My Moving Checklist

The idea of moving to a new place is scary by itself!

Particularly, if you have not shifted a lot and don't know how to go about it, it can turn out to be quite a nightmare. In any case, it is considered one of the most stressful activities to undertake.

But there's nothing to worry.
It's quite simple if you have a moving checklist and follow it strictly! You may not have the time to prepare such a checklist so we have put together one for you!

But before we get started, here's a piece of advice for you:
Justine Roux, Area Specialist in Johannesburg's Atholl, Illovo and Inanda, says that the most fundamental error to make is to leave something to the last moment: "Get started as soon as you know you will be moving. Even months in advance you can begin to slowly de-clutter room by room and also get stuck into seldom used spaces like store rooms and garden sheds which can be a real hassle to sort through and pack up." You need to work backwards to get it right.

6-8 Weeks Before

1. Reduce and Clean it Up

It's time to get started. Try to de-clutter the place by prioritizing as to what you need to carry and what you can let go. Things you don't need can be donated. There are several organizations which will be happy to receive whatever is your non-essential stuff that you want to get rid off.

It could be books, clothes, décor etc. which is in somewhat usable condition but you don't want to carry them with you. So go ahead and donate it! This will help you reduce the burden of moving to a new place.

2. Work out Your Moving Budget

It's going to cost you to move to a new place. If you leave it up to the last moment to work out and set aside budget for moving, it may create stress and keep you worried.

A better way out is to set aside your moving budget well before 6-8 weeks so that when the day arrives when you have to move, it does not cause you an anxiety attack. Since you are planning ahead, you will have the requisite time to see where you can be economical and save some money in moving.

3. Keep Your Landlord/Property Manager in Loop

Get hold of the copy of rental agreement that you had signed and read every letter of it.

This will lend a lot of clarity regarding the policy in the event of your moving to a new place. Don't forget you have a security deposit that you want to get back which will depend on your meeting all the conditions defined in the rental agreement.

So it's always a good idea to scrutinize the fine print of the rental agreement and see how you fare in its terms and conditions!

The following could be the clauses to watch out for:

  • Intent to move notification: It's all about how well in advance you need to inform the landlord or property manager. You may also take into consideration the manner of notification whether it's through certified mail, email or online portal.
  • The condition of the apartment and the cleanliness norms to be upheld
  • Security deposits

It's advisable to keep in mind that this is a legal agreement that you have entered into. In other words, you are obliged to fulfill it. So you would do well to keep your landlord in loop right at the outset of the process to move. There's no harm in finding out what he/she/they expect from you when you move out. Some expect to take a look at the apartment before you move so that they can ask you for some minor repairs or cleanliness issues. You will be stuck if you have to do it at the last moment. Hence, make sure you take your landlord into confidence right from the beginning.

4 Weeks Before

1. Book the Moving Truck

Well, you cannot move unless you book the right size and kind of truck for your specific kind of luggage.

Don't leave it pending till the last moment. You could be in trouble if you decide to move in a festive season or around 1st of the month when you may not be able to get a truck if you delay it to the last day. To avoid this, you should reserve the right size of moving truck the moment you finalize about moving so that you have a hassle-free experience of moving and your stuff is taken care of.

The earlier you decide to book the truck, the better it is for you because you will be in a position to explore options in terms of size and charges. You will also get to know how they charge so you can work out your plan accordingly. For instance, some agencies charge on an hourly basis. So you can calculate how much it will cost you and you can set aside the fund for the same.

2. Stock Up Adequate Supplies

To start with, you should take a good look at moving supplies list and find out what kind of boxes- small, medium and large you will need to buy.

If you leave it till the last moment, you may not get anything cheap. The best way to get them cheap is to start looking for them now. Search online, ask friends and acquaintances, local stores in and around your place of stay. If you get lucky, you will get some cheap. If not, you will need to buy them.

But if you leave it till the last moment and you might panic and purchase it from a store. It will be costly and you should avoid it. Make sure you remember to purchase the moving supplies online as they are way cheaper online!

3. Start Organizing

Don't worry; you are not supposed to start packing as yet!

It's just a question of organizing what you have.

This is about organizing everything in such a way that you can pack when you need to- without any interruption or hassle. For instance, you need to have sufficient moving supplies and tape to pack things which you should keep ready well before you need to start packing.

