A Moving Checklist is an important document to help you stay organized, whether you are moving out of or into a new home, apartment, or condo.
What is a Moving Checklist?
The reality of moving is that it is a lot of work. People often leave figuring out important specifics to the last minute, resulting in lost or broken property, arguments with movers, and a hectic move-out or move-in day.
Just as driving cross-country is infinitely easier with a good map or GPS, a comprehensive moving checklist makes the transition from one place to another seamless and organized.
As a reference, other names for a moving checklist include:
- Relocation Checklist
- Planning Checklist
- Moving Worksheet
- Moving List
- Home Moving Checklist
- Pre-Moving Checklist
- Checklist for Moving
Comprehensive moving lists typically include three to four sections and primary milestones; taking inventory and pre-move essentials, the packing and moving stage, last-minute final details and considerations, and the move-out day itself.
Inventory and Pre-Move Essentials:
- Sort and purge
- Get quotes
- Collect records
- Notify landlord/find agent to list or lease property
Packing and Moving:
- Reserve Movers
- Cancel Services
- Notify government offices
- Change of address
- Start packing
Final Details and Considerations:
- Pack for travel
- Confirm movers and babysitter
- Final walkthrough
- Final clean and inspection
If you have been the victim of a careless or unsafe moving company, you can report them by calling the FMCSA nationwide complaint hotline at 1-888-363-7238 (1-888-DOT-SAFT) or by visiting their website www.protectyourmove.gov.
Why You Need a Checklist
If it was not already apparent, you need a moving checklist when you move homes, apartments, or residences.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 35 million Americans move homes or apartments every year.
Additionally, in 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported over 3,100 consumer complaints about household goods movers, a statistic that has been steadily increasing over the years.
Some common reasons you should use a moving checklist include:
- You want to conduct a proper accounting of all your property,
- You need to inform relevant government and administrative bodies of your move,
- You have fragile property that you want to document,
- You want to document the current condition of all your property
- You are helping a family member or friend move,
- You want to make sure you get your security deposit fully refunded,
- You want to minimize disputes with landlords and movers.
A moving list should be an imperative for anyone in the following cities and moving out of state, as they have historically received the highest number of consumer complaints over the last decade.
- New York
- Los Angeles
- San Antonio
- San Diego
Before selecting your movers, you should first conduct online due diligence using one of the many moving company review sites.
Curb and prevent minor issues before they escalate into serious problems. Failing to use a moving checklist could result in an array of issues, including:
Lost and damaged property:
- In general, moving companies are responsible for the loss or damage of property. However, sometimes it can be hard to prove negligence. A moving checklist will properly document the property and its condition, leading to a clear-cut resolution should anything go missing or become damaged.
- Without a checklist, you risk complete and utter chaos when packing and unpacking, wasting time and energy on move-out and move-in day.
- Future disputes with your landlord or movers could require excessive and stressful legal action or arbitration.
- If your movers lose or damage anything, not only have you wasted time, you have wasted your money. A moving checklist will help ensure proper property accounting, so there is a higher chance of receiving a refund after you move out.
- Failing to tidy up or account for specific property could cause hassle for your landlord and result in the loss of your security deposit.
Tips for Creating a Moving Checklist
Before moving, first conduct a property audit to determine whether or not you even need or want to pack each of your items. Some apartments already come furnished, so if that is the case, gather anything you do not need and stick a “Yard Sale” sign in front of it.
Using a moving list will help you preserve your property and sanity. Additionally, it will help prevent and effectively resolve disputes with movers, should they lose or damage anything.
Some companies offer a relocation package if you are relocating due to work. See if yours offers payment or arrangement of moving services.
Moving Checklist Sample
Below you can find what a moving checklist typically looks like:
How to Write (Fill Out) a Moving Checklist
Step 1 – Document Basic Details
These basic details of a moving checklist help a homeowner or tenant stay organized throughout the moving process.
Step 2 – Check off Tasks Due 6-8 Weeks Before Move
1. Six to Eight Weeks Before. Use this pre-moving section about one to two months prior to your move. This section mainly helps homeowners and tenants take inventory of possessions and plan for the move. The action items help organize belongings into keep, donate, sell, and trash categories. It encourages thinking through the logistics of a move.
Step 2 – Perform Tasks Due 2-4 Weeks Before Move
2. Two to Four Weeks Before. Use this section in the weeks leading up to your move. Many of the plans made in the first section are now actionable, such as packing, reserving movers, canceling utilities at your old address, and setting up utilities at your new address. You can also now notify agencies of your change of address.
Step 3 – Complete Tasks 1 Week Before Move
3. One Week Before. Use this section in the days prior to your move. It includes confirming details with movers and performing final packing and cleaning tasks.
Step 4 – Move Out
4. Moving Day. This section is for the day of the move. It includes the final walkthrough and inspection, which you may do with a real estate professional (if a homeowner) or a landlord (if a tenant).
Moving Checklist FAQs
The amount of time it takes to pack a house depends on the size of the house and what items you need to pack. But, generally, you can figure that an average home takes 8-16 weeks to pack.
This amount of time considers sorting through, packing, and labeling any furniture, artwork, electronics, home decor items, dishes, personal belongings, cleaning products, plants, pet supplies, and other items you want to bring to a new residence.
You can declutter before a move (which saves time and money) by following these tips:
- Start early
- Begin with items and rooms you use the least
- Try not to go down memory lane
- Designate throw, donate, sell, and give away piles
- Let kids help declutter their rooms
- Schedule time each day to declutter