The Complete Moving Checklist For Stress-Free Packing

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Moving. Yeah, the pack-up-ALL-your-stuff and go-to-a-new-home kind of moving. The process can be exhilarating and energizing. It can also be super stressful and downright tiring. The enjoyable part is the thrill of a new home, envisioning what life will be like in a new place. The stressful part is the actual move. Just thinking about moving every item in your house, packing it, transporting it, unpacking and getting settled in place can be send-you-over-the-handlebars mind-boggling! I'm sure many of us have heard friends say - maybe you've even said it yourself - "I could never move; I have too much stuff."

Well, stress and worry be damned, we are here to share a comprehensive moving checklist with tips to make the experience the best it can be - maybe even Zen-like!

This moving checklist will guide you from the first step to the last. We know, however, that moving checklists will differ by the individual. Please take some time to personalize this moving checklist to meet your specific needs.

Generally speaking, planning, starting early and tackling wee bits over time is essential. This is why a moving checklist with a timeline is helpful. Depending on how much stuff you have, it's probably best not to prep and pack in just a few days. Your best bet is to plot your plan for your attack. We have made this a printable moving checklist so that it is easy to mark off a list of items that pertain to you as you go. This can be helpful and super gratifying.

Another key to success is taking breaks, enjoying the journey, ordering dinner on busy packing days, and staying relaxed. Everything can get done, and you can keep your sanity too!

Ready, set, let's get the packing process started!

Moving Checklist for 4 to 8 Weeks Before You Move

About one month before you plan to move, do a mindful walk through your entire home. Go into every room, look in each closet and drawer. Assess what you have and want to keep for your new house. For example, is your sofa too big or small for the new place? Does it need to be replaced? Do you still want to keep those old dishes you've been storing since college or university? Do you still need to keep those bulging boxes of your kids' treasures - crayon drawings (yes, it's definitely art!) and report cards, especially if they are now adults, maybe even parents themselves? After assessing things, tackle some of the nitty-gritty tasks listed below to get started.

  • Create inventory lists room-by-room of household items you want to keep or get rid of. For those unwanted items that are in good condition, consider donating to others or sending them to a reuse centre. You could also consider contacting a consignment shop that may take some of your used items and resell them. There are two benefits to this: Items can be reused and re-enjoyed, and you may earn some extra cash. Having a garage sale is another great option, however, setting this up can take a bit of time. This would also be a great time to start or update your home inventory list to make sure all current items are accounted for.
  • If you are planning to do the move yourself, contact a moving truck rental company and secure a moving truck for your moving date. Consider how much stuff you have when determining the size of van you should rent. Also, if you are doing a long-distance move, consider where you can drop off the moving van. Is there a drop-off near your new house or do you have to drive the van back?
  • If you are planning on using packing and moving services, reach out to a couple of moving companies to get quotes and to ensure they are available for your moving date. You can get things ready for packing by going through your belongings and ensuring items are prepared to be put into boxes. If you are looking to save a little bit of money, consider packing some of your items yourself rather than leaving the packing to a moving company. This could reduce some of your moving expenses.
  • If you are not going to be moving directly to your new home and need to rent a storage locker for some time, consider a couple of items: do your belongings need to be in a temperature-controlled space? How much will storage cost? Can a moving company help with this?
  • If you are packing yourself, get some packing supplies like cardboard boxes, packing tape, scissors, quality markets to label boxes, and packing paper or bubble wrap and Rubbermaid bins for fragile items.
  • Contact utility companies such as hydro, gas and water providers, as well as internet and TV providers, to inform them that you are moving so they can start and stop services on moving day. In some cases, you can keep your current account and just transfer service to your new address.
  • If you have children and they need to be cared for by others while you are immersed in the hurly-burly demands of moving day, set this up sooner than later. The same goes for any pets.
  • Request time off from your employer. It's good to schedule time off before and after moving day to give yourself plenty of time to ensure that you have everything and you don't feel rushed or overwhelmed.
  • You will need to change your address on your driver's licences, vehicle permits, health cards, Ontario photo cards, outdoor cards and more. Service Ontario provides helpful information on changing your address.
  • You will need to inform these key organizations and professionals of your new postal address. Here is a list of a few to get the ball rolling:
    • Bank or credit union
    • Cell phone service provider
    • Investment professionals
    • Doctors
    • Dentists
    • Optometrists
    • Canadian Revenue Agency
    • Your employer
    • Canadian Pension Plan
  • You will need to file a Change Of Address request through Canada Post. You can also consider setting up Mail Forwarding with Canada Post, however, there is a charge for this.
  • Notify your insurance company and broker you are moving. Do this as soon as you know the closing date or about 30 days ahead of your move. Provide your insurance broker with details about your new home, such as the closing date, location, age, size, and more. Your broker can make sure you are insured until you vacate your current home, while your items are in transit, while in storage if required, and when you move into your new home. Depending on the details of your new house and where you are moving to, you may require additional coverage or you may be eligible for additional insurance discounts on your home insurance policy. Your broker will review your insurance needs and shop for insurance that is the right fit for you.
  • Are you planning on purchasing new furniture, appliances, blinds, or other items? These items can take some time to be delivered. During the pre-closing visits of your new home (which your real estate agent can help set up), get as many measurements as possible. This can be helpful when making furniture, window covering and other purchases.

