Whether you’re relocating because of a new job or simply because you want a bigger apartment, moving out is going to require a lot of planning, energy, and, unfortunately, money on your part. When it’s finally time for you to pack up your things, you’ll want to refer to this comprehensive moving checklist to make sure you’re ready for the movers and walking away from your current living situation with your entire security deposit in hand.
Two Months Before
☐ Purge, Purge, Purge
Go through all of your closets and set aside the things that need to be donated, recycled, or given away to friends. Be sure to look through all your clothes, shoes, books, DVDs, board games, sporting equipment, and dishes. The less you have to take with you, the easier moving will be!
☐ Figure Your Furniture Situation Out
If you already know where you’re going to be living next, you’ll at least have some idea of the amount of space you’ll have in your new place. Will you need to downsize considerably, or are you going have more room than you know what to do with? If you do need to pare down, now’s the time to determine what furniture won’t be making it onto the moving truck. Make a list of everything you’re taking with you and another one of everything you’re getting rid of.
☐ Research Moving Companies
What kind of moving company will you need? Do you have a small amount of stuff that can easily fit in a single U-Haul truck, or will you have to rent a pod out for a long-distance move? Do your homework and hire a company whose services suit your needs without going over your budget.
One Month Before
☐ Notify Utility Companies
About a month before moving out, you’ll need to start informing your current utility providers that you’ll be canceling or transferring your services to a new address after a certain date. Be sure to contact the following companies:
- Water and Wastewater
- Cell Phone (and/or landline if you still have one)
☐ Do Less Grocery Shopping
It’s understandable to want to retain a sense of normalcy for as long as possible, but a month before moving out is as a good a time as any to start making smaller shopping lists. Keep things simple by buying sandwiches, frozen meals, and snacks like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Another easy way to keep your kitchen empty without having to eat out every night is to sign up for a meal delivery service like Plated or Blue Apron.
☐ Start Gathering Moving Supplies
Get your hands on some boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper, tape, and labels. Additionally, you should use this time to buy any item-specific moving supplies you think you’re going to need, like a wardrobe box, dish box for China, mattress cover, or flat screen protector.
☐ Take Down and Pack Your Wall Art
When it comes to moving out, your wall art is one of the first things that should be packed up. Take them down carefully and patch up any holes that they may have left behind. Instead of haphazardly storing your artwork in random boxes, create a labeling system for them that will help you remember which room each one belongs in.
☐ Pack Up Your Off-Season Clothing
It doesn’t really make sense to keep winter coats and sweaters in your closet if you’re moving in the dead of summer. Put those off-season items in suitcases or boxes now, and you’ll save yourself the trouble of having to worry about them later on.
Three Weeks Before
☐ Pack Up Any Non-Essential Items
When your move-out date is just three weeks away, you’ll need to start getting into the heavy-duty stages of clearing your apartment out. Pack up the things you know you won’t be using anytime soon like books, DVDs, and specialty kitchen appliances. Realistically, you should be able to put everything in your kitchen into boxes except for a few plates, glasses, pots, pans, forks, and knives.
☐ Change of Address
Though we don’t rely on physical mail as much as we used to, you’ll still need to make sure that the following groups know where you’re going to be living:
- Your employer
- Your bank
- Health insurance provider
- Auto insurance provider
- Auto finance company
- Credit card companies
- Any magazines or newspapers you subscribe to
You’ll also have to go on the United States Postal Service website to file your change of address. That way, you’ll be able to receive all of your mail at your new place, even if you forgot to notify a particular person or company beforehand.
Two Weeks Before
☐ Confirm Plans with the Moving Company
Check in with your moving company to ensure that all the necessary arrangements are in place for your move-out. Confirm that they have the correct address and pickup date.
☐ Pack, Pack, Pack
Keep packing! At this point, you should only have the absolute essentials outside of boxes. Everything else needs to be properly labeled and put away.
One Week Before
☐ Make a “First Week” Box
When you first move into a new place, you’ll find it hard to locate the things you need to give it at least some semblance of “home.” To make it easier on yourself, dedicate a box to the things you know you’ll want to access on your first week in the new apartment. Consider putting essentials like a coffee pot, tea kettle, throw or blanket, laptop, phone charger, personal fan, shower curtain, and towel in this box. This should be the last thing to go into the moving truck so you can get to it first when it comes time to unload. Alternatively, you can keep this box out of the truck altogether and drive it over in your car.
☐ Deep Clean Your Apartment
You’ll want to start cleaning your apartment about a week before your lease ends. Deep clean the bathroom, check the carpet for stains, dust the baseboards, leave the kitchen looking spotless, clean out the oven and refrigerator, and wash the windows. You may be tempted to skip this part, but it’s in your best interest. If you get your entire security deposit back, you’ll be able to put it toward the deposit at your new place and avoid paying a lot more money out-of-pocket.
☐ Pack a Bag for Travel or Your First Few Nights
If your new place is out of state, you might need to stay the night in a hotel on your way over there. Maybe your new apartment is close by, but you just don’t feel like digging through all of your clothes right away. In either case, it would be a good idea to set aside a few nights’ worth of clothing and pack it in a bag.
One Day Before
☐ Get Refreshments for the Movers
Whether you’re using a professional service or just asking some friends and family to help you out, you should take the time to buy some ice-cold water and snacks for your movers.
☐ Give The Apartment One Last Look-Around
Make sure you’re not leaving anything behind in a drawer, closet, or kitchen cabinet.
☐ Clear a Pathway
Move everything out of your hallways and create a clear space that you and your movers can safely walk through. Nothing’s worse than having to maneuver heavy furniture around a bunch of obstacles.
☐ Get a Tracking Number and Inventory Sheet
Any moving company you hire is probably going to keep inventory of your boxes and furniture pieces. Ask them for a copy of their report and keep it in your purse or car. If you’re renting a pod, make sure you get its tracking number so you can monitor your stuff.