Well before the move take a look at the contents of your current home. Moving is a great time to sort through your things and dispose of items you no longer need, want or use, especially if you’re downsizing. A good rule of thumb used by professional organizers is if you haven’t used it in a year or more, if it’s broken or if you just don’t like it anymore, get rid of it. Have a garage sale or donate your unwanted items, rather than discarding them in the landfill. Note: dispose of hazardous and/or flammable materials like paints and chemicals in accordance with your local municipality’s regulations. If you’re taking some with you, you’ll have to move them yourself as it’s illegal for movers to carry them.
Storing stuff for family? This is the perfect time (and excuse) to prod them to come pick it up.
If you’re downsizing a family home and have a lot of memories in storage, invite your kids to help go through everything and make it a family effort. Pick up a supply of different-colored stickers so things get sorted properly (keepers, donate/garage sale, etc.), and have your helpers sort and sticker everything accordingly.
Arrange and book the movers or trucks you’ll be using. Moving companies usually offer packing services as well, which might help if you just don’t have the time. Get estimates from a few different companies so you get the best service for your dollar. Check the moving company’s policies regarding moving pets, large items, family heirlooms, and anything else that might not be considered ‘standard’ belongings.
Utilities & services
Make arrangements with your local utilities to have all meters read on your last day and have the final bills forwarded to your new address. In many cases your real estate lawyer will look after changing utilities over, but it’s a good idea to double-check. Move or change services for television, phone, internet, and so on, in order to have live service at your new house when you arrive.
Have your mail forwarded by the post office, and send out change of address cards you need to notify friends and family. Change your driver’s license(s) effective the day of your move, and any memberships, subscriptions, business affiliations, etc.
If you use any contracted services like lawn care, snow removal, house cleaning or other, notify them of either cancellation or change of service address.
Pets & plants
Make special arrangements for moving your pets and plants if needed, and collect any items you have out for dry cleaning, repairs, or in storage.
Essentials for your first day & night
Prepare a box of items you’ll need right away at the new house, like cleaning supplies, garbage bags, paper towels, and bathroom tissue. Pack a separate box with bed linens, clothing, and sleepwear for your first night. Put these boxes into the trunk of your car the night before so they’re not transported with all the other boxes.