An Essential Moving Out Checklist


The prospect of moving is often exciting. However, the process itself can quickly get overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. To ensure a seamless move, here’s an essential moving out checklist you can use.

1. Create a Budget

Developing a thorough moving budget is one of the most important steps in ensuring a seamless move. It’ll help you have a clear picture of what you can expect to spend so you don’t encounter unexpected expenses and last-minute stress, which can quickly turn your move into a nightmare. This lets you concentrate on other crucial parts of your essential moving out checklist.

You must consider several things when creating your budget. These include the type and distance of the move, the cost of packing and hiring moving trucks or movers, and any other services you may need, including getting dumpster rentals, preparing and packaging awkwardly shaped and large appliances or pianos. It would help if you also accounted for any work you need to do on the home you’re moving from, such as hiring an exterminator for rodent removal, a plumber for drain cleaning, asbestos removal specialists, professional mold removal, or fence services. You also want to ensure you clearly understand the difference between actual and estimated costs to manage your expenses efficiently and have more control over your budget.

If you plan to hire professional movers, you can visit their website and enter the details of your move in a moving calculator to find out how much you should expect to pay before getting the formal quote. According to Angi, cross-country moves can cost anywhere from $2,700 to $10,000, depending on the distance. In contrast, local moves might only cost between $900 and $2,300. The average cost of hiring a mover in the US is $1,700.

2. Look for Movers

After establishing your budget, your next main task in your essential moving out checklist is to find the best moving company. Getting quotes from several local moving services and inquiring about their services is always good practice. You’ll find that each has its fair share of pros and cons and at least one thing that makes them stand out.

Remember to verify that any mover you’re considering has insurance and holds a valid license. It also helps to read reviews and testimonials of the experiences of past customers who’ve used the company’s services. When you receive the different moving estimates, ensure they each include a USDOT number, which indicates that the moving company is registered with the US Department of Transportation. It also shows that it adheres to its safety regulations.

Different moving companies offer varying services and use different approaches and techniques that will significantly impact your overall moving experience. For instance, although some movers might offer services like antique relocation, others won’t. Look for a moving company that provides various solutions that satisfy your requirements and support from seasoned professionals who can help you better determine your moving needs. To avoid wasting time conducting background research on local moving businesses that won’t be able to satisfy your expectations, decide early on what your non-negotiables are. You can save a lot of time and effort by ensuring that organizations check off those important boxes before devoting any more time to the process, as most of them will disclose information about their areas of service and capacity on their websites.

3. Give Your Landlord a Notice

When your rental property’s lease expires, you can either renew the contract or move out. Whether you’ve decided to buy your first house or move into a new home, you must notify your landlord of your intention to move out a particular number of days to avoid paying extra rent and get your security deposit back. So, how much of a notice are you required to give your landlord before your move?

The easiest way to answer this question when assembling your essential moving out checklist is to review your lease. Does it clearly state a mandatory move-out date, or is it month-to-month? In most cases, landlords want a thirty-day notice before your intended moving date.

However, some request for a 60 to 90 days notice. If you want your security deposit, give the required days’ notice. Note that if you end your lease before your contract allows you to, or if you don’t give enough notice, you may also have to shell out more money on an extra month’s rent.

4. Settle on a Moving Date and Make Travel Arrangements

As part of your essential moving out checklist, you must settle on a date as it’ll guide your decisions on how to approach the rest of the process. Narrow your options to a few convenient moving dates, and collaborate with your movers to finalize a date. Remember that moving during the middle of the month on a weekday will often result in lower moving charges, especially if it falls somewhere between September and April. Movers are usually busiest in late spring and early summer but aren’t as busy during the week.

Once you’ve decided on a relocation date, you can reserve any required lodging, flights, or rental cars. The more time you spend planning your trip, the more affordable and varied your options will be. It’s best to book any rental moving trucks six weeks in advance if you’re tackling part of the move yourself or need more space for hauling your personal items.

5. Start Purchasing the Necessary Moving Supplies

You must get a few moving supplies, whether DIY-ing to cut costs or employing full-service movers. You’ll need items to secure and carry your belongings unless you outsource packing (which will be costly but would remove the need to buy moving supplies yourself). However, even after hiring someone to pack your home, you still have to pack your personal essentials to prepare them for moving day. Using the proper packing supplies and moving equipment will help keep things organized and your stuff safe so your relocation is efficient and stress-free. While some are simply nice to have, others are necessary in your essential moving out checklist.

For example, you can’t move without boxes. You need them, and lots of them, for that matter. You can buy boxes from your local moving company, Lowe’s, or Home Depot. If you expect inclement weather during the day of your move, get boxes that feature lids to keep the contents dry and clean. While cardboard moving boxes are the norm, some moving firms now provide plastic moving tubs you can rent.

