Buying a home is an exciting — if not a little daunting — process. You’ve found the perfect listing, envisioned room layouts, picked paint colors, and signed on the dotted line. After that initial rush, however, what happens next is a little less dreamy. It’s officially time to prepare for your move. You’re under a deadline, and every day counts. How do you plan accordingly so you’re not frantically throwing things into boxes at the eleventh hour? Use this new homeowner’s checklist to make life a little easier.
Our checklist for new homeowners outlines the steps you need to take before moving day. These action items are listed in chronological order, and we recommend taking around one to two months to get everything accomplished. If you’re under a stricter deadline, feel free to condense as needed.
"Preparing for the Move to Your New House" Checklist:
Two Months Out
❒ Purge your current house or apartment
One of the best ways to make packing less painful is to clean out your cabinets, closets, and drawers. It may seem overwhelming to declutter your entire house, but it takes more time to pack and unpack the things you no longer want or need than it does to do a thorough clean-out session. Wondering what to do with the extra items? If you have the time and energy, host a garage sale. You can donate whatever you don’t sell to a local nonprofit organization.
❒ Decide your move type
Choosing a moving provider is easier when you decide what type of move works best for your situation. Need someone to help you from start to finish? Look at a full-service moving company. Want to do it all yourself? Try a moving truck rental. More interested in flexibility and control over your moving schedule? Consider using a portable moving container.
|Insider Tip: Moving with PODS gives you the flexibility to move without the added stress of tight timelines that often come with other moving options. Have your container delivered right to your driveway, where you can load it on your own schedule. When you’re ready, PODS will pick it up and deliver it to your new home. Need a little more time before having everything brought over? No problem. You can have your container stored in a secure PODS Storage Center until you need it. See? Flexible!
❒ Pick a moving company
Once you decide on your move type, research applicable moving companies in your area. Find at least three that you like, and ask for quotes so you can make a thorough comparison. If you need help with the vetting process, the PODS Blog has tips for finding the right fit. There are even recommendations for making the most of your moving budget.
❒ Start a moving file
Moving comes with a lot of information — all of which you may want to hang on to for a certain period of time, just in case you need to refer back to it. To keep things organized, create a paper or digital file with all moving-related documents and expenses. Some of those costs may even be tax deductible.
❒ Buy packing supplies
While boxes and tape are a good start, you’re going to need a few more essentials to properly pack up your home. Start gathering now so you can find the best prices and products.
❒ Talk to your insurance agent
Ask what they’ll need to transfer your policies to your new address, and inquire about any moving-related coverage needed to protect your valuables. Most homeowner's and renter’s insurance policies don’t cover your possessions during the move. So after asking your moving company about their policies, check with your insurance agent to ensure any gaps in coverage are addressed.
"Setting Up Your New House" Checklist:
One Month Out
❒ Start packing (if you haven’t already)
Very rarely do people enjoy packing. This is usually because they're under a time crunch and had to load up tons of boxes in a matter of days. Sometimes this is unavoidable (and we have time-saving pack hacks to help you make it less painful), but if you have the luxury of time on your side, we recommend approaching packing like that old saying about eating an elephant — take it bite by bite. Go room-by-room, starting with the items you won’t need for the next 30 days, and don’t forget to use an expert packing strategy to make the most of your boxes.
❒ Set up utilities
Moving into a new home loses its luster when there’s no electricity or air conditioning to greet you upon arrival. Give your water, electric, and gas providers around three weeks to prepare your home. If you need new providers, find out the right contact information by searching your new home’s county website.
❒ Forward your mail
Go to USPS.com/move to change your address online. This is the fastest, easiest way to get the job done. If you’re a paper person, though, there’s a Mover’s Guide packet available at your local Post OfficeⓇ that will walk you through the process.
❒ Change your address
Think about all of the places and people who need to know about your new address. Your place of employment, financial accounts, subscriptions, services, and loved ones need to have your new address on file for their records. To change your address with the IRS, you’ll need to fill out an IRS Change of Address Form, also called Form 8822.
