The Only Moving Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Moving is an exciting and life-changing time. Whether you’re moving for family, lifestyle or work reasons, it can also be very overwhelming to sift through what seems like countless to-dos, checklists and articles. 

We’ve put together the only moving checklist you’ll ever need, based on our 90+ years of experience moving customers all across the U.S.!

This checklist is designed for an 8-week / 2-month timeframe, but, if your move date is less than 2-months away, simply take the number of days you have left up until your move date and divide that number by eight to map out your timeline and tasks accordingly.

8 weeks before your move date

Search for Your New Home

  • Use online real estate apps and websites to perform your initial home or rental search.
  • Research local realtors in your new area or, if you have used a national real estate company in the past, request a referral.
  • If you’re moving with Mayflower, check out our CityPointe program. You can earn cash back on the sale of your home!
  • Map out what you’re looking for in a new neighborhood, including school districts, work commutes, crime statistics, nearby businesses (restaurants, gym, gas stations, etc.), nearby medical services and nearby pet amenities.
  • Map out what you’re looking for in a new home, including size, floors, closet space, recent remodeling, age of home, number of rooms and bathrooms and other desired features.

Sell Your Home

  • Work with a realtor to prepare your home for sale, including listing your home, scheduling inspections and your closing date.
  • Either DIY or use a contractor to help you stage your home.
  • Have all of your dates in alignment with your move timeline.

Prepare to Transition to a New Lease

  • Provide proper notice to your landlord according to your lease.
  • Request your security deposit be returned, if applicable, on a specific date.
  • If you need to find a roommate at your new location, it may be best to start searching early.

Get Organized

  • Create a move folder for all of your moving-related documentation, research, estimates, receipts, important signed documents and notes. You can keep a physical file, an electronic file in the cloud or both!
  • Designate a moving folder in your email inbox to keep correspondence relating to your move organized and easily accessible.
  • Create a detailed budget for your move. Before you begin researching companies and quotes, determine how much you want to allocate for your move. Then, estimate the costs and expenses that fit within your budget.
  • Create a move calendar to help you notate all of your important dates, including your move-out date, move-in date, packing schedule, closing date, lease termination date, travel dates and other deadlines.

Gather Quotes and Pricing Information

  • Protect yourself from moving scams. Understand what red flags to look for and how to spot a fraudulent moving company. Visit MoveRescue®, a Mayflower-endorsed organization, to learn more.
  • Determine which moving services you need. Full service moving companies, like Mayflower, offer a wide array of services that customers can choose from to meet their needs, budget and timeline, including packing, unpacking, storage, debris pick up, car shipping, cleaning, tv mounting, personal computer setup and more.
  • Be prepared to answer basic questions about your move, including your move dates, origin/destination zip codes, home size, how many floors your home has, which additional moving services you need and if you have any specialty items.
  • Understand the factors that can affect the amount of your moving quote, such as seasonality, additional services, distance, weight, etc.
  • Understand the difference between an instant quote, a ballpark estimate and an estimate that you would receive after a virtual or in-person walk-through.
  • Research companies that you are considering online. Check out their websites, reviews and social media accounts, as well as their listings on local business directories.
  • If yours is an interstate move, ensure that the companies you are looking at have a DOT number which federally authorizes them to transport your belongings across state lines.
  • Schedule a virtual or in-person walk-through, if applicable. Make sure to ask your estimator any questions you have about costs, services, delivery timing and the moving process.
  • Understand your moving company’s responsibilities vs. your responsibilities.
  • Understand what’s included in your base price.
  • Understand your move protection options and claims process. Interstate moving companies are required to offer Full Value Protection for moves that involve transporting goods across state lines. 
  • If you are moving with us, make sure to read: What to Expect When You Move with Mayflower.
  • Compare your estimates and decide which moving company gives you the most value for your dollar while meeting all of your needs, then book your move!

7 weeks before your move date

Moving With Kids Is As Easy As 1-2-3 - two little kids in a box fort outside with empty Mayflower moving boxes - Mayflower

Prepare Your Family for Your Move

  • Talking to your kids about your move can be hard, especially if they have built friendships at your current location. Try to sit down with them early and often to help them prepare for the transition.
  • If possible, set up a time to visit your new home and area with your family to acclimate them to the new location. 

