The Renter’s Ultimate Moving Checklist

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moving coupleHere at Move.org we firmly believe in the power of checklists, especially when it comes to organizing a move into a new apartment. Whether it’s your first time or your tenth time moving into a new apartment, this moving checklist has you covered. Of course, each move is different so if we missed something feel free to add it as you go.

Two Months Before

  • Create a moving binder. This will be invaluable as you get organized for your move. The more organized your move, the less stressful it will be. Promise.
  • Start packing your first (small) box. Keep your vital documents and small valuables here, separate from other household items. This will help you keep the most important things safe throughout the process, and it will help you identify any missing documents early.
  • Back up your files. Before packing up your computer (in the coming weeks), back up your files and photos. Keep the backups in the box mentioned above. Your files will probably be fine, but it’s not a risk worth taking.
  • Research and gather quotes from moving companies. If you’re planning to rent a moving truck, begin looking into rates.
  • Create a room-by-room inventory of items throughout the house. It’s not as tough as you think, and has benefits beyond moving day.
  • Sell or donate what you don’t need. Hold a garage sale, or sell your stuff online.

One Month Before

  • Decide on a moving company. Whether you’re using movers or renting a truck, it’s time to either sign the contract or make the reservation. Keep relevant documents in your moving binder.
  • Buy packing supplies. Don’t take shortcuts here. Having enough of the right packing supplies can make your move much easier.
  • Start using the food in your freezer that can’t move with you. Your freezer should be clear about a week before the move. Take this time to dig into the back of your pantry, as well. Use it or get rid of it.
  • Plan your new layout. Measure your furniture, get the room dimensions in your new apartment, and start planning how you’ll make it your own.
  • Care for your car. A long-distance drive or a new climate are both good reasons to check with your mechanic if there are any tune-ups or changes to make before you head out.
  • Contact your internet, TV, and utilities providers. Set your disconnect date. Begin researching which providers you’ll use at your destination and schedule connection of your services.
  • Fill any prescriptions. Be sure you’ll have enough to get you to your destination, with extra time to search for a new doctor and pharmacy. Now is a good time to get shot records.
  • Make travel arrangements. If necessary, book your flight, hotel, rental car, etc. If you’re driving long-distance, plan your route and stops.

Two Weeks Before

  • Change your address. Let the post office, your insurance provider, and your bank know about your new address.
  • Cancel or redirect scheduled deliveries and subscriptions
  • Confirm dates with relevant parties:
    • Landlord(s) for move-in/move-out
    • Moving company or truck rental
    • Storage unit
  • Begin packing! Be sure to create a packing list to keep in your moving binder. Schedule enough time to have the packing done at least two days before your move date.

One Week Before

  • Begin cleaning empty rooms. Make sure to do a  thorough clean. How well you clean can mean the difference between all, some, or none of your deposit being returned.
  • Pack suitcases. Have one for everyone in the family to live out of for a few days as you complete packing everything in the house.
  • Collect all keys and garage door openers. They will need to be handed over to the landlord or new owners.
  • Schedule a final walk-through of your new apartment. Take some time with the landlord or the management to make sure you know the locations of important items throughout the house (i.e. water valves, circuit breakers, etc.) and to make sure that any agreed-upon maintenance has been performed (i.e., paint touch-ups, burnt-out light bulbs, etc.). If you’re moving long-distance and this walk-through isn’t possible ahead of your move-in date, try to schedule it on moving day before the unloading is scheduled to start.

Moving Day

    • Check the truck. If you hired movers, check the USDOT number on the side. It should match the number on the contract you signed. Avoid those moving scams!
    • Have specific information for your movers. Contact information, address of the new place, and maps for getting there.
    • Sign the movers’ inventory list. Make sure they provide you with a copy. This record of what they’re moving ensures that nothing “disappears” en route.
  • Tip your movers! A standard tip is $20-$25.
  • Final walk-through. The new tenants expect to find the apartment in a certain condition. Double-check every room to make sure no damage occurred during the loading process.

After You’ve Arrived

  • Check your utilities. Water, lights, plumbing: make sure it’s all working properly.
  • Take plenty of pictures. If there is damage anywhere, these pictures will come in handy. This is vital if you’re a renter.
  • Change the locks, if possible. If you’re not the first owner, then you don’t know how many keys to home are floating around. Be sure to ask your landlord’s permission. If you get it, give him or her a copy of the key.
  • Plan your housewarming party. Reward yourself! If you have friends or family in the area, invite them. This is a good way to start getting to know your neighbors, which is essential.

Doridé Uvaldo-Nelson is an Arizonan writing and living out of Utah. She’s moved over ten times in the span of five years and learned something new every time. Check out her local guides on Salt Lake City living on move.org.

 

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar Amy

    Hi, great website! Thanks for answering my question about tipping the movers. My move will be long distance, do I need to tip them more? Is it a percentage of the total price of the move or is $20-$25 a general number? Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  2. Avatar John Donovan

    Moving doesn’t need to be stressful! All it takes to have a successful move is to stay organized. When planned well, all you’ll need to do during moving day is load the truck so that you can take your belongings to your new home.

    Reply