Work on all the rooms in a sequence, carefully. Make an inventory of items of each room and enlist everything you have. It doesn't matter how small or large the items may be but nothing should be missing from your list.

Once you have your list, study it closely. Start assigning the enlisted items to boxes. Wherever some items might need extra care, make sure you arrange for it. For instance, you may use old newspapers for covering some glass utensils or something that is fragile.

4. Fill Out Change of Address Forms

Well, don't forget to do this or you will be cut off from the world in terms of communication!

If there's a specific system online, you should fill up change of address form online. Else, you can visit the local administration office and fill out the change of address form in hard copy.

In addition, don't forget to reach out to the following companies with your new address:

Financial Institutions:

  • Banks
  • Credit Card Companies
  • Student and Auto Loan Companies

Insurance

  • Medical Insurance
  • Auto Insurance
  • Renter's Insurance

Personal

  • Your Employer
  • Cell Phone Carrier
  • Schools and Child Care Providers

5. Schedule Baby Sitting for Your Children and/or Pets

When the big day arrives, you will have a large truck and big boxes going out of your home. It will be quite hectic, right?

What about your kids or pets? Who will look after them while you worry about each box and item on your inventory list?

So it's better to make sure you schedule a full-day session of baby-sitting for your kids and/or pets. You have to arrange it in such a way that you should drop them off before the big truck arrives and pick them up after the last box goes into the truck and reaches the new place.

Once your kids/pets are out of the way, the actual day when your boxes move out will turn out to be a lot more comfortable. So without further delay, you should schedule it well in advance!

2-3 Weeks Before

1. Finalize Your Repair List

To lose your security deposit is too much of a risk compared to the minor repairs that you can do without much of a trouble, don't you think?

You should ask your landlord or property manager to drop by and work out the final repair list with you. According to the terms of the most of the lease agreements, tenants need to get the minor repairs done in terms of paint etc. Once your landlord gives you a go-ahead for your list, you know exactly what needs to be done.

Then it's a quick trip to the hardware store and get your tools and resources so that your mission repair can be completed in tune with the terms of your lease agreement.

2. Keep Some Reinforcements in Place

Moving is a stressful and requires a lot of energy. It could be tiring well before the big day arrives. When the big day arrives, you need to honestly find an answer to the question: "Can I handle this alone, on my own? Or do I need help on that day?"

If you are fortunate enough, you might have a few angels as your friends who will chip in just in the nick of time and help you move. If not, you will be stuck. So it would be better to plan for some reinforcements in terms of help that you can get on that day.

You can search for some "moving helper" service that you can get. Check with your funds that you have set aside and see it fits the bill! If it does, such a service can help you lift and load some heavy and important items which could otherwise be damaged.

3. Start Packing!

Now you will begin to feel the pinch!

The actual work is about to start!

Before you start packing, don't forget to keep the following things ready:

  • Packing Tape
  • Tape Gun
  • Boxes
  • Permanent markers
  • Coloured paper (allot a colour to one room)

Packing items for the entire house could be quite scary when you think of doing it in one afternoon. Therefore, it's necessary to start packing in advance. Pack a little bit every day and start with the least useful and necessary items first so that you don't have to open the boxes before you move because you need it urgently!

Focus on one room at a time. Pack a room in a day or two and move to next. When you do it this way, the stress of packing will not be there. You can comfortably pack and be ready when the big day arrives.

4. Transfer Your Utilities

While you are busy in the intricacies of moving the big and the expensive items, you may forget about the utilities!

So make sure that you make necessary arrangements for the transfer of utilities like electricity and internet connection.

If you plan well in advance, you will be able to fill out the necessary forms as per the norms and get the utilities transferred before you unpack in your new home.

5. Get a Cleaning Service

Like your repair list, your security deposit rests a lot on the state of cleanliness in your apartment.

By cleanliness, what's meant here is not superficial washing of the surfaces. Most landlords expect absolutely spotless apartment after you move out. It's possible that your landlord may expect you to wash the carpet clean or de-ice the freezer. Guess what, you cannot do it on your own.

It's better to leave it to an agency to get this done. So while you are planning and preparing, include it in your least to hire a cleaning service to make the apartment spotlessly clean!

