Moving to a new home can be a daunting task, regardless of whether it’s across the country or across the street. The combination of organizing, packing, managing logistics, and making the drive itself—followed by the reverse process at the other end—is enough to make you say “Never again!”
We don’t always have the luxury of staying in one place. But a good plan can make a big difference, detailing what needs to be done and how much time each task will take. A detailed moving checklist will have you ready to go when the day comes.
“Decluttering a lifetime of stuff can take time. Set aside a little time each day to get the job done. Pick one specific area (closet, drawer, room) to work on and stick to it!”Evernote Expert and Certified Professional Organizer Amy Payne
How to get started
Everyone has different moving needs, so your moving checklist is going to be one-of-a-kind. As such, only you can decide what goes on it. However, almost every move has critical dates and decisions, which can serve as the foundation for your moving checklist no matter the particulars. These can include—but are not limited to:
- Setting the moving date—departure and arrival times—with contingencies for your arrival in the event of delays.
- Determining whether you want to hire a moving service (usually recommended) or do the moving yourself.
- Finding a mover. Request an on-site estimate in writing from each company you contact, and make sure it includes a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number on it.
- Determining the budget. Always get firm numbers when requesting quotes from movers, and make sure you leave space in your budget to account for the unexpected, such as extra boxes, forgotten items, or additional time with a moving van.
- Talking to work and school about your move. You can arrange to transfer the needed information—such as report cards and vaccination statuses—to new schools if needed. Your employer’s human resources department may have other requirements as well.
- Making an inventory of everything you own, to make sure every item makes it to the new house. This is also a good opportunity to get rid of anything you don’t need to take with you.
Power tip: Save and organize site clippings and similar information for potential movers with Web Clipper—and keep it with the rest of your moving checklist.
Preparing for the move
With the dates set and a good idea of the basics involved, you can spend the remaining time making formal preparations. As with your initial planning, the specifics will vary, but will almost certainly include:
- Finalizing arrangements with your mover, including confirming specifics and ensuring that the contract is in order.
- Ensuring you get all the boxes and other supplies you need, including tapes, bubble wrap, protective blankets, etc.
- Writing everything down. During the move itself, trying to remember everything by memory can be impossible. An organized file—especially one easily accessible in an app like Evernote—can be a lifesaver when you need to recall something on the fly.
- Decluttering the entire house, and disposing of what you don’t need or can’t take on the move. Garage sales, local charities, and similar places are good ways to get rid of unneeded items.
- Measuring all your furniture, along with the entryways to the new house. You need to make sure you have some way of getting them inside! If you don’t, get rid of them before you move.
- Filling out a change-of-address form, either at the post office or online. Make sure you let pertinent businesses know about your move—banks, credit cards, insurance companies, and utility companies.
“It’s never too early to start packing! You can start by putting “like items” together in the room they belong in so that when you pack, you are packing in an organized manner. Avoid mixing items from different rooms in the same box, whenever possible.”Evernote Expert and Certified Professional Organizer Amy Payne
More notes before you move
As the move gets closer, it’s a good idea to go over the small-yet-critical details to make sure everything is in order. You can then add them to your moving checklist and incorporate them into your plans. This might include details like:
- Notifying your office of any specific time you need to take off.
- Getting your car serviced by a reliable mechanic, with a particular eye on the climate in your new location.
- Finishing your general packing with a few days to spare. Then packing suitcases with enough clothes to wear for a few days, as you would a vacation.
Power tip: Scan important documents to secure contracts, receipts, and other paper items instantly, so you never lose track of them.
Packing it all up
The idea of packing up your entire life into boxes can be daunting, but these tips from Evernote Expert and Certified Professional Organizer Amy Payne will make packing and unpacking easy:
- Make a list of every room in your current home and map out how that translates to your new home.
- When packing a box, fill it all the way up to the top. If there is empty space in a box, it will be crushed under the weight of other boxes
- If you have a small item to be wrapped, write on the newsprint with a marker so that when you unpack, you will see that there’s an item inside the paper.
- Wrap sharp items in paper and write on the paper “Sharp” so you know to be careful when unpacking.
- Keep the weight of each box under 50 pounds, so you can easily lift each one.
- Inventory your boxes using Amy’s Ultimate Color Moving System, then use these templates in Evernote to keep track of what’s in each box. You can also use this system to label unpacking priority so you know exactly which boxes to open first.
On the moving day
Ideally, everything will go smoothly on the day of the move—or at least your moving checklist will keep bumps and complications to a minimum. This is the time to attend to a few last-minute details:
- Verify your mover by ensuring that the USDOT number painted on the side of the moving van matches the number on your estimate. This will help prevent scams or theft.
- Check for anything you missed, then turn off the lights, water, and air conditioner; shut and lock the windows; and leave your house keys in an appropriately secure location.
After the move
Once you’ve arrived and are getting settled into your new home, you can wrap up the process with a few final items on your moving checklist:
- Clean your new place and get it sparkling before you unpack.
- Create a list of all utilities and services you had at your previous location to keep track of services you may still need to sign up for, and set them up as soon as you can after you arrive.
Power tip: Unpacking and organizing after a move can be just as stressful as the move itself. Tasks in Evernote can help you keep track of all the unpacking chores with the same efficiency as the rest of your moving checklist.
“Have a trash bag or empty box nearby for the packing paper you are discarding from the boxes. Designate one location for empty boxes. Break down the boxes into a flat stack. This location could be just outside of the room you are unpacking.”Evernote Expert and Certified Professional Organizer Amy Payne
Settling into a new home doesn’t have to be messy
Moving can be an intimidating adventure. But with a moving checklist and proper preparation, you can ensure it goes as smoothly and problem-free as possible. Using the right organizational tools and strategies can help make the unmanageable manageable—so you can make your move without the extra stress.