Prepare for Your New Destination

Have Kids in School?

  • Notify current school about your upcoming move.
  • Research schools for your kids in your new city with a list of requirements and preferences.
  • Complete any required school registration documentation.
  • Schedule an in-person visit at the new school.
  • Transfer transcripts, medical records and any other required documentation to the new school.

Have a New Employer?

  • Plan your new commute to work.
  • Research nearby businesses, such as restaurants, gas stations, drug stores, etc. you might frequent during the work day.
  • Make sure you understand your employer’s parking policies and procedures.
  • Make sure you understand your employer’s safety policies and procedures in light of the pandemic.
  • Research dry cleaners in your new area in case you need to refresh your work clothes.
  • Confirm your work start date and time.
  • If you are seeking employment, begin your job search as soon as possible with an updated resume, cover letter and portfolio. Reach out to recruiters in your new local area.

Have Pets?

  • If you’re moving with pets, research pet-friendly / dog-friendly parks and restaurants nearby. 
  • Look into veterinarians in your new local area and check out their reviews.
  • Research doggie daycares and dog walking services in your new area and check out their reviews.
  • Take your pet/s to the veterinarian for a final check up before travelling.

6 weeks before your move date

Protect Important Documents

  • If you have physical documents, consider scanning them to the cloud.
  • Make sure to secure your logins and passwords for online accounts in a safe place. You may want to use a physical file, cloud storage or a password service.
  • Secure documents like, passports, birth certificates, social security cards and financial statements in a secure place.You should bring these items with you and not put them on the moving van.
  • Ask your mover how they would handle moving a safe or bring it with you during your move.
  • Collect all product warranty documentation and manuals in one place.
  • If you have files saved on your local computer drive, you may want to back those up to the cloud.

5 weeks before your move date

Transfer Important Documents

  • Plan to transfer any medical records from primary care physicians and specialists to new service providers, including vaccination records. Some service providers offer online medical record portals that you can use to upload documentation.
  • Plan to transfer any dental and optical records to new service providers.
  • Plan to transfer any prescriptions to your new pharmacy. 
  • Plan to transfer any pet medical records, including vaccination records, to your new veterinarian’s office.

Coordinate with Your Employer

  • If needed, request time off work for move preparation, move-out day and move-in day.
  • Make sure that your payroll department has your new address for mailing tax paperwork and your final paycheck.

4 weeks before your move date

Start Decluttering

  • Designate an area of your home to place items that you want to purge.
  • Separate the items you want to purge by items you want to throw away, donate and sell.
  • Organize a garage sale.
  • Sell your items using an online consignment service or marketplace.
  • Load up your car with items you want to donate either to Goodwill or to neighborhood donation bins.
  • You can also check with local schools, churches and nursing homes to see if they might accept items you want to donate.
  • Contact a junk removal company to pick up any unwanted items.

Begin Packing Process

  • Designate at least one week to pack. 
  • Designate an area of each room, that’s out of the way, for packing ahead.
  • Familiarize yourself with the different types of boxes and packing materials you might need.
  • Gather your basic packing supplies, like scissors, tape, markers, baggies, padding and hardware/tools.
  • Utilize our moving tips for packing specific items and rooms. Items in different rooms will likely require different packing materials. For example, you might need a dish pack for packing kitchen dishes or a wardrobe box for packing hanging clothes in your bedroom.
  • Pack items in each room that you know you will not need immediately (for example, seasonal items such as winter or summer clothes, holiday decorations, special dishware/china, decor items (like candles or picture frames), etc.).
  • Make sure you understand what items are hazardous and/or not allowed on the moving truck.
  • Consider items you’ll need for the first night in your new home and pack those items together, including things like shower curtains, bedding, clothes, snacks, laundry detergent, dish detergent and toiletries. See our Pack Separately Checklist here for additional tips.
  • Make sure you understand how to pack items like lamps, vacuums and small appliances, like microwaves, blenders, TVs and computers.
  • Create an inventory of your belongings. You may want to take photos of your items for your inventory as well.
  • Label your boxes by room on the side of the box. Make sure to note if the contents inside are fragile or heavy.
  • Use linens and t-shirts to pad boxes as you pack to keep your items securely in place.
  • Make sure to keep furniture hardware separate, so you can find when it’s time to reassemble. 
  • Ask your mover if they will transport plants. If not, you can either move them in your vehicle, donate them or dispose of them.

