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Moving Made Stress-Free: Things to Do Before the Big Move

Moving to a new home can be an exciting yet challenging experience. To ensure a smooth transition, it's important to be well-prepared and organized. This article will provide you with a comprehensive list of tasks you should complete before your move, helping you stay on track and avoid common pitfalls.

One of the first steps in preparing for a move is to create a moving binder or set up a digital document to keep track of all important information. This will save you time and help you stay organized throughout the moving process. It's also a good idea to establish a moving calendar and budget, as these tools will come in handy when coordinating various tasks or working with a professional moving company.

In addition to organizing your move, address practical matters such as turning on utilities in your new home, changing your address, and collecting important documents. By tackling these tasks early on, you can minimize stress as you approach moving day and focus more on the excitement of settling into your new space.

Here’s a comprehensive list of things to do before you move:

Documentations and Notifications 

Before embarking on a move, organize and address crucial documentation and communication tasks. Properly managing these areas will help you maintain a smooth, hassle-free moving process. Here are six things to do before moving into a new house:

Gathering Important Paperwork

Gather your financial documents, contracts and personal records into an easy-to-access binder or moving box. This box is at the top of the list of things your movers cannot pack, so it should stay in your possession throughout your move.

Keep The Receipts 

Did you know that moving-related expenses can sometimes be tax deductible? Keep all receipts, invoices, and moving-related paperwork in one place so that they can be easily referenced for reimbursement purposes. 

Update Your Address 

At least two to three weeks before you move, you'll want to update your documentation with your new address. If you forget to add this task to your list of things to do before you move, important bills and letters may continue to be sent to your old address. Some relevant parties to inform about your move include:

  • USPS 
  • Banks
  • Insurance companies 
  • Utility services 
  • Gyms
  • Subscription services
  • Internet and phone providers

Update your Driver's License

Another crucial step is to update your driver's license with your new address. Depending on your state, you may have a specific time frame to complete this task, so it's best to do it as early as possible. You can usually update your license at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or through their online portal. This will also prevent legal troubles or penalties due to an outdated license.

Notify Your Employer

Don't forget to notify your employer about your move. They'll need your new address for payroll and tax purposes. If you're relocating due to work, ensure you've submitted any required documentation, such as transfer requests or forms, well in advance.

Utility Changes

With your new address in hand, it's time to tackle utilities. To ensure a smooth transition, plan to transfer gas, electric, and water services at least two weeks before your move. Contact the utility companies, provide them with your new address, and specify the date you'd like the transfer to occur. You'll also need to notify your current utility providers about your move to avoid being billed for services at your old address after you've moved out.

Transfer School Records

If you have children attending school, make sure to inform their current school about the move and request the necessary school records. Begin researching new schools in your soon-to-be neighborhood, and start the enrollment process as early as possible. This will help ease the transition for your children and ensure they can continue their education without disruption.

Sorting and Decluttering

One of the biggest things to do before you move is to declutter. You'll want to take some time to decide what items you want to keep, donate, and throw away. Most moving companies charge by the pound, so starting this process at your old home can help you save on the overall cost of your move. 

Here's a decluttering list of things to do before a move:

  • Acquire Moving Supplies: You’ll need sturdy boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and packing paper.
  • Declutter: About two to four weeks before your move, begin the process of decluttering your home. Go through each room and separate your belongings into categories: keep, donate, or discard. This is an excellent opportunity to let go of items that no longer serve a purpose or have sentimental value. This not only makes the packing and moving process more manageable but also, in the long run, helps reduce the stress of settling into your new home.
  • Organize: Once you've decluttered, it's time to organize your belongings. Group items with similar purposes (such as kitchen utensils, clothing, and office supplies) together. Make an inventory of your valuables, and compile a list of essential items you'll need immediately upon arrival at your new home.
  • Pack With Care: Your belongings are now ready for packing. Start by choosing appropriate-sized boxes for different items. Load heavier items in smaller boxes and lighter items in larger boxes to prevent them from crushing under their weight. Utilize packing paper or bubble wrap to fill empty spaces in boxes, ensuring maximum protection for fragile or breakable possessions. Label each box clearly with its contents and the room it belongs to. This will make the unpacking process more manageable and help moving services efficiently arrange your belongings in your new home.
  • Seek Assistance if Needed: Consider enlisting the help of professional moving services if the packing and moving process feels overwhelming. These services often provide packing materials and advice tailored to your specific needs. Additionally, they can help disassemble and pack your furniture, ensuring that it is transported safely to your new home.

By following these steps, you'll create an organized and efficient packing process while ensuring the safety and security of your belongings during the move. Remember to stay proactive and maintain a to-do list to track your progress and ensure a successful moving experience.

