.
  • Tie up loose ends: Confirm that you've changed addresses, have all the proper moving insurance in place, and are ready to make your move.
  • Put together a packet for the new owners of your home with any warranties, vendor recommendations, and a note with your contact information in case they have questions or need to forward you mail.
  • If you are moving major appliances, make sure that they're clean and ready to go. Remember: Freezers need to be defrosted and you may need a professional to disconnect gas lines on particular appliances.
  • Fill prescriptions and make sure that everyone has packed medications they need in their suitcase.
  • Withdraw cash to tip the movers and make sure you have enough money on hand for any unexpected expenses.

1 week

It's here! It's finally here! Tie any loose ends before moving to your new home sweet home.

  • Utilities should be turned off in your current home one day after your move-out date. All utilities in your new home should be turned on the day before you move in.
  • Dispose of all flammable items that can't be transported, including paint, chemicals, and aerosol cans.
  • Take one last look at the items you're packing. If you have additional items to donate, schedule a pickup by your chosen organization.
  • Back up all computers, if packing.
  • Get each family member to pack a suitcase like they are going on a two-week vacation with their daily toiletries and comfortable clothes.
  • Confirm details with your moving company, including the moving-day arrival time, cell phone numbers, and last-minute details.
  • Hire a cleaning company to do a quick clean after the movers leave or schedule a day that you will come back to clean before the new owners arrive.
  • Most importantly, celebrate the memories you've made in your home and get ready to start a new chapter in your life. Onward and upward!

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