3 weeks before your move date

Update Your Address

  • Update your address for your financial accounts: bank accounts (checking, savings), credit card accounts, investment accounts and loan accounts.
  • Update your address for subscriptions: online shopping, streaming services, food delivery, other monthly service and product subscriptions (beauty, clothes, food, etc.).
  • Update your address for your insurance policies: health, vision, dental, renter’s, homeowner’s, car, pet and life.
  • Update your address with your lawyer.
  • Update your address for any newspaper or magazine subscriptions you have.
  • Update your address on your W-2s, 1099s and property taxes.
  • Update your address for any medical bills you may have.
  • Update your address with the Social Security, Veterans Affairs, Internal Revenue Service, Medicaid and Medicare offices, if applicable.
  • Update your address with your employer and payroll department.
  • Update your local voter’s registration office that you are moving.

Cancel Your Local Memberships

  • Provide notice and cancel local memberships, like fitness organizations (gym, yoga), business associations, social clubs, etc.

Plan Your Goodbyes

  • Gather with neighbors, friends and family before your move. 
  • Schedule time to visit some of your favorite places, such as restaurants, museums and parks before your departure.

2 weeks before your move date

Prepare Your Home

  • Clean your home. Many people use move-out cleaning services. If you choose to clean yourself, make sure to mop, dust and wipe down surfaces, blinds and baseboards.
  • Remove nails and screws from walls and fill in holes with spackling.
  • Prepare furniture with padding and floor protection. Make sure to keep furniture hardware and foot sliders separate for easy access at move-in.
  • Make any necessary repairs for return of security deposit.

Prepare for Your Trip

  • Compile a playlist with some favorite songs and soundtracks.
  • Plan your route, hotels, places to stop to eat, gas fill-ups and attractions.
  • Prepare clothes, toiletries, snacks, electronics and other items you might need for your travels to your new home.
  • Pack activities, coloring books, tablets, books, markers/crayons and favorite toys for kids.
  • Be aware of the weather for the week of your trip.
  • Keep in mind things you need to have on your person during your move. Many people choose to keep things like important personal documents, photographs and portable valuables, like electronics and jewelry, separate from items to be loaded onto a moving truck. 
  • Service your vehicle/s if you are driving to your destination, including oil change/s. Make sure you fill your gas tank as well.
  • Make your travel arrangements if you’re not driving.
  • Connect with your move company to confirm details if you are shipping your car to your new destination.

Take Care of Housekeeping Items

  • Return any borrowed items to friends, neighbors, co-workers, family, etc.
  • Return books back to the library.
  • Take any items that need to be returned to local stores.
  • Pick up any remaining clothing items from the dry cleaner.
  • Make sure to pay any fees or penalties, like unpaid parking tickets, legal fees and local or state tax payments.

1 week before your move date

Prepare Your Appliances

  • Unplug, empty out, defrost, wipe down and open the doors of your freezer, ice maker and refrigerator at least 24 hours before your movers are set to arrive.
  • Disassemble your water filtration system.
  • Empty dishwasher and let it air out, so there is no moisture inside.
  • Disconnect and disassemble/stabilize your washer and dryer.
  • Make sure that there is no oil or gas inside any grills, lawn mowers and/or other gas-powered items.
  • Remove/return any propane canisters.
  • Disassemble garden hoses and lawn care equipment and allow sufficient time for them to dry out.
  • Pack up any smaller appliances, like your microwave, air fryer, crock pots and pressure cookers. Make sure to pad boxes with material to avoid damage.
  • Remove light bulbs from lamps and lighting fixtures and pack those securely with lots of padding to avoid breakage.
  • Disassemble televisions and mounting systems.
  • Disassemble computers, printers and scanners.

Set Up Services at New Home

  • Make sure to schedule appointments with your new utility/home service providers ahead of time, including gas, electric, trash, water, recycling, cable and internet.
  • Prepare a list of contractors (plumbers, HVAC, painters, roofers, remodelers, electricians, landscapers, etc.) that you’ll need. Do some research ahead of time and keep this list on hand for move-in.

