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That Was Easy! Your Checklist for Moving

Cut out some of the hassle of moving with these tips

Photo by Gary Burchell/Getty

Moving to a new house is about as painless as a root canal. But like dental work, switching addresses is sometimes necessary. Once you know you'll be moving and have established hard-and-fast dates for when it's happening, there are other details to consider that will help ease the burden. Check out our suggested timeline for making the haul to your new home a little less stressful.


Make an inventory of belongings.

If you've been in one place for a year or longer, you've probably accumulated some things that don't need to make the move with you. Lighten your load by going through your stuff, room by room, and deciding what you'll take or toss. Make sure to go through closets and other storage areas, like under the guest-room bed. Keep in mind that some things can be repurposed for household tasks, like old blue jeans, socks, and gift cards.

Store, sell, or donate your stuff.

After you've created an inventory, it's time to start making cuts. Box up the items you want but won't need immediately after your move, (think holiday decorations and photo albums), and put them in storage. Have a money-making yard sale to clear some space and line your pockets with cash that can go toward moving costs.

Some things you would otherwise toss can find deserving uses elsewhere. As a member of the community at Tabatha Wharton Muntzinger points out, you can donate cleaning supplies, old linens, and stuffed animals to animal shelters, where they'll be put to use cleaning up messes and serving as playthings. Donate old books, movies, CDs, and board games to libraries and schools for money-generating book sales. Tabatha also suggests raiding closets and vanities to donate clothes, toiletries, and accessories to local shelters for domestic-violence victims.

Budget your moving costs.

Don't leave yourself scrambling for funds to cover last-minute or unforeseen expenses, such as the tip for your movers or additional bubble wrap. Plan ahead by setting aside the funds now. It also isn't a bad time to start some cost-cutting habits (that won't affect the sale of your house). Get ideas for now and later when you're in your new place from how the pros cut costs.


Start packing nonessentials.

If you're moving in July, it's probably safe to pack your down coats in May. The same goes for any other out-of-season clothing or decorations. As you pack, label your boxes either MOVING or STORAGE so that you won't have to guess later. This ahead-of-the-game packing will free up some space for packing later on and give you a sense of accomplishment. Begin thinking about how you'll organize rooms that you normally use for storage, like your garage, bedroom closet, and laundry room.

Hire moving help.

If you prefer a DIY move, check out our pro-approved moving hacks for the stuff that made it through your initial purge. If you want to hire help, source movers through service-vetting resources or use a concierge service, like Westy Self Storage's free one, to get paired with local movers at your price point.

Decide which things not to take.

It's time to take a good, hard look at the foods you have in deep freeze and ask yourself if you'll use them before the move. Taking an arsenal of frozen food with you may unnecessarily add to your moving costs. Either figure out how to use that value-size bag of frozen chicken tenders or start allocating it to meals before you move. It isn't a bad idea to do this with other foods that may spill during transit, like rice or cereal. Additionally, use up your household cleaners now or donate them to animal shelters—a better idea than packing them and finding out later that a leaky bottle of bleach cleaner wreaked havoc on your towels. Post-move could be the perfect time to start using healthier cleaning solutions.


Make notifications and transfers.

Make sure to give your new address to your bank, insurance and utilities companies, children's schools, the post office, and any other organizations that may send you mail. (Don't forget about your This Old House magazine subscription!) Make a list and see what you can tackle first online, working on a few notifications each day so that you'll know all the proper mail will get forwarded to your new abode. While you're dealing with that paperwork, get rid of what you don't need with The Snug's ultimate paper-sorting guide. This may also be a good time to , to avoid lugging piles of papers.

Stash your valuables.

For peace of mind, secure irreplaceable items, like your grandmother's wedding band, in storage or with a loved one. Think about your future home's security with our guide on how to stop break-ins.

Make final cuts.

Sort through any piles of belongings you marked as "maybes" on your inventory list and make a decision on whether they'll travel with you during your move. It isn't too late to donate items you neither want nor need.

Settle in after the move.

Transfer anything you put into storage but can now use in your new home. While setting up shop, start off on the right foot by using some of our life-changing tips for a more organized home. Cut visible clutter by building a few of our 37 projects to add storage to every room.

Put packing leftovers like foam packing peanuts, newspaper, and zip ties to good use.