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The Long-Lead Move

Here’s your list if you’ve got a year or more to plan your move.

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12 Months Out or More
  • Determine Budget – Consider costs such as:
    • Services - professional movers versus friends/rental truck; professional packing or packing yourself
    • Supplies - buying boxes versus collecting at liquor store/grocery; check out our complete list of moving supplies so you can plan your budget accordingly
    • Incidentals – insurance, security deposits, pet deposits
  • Determine Tax Deductibility -- Contact the IRS and/or your accountant for info as to what, if any, moving expenses might be tax deductible
  • De-Clutter – Start cleaning out closets, drawers, basement and send unneeded items out to resale shops, make donations, or sort for later garage sale
  • Contingency Plans
    • If your house sells faster than planned, look into temporary housing options
    • If your house takes longer to sell than anticipated, you may need options, especially if you are heading to a new town
  • Research Schools -- If you have school age children it is never too early to look into education options
Nine Months Out
  • Use, Don’t Lose - Start cleaning out your freezer and cabinets and using up items you don’t want to move, like frozen foods, canned goods and cleaning supplies. If you would like to donate unused food to your local food bank, consider hiring a mover involved with Move for Hunger
Six Months Out
  • Organize/Manage Holiday Madness -- As the holiday seasons pass by, go through decorations, get rid of old, broken or unused holiday decorations. Organize, label and store them so they can be easily identified once the move occurs.
  • Create Binder or File(s) - Organize move-related paperwork by topic and keep worksheets, checklists, quotes, estimates, medical records and receipts in a binder or file
  • Motor Vehicle and Licensing Documents – Locate and keep a file of important documents that you are likely to need upon relocation
  • Investigate Medical Options – ask friends, acquaintances, doctors for options for medical care in new community
Three Months Out
  • Hire Movers –Obtain estimates from moving companies; compare and select the company that best suits your needs and budget
  • Purge pantry – Get rid of expired canned and dry goods – you don’t want to pay to move them
  • Investigate Storage - Check out options for storage facilities if needed
  • Take Inventory - Photograph/take inventory of everything you plan to move and determine its replacement value for insurance purposes
  • Separate Valuables – Create list of valuables and lock it away in a safe place and transport it personally during the move
  • Consult Insurance Agents - to see if changes to policies are needed (car, home, rental)
  • Get Supplies – Gather boxes, tape, packing materials, labels, etc. so you can start early packing; check out our complete list of moving supplies here
  • Pack Non-Essentials - Start packing non-core items; label well
  • Create Notification List - Make a list of everyone you need to notify about your move: family, friends, credit card companies, utilities, professional service providers
Two Months Out
  • Obtain New Floor Plan - Plot the lay out of furniture ahead of time (so you can save time and effort on move-in day) on graph paper or with designer Libby Langdon’s Solutions Quick Planner which allows you to space plan with 120 magnetic living room dining and bedroom furniture symbol ¼” pieces; you can check out Libby’s Planner here:
  • Schedule Yard Sale - For items that haven’t gone to resale or for donation
  • Gather Medical & Professional Records – for each family member if moving to a new community. This includes doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyers (wills, deeds, etc.).
  • Obtain Pets’ Veterinary Records
  • Reconfirm Moving Date with Movers
  • Car Registration/Driver’s License – Different states vary as to how long you have to transfer your car registration and get a new driver’s license if you move from another state -- in some states you have as little as 15 days to register.  Find information from the Division of Motor Vehicles in your new state here
Six Weeks Out
  • Contact Schools - Obtain your child’s records
  • Contact New Schools – Follow up on enrollment information/school schedule
  • Make Travel Arrangements for your move.
  • Make Pets’ Travel Arrangements – if needed
Four Weeks Out
  • Visit -- For easy transition and best value for bundled cable/Internet service/phone service
  • Contact Other Utilities – Arrange disconnection and new connections for gas, electric, oil, water and trash collection service.  Remember to stay connected until after you move out and connect new service before you move in, if possible.
Three Weeks Out
  • Banking -- Open new bank accounts in new community
  • Service Your Car - if driving long distance to new location
  • Arrange For Elevator Use - on moving day if needed
Two Weeks Out
  • Plants – Give away plants not being moved
  • Reconfirm Moving Details – Contact mover and reconfirm details including old and new address, pickup date, delivery date and cell phone number.  Arrange for deposit payment if required.
  • Change of Address Arrangements – Arrange change of address with U.S. Post Office/mail forwarding and send change of address notices to friends, employers, credit cards, banks, magazines, etc. You can do it here:
One Week Out
  • Pick up Dry Cleaning
  • Return any Borrowed Items including library books
  • Empty Gas from lawn mowers, other power equipment being moved
  • Cancel Newspaper Subscriptions
  • Get Cash for tips and other expenses
  • Finish Packing Clothes.  Leave out a few outfits that can be washed and packed into suitcase(s) before the move.
Two to Three Days Out
  • Pack First Night Survival Box – This is a box or suitcase with items that will be needed immediately at the new residence.  Load this box into car if at all possible or have it packed last onto truck.
  • Finish Cleaning Kitchen Pantry and Cabinets – Put aside non-perishable unused food to donate to your local food pantry.  If your mover is a member of Move for Hunger, they will deliver your food directly to the local food bank.
  • Label Everything – Make sure all boxes are well labeled – set up a system that includes numbering boxes with list of contents, and what room they are going to – with a master corresponding list in your binder.  Consider color-coding with labels or paper.  You can type up content labels and print them on different room colored paper.
Moving Day
  • Be There - Make sure you or someone you trust is there to work with moving company
  • Verify – Is the moving company that showed up the company you hired?
  • Unplug and Clean Major Appliances at old residence
  • Turn out the lights, lock windows and doors, and take a final walk through of the house before leaving to make sure nothing is left behind
  • Review Documents Before Signing - Do not sign documents/bill of landing without reviewing
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