Checklists for moving into a new house.


Moving to a new home? Don’t make it harder than it has to be. From packing and unpacking to setting up utilities and organizing your new home, use this ultimate moving checklist to keep track of your to-dos before, during and after your move-in day.

What to do months before your move.

The words “stress-free” and “moving” usually don’t occur in the same sentence. There are so many details that go into moving that you may feel overwhelmed just thinking about it. But having a plan, making a list and sticking to a schedule can help you get through the next few months as you settle into your new home. 

This moving guide includes tasks to get done weeks and weeks before your actual move-in day. Here, we will help you organize the chaos, provide you with plenty of moving tips and guide you on how to find movers near you who can take a load off your checklist.

couple packing before a move

2 months before moving day.

In about two months, you will be living in your new place. Now’s the time to start planning your move. There are a few things to research and prepare right away so you’re ready when moving day arrives.

Decide how you want to move your household.

There are many moving methods you can choose from. If you’re moving a small volume of items locally (moving less than 50 miles or so) and you have a small budget, you may decide to DIY your move. That means you’ll be doing all of the packing, loading, driving to the new location (which means renting or borrowing a moving truck), unloading, unpacking and assembling your appliances and furniture. It’s a good amount of work, but it might help you save money in the long run.

But if you’re moving out of state or across the country, it may make more sense to hire professional movers to take care of everything. Of course, this will cost more money than DIY-ing a move, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. 

To save money and time, you may consider a hybrid move. With this kind of move, you’ll hire professionals to take care of some of your tasks, but you’ll DIY a good portion of them, too. For example, you could wrap, pack, load and unload your items — but maybe you reserve a freight trailer or moving containers. After you load the container, the company will pick it up and deliver it to your new home.

Find your moving company and get quotes.

Read online profiles of top-rated movers near you. Check out their job experience, credentials, customer reviews and ratings. If you have more questions for the movers (perhaps about their rates or additional services they offer), don’t hesitate to reach out to them. 

Once you’ve identified a few moving companies that you could see yourself hiring, have them come to your home to do an on-site inspection and provide free cost estimates. Ask them to explain how they set their rates for local, long-distance, out-of-state or cross-country moves. 

Keep in mind that moving companies often charge per hour, per crew member. 

Compare prices from movers near you.

Decide if you need other moving services. 

There are many extras that could be added to your moving tab. For example, you can ask professionals if they provide any of these moving resources: 

  • Packing your items into moving boxes.
  • Moving specialty items, such as pianos, artwork, hot tubs and more.
  • Unpacking all of your household items.
  • Reassemble your furniture.

When getting quotes from moving services, make sure you list out everything you need upfront to get an accurate estimate.

Research your new community.

Begin gathering information about local banks, schools, grocery stores, hospitals and doctors. Make the necessary arrangements to transfer your children’s school records, get familiar with public transportation and explore your soon-to-be community.

Take measurements of your new home.

You won’t know how your furniture feels in your new place until you get there, but you should have a sense of where everything’s going. 

Measure your current furniture and appliances. Then, go room-by-room through your new property, and measure the rooms to figure out if your current belongings will fit. Make a sketch so you can map your existing furniture to your new layout. Take some time to lightly design where things go. Make a list of what cannot fit in your new home and must stay behind.

This process will help you save money by decreasing the size and weight of your move and helping you plan how to tell movers where to unpack items at your new place. 

Arrange time off from work. 

Even if your actual move is scheduled for the weekend, you’ll likely appreciate an extra day or two to handle everything. After all, you have to prep, pack, move, unpack, get settled and get used to a new commute. If you have the vacation time, request the time off far enough in advance. 

Take care of travel arrangements for long-distance moves.

If you’re moving across the country or out of state, get the moving logistics in order. Book your rental car, flight and hotels, and calculate your moving expenses so you can start budgeting and saving money. If you are driving, map out your route. The earlier you do this, the better.

1 1/2 months before moving day.

You shouldn’t move everything you own — but it’s the most common mistake people make, according to top moving pros on Thumbtack. When you’re six weeks away from move-in day, start organizing the items that will go to your new place and what can just be thrown out. 

