A comprehensive checklist isn’t only important before you move—it’s also the key to an organized post-moving process. Here’s what to do before and after you arrive at your new home.
Before You Move
Here are a few things to take care of before you move into your new place.
Set Up Utilities
You will need to set up electricity, gas, water, and internet connections at your new home. Before you move in, contact the landlord if you’re renting or ask your real estate agent for utility contact information if you’re purchasing the home. Follow up with each utility to set up an account and note the start date for billing.
You can set up an internet connection by either sticking with the same provider already servicing the residence or contacting a few local providers to find a plan that suits you best.
Test Your New Home’s Fixtures
After ensuring your electricity and water are functioning, confirm all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors work properly and have new batteries. Evaluating your HVAC system is essential, too; ensure the thermostat works properly and the air filters don’t need replacing.
You should also test your water fixtures. Ensure all toilets flush correctly and the water pressure for each faucet and shower head is sufficient. Run water in your sinks and showers for a few minutes to test for clogs. If you notice any issues and you have a landlord, contact them or your building’s superintendent to request repairs.
If you own the home, you’ll typically need to make minor repairs on your own or contact a local contractor. If the home seller or your real estate agent included a home warranty in your real estate transaction, let the service provider know if a covered system or appliance is malfunctioning.
Change Your Address
You’ll have to fill out a free change of address form at your local USPS branch, which you can do before you move by indicating the date your address will change. You can also change your address online for a small additional charge if you cannot make it to your local branch. This form is simple and straightforward; you’ll need to submit your previous address and the new address where you’d like your mail to be delivered.
Submit your change in address form ahead of time and select your move date on the form. This ensures you won’t have mail delivered to your old address after you’ve moved.
Clean and Photograph Your Old Place
Before you leave your old place, make sure all your items are out and do a quick sweep of the rooms. If you were renting, ensure you’ve patched up any holes in the wall, re-painted any walls to the original color, and fixed anything else required in your lease.
Take clear photographs before you leave your space to prevent your landlord from withholding your deposit. The best time to do this is after your belongings have been loaded into moving trucks or your own vehicle and you’ve cleaned the home. Take pictures of each room to record their status when you move out.
After You Move
Once you’ve arrived at your new address, there are a few more things you’ll need to do.
Tip Your Movers
First thing’s first: Consider tipping your movers when they finish unloading your belongings. While not required, tipping is always appreciated, especially if your movers went above and beyond. If you’ve hired a professional moving company to unpack, clean, or assemble furniture for you, you can wait until they’re finished with all the services you booked before tipping them.
The industry standard for tipping is $5 per hour per mover for local moves or $40–$50 per mover per day for long-distance moves. You can adjust these rates to reflect your satisfaction with your services.
Update Your Contact Information
Your address and phone number are on so many things. Your driver’s license, medical records, bank accounts, children’s school registrations, credit card statements, and voter registration are just a few examples. All these must be updated individually with your new address shortly after moving. If you fail to update your contact information, you could risk losing access to important account information and bills. If you already updated your address with the USPS, forwarding services should catch any mail sent before you update your address with each account.
You will need to visit the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to change the address on your driver’s license. You can typically check online to find your state’s requirements; sometimes you can make this change online, especially if your move was within the state.
Get Back Your Security Deposit
If you rented your previous space, you are entitled to a refund of your security deposit. The only time renters may not receive a deposit back is if they significantly damaged the residence or otherwise violated their lease. You might need to prove that you left your space in good condition when you moved out to ensure your deposit’s return.
Your real estate professional or landlord has between two and four weeks in most states after you move out to do a walkthrough of the home and create an itemized list of any repair costs they will deduct from your deposit. Keep an eye on your mail for a check or letter from your previous landlord, and record the date when you move out and receive payment.
Restock Items Movers Wouldn’t Move
Movers will not transport flammable items such as propane, gasoline, paint thinner, and automobiles with gas in the tank. Movers will also not move certain cleaning products containing abrasive chemicals. If you enlisted a junk removal company to dispose of such items before moving, you’ll have to re-stock when you get to your new home. You’ll likely have to refill your car’s gas tank, restock on cleaning products, and purchase propane for a grill or gas fire pit, if applicable.