Accredited member with A Plus Rating

Plan Your Move Info

Moving can be a stressful experience, and the average person will move 11 times in the course of his or her life. For many, one of the most stressful parts of a move is the packing, a process that can range from disorganized to chaotic.

Organizing Your Move

  • Mastermind your storage plan. Map it out on paper. Make sure to map out both your current space and your new space. Take the layout of your new home and identify what goes in each room. Think about function, storage units, built-in closets or shelves, and furniture you plan to use for storage. Decide what is going to live where. Know the destination of things. Do that with your spouse, and try to go through each room-by-room function. Make some big decisions. For example, think about what you will do in your living room (maybe watch TV or play games). And be patient. This may take a couple of hour-long sessions.
  • Tag items according to destination. Don't tag items according to where you had them in the old place. This is very helpful when stuff comes off of the moving truck. Otherwise, movers just dump boxes anywhere, and they are not organized.
  • Leave a breadcrumb trail. If, for instance, you have a wall unit with arrangements that you like, photograph it before you pack. Then, to recreate it in your new place, just hand your helper the photo. Also, layer boxes by drawer, or put paper tissue between them and put a piece of paper inside each drawer listing what goes in there. This is what Morgenstern means by "a breadcrumb trail": just making it easier to unpack.
  • Pack up your garage, shed, and basement. These areas sometimes take longer than expected so it's better not to leave them until the end.
  • Safely dispose of all hazardous household chemicals like paint, oil and solvents.
    Start eating items in your freezer and pantry. Try not to buy too many groceries right now or if you have to, only buy essentials and items that you'll eat in the next two weeks.
  • Pack a moving-day survival kit. Pack and mark a "last box on / first box off." This should contain certain cleaning supplies and basic tools; bedding and bathroom supplies like sheets, a shower curtain and towels; and kitchen basics, like a coffee maker, paper plates and plastic utensils. Actually, you can prepare a couple of those boxes (for the bathroom, one for the kitchen, for cleaning supplies and basic tools). If you have young children, include some of their things in one of these boxes. (In order to get them settled faster, you'll want to do their rooms first.)
  • Hand-carry certain items, like jewelry, small valuables, irreplaceable documents and plants. For your documents, you should make a moving-day folder, which should include the mover's contract, cash tips for the movers, and documents related to your new home, like directions, key phone numbers.

Moving your child to a new school:

  • A list of all schools attended and dates, including contact names and addresses.
  • Copies of all transcripts or report cards. Make sure you have originals with the school seal as well as copies. Most schools will require originals.
  • Letters from teachers and/or principles. Also include letters of reference from guidance councilors or sport instructors/coaches.
  • List of current text books and course outlines. This will assist you and the new teacher in determining what level your child is at.
  • Results of tests, in particular any standardized exams, particularly for English, Maths and Sciences.
  • Copies of assignments in the three core areas. Choose pieces that exhibit your child's educational level. Again, this will assist in promoting your child and displaying your child's current educational level.
  • Provide details on your child's extra-curricular activities. If your child worked on the school newspaper, prepare a portfolio of his/her work. If your child was on the basketball team, provide a letter from the coach and photos of the team.
  • Include any extra hobbies or activities your child participates in outside of school. This may involve volunteer placements, music lessons and recitals, community activities or clubs. Most schools like to see children who are well-rounded and who participate in their local community.
  • If your child has been employed, retain a letter of reference from their employer. This can include tutoring, after school jobs or summer employment.
  • Include copies of your child's immunization records and most recent medical records. Most schools want to ensure your child is healthy and properly protected.

60 Days Before You Move

Your Move:

  • Get quotes from at least three moving companies
  • Hire the mover with the best quote, reputation and record.
  • Determine how many packing supplies you’ll need and designate a room where you can begin to store and organize.
  • If you are being transferred by work, understand your company’s moving policy.
  • Pare down-use up sell, recycle or donate anything you don’t want to move. Make it a family project.
  • Make a moving folder or booklet-include an inventory of your household items with a video or photos.
  • Start planning a garage sale to reduce the amount of stuff you need to move, and earn some extra cash on the side.
  • Make a packing plan-assign everyone a task and involve the kids.
  • Unless you’re packing materials new, keep an eye out for used items that could be used for packing like old towels and sheets that could be used for packing material.

Your Records:

  • Contact your insurance agent to transfer medical, property, fire and auto insurance policies, and while you have them on the phone – be sure to ask about coverage while you’re in transit.
  • Create a designated folder for moving – related expenses where you can file all receipts.
  • Obtain an IRS Change of Address form. Form 8822 by calling (800) 829-1040 or visiting http://www.irs.gov.
  • Notify old and new schools and arrange for the transfer of school records and begin the process of registering in new schools.
  • Notify doctors and dentists of moves, and seek referrals and collect all medical, dental and school records to ensure you do not forget to obtain them at a later date; some require permission for this. Keep these in a safe place.
  • Belong to any national associations? Be sure to transfer membership to your new hometown.

Your Family and Pets:

  • Make travel arrangements for you and your family. Be sure to arrive well before your movers’ scheduled arrival.
  • If you’re nearing a pet’s regular exam, schedule it now and start getting recommendations for veterinarians in your new town.









30 Days Before You Move

Your Move:

  • Check with your mover to confirm the details of the move are set.
  • Reserve a storage unit, if necessary.
  • If you are packing on your own, begin packing out-of-season and rarely used items now.
  • Make an unpacking plan for the new home.
  • Make the arrangements to connect and disconnect your cable, internet and utilities.
  • Create an inventory of your stuff so that you can compare against the moving company’s list.
  • Are you taking appliances? If so, draw up a plan for how to handle them.
  • Arrange childcare and pet care for the day of your move.