Evaluate everything you have and take the time to sell, donate or haul away unwanted household goods. If you don’t, you’ll waste money paying movers for a longer move or a bigger truck. 

Clothing purge.

Go through your closets and dressers in every room to figure out which clothes you and your family members have outgrown. Identify which items you haven’t worn in years, and separate all of them into four different categories: keep, sell, donate and throw away. 

Household item purge.

Next, go through every cabinet, drawer and hidden cubby in your house. Throw away junk, old newspapers and magazines, broken appliances and other unwanted or damaged items that aren’t worth fixing. Organize the remaining items into different piles for donating, selling and keeping.

Donate, sell or discard.

Gather all of the items you want to donate, and drop them off or have them collected by a charitable organization. If you think you can make a few bucks on some items, have a garage sale or sell those items online.

You can also hire a junk removal company to get rid of everything you don’t want. Go online and hire a pro to collect your items at a time that works well for you. Junk removers can take a lot of stuff off your hands, including furniture, clothes, appliances, electronics and more.

Order new appliances and furniture.

After you get rid of all your unwanted items, start ordering new furniture and appliances to replace what you’ve discarded. If the brand or manufacturer you’re purchasing from doesn’t offer the installation services you need (or at a price you’re comfortable with), start researching and booking furniture assembly and appliance installation services near you. The last thing you want is to be without a new fridge or bed for several weeks.

1 month before moving day.

You’re only a month away now, so it’s time to start putting your belongings in boxes. You have four weeks of living in your current home, so decide what you will pack and when to pack everything. For example, don’t get too ambitious and box up all your pots and pans and have nothing left to cook with.

Buy packing materials and moving supplies.

To make your move efficient (and cost-effective), put everything into moving boxes. That way, the movers don’t waste time trying to figure out how to secure lots of loose ends in the back of the truck. 

Stock up on plenty of moving boxes in a range of different sizes (small, medium, large and extra large) and for different purposes (wardrobe boxes, moving boxes made for dishes and more). And be sure to get enough tape, bubble wrap and packing paper to go along with it.

Other moving supplies you might need: 

  • Dollies
  • Furniture sliders
  • Moving blankets
  • Moving straps
  • Masking tape 
  • Scissors or pocket knife
  • Plastic bags
  • Packing peanuts
  • Duct tape
  • Cleaning supplies (think: paper towels, broom, glass cleaner, etc.)

Related: Where to find free (or cheap) moving boxes near you.

Separate your essentials and valuables.

Anything that gets used daily or is worth a lot of money should go with you, whether you’re driving or flying to your new location. So think through what you can’t do without.

That means things like medications, toiletries, bath supplies, contact lens solution, pet food, personal records and important documents (driver’s license, passport, legal certificates, etc.), photos, family heirlooms and jewelry. Set these and any other fragile items aside before you start packing. During the move, try to keep your most valuable items and paperwork close to you.

Start packing and labeling boxes.

Go through every room in your home, and make a list of what needs to be put into boxes. Itemize any larger items, such as furniture and appliances, and decide on a labeling system for all your moving boxes. Specifically, do the following:

  • Pack all of the items you haven’t already set aside for everyday use.
  • List every item in each box, and put a label on the outside and the inside of the box.
  • On your boxes, write down which room to place each one. You can also create a color-coded system to indicate what the box contains and where it should go.
  • Carefully wrap any fragile items and clearly mark the box “fragile.”

If you’re in a studio or a one-bedroom, you can probably pack everything in a weekend, but a three-bedroom or larger home will take up to a week to pack. Of course, you can always hire a packing service to help you develop a system for packing and wrapping your items before your move.

Related: How to pack every room for an easier move.

Make the final arrangements before moving day. 

Ensure you’ll be ready on move-in day by tying up a few loose ends and preparing your existing home for the movers. For example: 

  • Double-check with the movers that they're arriving at the agreed date and time. Also, make sure they know where to go, park and which elevators to use when moving your things into your new place. 
  • Confirm whether you’ll pay by check, credit or cash. Make sure you have extra cash on hand if you want to tip the movers. 
  • Submit a change-of-address form to the post office. Your mail will be forwarded to your new home, and you’ll likely receive coupons for new furniture, light fixtures or services. 
  • Notify banks, credit card companies and insurance companies of your new address.
  • Contact your service providers and make them aware of your upcoming move.
  • Forward any medical records to your new healthcare providers.
  • Confirm school transfer details for your children.
  • Find someone to babysit your small children or take care of your pets for a day or two.

