Moving certainly isn't easy, but it can be exciting to start over in a new city or home. Whether you are moving into a rental, purchasing a home, going from a starter home to a forever home, or downsizing for retirement, proper planning will give you one less thing to worry about on moving day. Here is a checklist that will help you prepare for your big move without breaking the bank.
At least one month before moving:
Create a budget
Before doing anything else, you need to know how much you can spend on your move. This will help you decide whether to move yourself or hire professional movers.
If you decide to move yourself, don't forget to budget for:
Moving truck rental
Equipment and packing supplies
If you hire a professional moving company, account for:
Extra charges or fees for travel, gas or packing supplies
Tips for the movers
Contact moving companies for a quote
If you're going to hire professional movers, make sure to compare prices in advance, so you get a better deal. Keep in mind that you may be able to save money if you move during off-season (October to April). Moving in the middle of the month or the week can also be less expensive than peak times and weekends.
When contacting moving companies, make sure to:
Read reviews online
Confirm that the moving company is properly licensed and insured
Ask about any extra costs such as fuel charges or travel fees
Ask if they will match the price of a competitor
Get an estimate in writing
Create an itemized list of your belongings with photos
In a worst-case scenario, this will help if you're making damage claims. It will also be helpful as you talk to moving companies about the scope of your move and can help you decide how many boxes and other supplies you may need.
Buy or borrow packing supplies
The price of bulky moving boxes and packing supplies can quickly add up. Try and find boxes on the cheap (retailers and grocery stores often have boxes they will give away for free) and use old newspaper for wrapping. Towels and old linens are also great for protecting your valuables.
Change your address
Start notifying the right people and places about your move to avoid missing important notifications. Be sure to change your address with:
Banks and other financial institutions
Credit card companies
Two weeks before moving:
Get rid of items you don't need
An impending move is a great excuse to throw out or donate what you no longer need in your life. Better yet: You might be able to sell items, pocket the cash and put it toward your move.
Pack an essentials box
This box should contain important documents and valuables that you wouldn't want to get lost during your move, such as expensive jewelry or a birth certificate. You'll also probably want your computer and items like your passport nearby.
Call utility companies
At this time, you should call your utility company and tell them you're moving. Give them a date to shut off service. Also be sure to add coverage at your new home or apartment.
A day or two before moving:
Compile receipts and create a folder for them
You'll want to have this information at tax time because you may be able to get a deduction for certain expenses. Learn about which expenses qualify for a deduction on the IRS website.
Call movers to confirm your date and time
After you've finished cleaning and packing, call your movers to confirm the cost and the arrival time.
On moving day:
Make sure belongings are ready to go
Have your boxes packed, labeled and sealed, and have all other items ready to move. Whether you are paying professional movers or moving yourself, having everything ready to go will cut down on the hours spent loading and unloading your truck, which will save time and money.
Have your method of payment ready
Don't forget to keep your checkbook, credit card or cash somewhere that is easy for you to access. After a long day of moving, the last thing you will want to do is rummage through boxes or make a last-minute trip to the ATM.
Still curious about how to move for less? Get more budget-friendly moving tips, and read about other aspects of moving and home ownership, such as how to estimate closing costs and budget for home repairs. And if you've just bought a home, get up to speed on what to know about closing costs and other mortgage information.