Your Records:

  • Contact or visit your local Post Office to obtain a Change of Address form. You can also obtain this form online at http://www.usps.com
  • Give a change of address to the following: Banks, schools, friends & family, insurance companies, doctors and specialists, cell phone providers, credit card companies and magazine and newspaper subscribers.
  • Check the requirements for a new driver’s license and complete auto registration at your new motor vehicle location.
  • Let service providers – landscapers, cleaning services – know you’re moving, and look for new ones in your new hometown.

Your Family and Pets:

  • If time permits, you may also want to take you and your family to a dentist and/or eye doctor to get your routine check-ups done.
  • Encourage children to make an address book of friends.

14 Days Before You Move

Your Move:

  • Begin cleaning any rooms in your house that have been emptied, such as closets, basements or attics, and check to make sure you did not leave anything unpacked.
  • Moving plants? Check on their special moving needs.
  • Arrange for any services for your new home that will be easier to do before your things arrive: carpet-cleaning, wood floor cleaning, painting, etc.

Your Records:

  • Find pharmacies in your new town that you can transfer your family’s prescriptions over to. Make sure you have enough required medication in case you don’t locate a new pharmacist/doctor immediately.
  • Organize important documents – will, passport, deeds, financial statements – to carry with you when you move: make copies that you can pack with your household goods, but carry the originals with you.

Week of Move

Your Move:

  • Pack any items you have not had a chance to pack yet.
  • Call your mover and confirm your move date.
  • Arrange for payment for movers: a $20 - $25 cash tip per mover is usual.
  • Confirm closing/move-in dates with your real estate agent: confirm dates with your storage people.
  • Discuss your contingency plan if the movers are running late. Where will you sleep?
  • Disconnect and disassemble your computer and peripherals. Back up your computer files on a disk or flash memory drive, and carry these files with you.
  • Dispose of pain, oil and weed killers. Drain fuel out of mowers. Discard propane tanks from gills.

Your Records

  • Make sure all scheduled deliveries (newspaper, milk, etc.) have been cancelled or redirected to your new home.
  • Open a new banking acco0unt. Don’t close your old one until you move. If you bank online, be sure to update your address for statement delivery.
  • Get together all keys, alarm codes and garage door openers and place them in a folder so that you can be prepared to hand them over to the new owner or real estate agent.
  • Return any borrowed items from friends, the library or video store – you don’t want to fumble with this on your moving day.

Your Family:

  • Engage your kids in the process – maybe they can help color – code boxes to help the movers know where stuff goes.
  • Think about quick and easy meals you can prepare for your family to use up the remaining food in your refrigerator so that it does not go to waste, and also allow you to pack some kitchen items.

On Moving Day

  • Put together a moving day survival kit with items you’ll need for the trip and immediately after you arrive at your new home.
  • ID
  • Your wallet, checkbook and/or ATM card
  • Bottled water
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and soap
  • Any prescription medications
  • Aspirin
  • Snacks that don’t require refrigeration or cooking (granola bars, nuts, bread, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Paper cups, paper plates and plastic utensils
  • Towel
  • Sheets
  • Scissors and tape
  • Closing documents if you’re buying a new home
  • Important files
  • Medical records
  • Pet food and pet litter, if applicable
  • Empty, a clean and defrost your refrigerator/freezer and use baking soda to rid it of any foul odors.
  • Notify the police in your town if you home will be uninhabited for a long period of time.
  • Write out a list for your movers of things they’ll need; phone numbers, exact moving address and maps.
  • Check the inventory list and sign it. Put your copy in your moving folder.
  • Read the Bill of Lading carefully and sign it, if it is correct.
  • Make sure you have the moving company’s contact information with you in your moving folder.
  • In your new home, tape names to doors to assist movers, map out the floor layout so movers know what’s going where; finally prepare your new home for moving to prevent any damage.
  • Do a walk-through with your real estate agent.

One Week After you Move

  • Get your kids involved in the unpacking process, and help them find activities in your new town.
  • Did you get your moving deposits back yet?
  • Make sure you have fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in your new home.
  • Do any quick repair work that needs to be done, if you didn’t do it before moving in.
  • Tackle some fun first projects to help make your house a home, like hanging pictures and other simple projects.
  • Explore the new town – get acquainted, find out where everything is, etc.
  • Replace the locks if you’re uneasy about keeping the locks that came with the house.
  • Check on licenses for pets.
  • Update your address for all these: voter registration, driver’s license, tax forms, mew bank account.etc.
  • Start thinking about the larger home – renovation projects you’d like to get started, and prioritize them.

Change of Address Checklist

Utilities & Services
Telephone / Mobile
Water Delivery / Water Treatment
Pool Services
Lawn / Garden Services
Housecleaning Services
Physicians / Veterinarian
Government & Public Offices
Post Office
Veteran Affairs
Income Tax / IRS
Family Support
Social Security
Pension Benefits
Unemployment Insurance
Vehicle Registration
Driving License
Financial & Personal Accounts
Loan Institutions
Major Credit Card Companies
Department Store Credit Cards
Insurance Agencies (Health, Home/life and Auto)
Charge Accounts
Pension Plans
Air Miles Rewards Program
Accountant / Tax Consultant
Professional Memberships / Licensing Boards
Mail Order Houses
Book and Music Clubs