Less than 10% of the population moved to a new home in 2019, fewer than any year before. Even still that’s millions of people!
So you’re not the first person to plan a big move, and it’s likely this isn’t your first move either. Nonetheless, no matter how many times you move to a new place, it’s always a daunting task.
That’s why we wanted to make things easier, with the complete guide on how to start packing to move. When you’re done, you’ll have a step by step game plan to make sure you don’t forget anything before the big moving day.
8 Weeks Before the Move
At 8 weeks in, you know you need to move, and hopefully, you know where. But just in case there are a few things you need to knock off your to-do list.
Notify Your Landlord
If you’re renting, you need to give your landlord 30 to 60 days of notice, depending on your lease agreements. You can usually write “60-day notice for Jane Doe” on a slip of paper and turn it into the leasing office. Otherwise, call, text, or email your landlord to confirm your move out date.
If you’re selling your old home, make sure you’re working with a real estate agent to help you coordinate the timing.
Scope Out New Schools and Doctors
When you move to a new place, you’re often not just leaving a house behind. You’re leaving behind an entire network or trusted doctors, vets, and teachers, and you need to rebuild that.
Start scoping out which schools would be good for your kids, and let your old school know your kids are moving.
Look for new doctors, dentists, eye doctors, chiropractors, and veterinarians. You can ask your current one for recommendations in your new area.
If you know who you want your new professionals to be, ask your current doctors to forward all your medical records. If not, make sure you get printed copies to bring to your appointments in your new town.
Keep Your Kids in Mind
Now is a good time to let your kids know that the move is coming. Change is hard for kids, especially when it’s surprising. So give them a heads up and let them know things will be different for a while.
This way they can start to say their goodbyes, and be prepared for when the big day comes.
Lock Down Your New Home
If you’re buying a house, make it happen. If you’re renting, get your application in and your lease agreement all set.
Visit the Community
A good way to help your kids get excited about the move is to visit your new community. Drive around and scope out restaurants, parks, and activities for the family. If you can, swing by your future abode, so you and your kids know what to expect.
It’s also the perfect way to find out whether or not your future residence is exactly what you expect it to be, or not.
Put Together a Budget
Moving is EXPENSIVE! There’s the down payment for your new house, restaurant meals in the last week or so while moving out. The cost of movers and a moving truck.
Now is a good time to put together a budget, so you know what you can and can’t expect to spend, and you’re prepared for it too. And keep in mind some moving expenses are tax-deductible, so keep your receipts!
Pick a Moving Company
Moving companies often run on tight schedules, so it’s smart to lock down a company for removals weeks before you need them. Do your research, and decide what’s the right moving company for you, or whether you need to take a DIY approach.
Write All the Lists
Worried about forgetting something? Write it down! Research shows writing things down is key to getting them out of your head and helping you relax!
Write down companies you have to cancel services for, accounts you have to update with your new address. Record things you want to do before you leave, things you can’t forget to pack, and anything else taking up space in your brain.
6 Weeks Before the Move
By week six, you should have your timeline locked down. That makes it the perfect time to make all your other travel arrangements. Get hotel rooms, and make sure your baby sitter or pet sitter is available to look after your dependents on the day of the move.
It’s also a good time to make sure you’re properly stocked up on packing supplies. Get all the boxes and tape and markers and labels you’re going to need.
During these weeks, start going through your possessions and see what you can get rid of. The fewer things you have to pack, the easier the move.
4 Weeks Before the Move
Hopefully, you’ve put a good dent in what you want to keep and what you’re getting rid of. If not, now’s the time to take it seriously. Make a couple runs to your local donation center, or host a garage sale to get rid of your unnecessary things.
Start canceling any memberships that require a 30-day notice, and get your car checked to make sure it’s up to the task of a long-distance move.
In the last month of your move, you can save some money on your grocery budget by eating up all the food in your freezer and pantry before you go.
And it’s time to start packing. Packing for a move is a big task.
Even though you still have a month left in your current home, you should start early. You’ll be glad you did.
Tips for Packing Before a Move
Figuring out how to organize and pack your things is usually the biggest challenge people face when packing for a move. When you start packing, pack the things you use least frequently first. Put heavy items in small boxes and light items in big boxes.
Keep a running inventory of everything packed in each box. That will make it easier to find things when you go searching for them.
Take photos of any valuables and pack them separately. It’s smart to keep them with you during the move to keep them from getting lost.
Color coding is the key to an organized move. Consider getting several different types of duct tape or labeling tape, and clearly mark each box on each side. Consider red for the kitchen, blue for the bathrooms, green for the living room, and purple for your bedroom.
When you know where each box goes, it makes the process easier.
Make sure you carefully wrap breakables to keep them intact throughout the move.
If possible, try to pack things in their existing containers. For example, you can wrap a dresser drawer with plastic wrap with all of its existing contents. That way it’s easy to unpack.
2 Weeks Before the Move
It’s really happening! Two weeks before the move you’re likely to start feeling rushed. Keep packing up all the non-essentials and drain your freezer and pantry.
If you have anything stored elsewhere, like a storage room or a safe-deposit box, it’s time to clear these out too.
Double-check with your movers and make sure everything is still on schedule.
1 Week Before the Move
Your house should be mostly boxed by now, so it’s time for deep cleaning. Doing a thorough clean before you move out can help you make sure you get your deposit back.
Run any last-minute errands, and cross the last few things off your to-do list. Find new homes for any plants you can’t take with you.
Pack your moving bag and your first box. Your moving bag should have a change of clothes or two, your important documents, and your credit cards and any cash you have. It should also have everything you’ll need in the week or so you’ll need easy access to before you can get settled into your new home.
Your first box should have a pitcher for water, a roll of toilet paper, phone chargers, and anything else you know you’ll need access to right away.
The Day of the Move
It’s the big day! Send kids and pets to sitters so you can focus on moving without worrying about them. Say goodbye to your old house, and ensure you’re not forgetting anything.
Do a final walkthrough, and hand off the keys. It’s time to start a new adventure.
These Steps Show You How to Start Packing to Move
Figuring out how to start packing to move is a complicated task. There’s so much minutia, you’re terrified you’ll forget any of it.
That’s why it’s important to start planning for a move long before the big day comes. Gather boxes and start making lists. Stay organized, and keep checking back to this checklist so you can stay on track.
Want to make sure your move doesn’t fall behind schedule? Bookmark this page so you can keep coming back.