❒ Connect TV and internet
Air conditioning and electricity are essentials, but so is Netflix, right? (wink, wink) Compare a few service providers, then schedule time for the chosen company to install and activate your WiFi. A lot of companies offer special promotions for new homeowners, so be sure to ask about that, as well.
❒ Put in a PTO request
Take it from someone who took work calls on moving day — you do not want to take work calls on moving day. Ask your employer for some time away, so you can get settled into your new digs.
❒ Schedule a deep clean for your new home
An empty house is much easier to thoroughly clean because furniture and boxes aren’t in the way. Find some time when the old owners are out and you haven’t moved in to have your new home cleaned top to bottom. This is also a good time to purchase some cleaning supplies. Even after a deep cleaning, there may still be some areas in need of TLC after the move.
❒ Make some design decisions
If you want to buy new furniture for your home, get some measurements to make sure the pieces are the right size. If the house is vacant, this is also an opportune time to paint a few rooms or make small cosmetic changes. This is not the time, though, to start any major renovation projects.
❒ Get to know your new community
Whether you’re moving to a new neighborhood or a new city, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the area. You may want to see a doctor or dentist who is more conveniently located, your kids may be enrolling in new schools, or you may just want to know where you can grab a really good cup of coffee. Do some online research, post questions to message boards or social media groups, and, if possible, explore the area in person.
"Moving Into Your New House" Checklist:
One Week Out
❒ Confirm move details
This is a great time to call your moving company and iron out any last-minute plans. It always helps to have all parties on the same page.
❒ Change the locks
Ask the former owners about keys, alarm systems, etc. If necessary, have your own systems installed or locks changed.
❒ Finish packing
You should be mostly packed by now, but this is the time when you need to pack the items you’ve been using on a daily basis. Don’t forget to label your boxes so the movers can deliver them to the appropriate rooms. It makes unpacking much easier.
❒ Make an essentials kit
Pack a suitcase with the things you’ll need immediately after you move into your new home. You don’t want to dig through boxes searching for pajamas and a toothbrush. Consider using a few clear bins for items you’ll want on hand, too. This can range from a first-aid kit to a coffee maker (some of us need our caffeine, and we need it on demand, right?).
❒ Clean out your home or apartment
Wherever you’re currently living, now is the time to go through those rooms one more time. If you’ve been following this new homeowner’s checklist, this isn’t the time for finding donations but for throwing things out, like food and prescriptions.
❒ Consider all scenarios
The devil’s in the details — especially when it comes to moving day. Think through every detail of your move to make sure you’re covered for a variety of situations. If you have pets, where will they stay during the move? Do you have cash to tip your movers? If severe weather is expected, will you have to delay your move? A little foresight can prevent a lot of panic.
What essentials are needed when moving into a new house?
Once you’ve officially moved into your new home, settling in means more than unpacking boxes (although that’s a pretty vital part). You’ll also want to make sure your house is stocked with some essentials to get you through those first few chaotic weeks. Here’s a quick list to consider to help things run more smoothly.
"Things to Buy for a New House" Checklist
❒ Surge protectors and extension cords
❒ Pillows, blankets, sheets
❒ Trash bags, paper towels, toilet paper
❒ Dish towels, dish soap/detergent
❒ Laundry detergent
❒ Basic cleaning supplies
❒ Box cutters
❒ Hammer, screwdriver, power drill, bits
❒ Screws, nails, picture hangers
❒ Ladder or step stool
❒ First-aid kit
❒ Basic pantry items
Now that you’ve packed your belongings, navigated moving logistics, handled operational matters, and started filling your home with basic items, it’s time to do one more thing: rest. Grab your overnight bag, curl up with your favorite blanket, and enjoy that new Netflix movie in bed. You deserve it!
LB Gabriel is a freelance writer who lives with her husband, daughter, and Golden Retriever in Memphis, TN. A frequent PODS Blog contributor, she's a sucker for any tip she can find on downsizing, cutting clutter, or minimalist living. When she's not on a deadline, you can find her on a tennis court or golf course.