Choose boxes based on the dimensions of the products you’re packing. Don’t overpack boxes when in doubt because they’ll be difficult to move and may damage delicate items. To avoid dealing with such issues, get moving boxes in different sizes. Extra large, large, medium, and small.

Smaller boxes are ideal for heavy or fragile items, while larger boxes are great for holding light to medium-weight items. Bulky yet lightweight objects like pillows, clothes, and blankets typically go in extra-large boxes. You’ll want moving boxes with pre-assembled separators for glassware.

Sadly, no magic formula can tell you how many boxes you’ll need when creating your essential moving out checklist. While you have the option to guesstimate, you’ll likely need to visit the store multiple times. According to Forbes, a typical three-bedroom home needs between 70 and 150 boxes for a seamless move.

Besides boxes, you’ll need other packing supplies. For example, packing tape will help seal boxes so everything gets to your new home safely. A box cutter will come in handy when you start unpacking.

This tool will help you cut precise, clear-cut edges. Always ensure your box cutter blade is sharp, and use caution. If you can’t get box cutters, you can use scissors instead. They’ll do just when you need to cut packing tape, paper, and bubble wrap. Like with their alternative, you want to always ensure they’re sharp to avoid injury.

You’ll also need stretch wraps to safeguard drawers and doors on cabinets and other furniture. The good thing with this supply is it adheres to itself, so you won’t have to deal with lingering sticky residue. It’s a frequent misperception that newspapers can serve as a substitute for packing paper when filling boxes or wrapping breakable items.

However, ink from printed newsprint might stain your valuable items. You can buy packing paper from your neighborhood home improvement store, Lowe’s, or Home Depot. Getting labels is also a good idea. To help you recognize the contents of each box, name them according to your preferences, whether by room, colors, letters, or numbers. Label each box’s top, sides, and bottom, ensuring the label can be read from at least one angle.

Permanent markers are essential to a well-designed labeling system. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so plan for bad weather on the day of your move. Use waterproof markers to protect the labels from smudging and rain.

Your list isn’t complete without bubble wrap. This supply is great for wrapping around fragile items and cushioning the bottom of boxes. You’ll need one or two huge rolls. You can always cut smaller sheets from a larger roll. If, for some reason, you can’t get bubble wrap, you can use foam wrap sheets as an alternative for extra cushioning.

6. Purge Your Stuff

While it may not be time to say goodbye, time’s running out, and you must start getting serious about packing. Before you can start putting things in their respective boxes as part of your essential moving out checklist, sort through your stuff to establish what you’re keeping, what you’ll donate or sell, and what you can throw away. Decluttering room by room is important, but even more so in bedrooms and kitchens where you likely have the most stuff. Remember to record your donations so you can document what is tax deductible.

If you can sell any of your items on marketplace sites, do so to make extra cash to cover unexpected moving expenses or buy new furniture for your new home. For your move’s purging stage, invest in roll off container rentals. These will give you an efficient and convenient way of disposing of the things you can’t donate or sell because they’re in bad condition.

7. Start Packing

About 4 weeks to your moving date, start packing everything you don’t think you’ll need in the upcoming days. Think home decor items like photo albums or artwork, out-of-season clothing, specialty kitchen appliances, and other seasonal items. Just be sure to label each box with the contents inside and the room it should be placed in when it arrives at its destination. Make a list of the necessities you’ll need to bring with you during the move as part of your essential moving out checklist, and set aside a few empty boxes for the stuff you’ll need to pack a day or the week before your scheduled moving date.

8. Notify Important Parties

Although it’s not yet time to start bidding your farewells, it’s good practice to notify those who matter that you’ll no longer be residing at your current residence in advance. Inform your children’s daycare or schools of your impending move, and cancel any non-transferable memberships. Review any recurring orders for supplies or groceries, and determine if you want to cancel them temporarily or carry them to your new home.

If you currently have a contract with any pool, landscaping, housekeeping, or AC service company, it’s also a good idea to notify them. Now’s also a great time to head to your local post office to change your address or use the USPS online service. This will go a long way in helping you avoid mail confusion.

9. Moving Day

It’s finally here! The day you’ve been working so hard to prepare for. Start checking off the last items on your essential moving out checklist before saying goodbye to your old home and hitting the road. Your movers will handle the loading and unloading, so you don’t have to worry about that. However, after everything is inside the moving truck, do a final walkthrough, looking inside every drawer, cabinet, and storage space.

Keep food and drinks on hand to keep you and your family hydrated and energized throughout the day of your move. Remember to set aside snacks and water for your moving team. Before leaving with the moving trucks, turn in the keys to your property manager or landlord.

Your overall moving experience will largely depend on your approach. Ensure adequate planning if you’re hoping for a seamless move. You can use this read as a starting point.