Moving? You may have already started your own mental checklist. Stress? Check. Too much stuff? Check. Not enough time? Check. If this sounds like your mindset going into your impending move, you’re not alone. Moving is a big deal, regardless of whether you’re changing apartments in the same town, or uprooting and starting a new life clear across the country. But even the biggest moves don’t have to be bad news. Any move can be simplified with a bit of planning (and a reworked checklist).
In this guide, our moving and storage experts here at Stor-It give you everything you need to know to prepare for your move. We’ve changed up the checklist—no more stress and scrambling. Instead, we’ve organized everything into four distinct time blocks: a month before the move, the week of the move, the day of the move, and the week after the move. Learn the steps you need to succeed at every stage of your move, and check out Idaho’s best self-storage with our team today!
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A Month Before the Move
While it’s never too early to start planning for a move, most wise movers will start the planning process in earnest about a month before the big day. Take these steps to start things off on the right foot a month before your move.
Make a List — Or Several
Behind every successful move is a list, or two, or three. Your lists let you know what needs to be done, and making them in the first place allows you to cover all of your bases while externalizing any potential stressors. Your lists are something you can refer to (and edit) during your move without having to rack your brain. We recommend creating a master list (usually a text document or spreadsheet) to keep track of everything that needs to be accomplished during the move. From the master list, you can subdivide contents into smaller lists. Some list ideas include who to book (such as professional movers and self-storage), who to notify (neighbors, landlords, employers, and utility companies), what to purchase (packing essentials, furniture, and replacement items), and room-by-room packing lists.
Do Your Research
Research is an essential step for ensuring your move is executed as seamlessly as possible. To avoid any unwanted complications as your moving day approaches, take the time early on to research important facets of your move. Start by re-reading your lease and learning the proper protocol to notify your existing landlord of your move. (Most landlords require a signed letter at least a month before tenants vacate.) You’ll also want to research professional moving companies and self-storage near you. Thorough research will allow you to find a well-reviewed business with affordable prices, timely service, and the amenities you need for your move. Lastly, start to research your new neighborhood to find points of interest like grocery stores, post offices, gyms, and other locations you’ll likely be visiting. Looking into these locations before moving will help make settling in that much easier.
Depending on where you live, service providers in your area may be difficult to schedule on short notice. In many areas, professional movers are in high-demand. They’re often booked for weeks out. Self-storage facilities can also fill up fast, so be sure to call as soon as you find one that works for you. Scheduling your moving services at least a month out will help you get your top choices and avoid any headache and hassle as your moving date approaches.
Gather Your Supplies
No move is complete without proper packing supplies. To ensure that you have everything you need as you enter into the packing process, purchase packing essentials such as boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape well in advance of your move. If you’re going to be using your own vehicle, you’ll want to get it tuned up and invest in tie-downs for any items that may be going on the roof. Other packing and moving supplies to purchase include furniture covers, markers (for labeling), hangers, and plastic bags.
The Week of the Move
With long-term administrative tasks and early preparation addressed, you have successfully navigated the month leading up to your move. Now, with one week left, it’s time to get down to business. The week leading up to your move will involve sorting, packing, cleaning and finalizing arrangements. Take these steps to make sure your final week doesn’t go to waste.
Get Organized and Start Sorting
The process of physically moving everything you own from one location to other is lengthy, to say the least. To make it as streamlined and successful as possible, start by getting organized. Return items to their proper areas and create “donate” and “throw away” bins for those items you no longer need. Separate your valuables from your other items so they don’t get mixed up, broken, or lost during the move. Start consuming and using any perishable items that you don’t plan to take with you on your move.
Once preliminary sorting is completed, it’s time to begin the packing process. Begin to fill boxes with items you won’t be using in the final week before your move. Try to pack categorically, and always label your boxes once they are filled. This will make the unpacking process much simpler. Save the big items such as furniture for last — you’ll likely be enlisting help to move those anyway. As you pack, be sure to cushion all items (especially expensive or fragile ones) with bubble wrap, foam, or unused fabrics. This will help ensure that nothing gets broken during your move.
Finalize Moving and Self Storage Reservations
With a week left to go before you moving day, you’ve likely already booked movers and reserved a self-storage unit (if necessary). To ensure that everything is booked as planned, contact your moving and self-storage companies to confirm your reservations. One last outreach will also give you the opportunity to ask any last-minute questions (such as whether there are certain items you can’t move or store), which can save you from confusion and inconvenience on the day of your move.
Clean Your House
It may not be your first instinct to clean the property you’re about to vacate, but cleaning your house is an un-skippable step of the moving process. For one, you likely placed a deposit on your existing property. If you expect to get that deposit back, you’ll want to be sure that your house is as clean as possible before you leave. Performing a final clean of your house will also give you the chance to locate any items you may have missed while packing.