7 Days Before

1. Work out the Route

Don't underestimate complexity of the actual task of moving from your old place to the new one with all the stuff packed in boxes without getting stuck up on the way due to traffic or any other issues!

To avoid this kind of embarrassment, you should work out the route you would take from your old place to the new one. It's necessary to do so is because you need to find out a route which is less traffic-affected and easy to navigate. It should be a route that consumes less time and gets you to your new place quickly.

In addition, you need to time it perfectly. If you start at a time when traffic is at its worst, you are likely to get stuck up on any route. Therefore, you need to work out the route and time effectively to prevent any disaster on the way.

Wondering how to do it right?

It's quite simple. Log onto Google Maps and enter your current address as starting point and the new one as the destination. Once you do this, enter the date and time according to your schedule to see how it works out.

Google Maps will probably show you one or two routes to the destination. It's important if your truck rental charges are per mile because you will come to know how much it will cost and which route will cost how much respectively. You can also see if there are any restaurants on the way if your journey is going to be long and you want to grab a bite!

2. Put together Contact Info Sheet

Since this is going to be team work, you have roped in a few people to help you move.

All you need to do next is create a contact info sheet so that you can contact them for confirmation-cum-reminder for the big day.

Your sheet may be something like this:

  1. Name: First Last
  2. Phone number:
  3. Role: a friend shifting the stuff from the present location
  4. Payment: NA
  5. Schedule: 7-10am
  6. Address: meeting at the present location
  7. Confirmed Y/N:

  1. Name: Harry's Cleaning Service
  2. Phone number:
  3. Role: Cleaning the current location
  4. Payment: $60, cash
  5. Schedule: 4-5:30pm
  6. Address: Meeting at present location
  7. Confirmed Y/N:

Once you have the list, you know what to do; call up everyone on this list and get the confirmation about the duties, timings, location, cost etc.

3. Get Ready to Pay

Now that you have the detailed list of items and exact cost of each part of the moving process, you can get to the bank and withdraw the money. You will also need to keep the cheques ready for the new lease agreement that you will need to sign.

It's necessary to do this part well as you can make mistakes and panic if you delay it to the last moment.

Prepare envelopes for each party and start putting the exact amount in each one. You can write the name on the envelope so that you remember who it is meant for. It's quite possible that truck rental and cleaning service won't be able to give you change back so make sure you put the exact amount in the envelope.

It may be a small payment but don't make the mistake of trying to remember. Just prepare an envelope for the smallest of amount that you need to pay on that day.

Once all the envelopes are done, put them in a large manila envelope so that you can find them all at once place. Make sure you put the large envelope somewhere safe but easy to trace. On the big day, you don't want to be looking for the money that you carefully put somewhere but cannot find!

4. Sign New Agreement

It's better to get this done as early as possible.

Make sure you meet your new landlord and make this deal official. Sign the new lease agreement and hand over the cheques that you kept ready.

This is also a great opportunity to inquire about their policies regarding moving in. If you need to carry out any process for accessing the elevators, or any particular elevator, you should be aware about it. There may be a stipulated time for moving in to avoid the chaos in elevators and corridors. If you know it, you can avoid the congestion in the corridors with your stuff.

You can also find out when you can get hold of your new key!

3-4 Days Before

1. Moving Inventory List

Now the big day is getting closer. All your stuff should be in boxes except a few items you need for daily use. In addition, you should also be clear as to which things to pack last and open first after your get to your new place.

Your moving inventory list is the most crucial piece of the puzzle now. It lets you keep track of the entire process. One look at the list and you will know how many boxes you have, which items are packed in which box, where your furniture is packed etc. At the time of moving your stuff, you can check the boxes as they are loaded on the truck. At the time of moving into the new place, you can cross them off the list as the boxes are brought in.

If there's anything that is insured, make sure you keep the documentation handy regarding the same because if it gets damaged in some way, you will need the documents immediately. You cannot afford to open all the boxes to find where the insurance documents are!

Create a thorough moving inventory list and cross-check it a few times before the big day to make sure everything is enlisted without fail.

2. Keep "Pack Last-Open First" Box Ready

This is a box that is going to matter once you get there because it will contain the basic things you need before you get to unpack and organize everything.

