Northern Virginia, DC & Maryland Real Estate

Moving Checklist

So you've decided to make a move. Are you ready to box up everything you own - all the possessions that mean "home" to you and your family? It's no wonder that moving is ranked among life's most stressful events. However, with the proper planning and preparation, you can make your next move a smooth one. "Moving doesn't have to be such a chaotic event, doing things in an orderly manner will save time, money and lots of stress. A good way to reduce stress is to develop a calendar that starts six weeks before your move.

Six weeks before your move
  • Take an objective look at what you own, and decide what must go and what can be left behind. Books you've read and will never read again? Records you haven't listened to since college? The pan with a broken handle or the children's long- neglected games? Extra weight costs more money.
  • If you have a lot of things worth selling, you may want to organize an Estate Sale or Garage Sale. Many times a professionally run Estate Sale will make a higher profit for your past treasures than a Garage Sale and relieve you of additional stress. Ask Miguel for recommendations.
  • Get estimates from three moving companies on the cost of having them professionally pack all or some of your belongings? The time and effort you save may be worth the cost. Pay attention to cost, but also ask them what they'll do to make your move as smooth as possible. While the mover is liable for breakage to any items they pack, you're responsible for damage to improperly packed items that you have boxed yourself. Miguel can help you get estimates from three moving companies
  • Check with the movers: what they will pack and what they will not; and, what they will not transport. If you cross state lines some plants may not be moved and many combustibles are not allowed along with many alcoholic beverages. Be sure now what they can take.
  • If you've decided to let your mover pack for you, begin separating what you plan to sell, give away, throw away and keep.
  • Consider donating whatever you do not want to move.
  • Schedule a charity pick up every week for several weeks. The will give you the motivation to have something out there lest you disappoint the charity picking it up. These are some worthwhile charities that will pick up unwanted items.
  •    Purple Heart pick up
  •    Vietnam Veterans pick up
  •    American Veterans pick up
  •    Restore/Habitat for Humanity
  • Have Miguel contact a Realtor© in the town to which you are moving. Get relocation information ahead of time.
  • Start a central file for all of the details about your move. It's a good idea to buy a brightly colored organizer folder with pockets - you'll be less likely to misplace it. Make sure to collect receipts for moving related expenses. Depending on your reason for moving, you may be entitled to a tax deduction.
  • Create a floor plan of your new home, and begin thinking about where you'll want to place furniture. Advance planning eases the stress of making major decisions when your furniture arrives at your new home. Mark and label specific pieces of furniture on your diagram, and put it in your moving folder.

Five weeks before your move
  • Select your mover, and meet to discuss dates and costs.
  • Decide now whether you want to pack yourself or hire your mover to do this task. Self-packing can save money. Hiring a mover helps ensure a professional packing job, minimizes breakage and saves you considerable time.
  • If you've decided to pack yourself, you'll need to begin gathering boxes. Your mover can provide boxes most suited for moving, including special-purpose containers for items like clothing on hangers and lamp shades.

Four weeks before your move
  • Notify your change of address to the post office, magazines, banks, credit card & investment companies, friends and family. The US Postal Service offers a kit to make this process easier and part can be done on-line.
  • Contact utilities/services (gas, water, electricity, trash, telephone and cable TV) to schedule disconnection the day following your move. You will want to have utilities on while you are still in the house. Call the utilities in your new town to arrange for service to start the day before your move so that you have service when you arrive at your new home. If you are planning to move major appliances, talk with your mover to schedule disconnection and servicing a few days before you move. And don't forget to arrange for an expert, if necessary, to install fixtures upon their arrival at your new home.
  • Complete any repair work on your old home, and arrange for any critical services needed at your new home.
  • Packing yourself? Start packing seldom-used articles like fancy dishes and glasses, specialty cookware, non-essential clothing, curios, art, photos, and decorative items.
  • As you pack, remember to keep each box light enough to be handled by any of the members of your family - not just the strongest person. Heavier items go in smaller boxes, lighter items in larger boxes.
  • Planning a garage sale? Pick a date at least a week before the move, and advertise it locally. Think about teaming up with neighbors who want to sell some of their old belongings, and plan a neighborhood "super sale."
  • Contact Doctors, Dentist, Veterinarian, at the new location to register. Obtain referrals from friends, colleagues and real estate agent.

