Moving guide

Moving guide: what to do, when to pack and how to plan.

The documents are signed and the keys are in your hands. All that’s left is to move into your brand-new home. This is an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful one. Follow our guide to moving in, so you can minimize any unnecessary stress by feeling prepared.

Step 1: Embrace the urge to declutter your life.

Things have a tendency to accumulate in our home. It happens to the best of us. Instead of packing up the whole home and figuring it out when you arrive, purge what you don’t want now. Know that it’s also never too early to start this step. Simply go through each room, and note what you don’t want to take with you, what you will no longer need, and the best way to get rid of these items. We suggest you consider two options:

  • Donate personal items and clothing to local charities or community centers
  • Hold a garage sale for large, hard-to-move or big-ticket items

Step 2: Plan your move.

There’s a lot of planning and preparation that goes into moving. Start this step as soon as you know you’re going to move.

  • Pick the day and time you will begin moving
  • Call family and friends for help, if needed
  • Schedule deliveries and services for the day of the move
  • Reserve a moving truck or hire a moving company

Step 3: Pack by room and take an inventory.

As tempting as it may be to throw everything into boxes and just go, the more organized you are when you pack, the easier it will be to unpack. That’s important for feeling at home in your new house as quickly as possible. Start by packing everything by room, and clearly note on the box in which room the items will belong. Then, take an inventory of how many boxes you have for each room, plus the items that were packed inside them. This will help you know if anything was lost in the moving process, and it will also help you determine the order in which to unpack.

  • Boxes packed by room
  • Boxes marked and inventoried

Step 4: Turn off or transfer existing services.

Within a week to several days before you move, make sure you note which services and utilities need to be turned off and which need to move with you. Most transfers and cancellations can be done over the phone, but plan on contacting all of the companies listed below at least two weeks before you plan on moving into your new home.

  • Cable, internet and telephone
  • Gas and/or electric
  • Water and utilities
  • Traditional subscription services, like newspapers and magazines

Step 5: Change of address notifications.

Now that you know what your official new address will be, it’s time to announce it to everyone. There may be a few outside of this list, so be sure to double-check all of your existing services and subscriptions. Notifying everyone of your new address will help prevent any unwanted bumps in the road, like late payments or having a delay in mail delivery.

  • All banking and financial institutions, including student loan and credit card companies
  • Friends and family
  • Your employer
  • Insurance companies
  • Post office
  • Motor Vehicle Department
  • Healthcare providers, including doctors and dentists
  • Any subscription services, including digital subscriptions, when updating credit card information
  • Schools and/or daycares
  • Voter registration
  • Internal Revenue Services (IRS)
  • Social Security Services

Step 6: Pack a few essentials separately.

It may take a while to unpack, so go into your new home prepared with what you’ll need for the first few nights and days. These should be everyday items that you need now, and don’t have time to hunt for in boxes, including:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toilet paper and paper towels
  • Shampoo, conditioner and hair products
  • Three days’ worth of clothes
  • Sheets and towels

Step 7: Unpack and unwind

Unpacking and moving in may take some time, but once you do, you’ll start to feel at home. Start with the essentials, like clothes, toiletries and kitchen supplies, then move on to decorations and accessories last.

If you’re making a cross-country move, check out our tips and tricks for relocation.

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