What to do right before the move.

Moving day is almost here. At this point, you should be almost done with your packing. The last two weeks will involve completing small tasks that will help ensure an easy and quick move. 

2 weeks before your moving day.

Here’s a quick two-week moving checklist to help you stay on track:

  • Make sure you update your address. You should try to do this at least four weeks in advance, but the USPS states on its website to do that two weeks before your move is sufficient.
  • Continue packing those moving boxes. You might be tired of dealing with bubble wrap and tape, but you’ll be thankful when you’re all done with this task.
  • If you’re moving long-distance, confirm and double-check your travel arrangements. 
  • Fill any needed prescriptions that may take time to get set up in your new area.
  • Hire a cleaning company to do a final clean of your current home. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get some of your security deposit back. While you’re at it, schedule a deep clean for your new home before moving in.
  • Confirm delivery dates of your new appliances and furniture to your new home. 
  • Use up any perishable food items in the house that would not survive during the move.

2 days out.

You’re almost there. Now you’re ready to complete a few more packing and organizing tasks. Once you move, there will be a few days of not having everything you want at your fingertips. Doing a little prep work these last couple of days can help you get through those first few days of living in your new home:

  • Pack a suitcase. Every member of the family should pack a bag as if they’re going on vacation for two weeks. Pack enough clothes, medication and toiletries to get you through some time without having to start rummaging through boxes
  • Confirm all details with your moving company, house cleaners and other pros who will be helping you with your move.
  • Take one last walk through every room, making sure you don’t forget anything before you leave your home. Get rid of any leftover items by either hiring a junk removal company or arranging for a donation pickup.
  • Confirm utilities will be turned off at your current home one day after you move out and that utilities in your new home will be turned on by the time you move in.
  • Do a final cleaning of the appliances you’re taking to your new home. For example, refrigerators should be emptied and defrosted before moving.
  • Clear a path to the front door, and make sure there’s easy parking for your movers.

What to do on moving day.

You’ve made it to moving day! The last several months of work will pay off to make this day go as smoothly as possible. There are just a few things you should take care of on moving day before you head to your new home:

  • Gather the valuables and everyday essentials you set aside earlier, and pack them with you.
  • Make sure every family member has their suitcase or overnight bag.
  • Confirm the address of your new home with the moving company.
  • If any items are being left in the house, clearly mark them or specifically tell the movers.
  • Do a final check to ensure all of your belongings are out of the house and that the moving company has every item on your inventory list.
  • Pack up your family and head to your new place.

What to do after the move.

Moving into a new home is an exciting experience, but it can also be a daunting one. Once you set the last box down and the final piece of furniture has arrived, it can feel extremely overwhelming. What do you do next? What project should you tackle first? 

This new home checklist will help you prioritize what you need to get done after a big move. 

couple planning for future home projects

Make sure your utilities are set up.

First things first: when you move into a new home, ensure the utilities are set up in your name. In fact, it’s a good idea to call your providers ahead of time. This ensures that your lights are on from the first day of your arrival.

Find out who offers services in your area, and determine which utilities you need to set up, such as electricity, heat, gas and internet. When setting up your water, ask about where your shut-off valves are on the property. This will be important for you to know in case of a plumbing emergency. 

Inspect your home for safety hazards.

Whether you’re moving into your first house, a retirement condo or something in between, it’s critical that your home is a safe place to reside. For this reason, hiring a few professionals for key inspections is a good idea. 

In many cases, a home inspector will assess your home during the initial buying stage. However, after move-in day, it never hurts to have a few items double-checked. For example:

  • Start with an electrical and wiring inspection. professional electrician can help you determine if your home is in need of any critical electrical and wiring repairs or upgrades. Handling these in a timely manner is a necessity for your family’s safety.
  • Next, inspect your plumbing. Check to make sure there aren’t any leaks inside your home, and test the hot water. A plumber can let you know if you need any important repairs. Handling this upfront can save you from dealing with costly repairs down the road.
  • Inspect your home’s smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Replace the batteries as needed. 