Packing Strategies 

Once you've decluttered every room in your home, it's time to start packing your belongings. Packing is an important step in the moving process. If you don't pack your belongings correctly, your items may get damaged in transit. Some tips to help you properly pack include:

  • Label Each Box: Labeling boxes will make unpacking easier. It will also ensure that fragile items are handled carefully and you never accidentally stack a heavier box on top of a fragile one.
  • Invest in Speciality Boxes: Boxes designed for mirrors, mattresses, and wardrobes can help streamline the unpacking process and keep your items protected and safe while in transit. 
  • Keep inventory: An inventory list will help you determine what has already been packed and what needs to be packed. You can also take inventory to determine what is inside each box.
  • Start Packing in Advance: Start packing at least one or two months before your move date. You can start by packing smaller items you don't use regularly and slowly work your way into big items. 
  • Pack Similar Items Together: This will make unpacking a breeze. It also helps you stay organized during the moving process.
  • Create a Comfort Kit: As you pack, consider the specific needs of your children. For very young children, remember to pack essential items such as diapers, bottles, and favorite toys in a separate bag for easy access during the journey. Additionally, create a "comfort kit" containing familiar items, like favorite blankets or stuffed animals, to help them feel secure in their new environment.

Packing Preparations for Each Room

When preparing each room in your home for a move, approach each space methodically and with care. Here's a guide on how to tackle each room with a confident and knowledgeable approach, ensuring a smooth transition.

  • Office: Start by sorting and organizing all your paperwork. Store important documents in a safe place, and consider scanning or digitizing them. Pack books in small, sturdy boxes and label them accordingly. Wrap electronics carefully with bubble wrap, and use original boxes if possible to keep them secure during the move.
  • Kitchen: Begin with decluttering the kitchen, tossing out expired items, and packing seldom-used appliances. Take the time to clean each appliance, such as the refrigerator, oven, and microwave, ensuring they're spotless before the move. Wrap delicate items like glassware and porcelain dishes with bubble wrap or packing paper. Use a combination of large and small boxes to accommodate different-sized items. Label every box with its contents and the room it belongs to.
  • Bathroom: Start with a thorough deep clean of the entire space. Dispose of any expired or nearly empty products to reduce clutter. Pack linens like towels and washcloths in waterproof bags, and wrap smaller items like toiletries in plastic wrap or ziplock bags to prevent leaks. Clearly label each box with its contents to avoid confusion when unpacking later.
  • Bedroom: Begin by sorting through your clothing and shoes, donating or discarding items you no longer need or wear. Pack out-of-season clothing first, followed by items you won't need in the days leading up to the move. The bedroom is also a good place to check for any necessary repairs, such as loose baseboards or damaged panels so that you can address them before the move.

As you move from room to room, focus on maintaining a consistent style for labeling and packing. Clear and precise communication will make your move more efficient and help you and your movers avoid misunderstandings. By preparing each room with attention to detail and a thorough approach, you'll be well on your way to a successful and stress-free move.

Preparing the New Home 

The next thing you'll want to do before your move is to start planning for your new home. Proper planning is essential to ensure a smooth transition to your new home. Here are some tips and resources to help streamline the process:

  • Moving Checklist: Create a moving checklist as your go-to guide throughout the process. This list should include tasks you need to accomplish and key dates related to your move. You can track everything in a binder, a Google Doc, or any other method that works for you.
  • Have a Budget: Your budget should encompass all moving costs, such as hiring moving companies, investing in packing supplies or storage, and any post-move expenses like furniture and repairs. Be sure to keep proof of all moving expenses organized in a folder for your records.
  • Research Moving Companies: Take the time to research and gather recommendations for reliable moving companies. Request estimates from multiple movers in order to compare services and prices. Don't forget to inquire about moving insurance options to provide additional protection for your belongings during the move.
  • Create a Moving Calendar: Setting up a moving calendar can also help you stay organized and on track. By assigning dates to specific tasks on your moving checklist, you’ll be better prepared for the big day. Be realistic when setting your moving date, and consider factors like your work schedule, lease agreements, and school calendars.

Arranging Logistics

Before you move, find the right moving company to help you with the process. Hiring experienced movers can ensure that your belongings are transported safely and efficiently to your new area. To make an informed decision, consider the following factors:

  • Gather Quotes: Gather quotes from at least three different providers. This allows you to compare their services and pricing. While gathering quotes, make sure to ask about their experience, customer reviews, and any additional moving services they offer, such as packing and unpacking assistance.
  • Verify Licensing and Insurance: If you're moving across state lines, the company should have a valid U.S. DOT number issued by the United States Department of Transportation. Also, check their safety and customer satisfaction records by searching for their U.S. DOT number in the department's database.
  • Ask Questions: Inquire about the movers' experience, as well as what steps they take to ensure the safety of your belongings during the moving process. Additionally, ask about any potential extra charges, such as fees for heavy items, long carry distances, or disassembly and reassembly of furniture.
  • Look Into Pet Transportation: Moving with pets requires special attention to their comfort and safety during the relocation process. Make arrangements for suitable pet transportation, and ensure you have their updated health records, vaccinations, and identification tags. Also, research potential vets in your new area in case of emergencies or health concerns after the move.

