The Ultimate Apartment Moving Checklist

As the big day draws closer and closer, you might be experiencing some anxiety about your apartment move.  Moving apartments is a huge undertaking, and it can be hard to keep track of everything that needs to be done. Here is a handy timeline to help you break down your moving tasks so that when moving day comes around, you can make a successful transition from your old apartment to your new one with ease! 


Six to Nine Weeks Before Moving Day

□      Notify your landlord that you will be moving out.  Most apartments need between 30 and 60 days’ notice before a tenant’s departure, so check your lease to find out what your current apartment requires.

□      Schedule your transportation.  If you’re doing the move yourself, schedule the moving truck rental.  If you’ll be using a moving company, arrange to meet with an agent to set up the moving date and details.  These might include a moving estimate, discussion of packing services, and insuring your belongings.


Four to Six Weeks Before Moving Day

□      Collect your apartment packing supplies.  To obtain free cardboard boxes, try asking the manager of your local grocery store, office supply store, or liquor store if they have leftovers.  You should also stock up on packing tape, plus bubble wrap and newspaper for padding, and permanent markers for labeling your boxes. To simplify the process, collect more than you think you’ll need.  If you want to go green (or skip the hassle of finding supplies) consider renting stackable plastic storage tubs.

□      Begin packing, but start small.  Start with just a little at a time; the more you get out of the way in the beginning, the easier it will be. Go room by room through your apartment, or start with the things you won’t be using, like out-of-season clothes, sports equipment, garden tools, etc.

□      Donate or discard. Sort through your belongings as you pack. If you find things you no longer need, set them aside for charitable donation and a tax deduction, or throw them away.

□      Round up personal records. Gather your medical records, prescriptions, bank statements, etc. and file them all away in one safe place.

□      Find professionals near your new apartment. There’s no need to take a gamble on a random new dentist when you move.  Ask your medical professionals, hairstylist, mechanic, veterinarian, etc. if they have providers they recommend in the area of your soon-to-be-new home.

□      Arrange for the utility switch.  Communicate with the appropriate utility providers and arrange to turn off the utilities at your old apartment and turn them on at your new one.  Check with electric, gas, water, phone, and cable companies so that you a) won’t accidentally keeping paying for an apartment you’ve moved out of, and b) will have all the utilities working in your new apartment come moving day.

□      Notify the postal service of your move. You can change your address online or do it in person at a post office.

□      Change your address with service providers.  This includes your bank, credit cards, insurance providers, newspaper and/or magazine subscriptions, and other memberships.


One to Two Weeks Before Moving Day

□      Start packing. Time to kick it into gear.  Keep the weight of your boxes under 30 pounds if you can.  As you finish each box, stack the heaviest ones on the bottom and the lightest on top. 

□      While you pack, remember the little things.  Life will be easier when you reach your new apartment if you have remembered to:

□      Label every box clearly.

□      Seal every box thoroughly.

□      Bundle and store your electronic items together so they don’t get separated.

□      Wrap dishes and glasses separately so they don’t get chipped, scratched, or broken.

□      Set aside a box for valuables that you want to handle yourself instead of putting them in the moving truck.

□      Set aside a box and/or suitcase of items you’ll need immediately in your new apartment.  Include a few changes of clothing, some toiletries, your phone and laptop chargers, a set of clean sheets, and some towels, as well as any supplies or food you’ll need for your pets.

□      Find a place to park the moving truck.  Whether you’ll be driving or you’ve hired a third party, make sure that the moving van will have a place to park and unload when it arrives.  If you’re moving in an urban area, you may have to liaise with the city for a permit.

□      Have your car serviced. If your move involves a long drive, make sure your tires, brakes, fluids, oil level, etc. are all up to the job.


The Day Before Moving Day

□      Take care of your appliances. Be sure to defrost and clean your freezer and refrigerator, unplug TVs and computers so they are room temperature on the day of the move, and make sure the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer are empty.

□      Pack your suitcase and check your box of necessities.  Anything you forgot?  Add it now.


On Moving Day – Moving Out

□      Load your belongings into the truck.  Start with your furniture and the heaviest boxes at the back, then stack the rest

□      Using a service? Take inventory and supervise loading.  Take photos and compare inventories with the movers before the loading begins, then make sure no boxes are forgotten or mishandled. Make sure pets are secure someplace so they don’t get underfoot.

□      Clean your apartment. Give it a good vacuum, a once-over with a duster, and wipe down the counters.  A clean apartment will help you get your security deposit back.

□      Do a final sweep.  Make sure you have:

□      Checked the apartment’s closets, drawers, cabinets, and bathrooms for items that might have been left behind.

□      Turned off the heat or air conditioning.

□      Closed and locked all windows and outside doors.

□      Turned off all lights.

□      Turned your keys, parking pass, etc. in to your landlord.

□      Put your box of necessities, your valuables, and your suitcase in your car.


On Moving Day – Moving In

□      Inspect your new apartment.  When you arrive, make sure that all the utilities are working and that nothing around the apartment needs repairing.  If you do find something, take a photo of it and notify management or maintenance.

□      If it hasn’t been done already, clean your new apartment. While there is no furniture on the floor and nothing in the cabinets or on the counters, take this opportunity to wipe down those surfaces and vacuum your floors.

□      Unload the moving truck. If you’re doing it yourself, make sure you’ve swept out the storage area when you’re done so you don’t incur charges from the truck rental company. If you’re using a moving service, check off the boxes in your inventory you go, and instruct the movers where to place furniture.

□      Unpack your necessities first. Generally, it’s best to make your bed, and unpack your kitchen and your toiletries so you can function with all the basics.  These items should include:

  •     Sheets and blankets
  •     Pillows
  •     Towels
  •     Dishes
  •     Cutlery
  •     Lamps
  •     Pet supplies

□      Unpack everything else as soon as you can.  This is best so that you can a) check for damage to any of your belonging, and b) get it over with.


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