A Start-to-finish Checklist For a Completely Stress-free Home Move

In this guide:

Intro

At a social mixer I once attended, a jolly middle-aged fella asked the group I was standing with what we thought was the most difficult part of adulthood, and for which we found ourselves vastly unprepared.

I thought “that’s easy”, as I joined my companions in reeling off a list of things we thought were hardest about adulthood. This fella let us go on for about a minute, then with a wry smile on his face, he goes “moving homes.”

Huhh?

Not ‘finding your soulmate’?!

Not having to pay your bills and catch up with your body’s ‘slowing metabolism?!

. . . Not ADULTING?!

Okay. Let’s face it. We’ve all got a slew of brain-rackers boggling our minds as we grow older. But we found his position interestingly valid.

The truth is, moving is tough. The emotional toll it wreaks on home owners is up there with divorce, thus meaning a psychological preparation may be just as vital as physical preparation. It’s almost impossible not to get lost in the intense wave of emotion, sentiments, memories of loved ones, and the occasional resurfacing of lost-but-found items that you once thought were forever lost and never to be seen or heard of again.

Whether or not you have ever had to decide what items go in which boxes, you’ll have to agree that the easiest thing you’ve ever done during a move is to sit down and wish that everything just go away—your move sorted out, without you having to do as little as lift a finger.

But that’ll be an absolutely Alice-in-Wonderland type scenario. This is real life. And that’s probably why you’re here. There’s no reason to go on a tiki tour trying to figure out stuff as you progress. That’s one good way to flunk your moving mission even before you ever get started. Seriously.

When in doubt, chances are that even your chequebook might fail you. Reach for a checklist like this one—we mean, a checklist that gets your mover asking “how did he even think of that?

First off, what does ‘moving’ entail?

Moving. This one says what it does right on the tin. But it doesn't quite tell the whole story. Moving homes is the process of sorting, grouping one's personal belongings, and transporting them to a new location. Simple as this may sound, it requires equal parts savvy and strength. Why else do you think there is an entire industry worth hundreds of millions of New Zealand Dollars built around moving?

Today, many DIY-ers still prefer to enlist friends and family members into their moving crew. While this might not be entirely ideal, it is not without its merits. For one, it can be a very great family-bonding exercise. So, regardless of the option you chose, here is one thing you should know—your belongings can be classed into:

FURNITURE

This generally refers to the movable fixtures that support your every activity—tables, chairs, beds, shelves, etc. These items tend to pack a ton of weight and require being handled with a reasonable level of care to prevent damage.

BREAKABLES

In this category, you have other movable fixtures that are more fragile—clocks, generally anything made with some glass or ceramic. While they may be much easier to lift than furniture, they require a lot more care. To safely transport these items, boxes are filled with a lot of packing peanuts, before the items are then nestled into them.

ELECTRONICS

Depending on a person’s preferences, home electronics can range from simple wall-mounted TVs to high-speed computer servers.

PERSONAL EFFECTS

These are clothes, books, documents, medicine, shoes, crockery, silverware, etc. Typically, any other small, handy items that don’t fit in any of the other classes can fit here.

OTHER EQUIPMENT

Also, how can we forget refrigerators and other kitchen equipment? The jury is still out on whether they classify as furniture or electronics. We’ll just list them as equipment. This class also features other equipment, including power generators, lawnmowers, and other gardening equipment.

— Moving homes: The Ultimate Checklist

As it is with any other thing, things are a lot simpler when we chronologically order them in a series of simplified actions. With a properly put-together checklist, you’re on your way to making your next home-moving mission a walk in the park!

We have curated a comprehensive checklist to help take the chronic forgetfulness and innocent omission that often occasions moving homes. These tips are poised to put you in the driving seat of your next move:

1. Notify your landlord (if you’re a tenant)

Hold your horses! We know how much of a hurry you are in to leave your musty old abode for new surroundings. Heck! Your landlord might even be the reason you’re stuck with no other option but a move in the first place.

But the first thing on your checklist should be informing your old landlord. Give them at least a month’s notice about your decision to move out. This’ll afford them ample time to make any necessary arrangements and agreements with you.

You also wanna be smart about it. Time it towards the end of the expiration of your rent/mortgage—you don’t wanna incur a new bill running into the new month or week.

The key phrase here is to ‘tie all loose ends’. Really.

2. Set and confirm an appointment with movers

Next, you want to arrange for a moving company. It’s often best to do this as soon as possible. Moving companies are quite busier than you’d imagine, and a lot cheaper once you’re not moving on short notice. If you require a same-day or last-minute move, then you should be prepared to fork out more than you would if you informed them much earlier on.

So, it’s usually best practice to approach them at least 2 weeks in advance to get a quote. Then, proceed to hire them If you’re impressed enough after a meet-and-greet. After this, you can then make the required deposit, along with an exchange of contact, addresses, and whatever other information that may be required.

If, on the other hand, you’re opting for a DIY move, you’ll still have to rent a moving truck, except if of course, all your belongings can fit into your car’s boot. So, you wanna call the company, book a date and pay the deposit.

3. Inform parties. Settle ‘outstandings’

And a whole lotta outstandings. From collecting your new keys to returning borrowed items before moving to your new apartment. You also want to inform all utility providers about your impending exit and pay up outstanding bills.

From the power company to water, cable, gas, and phone companies. For phone and Wi-Fi, you should discuss with them about moving your service to your new address. The other utilities can not be similarly moved, but informing them ahead of time gives them ample notice to disconnect your old residence, preventing you from incurring any cost from utilities supplied after your move.