For more tips, read our article on 11 safety and health hazards that may be in your home.

Identify necessary home repairs.

Within the first few weeks of becoming a homeowner, thoroughly examine your home’s interior and exterior. The goal is to pinpoint critical repairs, as well as potential issues that might arise over the next few weeks. Prioritize items that might be a risk to your safety or cause further damage to your property. 

Exterior checklist:

When it comes to your home’s exterior, a good place to begin is with a roof inspection. A professional roofing company can let you know if you need any critical roof repair or maintenance services. Next, walk along the outside of your property and make a note of any peeling paint, damaged siding or other noticeable damage to your home. 

Here’s a more comprehensive list of the areas you should check outside of your home. In some cases, a handyman may be able to tackle the repairs. However, some repair work may require a licensed contractor:

  • Roofing (damaged or missing shingles and tiles)
  • Chipped house paint
  • Damaged siding
  • Fences that are leaning or have panels missing
  • Rotting wood (deck, fencing, etc.)
  • Landscaping issues (fallen trees, broken sprinkler heads, etc.)
  • Mold (on roof, siding and other outdoor structures)

Interior checklist:

We’ve already gone through the benefits of inspecting your home’s electricity, plumbing and alarms when you move in. But you should also find out if you need a repair service to help with:

  • Tripping hazards (e.g., uneven flooring)
  • Holes in the walls
  • Chimney and fireplace issues
  • HVAC issues
  • Chipped or faded paint
  • Mold (check for signs of mold in your walls, attic and moisture-prone areas)

One last thing: don’t forget about pests, either. If you notice signs of termites, cockroaches, mice and other critters, it’s time to call a pro.

Deep clean your home.

Deep cleaning your home is particularly important if you’re moving into an older home or a rental. Write down a detailed list of everything you’d like cleaned. From the inside of your fridge to the walls behind your bathtub to the inside of every toilet, don’t leave any items off the list.

Also, consider prioritizing deep cleaning before you’re done unpacking. This makes it easier to clean areas of the house that will later be covered up by rugs and furniture.

Finally, gather your cleaning supplies, grab the broom and get ready to leave your home sparkling clean. Or, think about hiring a house cleaner. House cleaning can be time-consuming, and a professional has the right equipment to ensure your new home is thoroughly cleaned in a timely manner.

In some cases, you’ll want to hire a professional who has specialized cleaning expertise. For example, you might need to hire someone to polish your hardwood floors or steam clean your carpets. Search for local carpet cleaning and floor cleaning companies for those specific tasks.

Related: Step-by-step house cleaning checklist.

How to set up your home.

Start unpacking.

Unpacking always seems like the easiest part, but for those who have a busy schedule, unpacking can feel like a monumental task. The good news is that you can simplify the process. Just follow these steps:

  • Put boxes into the right rooms. For example, move boxes with kitchen supplies into the kitchen and boxes with bedroom items, like closet hangers, into the appropriate bedroom. 
  • Make a list of priorities. What do you need to use right away? For example, paper towels might take priority over your set of classic books. Must-have items should be unpacked first. 
  • Consider hiring help. If your schedule is going to make it difficult to unpack, hire an unpacking service.

Assemble furniture.

Perhaps you bought brand-new items to fill the new space, or maybe you had to take apart your furniture for the move. Either way, it’s time to put everything together.

First, move the furniture pieces to the room you want to place the furniture. This will prevent issues with moving items through doorways that are too small. Make sure you have everything necessary to assemble the furniture. If you lost any pieces during the move, find replacements before you get to work. If the furniture is too complicated (or if you’re too tired or stressed to do this yourself), hire a pro to help. There are plenty of professionals near you who can assemble furniture.

Install new appliances.

You might want to invest in new appliances. Perhaps your old refrigerator wasn’t worth lugging across the country, or maybe you’ve been eyeballing the latest gas-range stove. Whatever the case, adding appliance installation to your checklist is a must.

