Moving Overview Checklist
One Month Before Moving
- Fill out change of address order form for post office.
- Fill out an IRS change of address form.
- Make arrangements with moving company or reserve a rental truck.
- Make travel arrangements, if necessary, with airlines, buses, car rental agencies and hotels.
- Transfer memberships in churches, clubs and civic organizations.
- Obtain medical and dental records, x-rays and prescription histories. Ask doctor and dentist for referrals and transfer prescriptions.
- Set up a checking account in your new city.
- Check into the laws and requirements of your new city regarding home-based businesses, professional tests, business licenses and any special laws that might be applicable to you.
- Take inventory of your belongings before they’re packed, in the event you need to file an insurance claim later. If possible, take pictures or video tape your belongings. Record serial numbers of electronic equipment.
- Make arrangements for transporting pets.
- Start using up food items, so that there is less left to pack and possibly spoil.
One To Two Weeks Before Moving
- Switch utility services to new address. Inform electric, disposal, water, newspaper, magazine subscription, telephone and cable companies of your move.
- Arrange for help on moving day.
- Confirm travel reservations.
- Reserve elevator if moving from an apartment.
- Have appliances serviced for moving.
- Clean rugs and clothing and have them wrapped for moving.
- Plan ahead for special needs of infants.
- Close bank accounts and have your funds wired to your new bank. Before closing, be sure there are no outstanding checks or automatic payments that haven’t been processed.
- Collect valuables from safe-deposit box. Make copies of any important documents before mailing or hand carry them to your new address.
- Check with your insurance agent to ensure you’ll be covered through your homeowner’s or renter’s policy during the move.
- Defrost freezer and refrigerator. Place deodorizer inside to control odors.
- Give a close friend or relative your travel route and schedule so you may be reached if needed.
On Moving Day
- Double check closets, drawers, shelves, attic and garage to be sure they are empty.
- Carry important documents, currency and jewelry yourself, or use registered mail.
- Carry travelers checks for quick, available funds.
After Arriving At New Home
- Renew your driver’s license, auto registration and tags.
- Shop around for new insurance policies, especially auto coverage.
- Revise your will and other legal papers to avoid longer probate and higher legal fees.
- Locate the hospitals, police stations, veterinarian and fire stations near your home.
- Keep the following supplies handy for packing: Boxes, marking pen, bubble wrap, newspaper, tissue, packing tape, scissors, tape measure.
- Use strong boxes and containers that can be secured tightly. Purchase special boxes for dishes, wardrobe and other special items.
- Pack audio-video equipment in their original boxes. Label cables and tighten transit screws. If removing screws, tape them to the objects they are removed from.
- Avoid loading more than 50 pounds into one box.
- Label each box and indicate the following: (a) Which room it should go in (b) Whether it is fragile (c) If it should be loaded last so it will be unloaded first.
- Cushion contents with packing material such as bubble wrap, newspaper or tissue. Save room by using towels and blankets to wrap fragile items.
- Pack books tightly on end in small boxes. If musty smelling, sprinkle talcum powder between the pages and wrap the book before packing. Leave stored for a couple of months to eliminate the smell.
- Have rugs and draperies cleaned before moving and leave them in wrappings for the move.
- Pack medicines in a leakproof container.
- Carry all valuables with you.
- Check with your local U.S. Department of Agriculture for regulations regarding moving plants from one state to another. Many states have restrictions on certain plants to prevent importing bugs or pests that can destroy valuable cash crops.
Moving House Plants
A Couple Of Weeks Before You Move
- Prune plants to facilitate packing. Consult a florist or a plant book for instructions.
A Week Before Your Move
- Place your plants in a black plastic bag, along with a bug/pest strip, conventional flea collar or bug powder. Close the bag and place in a cool area overnight to kill any pests on the plant or in the soil.
The Day Before Your Move
- Place the plants in cardboard containers. Hold them in place with dampened newspaper or packing paper. Use paper to cushion the leaves and place a final layer of wet paper on top to keep them moist. If you must leave your plants behind, then take cuttings. Put them in a plastic bag with wet paper towels around them.
