Ready to move but no idea where to start? A seamless and organized move is possible with our step-by-step guide. We bring you the Simply Spaced, organized move checklist:
6 Months Before Move
SCHEDULE A LESS POPULAR MOVE DATE
The 1st and the 15th of the month are the most popular days to move. If it’s possible, try to move on a less popular date. This can reduce the cost of hiring movers and increase the likelihood of booking the “A Team.”
BEGIN DECLUTTERING NOW
Even if you’re moving into a larger space, this step is invaluable and you’ll want to start early! Consider that you’ll pay to have every item you still own packed, moved, and unpacked, whether it’s you or a professional doing it. Make sure it’s worth it! Moving is an opportunity to start fresh, and the last thing you’ll want to do is declutter in your new space. So many people wait until the last minute and throw everything in boxes, but our best and most seamless moves start with decluttering. Try to move as few boxes into your new home as possible by only bringing items that you use and love! If you do not know how to declutter your home or where to start, or if you are feeling overwhelmed by the process, check out:
OPTIMIZE YOUR STORAGE UNIT
If you’re transferring storage unit contents or are using a unit temporarily, be selective. In our ideal, minimalist world, you’d live overflow storage free. But we get it, that’s not possible for everyone. If you must have a storage unit, consider how much it will cost you annually. Ask yourself, “are these items worth this annual amount?” If the items designated for your unit are replaceable for the same or less amount of money, consider gifting bulk items to friends or letting them go straight to donation for a tax refund. If your plan to keep valuable items like fine art in long term storage, be sure to get a temperature controlled unit and check reviews.
1 Month Out
BOOK MOVING COMPANY
Make sure to get vet your movers by asking the following questions:
- What are the rates? Are they variable or is it a flat fee? TIP: Beware of up-pricing, big deposits, or discounts, as it shows unestablished, amateur practices.
- Will the movers unassemble and reassemble the furniture? What is included?
- Will the movers pack and unpack the boxes?
- Will the movers take out the trash?
- What time will the movers arrive and depart?
- Can I have the cell and name of the person that I’ll be working with? (not the company phone, the individual mover)
- Do you outsource your movers? TIP: Avoid this as it shows unestablished/amateur practices
- Can I tour the warehouse? TIP: If they say yes, this is a good sign
- Are you licensed and do you have Insurance?
- What price is it to insure my items? (typically 60 cents per pound or item)
- Are you licensed with the state? — For CA, check the CA Public Utilities Commission Website
NOTE: Remember, moving companies are great at what they do if they are credible, but they are not there to organize. If you want your boxes organized and your items categorized, you’ll need to do it yourself.
PLAN & INVENTORY
Nothing makes moving easier than having a plan. One of our first steps when attempting to move clients is to inventory all major furniture pieces, artwork, appliances, outdoor items, etc. Your list can be simple. Walk around your house and list each large item, the name of the room it’s in and the room it’s going to. We use Evernote for listmaking but any digital or paper notebook with do. You’ll want to compare this list with your movers’ list and make sure they correlate on move day. TIP: make a copy of this list for your leadman on move day so he knows where everything will land when it comes off the truck.
SCHEDULE SERVICE TRANSFERS, ACTIVATIONS + CHANGE OF ADDRESS
Make a list of all the service providers for the old home and the new home. Make sure to notify each company of your move date, and schedule the turn off of the old home 2-days or so after you move out, and the new home 2-days or so before you move in. Make sure you have a few buffer days to ensure you have running water, electricity, and wifi throughout the move! Also, keep in mind that this is a great time to negotiate the terms on your wifi and cable bill when you call to cancel the service on the old home. Don’t forget:
- Wifi + Cable
- Phone Service
- Trash Service
- Security System
Don’t forget your notifications of address change:
- File an official change of address and Notify USPS here.
- To stop junk mail from following you, add your new address to the national do not mail list on DirectMail.com.
- Contact all credit card and banking institutions to update their records
- Notify schools, friends, and family (create a new contact in your phone and quickly share with loved ones en masse)
- Update your address with your cell phone company (make sure your cell phones have service at the new place)
- Update all newspaper and magazine subscriptions (now is the time to cancel the ones you no longer use or go digital)
- File for a few drivers license if you are moving out of state
- Notify all regular service providers of your move (i.e. housekeepers, pool guy, landscapers)
PREP YOUR PET AND CHILDCARE
Unless you’re leaving the day-of move entirely to a moving company, we recommend scheduling some child and pet care for the moving days. Trust us, you’ll be distracted, and will have a lot on your mind. Having a babysitter or dog sitter will make sure that the kiddos have plenty of care while you dedicate focus on making sure everything runs smoothly. If you do have pets and you are moving out of state, make sure to secure transportation for your pet and that all their shots are up to date.
HIRE A HANDYMAN & CLEANING SERVICE
A lot of people assume that they’ll have the energy to ‘fixing’ and assembling things throughout the move. However, this extra task can feel overwhelming in the midst of a move. Having a handyman that can come in the day of or the day after to make sure shelves, furniture, and appliances are assembled properly will add an extra layer of efficiency. Whether it is a patch and paint or a deep clean, be prepared, think from the end, and hire help. TIP: hiring a cleaning crew for your new home is a great idea too. A proper scrub down right before you move in will give you peace of mind, and ensure the health of your family.