Plan for Move-Out Day

  • Arrange daycare for kids / pets for move-out day.
  • Meal prep for the week leading up to move-out day.
  • If you would like to tip your movers at move-out and move-in, make sure to go to the ATM, so that you can have some cash on hand. Tipping is optional and is at your discretion.
Mayflower packer packing up a kitchen, wrapping a mixing bowl in packing paper - Mayflower®

Move-Out Day

  • Call your mover and check in to confirm arrival timing.
  • Prepare a cooler with water and snacks.
  • Be prepared to direct movers to rooms and on how to handle specific items of note.
  • Read and sign any necessary paperwork. 
  • Leave a nice welcome note for the incoming residents.
  • Make sure you have all of the items you don’t want moved in a separate area of your home or in your vehicle. Make sure to note these items to your movers.
Mayflower moving truck driving through a residential neighborhood - Mayflower®

Move-In Day

  • Keep and eye on the weather, so you know what to expect.
  • Make sure your floors are protected.
  • Measure rooms and doorways for easy furniture placement.
  • Set up your shower curtain/s in bathroom/s.
  • Assemble and make your bed.
  • Assemble and make your kids’ beds.
  • Make sure you have food, clothes, water and a backup plan for lodging in the event that the movers are late or cannot deliver on move-in day.
  • Baby-proof your new home.
  • Consider changing your locks for additional security.
  • Make copies of your keys as needed.

First Week at New Home

  • Pick up any groceries and/or personal items from the store that you’ll need for your first week in your new home.
  • Deep clean your new house, including your carpets, hard floors, windows, baseboards, ceiling fans, stairs, hard surfaces and furniture, so you can start unpacking in a nice, clean environment. You may choose to use a move-in cleaning company to save time and for convenience.
  • Make sure the chimney is clean and call for service, if needed.
  • Ensure that your house address is visible for future mail and deliveries.
  • Research security systems and install.
  • Purchase and/or check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Make a list of decor items and furniture you want to purchase.
  • Ensure that you know the locations of emergency service providers in the event of an emergency.
  • If you have any damaged or lost items, make sure to file a claim with your moving company, in accordance with terms agreed to, in a timely manner.

Begin the Unpacking Process

  • Consider utilizing an unpacking service to save time.
  • Unpack things you know you will need immediately, like dishware, toiletries, clothes and food.
  • Make sure boxes and furniture are placed in respective rooms for easy unpacking and setup.
  • Unpack a little at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed.
  • Assemble furniture, including dressers, cabinets and shelving.
  • Have kids help unpack and setup their rooms. Provide them with containers, bins and shelves to help them organize their belongings.
  • Take an opportunity to do a second wave of decluttering during the unpacking process. Throw away, donate or sell items that you don’t want to keep.
  • Save yourself a trip to the dumpster and consider debris pick up service for trash and surplus materials you don’t want to keep.
  • Determine the trash and recycling pickup schedule. 

Get Your Documents and Accounts in Order

  • Confirm your address change is effective with all organizations with which you submitted change of address requests.
  • Set up new accounts with banks, financial advisors, insurance agents, etc., if applicable.
  • Find a new primary care physician and specialist.
  • Find a new lawyer, if applicable.
  • Register to vote. 
  • Ensure that your security deposit has been returned, if applicable.
  • Establish your residency in your new state.
  • Ensure you fulfill all local DMV requirements (safety and emissions, personal property taxes, and car insurance) and get your new driver’s license / state ID.
  • Register your pets and get new tags / update microchips.

Settle In

  • Introduce yourself to your new neighbors.
  • Set up playdates for your kids.
  • Leave an online review for your realtor and send a thank you gift.
  • Leave an online review for your moving company.
  • Explore your new neighborhood and city.

For additional moving tips and checklists, click here.

For an easy move, you can trust Mayflower to guide you through your journey from your old home to your new home. 

Let us help ease your transition with a quality full service moving experience. Each Mayflower moving quote includes loading, unloading, transport, Full Value Protection and more!

We also offer mix and match moving services that can be customized to meet your budget and timeline, including packing, unpacking, storage, debris pick-up, car shipping, cleaning, tv mounting, PC network set up and more! 

Begin your quote today and see why we’re America’s Most Trusted Moving Company.