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Get Ready for the Big Day: Your Step-by-Step Home Moving Checklist

So you’ve signed that mortgage contract, sold your old place, and are ready to move into your new home. As moving day approaches, a certain amount of stress is expected; however, don’t make it harder on you and your family than it has to be. Check out our comprehensive moving checklist to ensure that you stay on track, stay motivated, and have everything ready to go by the big day.

Now’s the Time to Downsize

After you’ve signed all the paperwork on your new home, it’s time to consider what you really want to bring with you. With a few months before the real packing adventure begins, try going through your storage and closets to see if there’s anything you need to sell, give away, or toss. There’s no better time than now for some spring cleaning, and you’ll thank yourself when it comes time to load boxes onto the moving vans.

Go through your home’s closets and see if there are any clothes in good, wearable condition that you’d like to donate to organizations like Goodwill, or to local homeless shelters. Old and threadbare clothing and towels can be donated to animal shelters, to be turned into blankets or used for cleaning supplies. Don’t let the donations stop there: as moving day draws closer, go through your supplies as well. Any unexpired, nonperishable food or supplies that you’re not going to use up before moving day and don’t want to bring along on the ride will usually be taken by local food cupboards and shelters.

Larger items like furniture and electronics can be both simpler and more complicated to get rid of. They’re usually easy enough to give away for free, but if you want any cash for them, be prepared to push hard and wait. If you’d like to make some money off your cleaning efforts in general, a yard sale will usually take at least a few items off your hands. You can also try your local Craigslist, but some items sell quicker than others on this site: if you’re strapped for time and want the item gone fast, you’ll need to post it as a free offer or donate it locally.

If you have children, encourage them to go through their toys and books for things they’d like to donate or sell – however, don’t push the issue too hard if they’re resistant. A move for a child is a big deal indeed, and emotions may be running high. Consider sweetening the deal by letting them keep any money they make off the sale of old items…but, if they want to use it on more toys, ask them to wait until the move is over. A similar note goes for partners and spouses, as well. Just because you’re both adults doesn’t give you free reign to clean out their closet for them.

Research Moving Companies

Any given city will have an array of moving companies eager to help you move your items, so it’s on you to do your research and find the best company for your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and expect answers. Are they licensed to drive out of state? How long have they been in business, and how long are their employees trained? What kind of liability policies do they have for lost or damaged items? These are all vital pieces of information, and are definitely things you want to get out of the way sooner, rather than later.

Doctors, Schools, and More

As moving day ticks closer, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve got everything in order for your arrival in your new town – and that potentially means finding some new doctors, new schools, new hairstylists, and more. For doctors and veterinarians, ask your current practitioner if they have any recommendations in your new area for doctors accepting new patients. For schools, call your children’s new school district to get the facts on enrollment deadlines and needed paperwork – you definitely don’t want to stress your kids out further by messing up their school schedule (though they might think otherwise).

There are a few schools of thought for, you guessed it, when you should move your children during the school year. Moving during summer break is much less disruptive to their academic schedule, but can end up making them spend a summer alone, without the opportunity to mingle with kids their own age and acclimate to their new surroundings. Moving during the school year can drop them right into a new social group from the get-go, but this disruption can upset and stress a child far more than the alternative. Moreover, they may wind up missing a long-awaited event at their school – such as prom or graduating with their friends. If a move during the school year is unavoidable, consider making arrangements with a local friend or family member for the child to briefly return to their old hometown for the duration of said event. However, do not under any circumstances promise this to your child if you are not absolutely confident in your ability to deliver on it.

Moving Day Is Coming

While it may not be your idea of a fun time, don’t slack when it comes to packing things up. About two months before the move, start packing up your lesser-used items: holiday and seasonal supplies, decorative furniture and items, and so on. As the weeks creep on, start boxing up more frequently-used items, until the day arrives and you’re (hopefully) left with a few overnight supplies to throw into a backpack and head out the door. Packing is stressful, certainly, but being behind schedule is more so, and rushing can result in lost or damaged items. Make checklists and calendars for all household members in accordance to what they can handle: a teen can generally be trusted to pack up their room, while even a grade schooler who’s eager to help should likely be given some assistance in their duties.

When moving time comes, be prepared, be ready, and don’t stress too much if things don’t go as planned. Wrenches can be thrown into even the most foolproof of plans, so it’s best to take any setbacks running. It’ll result in a low-stress – and maybe even a little bit exciting – move for you and yours.