Moving can be stressful. Not only is there the unavoidable packing, boxing, loading, and unloading to deal with, but there’s also the tedious setting up of utilities (and cable, internet, etc.) and the endless trips to Home Depot and Walmart for supplies.

Want to keep your move on track before, during, and after you’ve arrived in your new home? Let this moving checklist guide the way.

Before Your Move

  • Clean, purge and donate. Get rid of anything you don’t actively use or don’t need. Moving unnecessary items will only make the task harder (and more expensive).
  • Do your research. If you’re going to use professional movers or rent a moving van, study up on local providers in your area. Make sure to check reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings. You also may want to consider insurance if you’re moving super high-dollar items.
  • Start stocking up. It’s never too early to start gathering moving supplies. Every time you stop by the grocery store, grab a few boxes from the curb. Save your old mailers, newspapers, and advertisements, too. They make great packing material.
  • Snap a few photos. If you plan to arrange your furniture or decor similarly in your new home, then take photos of each room before you begin to pack. Make sure to pay close attention to detailed arrangements like gallery walls, bookcases, etc., that would be hard to recreate without guidance.
  • Set up your utilities. You don’t want to arrive to a dark house with no A/C, so research utility providers and get your accounts set up early. Have the power, lights, and water turned on at least a day before your move, in case any issues arise.
  • Submit your change of address with USPS. Once you know your move-in date, submit your change of address with the U.S. Postal Service. You can also opt for forwarding service, which will reroute any mail for the next 12 months.
  • Back up your computer. If you’re going to be traveling with your computer, tablet, or other important devices, make sure to back them up to the cloud or a hard drive before hitting the road. You never know if a device will get lost or broken during the hustle and bustle of a move.
  • Measure your new space. Make sure your existing furniture will fit in the new home. If it won’t, sell the furniture and wait to buy replacement items until your move is complete.

During the Move

  • Create a “go bag.” Load the items you used that morning (toothbrush, shower items, pillow, etc.) into a duffel bag. Put this in the front seat of your moving van or car, so you can find it easily upon arrival. You can also include a change of clothes, a few water bottles, and other necessities. 
  • Pack entertainment. Moving with kids or pets? Make sure to have plenty of on-the-road entertainment and refreshments. This will make the trip easier for everyone.
  • Make sure every box is labeled as you load it in. Keep a marker on hand to label any stray boxes (or boxes you pack at the last minute.) You may want to color-code boxes by room as well.
  • Clean as you go. There’s nothing worse than having to head back to your old place a week later to do a deep clean. Make it a point to sweep, wipe, and dust as you clear out rooms.
  • Keep valuables with you. If you’ve got particularly valuable items packed, consider keeping them in your own car instead of with professional movers.
  • Load bathroom items last. You’re definitely going to want a shower after a long and tedious move, so make sure your bathroom items are easily accessible. This should include a few towels, toiletries, toilet paper, etc.

After the Move

  • Inspect your boxes. Make sure nothing is missing or broken. If it is, report it to your moving company or insurance.
  • Check your utilities. Is the water working? Does the gas stove light up? Has the electricity been turned on? You also might want to set up computers, TVs, and other devices to check your cable and Wi-Fi as well.
  • Turn on the A/C or open some windows. The home has likely gotten a little stuffy since the old owner moved out, so let in some fresh air or crank up the A/C to get it more comfortable.
  • Buy some paper plates and cups. It may be a while until you’ve fully unloaded your kitchen, so invest in some disposable dinnerware for the time being. (Just make sure you have some trash bags, too!)

Moving can definitely be overwhelming — but it doesn’t have to be. Print out this checklist, and refer back to it as you get closer to your move. You can even hang it on the fridge or keep a copy in your wallet for moving day.