How to prepare for moving day

Timing is everything, and when it comes to ensuring a successful move, that statement rings true.

Even if it’s not “everything,” using some careful planning and forethought helps “everything” happen efficiently. The point is, as soon as you decide to move, start your thinking process, explore your options and take action.

First, are you going to move yourself, or will you hire movers? It’s best to book the truck or the moving company at least a month ahead, and preferably more. Keep in mind that because of more cooperative weather, late spring, early summer and early fall are the most popular times of the year for moves. If you wait too long to book, you may have trouble getting someone during those seasons. Keep in mind, June 30 is the busiest moving day of the year!

Next, are you going to pack or take advantage of professional packing services? If you are thinking DIY, start collecting/buying boxes and packing material. Remember that professional movers usually sell standard-size boxes that are sturdy and easy to stack, as well as paper that can protect your items without leaving newsprint behind.

Last, but not least, what do you want and need to move? Now is the time to purge all of those unnecessary items that have been at the back of your closets for months, and often years. The less “stuff” you move, the easier and less expensive it will be.

Moving checklist: What to do, and when:

A month before the move …



  • De-clutter, sort, pitch, give away, donate to charity, host a yard sale – whatever – but pare down your stuff.
  • Obtain change-of-address cards from your local post office.
  • Notify magazines, insurance companies, banks, credit card companies, schools and employers of your change of address.
  • Start using up food and perishables to minimize what you throw out on moving day.
  • If you are moving to a new home or condo that includes appliances, ask for the owner’s manuals ahead of time.

Two weeks before the move…


  • Make a “survival closet” of items you will need to clean the place once furniture is moved (broom, dustpan, cleansers), and even snacks that you can grab quickly during the process.
  • Either start packing or make sure your mover begins. Label boxes as you pack with both the contents and which room each will go into at your new digs. Write the destination room on the top and sides of each box.
  • Schedule disconnects for utilities and phone, but make sure you still have the use of your phone line on moving day. At the same time, arrange for hook-ups at the other end.
  • Cancel newspapers, cable TV, security system monitoring and any companies you use for services such as cleaning and lawn maintenance.
  • Mail out change-of-address cards.

The day before the move…


  • Clean out, defrost and dry the fridge and freezer.
  • Get to a bank or bank machine and take out enough cash to tide you over.
  • Pack a last-minute essentials bag/box.
  • Arrange for children and pets to be looked after elsewhere on moving day.

On moving day…


  • Double and triple check rooms, closets, the garage and basement to ensure that you have all of your things and the areas are left clean.
  • Don’t forget to carry your own (family’s) valuables, cash and items relevant to the move, and all other important documents.


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