Before you reach out to professionals, make a list of everything — fridge, washer, dryer, oven, garbage disposal, etc. — that needs to be installed. As you create your list, take note of items that were previously installed in that area before you moved in. For example, if you’re installing a dishwasher, are you replacing an existing piece, or will a plumber need to add new water lines to the area?

Appliance installation can be dangerous. In many cases, it involves hooking up electricity, adding plumbing lines or even piping in new gas lines. Whatever the case, hiring a professional is the best way to go.  

Change locks and secure your home.

A key part of feeling at home in any new space is making sure the area is secure. Whether you just moved into your first apartment or you purchased a townhome, keep you and your loved ones safe.

Double-check all of the locks and door handles. If you notice a lock doesn’t work or a doorknob is loose, make a note to replace these items (or hire a locksmith or handyman to do the work for you). 

You should also think about installing a home security system. A professional can help you outfit your home with a state-of-the-art alarm setup. Many modern home security systems can even be controlled through your phone when you’re away from home. If your home already has an alarm system, test it out and replace any batteries as needed. 

Related: How much does a home security system cost?

Organize your home.

Now that your items are unpacked and your furniture is assembled, you can shift your focus to home organization. Your old storage solutions might not work in your new place. Instead of putting everything in the first place you think of, set aside some time to organize your life.

The top home organizers on Thumbtack say organizing isn’t just about figuring out where stuff goes when you’re not using it. It’s about setting up a system for your house where the things that flow in and out — mail, laundry, people — make the most sense and are easy to use. 

Related: How to organize your home room by room.

Schedule routine home maintenance.

Stay on top of crucial home maintenance tasks so you can retain (or boost) your home’s value. The best way to ensure nothing slips through the cracks? Assemble a team of home maintenance pros you can turn to for routine maintenance and emergency repairs. Here are a few pros to start with:

Once you’ve found your people, have their contact information handy. You’ll be grateful there’s someone you can call whenever a leak occurs or your AC breaks down. 

You can find more home maintenance professionals on Thumbtack.

Plan your housewarming party. 

Once your home is in good enough shape to have people over, start planning your housewarming party. Depending on how happy you are with your current decor, you may want to do some of the following first:

Create a roadmap for your dream home.

Once you’ve had a chance to enjoy and relax in your home, start to think about the possibilities. What can you do to your home to make it more enjoyable, energy-efficient or valuable? To help you come up with new ideas, start with these project guides and inspiration: 

Whatever home improvement project you decide to take on, start planning now. The earlier you start, the sooner you can create a budget and find designers and contractors who can make your dream home a reality.

Make moving simple by using Thumbtack.

movers holding boxesThumbtack can help you find top-rated movers and other professionals for your upcoming move. From packing your clothes to deep cleaning your home, use Thumbtack hire pros who can turn your new house into your dream home.


What is the best month to move?

The colder months from mid-September to April can be the most economical times to move. Typically, there is less demand, so moving companies may be willing to charge less.

What is the cheapest way to move out of state?

If you have very few belongings, you may consider taking a train or shipping your belongings. For larger moves, a moving pod or portable storage container may be an affordable option.

How much do movers cost?

A lot of movers charge per hour, per crew member. You might pay more depending on how much stuff you need to move, how far the movers need to drive and whether or not you want help with extras. 

In general, the bigger the place and the more heavy furniture you have, the higher the moving cost. Extras like packing, furniture disassembly and supplies can add to the tab. You’ll also have to factor in complications like flights of stairs, which mean harder work and extra care not to damage anything. But some moving companies only charge on the way up, not the way down. 

Even if you’re using an elevator, not stairs, your moving company might add an elevator fee since it can slow things down. Tricky parking can also cost extra. Any parking scenario that isn’t right at your front door could mean a long-carry fee.

The best way to get started — and avoid surprises — is to get an in-home estimate.

To better estimate your moving expenses, see “How much do movers cost?” and start reaching out to movers today and get quotes.

What shouldn’t you take with you for a long-distance move?

Larger items such as furniture or appliances are both heavy and take up space on the moving trucks, so it could end up costing you a lot to move. There are also lists of non-allowable items, such as hazardous materials or combustibles, that your moving company should provide you with prior to moving day so you can plan accordingly.

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