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Moving Checklist

About Moving Companies

Consumer complaints against moving companies have been rising. Listed below are some tips that can help your move go smoothly:

  • Get a binding estimate from the moving company. Make sure the amount is written in the contract.
  • Inquire about their on-time record and other complaints with the local Better Business Bureau or consumer complaints department.
  • Movers are limited by law regarding what they can give you for lost or damaged goods. To cover potential damage, check existing homeowner or renter’s policy.
  • Ask about expected gratuities and write into contract.
  • Have the contract include a guarantee of how many hours the job will take, allowing an overrun of no more than 10%.
  • Be sure all charges are listed in the contract.
  • Inform the moving company of how many stairs are at your new home.
  • Watch the loading and unloading and examine all items carefully before signing the receipt.
  • Document an inventory of your belongings before you pack.

Packing Tips

  • Keep the following supplies handy for packing: boxes, marking pen, bubble wrap, newspaper, tissues, tape, tape measure, and scissors.
  • Use strong boxes and containers that can be secured tightly. Purchase special boxes for dishes, wardrobe, and other special items.
  • Pack audio-video equipment in their original boxes. Label cables and tighten transit screws. If removing screws, tape them to the objects they are removed from.
  • Label each box and indicate:
    • which room it should go in
    • whether it is fragile
    • if it should be loaded last so it will be unloaded first
  • Cushion contents with packing material such as bubble wrap, newspaper, or tissue. Save room by using towels and blankets to wrap fragile items.
  • Pack books tightly on end in small boxes. If musty smelling, sprinkle talcum powder between the pages and wrap the book before packing. Leave stored for a couple months to eliminate the smell.
  • Have rugs and draperies cleaned before moving and leave them in wrappings for the move.
  • Use a leak-proof container when packing medicines.
  • Carry all valuables with you.
  • Check with your local U.S. Department of Agriculture for regulations regarding moving plants from one state to another. Many states have restrictions on certain plants to prevent importing bugs or pests that can destroy valuable cash crops.
  • Avoid loading more than 50 pounds into one box.

One Month Before Moving

  • Set up a checking account in your new city/town.
  • Check into the laws and requirements of your new city/town regarding home based businesses, professional tests, business licenses and any special laws that might be applicable to you.
  • Take inventory of your belongings before they’re packed in the event you file an insurance claim later. If possible, take pictures or videotapes of your belongings. Record serial numbers of electronic equipment.
  • Make arrangements for transporting pets.
  • Start using up food items, so that there is less to pack and possibly spoil.
  • Fill out change of address order form for post office.
  • Fill out an IRS change of address form.
  • Make arrangements with moving company or reserve a rental truck.
  • Make travel arrangements, if necessary, with airlines, buses, car rental agencies, and hotels.
  • Transfer memberships in churches, clubs, and civic organizations.
  • Obtain medical and dental records, x-rays, and prescription histories. Ask doctor and dentist for referrals and transfer prescriptions.

One to Two Weeks Before Moving

  • Close bank accounts and have funds wired to your new bank. Be sure there are no outstanding checks or automatic payments that haven’t been processed.
  • Collect valuables from safe-deposit box. Make copies of any important documents before mailing or hand carry them to your new address.
  • Check with your insurance agent to ensure you’ll be covered through your homeowners or renter’s policy during the move.
  • Defrost the freezer and refrigerator. Place deodorizer inside to control odors.
  • Give a close friend or relative your travel route and schedule so you may be reached if needed.
  • Switch utility services to new address. Inform electric, disposal, water, newspaper, magazine subscription, telephone, and cable companies of your move.
  • Arrange for help on moving day.
  • Confirm travel reservations.
  • Reserve elevator if moving into an apartment.
  • Have appliances serviced for move.
  • Clean rugs and clothing and have them wrapped for moving.
  • Plan ahead for the special needs of infants/children.

On Moving Day

  • Double-check closets, drawers, shelves, attic, and garage to be sure they are empty.
  • Carry important documents, currency, and jewelry yourself, or use registered mail.
  • Carry traveler’s checks for quick, available funds.

After Arriving at your New Home

  • Renew your driver’s license, auto registration, and tags.
  • Shop around for new insurance policies, especially auto coverage.
  • Revise your will and other legal papers to avoid longer probate and higher legal fees.
  • Locate the hospitals, police stations, veterinary, and fire stations near your new home.


One Month Before Moving

Prune plants to facilitate parking. Consult a garden shop or a plant book for instructions.

One Week before you Move

Place your plants in a black plastic bag, along with a bug/pest strip, conventional flea collar, or bug powder. Close the bag and place in a cool area overnight to kill any pests on the plant or in the soil.

The Day Before You Move

Place the plants in cardboard containers. Hold them in place with dampened newspaper or packing paper. Use paper to cushion the leaves and place a final layer of wet paper on top to keep them moist. If you must leave your plants behind, then take the cuttings. Put them in a plastic bag with wet paper towels around them.

On Moving Day

Set the boxes aside and mark “DO NOT LOAD” so they won’t be taken on the moving van. Close the boxes and punch air holes in the top before loading into your car.
Park your car in a shaded area in the summer and a sunny spot in the winter.
Unpack the plants as soon as possible after arrival. Remove plants through the bottom of the box to avoid breaking the stems. Do not expose the plants to much sunlight at first. Let them become gradually accustomed to more light.

Moving Garden Plants

Research climate and soils of new home.
Seeds — gather and store in an airtight container.
Plants — some plants can be dug up and transplanted.
Bulbs — dig up during their natural dormant season. Pack in a mixture of loose dry peat moss and vermiculite to provide a lightweight and protective transport medium.
Garden tools — sharpen blades of clippers, lawn mowers, and shears and apply a thin coating of household or motor oil to protect the paint and metal parts. Clean and disinfect rakes, hoes, and sprinklers. Household bleach can be used to disinfect a variety of items.

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