PACK VALUABLES AND IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS FIRST
One thing you always want to remember to do is set aside all the things that you know you don’t want to send on the moving truck. Here’s a list of items to separate, pack yourself, and keep on your person or in your own car:
- valuable jewelry
- important documents: birth certificates, passports, IDs, financial records
- priceless heirlooms
It’s never too early to start packing if you know you are about to move. Start with decluttering, pack valuables and start packing the least used items first. Starting with garages and storage spaces, clear clutter and pack up what you know you will not use. We love these pre-organized packing kits. Even if you hire movers who will bring boxes and do the heavy lifting, you can get a head start on packing with supplies delivered to your door. Label your boxes and don’t seal them yet until the week of the move.
1 week prior
CREATE A DAY-OF KIT
Include any supplies that you know will be handy to have on hand throughout the move and in the new space. This could include:
- portable tote
- trash bags
- roll of toilet paper
- packing tape
- paper towels
- Box cutter
- measuring tape
- a multi-purpose cleaner
- hand soap & lotion
- water bottles
- first aid kit
The idea is to designate it as “don’t pack” and to make sure that all the items are in use or in the bin or box you’ve designated. Otherwise, you’ll always be looking for the trash bags or tape when you should be packing or unpacking! Don’t forget to include your organized move checklist.
You do not want to be hungry come move day! Make sure you’re eating round meals and have plenty of snacks and beverages on hand throughout the day.
The Night or Morning Before
PACK YOUR CAR WITH PERSONAL ITEMS
If you have set aside personal items that you do not want the movers to handle, place them in your car before the movers arrive. Pack a carry-on suitcase a spare set of clothes for each person.
LABEL BOXES WITH NEW HOME ROOMS/FLOORS
If you have a multiple room house, make sure to close up any boxes you’ve already packed label them clearly on where they are to go in the new home. Some people make the mistake of listing the room the box CAME from rather than the room the box will go to in the new house. Do your best to create clear labels on each box so that the movers (or helpers) know exactly where to bring every box. It’ll save a lot of time. You can pack like a pro with these easy sticker labels.
LABEL IMPORTANT BOXES “OPEN FIRST”
Label bathroom and kitchen essentials boxes with “Open First” and make sure they’re then last to go in the moving truck so they’re the first to come into the new house. When you get on site of the new home, stock the bathrooms with toilet paper, paper towels, and soap first. Also, stock up the kitchen with essentials, such as water and snacks. This will ensure that everyone has what they need throughout the unpacking process.
GET CASH TO TIP MOVERS
It’s standard to tip movers and packers $10-$20 per day, per person and they want cash. Therefore, if they did a stellar job, feel free to tip more, but make sure you have cash on hand for moving day so you don’t have to scramble or stiff.
During the Move (in the old home)
LET THE MOVERS DO THEIR THING
It’s best to stay out of the mover’s way. They’re trained to handle your items with care, and if you’ve vetted them, are good at what they do. If you try to micromanage or hover, you’ll likely be slowing them down and making yourself anxious and overworked. Try to stay calm, centered, and respectful throughout the process. It’ll make the entire process more enjoyable.
Moves are an opportunity time for criminals to steal unattended boxes and furniture from your old home. Make sure to not leave any outdoor furniture or belongings outside at the half-empty house. We’ve heard of people losing all their outdoor toys and furniture because someone had caught wind that the home was empty mid-move.
CHECK THAT ALL THE BOXES ARE OUT OF THE HOUSE
Do a final walk-through of the old house, and make sure that each room is completely empty. Use the old trick of closing the doors of each room to signify that it’s been checked off.
During the Move (in the new home)
USE POST-ITS TO COMMUNICATE NEW HOME’S ORGANIZING SYSTEM
Stick labeled post-its (with sharpies) to label each room in the house. It’s likely it sounds obvious to you, but the mover may not know which room is a bedroom and which room is the office. Use your post-its on each space to help direct traffic and pre-plan where specific items will go in the new space. This could include general notes, such as “office supplies” or specific notes, such as “pots and pans.” The idea here is to see how items will fit in the new space before unpacking mayhem begins. It’ll help the movers and helpers to know exactly where items should land once they’re taken out of the box.
CHECK THE EMPTY BED OF THE TRUCK
The movers will have you sign off that all the items have been moved into your new home. Ask the movers to peak inside the bed of their truck as an added precaution. If it’s empty, chances are you can rest assured that everything is accounted for! Be sure to reference your inventory list which you should keep with you at all times alongside this organized move checklist.
Immediately following the move
RECYCLE YOUR BOXES
A lot of people make the mistake of holding onto old cardboard boxes. Don’t do it! These boxes attract critters and will tell your subconscious that you’re not staying for long. Recycle or donate boxes immediately and remember that many people will take them off your hands for free. Therefore, unbox everything as soon as you can for peace of mind and long-term efficiency. Then hire a professional organizing team or gather your friends to settle in so you don’t end up with that “just moved in” feeling six months down the line.
CREATE A HOME MAINTENANCE BINDER
Now is a perfect time to create a binder with all your new home’s information. This could include service provider terms and conditions (power, trash, etc.), information on the house, and major appliance manuals. You’ll likely pick up a few new things or need to learn how to operate new appliances. Gather all these home items into one binder, and set yourself up for success and order in your new home!
We hope this organized move checklist will guide you through a smooth and stress-free move. Please feel free to share your own tips, anything we missed, or questions in the comments below. Cheers to a happy, organized move!