Moving Checklist Quick Tips:

  • Moving companies can often recommend the number and size of boxes you may need. There are also moving-box calculators online to assist you.
  • If you are buying new furniture, be sure to check on delivery timelines. Sometimes it can be 8 to 10 weeks (or more) from the purchase date before items are ready.
  • You may want to take some photos before you start to pack. This may sound silly to some; however, it may be nice to have these photos in the future.
  • Clearly mark each box and outline with which room they should be placed in your new home. This will make life easier if you have family and friends who are helping you move, that way they know exactly where boxes and items need to be placed, don't need to ask you where each box needs to go and avoid having to move boxes at a later date.

Moving Checklist for 2 Weeks Before Your Move

  • Ensure you have completed address change forms and redirected mail as of your move date, and informed services such as hydro, gas, the taxman (Revenue Canada), pension and investment organizations and all others that mail items to your home.
  • Bring all items that you are donating to reuse organizations or centres.
  • Begin getting rid of items that you are disposing of. For larger items like old TVs or electronics, consider taking them to the dump. Clean out all the junk you are not taking with you!
  • Get started on an essentials box. These are all of the items that you require immediately after you move. These items can include:
    • Toilet paper
    • Cleaning supplies
    • Paper towels
    • Paper plates and plastic cutlery
    • Overnight bag with a change of clothes, toothbrush, etc.
    • Light bulbs
  • Create a box of valuable items that you don't want to get lost during the move and keep in a safe spot. Consider keeping these items with you in your car when transporting your belongings to your new home. Some of those items can include:
    • Birth certificates
    • School records
    • Medical record
    • Credit cards
    • Passports
    • Jewellery
    • Memorable items
    • Any other important documents
  • Pack items you do not use every day. Below are room-by-room packing checklists of items that may be able to be packed well before you move. Proper labelling of boxes is vital to ensure unpacking is efficient and organized.

Pack up your kitchen and dining room:

  • Canned and other unperishable foods. This is a perfect time to purge any expired foods.
  • Baking items, such as trays, cake pans and ovenware.
  • Storage items, such as plastic or glass storage containers. Consider saying goodbye to those plastic containers that are stained.
  • Extra glasses, plates, bowls, coffee mugs and other kitchen items not used daily. Consider getting rid of items with chips.
  • Extra cutlery, including lifters, spoons, flippers, and similar items used occasionally.
  • Pots, pans and similar items that you do not use regularly.
  • "Good" dinnerware, cutlery and other special-occasion items.
  • Display items kept in dining room sideboards or display cabinets.
  • Art and other wall items.

Pack up the living room, den, television and entertainment rooms:

  • Photos and other family items.
  • Throw cushions.
  • Art and other wall items.
  • Lamps.
  • Window coverings or curtain rods, unless required until you move or if you are leaving them for the new owner.
  • Photos, knick-knacks, display items and similar items.
  • Books, old CDs, movies.

Pack up the laundry room:

  • Soaps, cleaning items, and other items that are not needed until after you move.
  • Pack up your garage:
  • Tools
  • Gardening items.
  • Recreational items include basketballs, soccer balls, hockey sticks, and tennis racquets.

Pack up all your bedrooms:

  • Clothing, both those that are hanging and in drawers.
  • Closet items, such as shoes, purses and hats.
  • Art.
  • Jewellery, some electronics, collections and other expensive items can be packed, but we recommend you move this personally on moving day.
  • Personal items, such as passports, wills and other valuables, may be stored in a bedroom or elsewhere in your home. Again, this moving checklist suggests you move these yourself on moving day.

Pack up all your bathrooms:

  • Stored items such as those in vanities.
  • Extra bath linens, bathmats and similar items.
  • Pack up your linen closets:
  • Extra bed linens and pillows.

Pack up your basement:

  • Everyone's basement contents are different; however, this area often contains items not used daily such as holiday decorations, which means you can probably pack the lion's share of your basement items.

