Set up utilities and internet
One of the most important things to do to make your home livable is to set up your utilities. This is best done in advance, so you don’t have to worry about whether the toilets will flush or the lights will turn on when it gets dark. Call the gas, electric and water providers in your area to set the day before your move-in date as the day of activation (or you can set it for your move-in day if you like to live on the edge).
Although internet connection and cable may not be essential to life, they do help provide the usual comforts of home. Both of these usually require installation, so it’s good to schedule the appointment at least a month in advance in case providers are busy. Once the internet is up and running, you’ll be in your new home watching Netflix in no time.
Another thing you need to do about four to six weeks in advance is recruit movers. This is especially important if you are moving across states and need a service. Shop around to see who has the best prices, policies and safety precautions (especially if you are moving during the pandemic) before you decide on a company.
If you’re going the DIY route, make sure you’re equipped to move. Book trailers or truck rentals early to ensure availability. If you’re all right with expanding your bubble during the pandemic, recruit some friends to mask up and help you move. Just remember to express your gratitude.
Change your address
In order for important bills and documents to not get lost during your transition, you need to change your address with institutions like your bank, your employer, the USPS and the IRS. Doing this promptly also helps to keep your identity safe. Use this change of address checklist to make sure you don’t miss anyone important!
Contact your insurance company
Whether you are moving across the country or two doors down, you will need to notify your home insurance company. In addition to filing a change of address with them, you also need to check if your current policy still covers your new home or if you need to add coverage. Making sure you have an appropriate policy for accidents and disasters will help protect your new investment.
Regardless of if you’re moving within state or out-of-state, it’s necessary to update your car insurance too. Rates for car insurance policies are determined by ZIP code, so make sure to shop around to see if there are better deals compared to your current policy.
Collect and label important documents
Loose papers and documents can easily get lost during a move. You don’t want to misplace things like your birth certificate, Social Security card, insurance policies, outstanding bills, tax documents and medical records. Collect all of your important documents, label and organize them into folders and remember to pack them in a box or bag where they will be easily accessible. This will save you from a headache later on when you need them.
Roundup packing supplies
It’s good to start rounding up packing supplies once you have a move-in date. Saving and reusing old boxes will help you save money on supplies and prevent excess waste from affecting the environment. Ask friends and family if they have extra boxes to donate to your efforts as well.
Take inventory of valuables
No one wants to lose or misplace a valuable belonging during a move. Whether it’s big or small, take inventory of valuable personal property like jewelry, electronics, sentimental items, photo albums, expensive art or fine furniture. In your inventory, it’s helpful to note or take a picture of the condition it’s currently in. This record serves as evidence if your furniture is damaged later.
Sort through belongings
Moving often marks a good time to declutter and downsize. Go through your belongings and sort through the stuff you don’t need and the stuff you can’t live without. Decluttering means less stuff to pack and less clutter in your new home.
Sell or donate items
After deciding what stays and what goes, take the time to sell or donate your unwanted items. Donate things that are gently used and in good working condition like pots and pans, clothes, toys, furniture, tools and books to charities that accept free donations. If you want to earn some extra cash for the new house, try selling newer items in a Facebook marketplace or on a consignment app. Things like electronics, fashionable clothes and furniture often have a good chance of selling.
Now that everything that is left over are things you are taking with you, you can start packing. A good tip is to label boxes based on the room that the items inside belong in. For example, a box of pots and pans should have a kitchen label. Once everything is labeled, group the boxes by their room categories so they get loaded in and loaded out together. This will make moving day easier because you won’t have to run around the house.
Another packing tip is to pack heavier items in small boxes and lighter items in bigger boxes. This means that when someone bends down to pick something up, you won’t have packed a gigantic box that is too heavy to lift.
Call the cleaners (or DIY)
As you take stock of your belongings and begin packing, it’s good to think about deep cleaning both your old and new homes. For your old place, you may need to schedule a professional cleaning for the new owners if it’s required in your contract. If your contract just states that it should be “broom clean,” feel free to tackle the sweeping and vacuuming yourself before you leave.
When it comes to your new abode, if you didn’t specify a professional cleaning before moving in, it’s probably safe to assume your new home will also be left broom clean. Schedule a professional cleaner to come in before you move all your furniture if you want it sanitized and spotless.
Schedule time off
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop when we have a major transition in our lives. Being proactive and scheduling time off of work makes a big difference when it comes to moving. Time off is especially useful if you are moving far away or think you will need more than a weekend to move in.
Complete any home repairs
Depending on purchase agreements with your seller and your buyer, you may need to complete home repairs for your new or old place. Make sure the sellers of your new home have repairs done before your move-in date if they were written into your contract after a home inspection. It’s important that any repairs to the roof, HVAC, foundation and water heater are done in order for your house to be livable. You will need to do the same for the new owners of your old home, if your contract requires it.
Finish your food
Once you have a move-in date, you’ll probably want to start eating your way through your refrigerator and pantry. Moving a bunch of nonperishable food items to your new home is a hassle, but it’s also a waste to throw out excess food. Think about carefully planning meals with whatever is left in the house and only buy groceries when necessary.
If you end up with food leftovers, give them away to family and friends or donate nonperishables to a local food bank. A day or two before you leave, remember to defrost your fridge and freezer.