Your Start-to-Finish Guide to Moving

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Your Start-to-Finish Guide to Moving

While moving to a new home can be exciting and fun, the actual act of moving can be challenging.  I come from a military family so we moved a lot.  I’m starting to consider myself somewhat of a pro.  As soon as I know we’ve got a move coming up, I launch a multi-pronged approach to the organization and execution of a major relocation.

No one likes moving, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. It’s possible to have a streamlined move when you plan ahead so that all you have to do on moving day is load up and go. As you prepare to sell your home, use this guide to help plan your move.


Don’t wait until the last minute to start packing. By giving yourself ample time, you can pack in an organized fashion and make unpacking easier.

Pack and label boxes according to where they’ll go in the new house. Start by packing items you won’t need over the coming weeks. Holiday decorations, out-of-season clothing, and guest bedrooms are good candidates for starting points. Designate a space to store packed boxes until the move and keep packing supplies in one place.

Save everyday items until the end. These are the things you’ll want immediately after moving into your new house, like dishes, cookware, towels, bed sheets, and computers. Mark these boxes “unpack first.” Pack a personal bin that includes a few sets of clothing, toiletries, medications, device chargers, and other daily essentials. Keep this bin with you, not in the moving truck.

Cleaning the Old House

It’s good etiquette to leave your house in broom-clean condition. After emptying a room of its contents, clean it from top to bottom before moving on to the next room. In addition to sweeping or vacuuming the floors and dusting baseboards, window sills, and ceiling fans, fill nail holes with spackling paste and use a cotton swab to dab on paint to match the surrounding wall.

If your contract specifies that the house is to be professionally cleaned, schedule a cleaning after everything is moved out. With furniture and belongings out of the way, it’s far easier to shampoo carpets, mop floors, and clean walls, surfaces, appliances, and plumbing and lighting fixtures.

Preparing the New House

Unpacking is easiest if you have a plan before arriving at the new house. Before moving day, visit the new home to take measurements of each room. With measurements handy, you can decide in advance exactly where each piece of furniture should go. Share your plans with the moving crew and they can drop heavy items into place so you don’t have to.

Avoid the hassle of cleaning around boxes by tidying the new house before moving day. Either spend an afternoon performing a deep clean or hire professional cleaners to do it for you.

Set up utilities at least a week in advance. It can take a couple of business days for utility companies to start service, especially if it requires a visit to the house. Don’t forget to give your new address to banks, employers, and other institutions you do business with and complete a change of address form with USPS to prevent mail delays.

Hiring Movers

Professional movers aren’t necessary for every move, but it can be an incredible relief to know someone else is handling the hardest part of the move. If you have a large home with lots of heavy furniture, own expensive items you can’t afford to break, or are moving long distance, movers are almost always worth it.

Hiring movers doesn’t have to mean splurging on a full-service move. Homeowners looking to save money can do their own packing and unpacking but hire movers to load and unload the moving truck. However, it’s important that everything is packed and ready to load when the movers arrive. If you own pets, board them off site to protect both your pet and the moving crew from unnecessary stress.

Finally, know that not all moving companies are created equally. Follow Consumer Reports’ advice and hire a credentialed local company and check reviews from past customers to avoid getting scammed.

The biggest difference between a well-coordinated move and a chaotic, stressful relocation?  Time.  When you give yourself several weeks to pack carefully and prepare your new home, you don’t have to worry about showing up to a house that has no power or forgetting where you packed the frying pan.  Instead, you can settle into your new home at a comfortable, steady pace.

Written by Kelli Brewer from

Photo by Lauren Kay on Unsplash
Another article you might find interesting is “Eliminate the Stress of Moving