Another item you want to cross off the checklist is informing the post office about your address change. And you wanna tell them on time because post re-direction services take as long as 5 days. There are quite a lot of stories about important mail getting misdelivered because folks forgot to properly inform the mail service about their address change. We know that the world has shifted to emails and other modes of online communication, but correspondences like this one have kept the post office service from going extinct.

Imagine missing a substantial tax refund because the notice was delivered to your old residence, where the new occupant then tossed it in the trash. You wouldn’t want that to happen to you now, would you? Notify them of your new address, and the date you’ll be moving, so that they know when to start delivering your correspondences there.

Magazines where you hold subscriptions also deserve some telling. A lot of these services have moved online, but there are others for whom the old-fashioned mode of mailing physical copies still holds its allure. If you’re subscribed to any such services, inform them about your move, and communicate your new address to them.

Also, pay all your outstanding bills and taxes, as they may accumulate to become a serious liability.

Finally, if you have borrowed any books from the local library, you should return them, especially if your new address is further away, outside its area of operation.

4. List out your belongings and sort them

Before you even begin to pack boxes, you have to first draw up a list of items that you’ll be moving to your new address. You can do this for over a week, to make sure that you properly capture every item on the list. Then, you can begin to sort them out into groups—in such order that they’ll be ‘boxed’.

For instance, you can list out all glassware and similar items under the name “breakables”. You can then pick them out and put them in boxes.

This is a more carefully thought-through approach, compared to, say, just randomly picking stuff around the house.

5. Pack your documents & personal effects together

We won’t advise that you treat your books and vital documents the same way. You wanna dedicate a higher level of care to your sensitive documents, from certificates to driver’s licenses, and cheque books.

Also, other personal effects, like prescription medicine, car keys, PCs, tablets, and other similar items. All of these items could easily get lost or damaged, and while your insurance can always replace a broken TV, it can hardly replace lost certificates or files on a lost hard drive.

So, pack these items together, and keep them with you.

6. Label! Label! Label!

When in doubt. Err, scratch that. So that you’d NEVER be in doubt — just label.

When you have properly separated your vital documents and personal effects, you can now begin to pack all the other items into their respective boxes. If you sort them as suggested in step five (5) above, this step becomes easier.

Take out the book outlining all the groups and items listed under them. Then, begin to take them out and pack them into boxes in the order that you’ve drawn up. Finally, properly label each box. This serves two purposes;

7. Defrost your refrigerators and drain all flammable liquids or gases

To reduce the risk of any accidents while the items are being moved, you wanna empty your refrigerators and freezers, defrost them, and properly clean them. Anyone moving them can do their work more efficiently if they don’t have to worry about gunk spilling all over.

Also, drain flammables; fuel in your lawnmower, power generators, and other similar items. They tend to spill during the move, creating an unpleasant mess, and a fire hazard!

8. Setup your new place

The last thing to do before you finally move is to set up at your new abode.

First, you want to clean it out. Now, the previous occupant must have cleaned it out while moving out. Regardless, you should do some cleaning of your own, and just to be clear, this is not you being a clean freak. Besides, a lot could have happened since they moved out; dust, rodent faeces, etc.

You might want to slap on a coat of paint here and there, together with other renovations that might be necessary. Check the doors and windows to see if they work and lock properly. Fix anyone that doesn’t, and change the locks on the external doors anyway, to ensure your security.

Finally, set your utilities up for use. Contact the water and electricity companies supplying the area, and complete the necessary paperwork to get these utilities supplied to your new abode immediately you move there.

9. Moving Kit

Another brilliant idea is to come up with a moving day ‘survival kit’ of sorts. You may fill it with everything you'll need on your first day in your new home. If you're moving with kids, you can even have some fun while packing the kit!

Here are a few ideas that may come in handy before moving day:

10. The move

The long wait is over. Brothers, sisters, and movers—we move by sunrise! WOO-HOO!

Now that you have made all the necessary correspondences, and have packed all your items into boxes. All that is left is to load the boxes into the truck and move them.

However, before you do that, the movers will make an inventory of all the items and boxes, cross-check it to ensure that it is complete, then sign it and keep a copy.

Now, all you have to do is sit back and let the movers do their job. Or if you’re a DIY-er, this is you and your crew’s moment of truth. Get everyone to load the boxes, furniture, and other equipment into the truck.

You may want to have snacks and bottles of water or other refreshment items on hand.

11. Record the state of your old (rented) apartment

Keep receipts! Because you just might never know where or when it comes in handy, and an old recording of the nicely kept state you left your old apartment will be your first (and last) line of defence to absolve you from legal (and moral) liability.

When you move out of your old apartment, you might want to retrieve your rent bond or safety deposit. To do this, you have to prove that you left the place in a sane condition. You may do an in-person inspection with the landlord, or, you may choose to record a time-stamped video to back your claims. You may also do both.

— Conclusion

Now back to our fella at the social mixer, the moving process does not have to be a dreadful affair as we make it out to be. Not when you got the right resources at your fingertips.

Whether hiring professional movers or doing it yourself with friends and family, The ideas in this intensely detailed checklist will help you take the guesswork out of the entire moving process.

You’re a tad low on energy and humble enough to admit that even your inner DIY-er deserves a stress-free move that leaves you in awe of how beautifully executed and effective your move becomes when you hire a professional? We’re here, raising hands. Let us show you how!

If you’re looking to plan a move and you want to get some info regarding the countless ways we can help you on your moving day, we’ve got a form for you to fill out so you can start receiving quotes from our bunch of reputable movers!

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