Moving Checklist: 10 Steps to a Shockingly Simple Move

October 20th, 2023

Selling | Buying | Realtors®
Moving Checklist: 10 Steps to a Shockingly Simple Move

Ultimate Moving Checklist 

Moving doesn't have to be complicated. Here are ten tips to help guide you through your move! 

Moving is not fun. Buying and selling real estate is one of the least enjoyable parts.

When you buy a house, you must move in; when you sell your home, you must move out.

With the amount of people moving to Raleigh, NC, it's about time we simplified things with a 'Moving Checklist.' This article is intended to help with your move, so if you find it valuable, please drop us a line in the comments section below since we love feedback. 

If you're anything like the buyers and sellers we work with, you have a lot of stuff you need to pack, load into a truck, unload from the car, and then unpack once you arrive at your new home. While the thought of moving is enough to make most people cringe, we are here to help simplify everything with our 'Moving Checklist.'

One quick tip would be to start far in advance and give yourself plenty of time to complete each task on the moving checklist so that you are more relaxed a few days before the move. Measure your large items and the rooms they will be in once your move is complete. This will give you an idea of how much space you have to work with. You should also be able to pack all the items you use sparingly weeks in advance.

Below, I have included 10 Tips to Know BEFORE moving. These ten tips will take you from start to finish, no matter if you're moving out of state or down the street:

1. Preparation

Whether selling your house or buying one, you must step back and plan your move strategically. Reading through this guide and checking each item as you go will help.

Before you start packing items, you need to develop a plan, and this plan should revolve around your unpacking more than anything else. When preparing for a move, keeping items sorted by room makes sense. This is where labeling will come in handy, and even using an iPhone app to track what items are in which box upon arriving at your new house.

Preparing for your relocation involves sorting out what is essential and what you don't need. If you have accumulated a lot over the years, we recommend having a yard sale to put a little cash in your pocket and make your move much more accessible.

Another aspect of preparing for a move is communicating your change of address before you relocate.

Let's talk about having a yard sale and communicating your change of address as part of your moving.

couple moving into a new home with boxes of stuff

2. Yard Sale

A yard sale is an excellent idea if you have a lot of stuff and are looking for ways to save money on moving costs

Naturally, you accumulate possessions you may no longer use or need. Part of making your move simple will be to unload some of the extra 'stuff' you don't want to bring to your new home. 

There are several reasons you don't want to bring the stuff you don't need on your move — mainly because it takes up space in your house that you could use for other things. It's also likely that when buying your new home, you will be lighter on cash than before you bought a house. This will put extra money in your pocket to help with moving expenses.

Mark every item you are selling with a price; this way, you aren't constantly being pulled in many different directions with the same question repeatedly - 'How much does this cost?' This will also give people an idea of what to expect when they approach you vs. trying to guess what you will take. I want you to know that people love negotiating, so please ensure you meet them at their price. Don't take it personally if they offer you a low cost; everyone wants a deal.

This way, you know right away how serious they are. Some people want to buy dirt cheap at yard sales, and if it's a quality item, you shouldn't give it away.

There are things you can leave behind when you're moving, and selling them at a yard sale is a great spot to help you pay for moving expenses.

Market your yard sale using resources online, such as Craigslist, and proper marketing signage and directionals for people to follow. Ensure you know your city guidelines for marketing a yard sale, as each has different rules and regulations.

red yard sale sign set up

3. Change of Address

One of the most important steps you will accomplish before moving is communicating your change of address to the appropriate people. Some of the most influential people and organizations to notify include the IRS, your bank, DMV, Service providers, and your friends and family.

Here are the common people and organizations you need to notify before you move in greater detail. 

Not notifying the correct people can lead to problems for you down the road. Many banks and credit card companies use the mail as their primary form of communication, and anyone with your correct address will need to be able to communicate with you. Please ensure you notify everyone; if you forget, you can always tell them after your move.

4. Packing Supplies

Once you are finished prepping for your move, it's time to find the right supplies to help.

You may need a truck, a furniture dolly, and many boxes with labels. When choosing the appropriate size truck, you may want to measure some of your more oversized items to give yourself an idea of how large a truck you will need.

We recommend estimating above 'what you think will work' because it's better to be safe than sorry, and no one wants to make two trips (especially those moving across the country).

Some of the supplies and tools you'll want to have handy during your move:

  • Truck
  • Furniture Dolly
  • Boxes
  • Labels
  • Tape Measure
  • Toolbox/toolkit
  • Tape
  • Scissors

Brand-new cardboard boxes can be expensive; here are ways to find boxes for free. Your local U-Haul may have the take a box, leave a box program, which allows people to reuse still-good boxes for free and drop them back off once used. This is a great way to save on boxes while helping preserve the Earth.

moving truck with boxes family moving into new home

5. Ask for Help

One of the best things you can do when you're moving is to ask many people for help.