Moving Checklist Quick Tips

  • Purge. Pare Back. Reduce. This is a perfect time to get rid of items you no longer need or use. Can a friend or neighbour use things you don't need? Can you donate some items? Sell through a consignment shop? Many of us accumulate items over time that we never or rarely use. Moving can be a terrific time to relieve yourself of no-longer-needed things.
  • Label, label, label. Make sure the contents of every box are noted on the outside. On moving day, have these items placed in the appropriate rooms. This avoids moving them later and can make unpacking way faster.
  • More oversized items such as mowers, lawn furniture, inside furniture and large art will be tagged by professional movers and moved as they are.
  • Begin eating your way to the bottom of your freezer and back of your refrigerator. This will help avoid waste, and you may even find some tasty items you forgot about.

Moving Checklist for 1 Week Before Moving Day

You're getting close to the finish line! 1 week before moving day can seem a bit overwhelming, but don't you worry, we have a moving checklist ready for you.

  • Finish packing any items that haven't made their way into boxes or storage containers yet.
  • If you have children or pets that are going to be looked after while you're moving, be sure to confirm those plans. What is the pick-up/drop-off situation? Confirm your times and ensure that you have bags packed for your children or pets with all items they need while you move.
  • Confirm details with your mover, including arrival time and storage details if required. If you are moving on your own, confirm the rental of the moving van.
  • Ensure you will be in receipt of keys and any other items such as garage codes, on the day of your move.
  • If you haven't already, go through your pantry, fridge, and freezer to remove all expired or unwanted food.
  • Limit grocery purchases to items you will need for the next week. This is the perfect time to eat up some of the items that you have in the pantry, fridge and freezer. This will mean you will have less to tote on moving day.

Moving Checklist for 1 Day Before Your Move

One more sleep!

  • Ensure that you have your overnight bag ready to go with essential items like your toothbrush, pyjamas, and a change of clothes easily accessible for the evening that you move.
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics you are taking with you and pack them away in boxes if possible. Ensure that you have all the cords and they are labelled or kept with the electronic they belong to so you are not scrambling trying to find the right cord.
  • Get together items that you will carry with you in your car. Personal items such as jewellery, other valuables, collections, expensive art, plants and personal documents should travel with you, not the movers.

Moving Checklist For Your Move Day

The day has come - It's moving day! Maybe you require a bit more coffee to get you through the day. That's okay. While moving day can be stressful, remember that this is an exciting time for you and your family. Be sure to enjoy it. Here are some items to consider taking care of at your old home and at your new home on moving day.

At your old home

  • Take all linens and pillows off the beds and pack them away.
  • Are there a few loose items that still need to be packed away?
  • Empty your refrigerator and freezer into a cooler for the travels to your new home.
  • Await movers' arrival and supervise as required.
  • Ensure your floors are protected with paper protection to avoid scratches.
  • Ensure that your house is clean and tidy for the new owners.
  • Turn off the water and set heat/AC as required before you leave.
  • After the moving truck is loaded and the house is empty, do a walkabout to ensure you have all your items.
  • Ensure that any spare keys along with any security codes are left for the new owners.

At Your New Home

  • For peace of mind and to ensure the safety of your family, change your locks and security codes right after you move into your new home.
  • If your new home comes with major appliances, be sure to clean them out with a disinfectant cleaner. Consider using the self-cleaning option on the oven, washing machine, and dishwasher. You can also buy cleaning tabs for your washing machine and dishwasher which works wonders!
  • Once your fridge is clean, put your cold food away before it goes bad or defrosts.
  • If you have carpet in your new home, consider doing a deep clean to remove all dirt and dust from the previous owners. Wash all floors with a multi-purpose cleaner.
  • Clean the bathrooms of your new home. Wash the shower or tub, clean the inside and outside of the toilet, wipe down the sink, mirror, countertop, and inside the vanity drawers.
  • Wipe down the walls and baseboards, and use Lysol wipes to wipe down doorknobs and light switches.
  • There is no massive rush to unpack everything in your new home right away. Consider working room-by-room starting with the most important rooms - typically your kitchen, bedroom, and bathrooms.
  • Get to know your new home and community.
  • Enjoy your home and make it your own.

We have spent considerable space outlining practical moving needs; however, leaving your home can also be emotional. Before closing the door for the last time, you may want to walk around your home and yard. Take time to remember memories made in your home. Consider this closing of one of life's chapters as you embark on another.

We hope that this moving checklist has been helpful with your moving process. We wish you the best of luck on your move.

This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.

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