On The Day Of Your Move
- Set the boxes aside and mark “DO NOT LOAD” so they won’t be taken on the moving van. Close the boxes and punch air holes in the top before loading into your car.
- Park your car in a shaded area in the summer and a sunny spot in the winter.
- Unpack the plants as soon as possible after arrival. Remove plants through the bottom of the box to avoid breaking the stems. Do not expose the plants to much sunlight at first. Let them get gradually accustomed to more light.
Moving Garden Plants
- Research climate and soils of new home.
- Seeds – gather and store in an airtight container.
- Bulbs – dig up during their natural dormant season. Pack in a mixture of loose dry peat moss and vermiculite to provide a lightweight and protective transport medium.
- Garden tools – sharpen blades of clippers, lawn mowers and shears and apply a thin coating of household or motor oil to protect the paint and metal parts. Clean and disinfect rakes, hoes and sprinklers. Household bleach can be used to disinfect a variety of items.
- Plants – some plants can be dug up and transplanted.
Following are tips for moving your pets to their new home.
Cats and Dogs
Cats and dogs can be taken in your car. If so, remember to take along the following items:
- Food and water
- A leash for letting your pet out of the car
- Newspaper or sheets to keep your car clean
Animals can get car-sick and will require frequent stops along the way. Also, check ahead to see if the hotel where you are staying allows pets. Depending on the animal’s temperament and size, it might be better to have it shipped by air. Be sure to check if your destination has any local requirements or restrictions on animals.
To have your pet shipped by air, make sure someone can meet your pet at the destination airport and take care of it until you arrive. A kennel can do this for you and keep your pet until you have completed your move, if necessary.
If you are flying to your new destination, your cat or dog can ride in the baggage compartment. You may need the following items:
- Health certificate. Obtain this from your veterinarian.
- Pet container. The airline might have a special container available or you can use your own as long as it complies with airline regulations.
- Tranquilizers. Your vet can provide tranquilizers to be given to your pet immediately before going to the airport.
- Your scent. Your pet can be comforted by having a piece of cloth with your scent on it.
- Hamsters, birds and other small animals can easily be transported in your car. To help keep the animals calm and quiet, cover cages with a cloth. Also, make sure they have food and water available.
- It can be very impractical and risky to move fish. Check with your local pet store for recommendations on moving your specific type of fish.
About Moving Companies
Consumer complaints against moving companies have been rising. Following are some tips that can help your move go smoothly.
- Get a binding estimate from the moving company. Make sure the amount is written in the contract.
- Inquire about their on-time record and other complaints with the local Better Business Bureau or consumer complaints department.
- Movers are limited by law regarding what they can give you for lost or damaged goods. To cover potential damage, check existing homeowner’s or renter’s policy.
- Ask about expected gratuities and write into contract.
- Have the contract include a guarantee of how many hours the job will take, allowing an overrun of no more than 10%.
- Be sure all charges are listed on contract.
- Inform the moving company of how many stairs are at your new home.
- Watch loading and unloading and examine all items carefully before signing a receipt.
- Document an inventory of your belongings before you pack.
Protecting The Environment
Following are some general suggestions to help you protect the environment before, during and after your move
- Sweep instead of hosing down driveways.
- Use sand or kitty litter instead of salt on icy sidewalks.
- Minimize paved surfaces on property and retain as much vegetation and rural wetlands as possible.
- Use water-based products rather than solvent-based.
- Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides – use mulch and organic fertilizers instead.
- Mow lawn frequently to increase grass shoot density.
- Rinse disposable diapers before throwing them away.
- Turn off the water while brushing teeth.
- Recycle cardboard boxes.
- Use phosphate-free laundry detergent.
- Recycle whenever possible.
Automobile & Traveling
- Keep your car tuned.
- Recycle and dispose of oil safely.
- Wash your car on grass.
- Don’t litter.
- Non-hazardous and non-recyclable – Call the Solid Waste Division in your county for disposal instructions and transfer stations in your area.
- Recyclable Material – Aluminum cans, papers, appliances. Call the Solid Waste Division/Recycling in your county for instructions.
- Hazardous Wastes – Paints, oil, pesticides, dyes, coolants. Call the Solid Waste Division/Hazardous Wastes in your county for instructions.