Notify Relevant Parties and Fill Out Necessary Paperwork
Like all major life steps, moving involves at least some red tape (and we’re not talking about the kind used for packing). To make your move as hassle-free as possible, and to extend common courtesy to those in your life, notify the relevant parties of your move at least a week in advance. Relevant parties include friends, families, neighbors, and employers. You’ll also want to complete the change of address form from the U.S. Postal Service to make sure your mail arrives at your new place. The week before your move is also a good time to schedule cancelation and/or transfer of utilities such as electricity, gas, cable, and internet service. Finally, notify your bank of your change in address and get new vehicle stickers if you are moving towns.
The Day of the Move
The big day is here. All of your hard work comes down this final push. Your moving day is arguably the most hectic day of the entire moving process, but your planning, preparation, and newfound checklist will help you handle this hectic 24 hours with efficiency and ease. Don’t believe us? Take these steps to ensure that you’re moving day goes off without a hitch.
Pack a Day-Of Essentials Bag
Many movers make the mistake of packing everything. While comprehensive, this tactic reveals itself as a mistake when daily essentials such as toothbrushes, soap, clothing, and other items are needed during a move. To ensure that you have everything you need while you are moving residences, pack a day-of essentials bag filled with items you’ll likely need to use during your move. (If you are moving across the country, a process that can take several days, your essentials bag may look more like a suitcase.) Belongings to pack in your essentials bag include personal care items, your wallet and keys, your phone, snacks, a change of clothes (or two), and a small first-aid kit.
Make Last-Minute Arrangements With Your Movers
On the day of your move, communication with your movers is essential to ensuring that your move is completed without catastrophe. This is especially true if your movers are friends and family: they’ll need all the guidance and assistance they can get to properly load, move, and unload your items. Professional movers know what they’re doing, but they’ll still benefit greatly from any extra information regarding the items they’re moving. To keep everyone energized, offer snacks and drinks. To keep everyone on the same page, make sure you’ve exchanged addresses and contact information before you hit the road.
Make Sure Nothing Gets Left Behind
Prior to shutting the door on your old property for the last time, perform one final sweep of your premises to make sure nothing gets left behind. In the hustle and bustle of moving day, it can be easy to forget an item or two. Check all rooms, and other indoor and outdoor spaces to be sure you have everything. Enlist the help of friends and family to take care of this step as efficiently and effectively as possible. An extra set of eyes always helps.
Load and Unload Properly
Of the many steps involved in a move, few are more high-stakes than loading and unloading. These steps are where items get lost or broken, so it’s important to execute them properly to ensure that everything stays in great condition. If you’re moving with friends and family only, never lift heavy items alone, and always make sure to lay items on even ground. If you’re working with professional movers, take the time to supervise their process, especially for larger, more valuable items. Use carts for assistance, and always cover items to keep them in optimal condition during the move and later on in long-term storage.
The Week After the Move
You’ve completed your move and you’re resting in your new abode. Mission accomplished, right? Not quite. Even though you’ve survived move-out day, you still have to move in. The week following your move is crucial in setting the tone for your next chapter — it’s time to make your new house feel like a home. Take these steps the week after your move to complete the moving process and (finally) move on.
Pace Yourself While Unpacking (But Don’t Take Too Long)
Your new home doesn’t have to be furnished and decorated in a single day, but you shouldn’t wait too long to unpack your belongings. Dragging your feet on the final step can lead to disorder and discomfort in your new space, which almost defeats the purpose of moving in the first place. To get the unpacking process started, tip your movers and have them move furniture and item boxes into their proper rooms. Once this is completed, devote a few hours every day to unpacking the rest of your items. We recommend unpacking items as you use them, and going room-by-room to complete the rest.
Invest in At-Home Storage
Sometimes, moving to a new space requires a new strategy. You may need new stuff, and you’ll likely end up with a new setup. That’s sort of the point of moving, after all. The point we’re trying to make here is that your old stuff (and new stuff) may not fit seamlessly into your new space — not without smart storage, that is. After you’ve organized and reorganized, you may find that some of your items just can’t find a place to fit in. At this point, investing in new at-home storage such as shelves, cabinets, dressers, or even storage boxes can help you put the finishing organizational touches on your new space and take care of unpacking once and for all.
Explore the Area
If you’ve followed the earlier steps in this checklist, you’ve likely already looked into the many points of interest in your new neighborhood. Now it’s time to explore them firsthand. Allot an hour or two of your daily schedule to check out your area, meet your neighbors, and visit local hotspots. This will help familiarize you with your new surroundings and increase your comfort overall.
Invite Everybody Over
To top off your move, make your new space feel like home by welcoming in guests with a get-together. Hosting a house party, organizing a backyard BBQ, or simply inviting neighbors over for a quick visit is a great way to meet people and get everyone familiarized with your new space. (It’s also great motivation to finish unpacking on time.)
Get More Moving Tips and Reserve Self Storage With Stor-It
Moving is a big step, but it shouldn’t have to be a stressful one. With proper planning and a bit of know-how, even the most massive moves can be completed without stress and struggle. If you’d like to receive more moving tips in addition to those on this checklist, our moving and storage experts here at Stor-It have you covered. Contact us to speak with a member of our team for moving advice, and check out our Storage Help and Storage FAQs pages for more information on self-storage. Ready to reserve your unit with us? Head over to our Locations page to explore our 14 different locations and find the perfect storage unit for your move!