One way to make moving less daunting is to put everything you need to do on a checklist. Then, instead of stressing about forgetting something, you can simply look at the checklist to remember what to do next.
For most situations, you should begin working through your checklist about two months before moving. However, if you’re moving internationally, you’ll probably need to plan more details in advance, especially if you need a visa. Depending on which country you’re moving to, the visa process could take anywhere from a couple weeks to longer than a year. Take this extra time into account as you put together your checklist and plan your move.
Below is a list of points you should consider putting on your moving checklist. You might not need to include everything, but it’s better to prepare too much than too little for a move.
International Move – start as soon as you think about moving:
□ Research immigration requirements and begin the visa process.
□ Start learning the country’s language.
□ Research requirements in the country for insurance, banking, taxes, driving, education, housing, and medical care.
Two Months Beforehand:
□ Research moving companies and get estimates. Choose a moving company or decide to do it yourself.
□ Make travel arrangements to your new location, e.g., choose a date, buy plane tickets, etc.
□ Tell your family and friends that you’re moving.
□ Start sorting through your closets and drawers, and decide which items and pieces of furniture you’re leaving behind. If you feel overwhelmed, read a book about decluttering like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for support and inspiration.
□ Find out whether family/friends need your unwanted items. If not, sell them on CraigsList, hold a garage sale, or donate them to thrift store or charitable organization. Otherwise, plan to put them in storage.
□ Arrange a comfortable situation for your pets during the move. Read tips for moving with your cat.
6 Weeks Beforehand:
□ Research and arrange (temporary) housing in new location.
□ Take care of current real estate / rental situation, e.g., inform your building manager that you’re moving.
□ Notify your children’s schools of the move, get copies of their school records, and contact their new school for enrollment.
□ Get copies of your family’s medical records.
□ Call your insurance company to see how the move will affect your coverage.
One Month Beforehand:
□ Start using up the food in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry.
□ Contact utility companies (e.g., Internet, phone, cable) to disconnect your services the day after your move. Arrange for services to be connected in your new home a couple days before your arrival.
□ Fill out a change-of-address form with the post office to forward mail after your move.
□ Arrange for storage in your new location to make your move easier.
□ Buy packing supplies like boxes, tape and labels. Remember to get mattress covers and special boxes for fragile items.
□ Make a packing schedule and start packing!
Two Weeks Beforehand:
□ Make a list of services you use (e.g., bank, newspaper/magazines, etc.), and contact them to change your address.
□ Pick up any last prescriptions at your pharmacy and notify them of your move.
□ Make an inventory of any valuable items you’re moving. Keep these items separate, and consider photographing and insuring them. Note their condition (scratches, etc.) in case they’re damaged during the move.
□ Withdraw enough cash for unexpected expenses during the move.
One Week Beforehand:
□ Finish packing!
□ Set aside suitcases with two weeks of clothing, personal items and important documents to use during the move.
□ Back up the information on your computer, and carefully pack away any electronics.
□ Properly dispose of any flammable or poisonous items, e.g., paint, aerosol cans, etc.
□ Drop off any final things you’re leaving behind at a thrift store or your storage unit.
□ If you’ve hired movers, make sure they have the correct address, phone number and arrival date.
□ Reserve time for cleaning and painting your home after everything is packed away, or else hire painters and a cleaning company to do the work for you.
□ Do a final walk-through before leaving, making sure everything is tidy and secure. Close the doors, turn off the lights, and lock the windows.
□ Celebrate! Take a deep breath and enjoy your last hour before leaving. Eat at your favorite restaurant, visit your favorite park, or grab coffee at your favorite coffee shop. Make your last moments worth remembering!