Please find some of your closest friends and offer to buy them pizza for a couple of hours of their time. If you have eight people helping you move, it will be much faster than driving alone or with only one other person. Your friends will need your help moving one day, too, or watching their dog or babysitting their kids — so find ways to give back for their help.

If you don't have help, finding a few high school kids looking for a few extra bucks to help pick boxes up and place them inside the house may make sense. You don't have to hire a moving company, though they can be used as a last resort. They will likely charge twice the amount high school kids looking for part-time work will. 

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when moving is not asking your friends for assistance. 

6. Sort and Organize

Before packing, sorting and organizing your stuff is vital to an easy move-in.

We recommend sorting your items by the room they will be moving into because it makes for a much easier transition when you arrive at your destination. Sometimes, only some things will fit perfectly into each box; feel free to assemble a few utility boxes with miscellaneous items. Some great apps for moving can track precisely what is in every box so that you won't misplace or lose anything.

The time and effort you put into your move before packing items will indicate how easy your move-in is on the other end. You should spend one day packing for every room in your home. 

7. Packing

Packing becomes a lot easier when you have things prepared and organized. 

It would be best to have plenty of tools and supplies to help you pack and move things into boxes. Your towels, bed sheets, pillows, and other items should be used as blockers to protect items and not stored away in a box. This will allow you to save money on the extra boxes, use less space inside the truck, and ensure your items are safe.

Many people assume that large boxes are for heavy items. It would be best to put the light stuff in the larger boxes and the heavier ones in the smaller boxes to ensure they are easier to carry. Items like books can add up fast in weight, so if you put them in a larger box, it can quickly be over 100 lbs. Feel free to put many heavy items in suitcases, too. The suitcases with wheels will make traveling these heavy items much easier than carrying them in a box.

Plan a full day, and find help. Direct your use with proper instructions for packing items you have sorted and organized.

homeowner packing boxes full of stuff before moving into new home

8. Labeling and Managing Inventory

If you're anything like me, there is a good chance you'd rather throw everything into a box and worry about it later. There are better ways to go (even though we try to convince ourselves it is).

Labeling and Managing inventory is a great way to make your move simple. When someone says 'Where is ....', you can log in to your app, check your spreadsheet, and say it's in box C4 or something along those lines. Rather than unpacking every box looking for the charger for your iPad or son's handheld Gameboy, you know where it is.

You won't believe how easy labeling and managing your inventory makes things on the other side; put the time and effort in front to make your move far less stressful.

9. Cleaning and Dusting

For those purchasing a house, you will want to ensure the home is clean when you move in. 

When you move into your new house, you'll want to ensure it is clean. You can order a cleaning service to do a deep cleaning and dusting so that when it comes time for you to move in, you don't have to worry about it.

If you're buying new construction, there is a good chance the builder will pay a cleaning company to come in the day before or the day of closing to ensure you're walking into a spotless house. On this page, you can search for new construction homes for sale

homeowner cleaning new home and wiping down new surfaces

10. Moving In

Moving in will be a breeze if you've prepared by following the first nine steps.

As you pull the truck down the final road or take that last turn towards your house, you will feel a massive adrenaline rush, thanks to the excitement that you're finally there. Give yourself time to relax when parking the truck in the driveway or the street in front of your new house. Walk around a bit and ensure you've envisioned everything correctly regarding placement. You can always rearrange it later.

If you can find some help unloading, it will make things much easier for you — though the unloading should be one of the more accessible parts if you've followed the steps above correctly. Carry each item, box, or crate to the room it belongs in and drop it off. Save the unpacking for later once everything has been moved into the house. Make sure your pets are squared away in a comfortable space during the process. 


How do you pack a house fast? 

The best way to pack a house fast is to declutter, recruit the help of friends and family members, label boxes accordingly, pack essentials, and to hire a moving company. 

How early is too early to pack for a move? 

The best time to start planning for packing is about six weeks before your move. This allows enough time for preparing, cleaning, decluttering, and packing. 

How much do you tip a mover? 

The typical rule of thumb for those who choose to use a moving service is to tip the mover 20% of the total moving cost

Final Thoughts on Making Your Move Easy

Planning is everything when it comes to making a move simple. It's the same when buying a house. All first-time homebuyers should have a checklist that they can refer back to. Like most anything, the more time and effort you spend preparing and upfront, the better off you will be when it's 'game-time.'

Another part of making your move as simple as possible will be understanding the common mistakes people make when relocating.

Take a few photos of the empty house before and after you move in.

Find your new home Search real estate and homes for sale
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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! Nice to 'meet' you and thanks for visiting our Raleigh Real Estate Blog! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I'm a REALTOR® in Raleigh-Durham, NC, the owner of Raleigh Realty. I work alongside some of the best Realtors in Raleigh. You can find more of my real estate content on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and more. Realtor Magazine named me a top 30 under 30 Realtor in the country (it was a long time ago haha). Any way, that's enough about me. I'd love to learn more about you if you'd like to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram or connect with our team at Raleigh Realty. Looking forward to connecting!

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