Three weeks before your move
  • Take inventory of your everyday household goods, such as radios, pots and pans and small appliances. Decide which items you will discard or put in storage.
  • Self-packers: start your serious packing. Label the contents of all boxes, and pack carefully.
  • As best you can, box essential items together, and write "Open First/Load Last" on these boxes. When you move into your new home, you'll be able to easily identify these boxes and get to important items like pots, dishes, silverware, alarm clocks, bedding, pillows, towels, cherished toys and essential items for babies or children.
  • Make sure you have your driver's license, auto registration and insurance records.
  • Contact current your doctors and dentist to receive copies of medical records.
  • Contact veterinarian to get your pet current on all vaccinations and obtain record.
  • Pack phone books from your old town to make staying in touch with old friends easier.
  • Make personal travel arrangements (flights, hotel, and rental cars) for your trip.
  • Plan your food purchases to have as little as possible in the freezer or refrigerator by the time you move. Use up all frozen items, and buy only what you'll eat in the next three weeks, because you can't ship them. Arrange to clean your new home, or plan to clean it yourself as close to move-in as possible. Since the home will probably be unoccupied by this time, make sure the cleaning is thorough and covers all those nooks and crannies usually blocked by furniture or appliances.
  • Contact your children's schools, and arrange for records to be forwarded to your new school district.
  • Open a new bank account if needed and have checks issued. Make new bank safety deposit box arrangements in your new hometown. Make arrangements to safely transfer items from your old safe deposit box to your new one.

Two weeks before your move
  • Check with your insurance company to cancel current coverage or transfer coverage to your new home.
  • Make arrangements for transporting your pets and any house plants, because movers can't take them in the van.
  • Meet with your bank to change account status.
  • Transfer all current prescriptions to a drug store in your new town. Or transfer them to a chain with National Access by computer.
  • Cancel any delivery services such as newspapers.
  • Consider starting a subscription to the newspaper in your new town to introduce you to local news happenings.
  • Have your automobile serviced if you're traveling by car.
  • Be sure to empty secret hiding places to remove valuables and spare house keys.
  • Fill in the forward mail

One weeks before your move
  • Clean rugs and clothing and pick up all items left at dry cleaners.
  • Mow your lawn for the last time.
  • Dispose of toxic or flammable items that can't be moved.
  • Drain the gas and oil from gas-powered tools such as lawn mowers and snow blowers; movers will not take them if full.
  • Double check to make sure arrangements have been made to disconnect and service your major appliances being moved.
  • Pack you car with necessary items that should go in your car and not the moving van:
    • Drivers License, Birth/Marriage Certificates, Credit Cards
    • Legal Documents, Passports, Cash
    • Medications, Bathroom Supplies, pet food
    • Toys for children Spare Glasses first aid kit
    • Bottled Water, paper cups, travel alarm
    • Box cutter, flashlight
    • Note Book, general supplies
  • Have young children? Arrange for a baby-sitter to watch them on moving day. Since you'll have your hands full, the extra attention from a sitter will distract the child's attention from the turmoil of a move.
  • Also arrange for a baby-sitter to be available when you arrive at your new home with young children.
  • Pack your own suitcase of clothes for the move.
  • Put your "open first/load last" boxes in a separate place so the mover can identify them.
  • Pay all outstanding bills. Be sure to indicate your new address on payment receipts.
  • Contact utility providers to cancel service.
  • The movers will arrive to start the packing process
  • Empty and defrost your refrigerator and freezer, clean both with a disinfectant and let them air out. Put baking soda or charcoal inside to keep them fresh.
  • Arrange for payment to the moving company. This payment must be made when your belongings arrive at your new home - before your belongings are unloaded. Find out your moving company's accepted methods of payment, terms, and its policy for inspecting your belongings when they arrive to determine if any breakage has occurred.
  • Empty your safety deposit box. Plan to take important papers, jewelry, cherished family photos, irreplaceable mementos and vital computer files with you.
  • Write directions to your new home for the van operator provide the new phone number and include phone numbers where you can be reached in transit - either a cell phone or friends, old neighbors, a place of business or relatives with whom you'll be in contact. You'll never be out of touch for long, should an emergency arise.
  • Leave your forwarding address and phone number for your home's new occupants.
  • If your old house will be sitting vacant, notify police and neighbors.
  • Return TV boxes and cancel subscription. Return library books and rented videos.
  • Leave extra keys, garage door openers, house plans, etc., with your real estate agent.

Moving day
  • Make sure you have extra cash at hand.
  • Remove linens from the beds and pack in an "open first" box.
  • When the movers arrive, review all details and paperwork. Accompany the van operator to take inventory. Verify delivery plans.
  • If there is time, give the home a final cleaning, or arrange in advance for someone to perform this service the day after moving out, including carpets.

Move-in day
  • If you arrive before the movers, take some time to tidy up your home (dusting shelves, etc.) so the movers can unpack items directly onto clean shelves. This is a good time to clean the cupboards.
  • Unpack your car.
  • Review your floor plan to refresh your memory about where you want furniture and appliances placed.
  • Check to make sure the utilities have been connected, and follow up on any delays. Check gas pilot lights to ensure they are properly lit or if electronic, that they work as needed.
  • Confine your pets to an out-of-the-way room to help keep them from running away or getting unduly agitated by all the activity. You might even consider boarding them overnight at a local kennel until you're settled.
  • Plan to be present when the moving van arrives.
  • One person should check the inventory sheets as items are unloaded. A second person should direct the movers on where to place items. Once all items are unloaded, unpack only what you need for the first day or two. Focus on creating a sense of home for your family. Give yourself at least two weeks to unpack and organize your belongings.