So make sure you choose the right things for this box under the three essential categories: personal, tools, kitchen.

Personal

  • A sort of travel bag that contains a few clothes and a pair of shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Basic bedding: sheet, pillows and blanket
  • Chargers and other stuff for your gadgets
  • Pet supplies

Tools

  • Extension chords
  • Batteries
  • Scissors/box cutter

Kitchen

  • Paper plates, plastic cutlery and cups
  • Snacks
  • Drinks
  • Paper towels
  • Garbage bags

3. Pick Up the Key to Your New Place

This might seem like the obvious thing to do but you need to make sure that you do it before the moving day.

Get hold of the key and keep it safe but make sure you can access it easily. If you forget to pick up the key or misplace it, it can create a bit of a chaos on the moving day which you would like to avoid!

4. Work out Your Moving Day Schedule

It's good to keep a timeline in mind as to how things will work out on the moving day.

So make sure you keep some sort of moving day schedule before you.

Here's a sample schedule you can use:

  • 8:00 AM Pick up moving truck
  • 9:00 AM Movers arrive
  • 10:00 AM Load the stuff on the truck
  • 12:00 PM Lunch Break
  • 1:00 PM Drive to the new apartment
  • 3:00 PM Reach and unload the stuff
  • 5:00 PM Return the truck
  • 6:00 PM Go to the old apartment and meet the guys from the cleaning service
  • 7:00 PM Take a last look at the old apartment
  • 7:15 PM Returns the keys of the old apartment

5. Keep Your Moving Day Pack Ready

You have already done a great job of preparing for the moving day. This is the last but also the crucial part that you must complete.

Put together a moving day pack and keep the following things in it:

  • Moving day schedule
  • Moving inventory list
  • Contact info sheet
  • Payment envelopes
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • Pens- marker and regular

This moving day pack will be your essential possession during the actual work on moving day.

On the Big Day

1. Pick Up Your Moving Truck

It's time to get on with…

Set the wheels in motion, literally…

You need to get hold of your moving truck now and get started.

2. Get Started on Time

You have already got the timeline worked out so there's no reason to delay it any further and get late.

If you have hired moving service, get them together and hand over a copy of the moving inventory list. Explain to them the color-coding system that you have worked out. Make sure you point out the boxes with expensive or fragile items that they need to handle with care.

Give them the new address, explain the route and field any questions that they might have. Once it's done, get going!

If you get started on time, you will get to the new place in no time!

3. Glance through the New Home

Walk through the new apartment and see if everything is alright.

Before you move boxes in the new apartment, try out the light switches and take a look at anything that needs repair. Take a picture on your cell phone if need be and make a list of things which need repair. It's better to do this systematically with evidence than to complain later without any proof.

As soon as you are done, call up your landlord and inform about the repairs to be done. You might as well convey that you have not yet moved in a single item as yet.

This puts the responsibility of repair squarely on the landlord!

4. Return the Moving Truck

Now that you have moved into the new apartment, it's time to return the moving truck. Remember, there's money to be paid and settle this thing. So get it done as soon as you have moved your boxes in the new home.

5. Get the Old One Cleaned

As was the deal, you get back to the old apartment and get the cleaning crew to clean the apartment from one end to another!

Since you had done your homework regarding what needs to be cleaned and how, you can give detailed and specific instructions to the cleaning crew so that they can efficiently go about it.

While this goes on, you can take a final look at the apartment and see if there's anything else you need to do. Open the cupboards and remove any trash if there's any, close the windows, or anything else that needs to be attended. Unplug any appliances and equipment so that there's no issue later on about electricity use or anything else.

6. Time to Say Goodbye to the Old Apartment

This is the moment to cherish!

After all the detailed planning and smooth execution, this is the moment you have waited for.

Once cleaning is done, you can return the keys to your old landlord or property manager.

That's all!

You have done it!

You have successfully moved from your old apartment to the new one!

Parting Thought

Last but not the least is that don't put yourself at the last of your priorities during the period of moving to the new place.

With an endless list of tasks to be completed, you should not take too much strain and neglect your well being because otherwise you may fall ill in the run up to the moving day and it can completely upset your plans!

So make sure you eat well, rest well and remain relaxed all throughout the moving process!