It's also a good idea to discuss your moving timeline and any special requirements you may have, such as moving delicate or valuable items. A reputable moving company should be able to accommodate reasonable requests within the scope of their services.

Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind as you're selecting your moving company:

  • Read customer reviews to gain insight into the company's performance
  • Ask for referrals from friends, family, or coworkers who have had positive moving experiences
  • Be cautious of any company that requires a large deposit before the move
  • Obtain a written contract outlining the services and fees agreed upon

By following this list of things to do before you move, you'll be better equipped to find a reliable and professional moving company that fits your needs and budget while ensuring a smooth moving process.

Move-Out Cleaning and Maintenance

Before moving into your new home, thoroughly clean the space. With an empty house, it's easier to access every nook and corner. Start by gathering essential cleaning supplies such as a vacuum cleaner, mop, broom, microfiber cloths, baking soda, and vinegar. These items will help you tackle various cleaning tasks effectively.

  • Begin with cleaning the vents and exhaust fans, as dust accumulation can affect indoor air quality and the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. A clean microfiber cloth should be enough to remove accumulated dust from these areas.
  • Next, focus on the floors. Sweep or vacuum them to remove dust and debris. Follow this up with mopping to keep the floors sparkling clean. For carpeted areas, consider a deep cleaning to remove any lingering dirt or stains before moving in furniture.
  • During this time, also check your energy efficiency. Conduct an energy audit to identify areas in your home that may need improvement. Investing in energy-efficient appliances and equipment can help reduce your energy consumption and lower your utility bills in the long run.
  • Another aspect to consider is safety. Install carbon monoxide detectors, especially near bedrooms and frequently used areas, to protect your family from potential hazards. Also, ensure that smoke alarms are working correctly by testing them and replacing any dead batteries.
  • Lastly, evaluate the security system in your new home. If the house already has a system in place, confirm that it's functional and familiarize yourself with its operation. If there isn't an existing system, consider installing one to improve the safety and security of your property.

By following these cleaning and maintenance guidelines, you will create a comfortable, safe, and energy-efficient living space that's ready for you to move into.

Post-Move Checklists and Essentials

After a tiring moving day, settle into your new home quickly. Here are some post-move checklists and things to do before moving into a new house:

  • Have an Essentials Box: This box should include items such as toilet paper, a change of clothes, and any necessary electronics or tech devices, like your phone charger and laptop. Having these essentials at hand will save you time and effort searching through boxes later on.
  • Inspect Your New Home: Take the time to inspect your new home for any dings or damage that may have occurred during the moving process. If you find anything unusual or previously unreported, document it with photos or videos and notify the property manager or real estate agent immediately. This will protect you from potential liability and help ensure any necessary repairs are made promptly.
  • Unpack Room by Room: As you unpack your belongings, try to focus on one room at a time. This will allow you to manage your workload more efficiently and help create a sense of order in your new space. As you set up each room, pay special attention to the placement of electronics and tech devices to avoid any potential hazards or functionality issues.
  • Connect With Your Community: Finally, take the time to connect with your new community. This might include meeting your neighbors, exploring local attractions, and familiarizing yourself with nearby amenities. Building connections in your new neighborhood not only helps you feel more at home but can also provide valuable insight into your new surroundings. Remember, it's all part of making the most of your new home and the exciting opportunities it has to offer.

Saying Goodbye

Goodbyes are never easy! During your final weeks at your old home, take some time to say goodbye to neighbors, friends, and family members. Grab dinner or host a final BBQ at your old house with the people in your old community who mean the most to you.

Too busy packing and decluttering? Consider hosting a house cooling party. A house cooling party is a relaxed get-together where your friends and family come over to help you with the last-minute moving tasks or help you declutter. After you finish the tasks, you can enjoy some cold drinks, games, or snacks with your friends in your old home for the last time!


The most important thing to do before moving into a new house is to find a reputable moving company you can rely on to provide expert guidance and support throughout your relocation. The Allied Van Lines team has been helping people relocate for over 95 years. Our team is here to help you achieve a smooth, stress-free transition, ensuring your belongings are packed, loaded, and unpacked with care. 

Contact us today for a free quote.