Stay Organized with a Printable Moving Checklist – 11 Best Tips


stay organized with a printable moving checklist Middle Class Dad man carrying 3 moving boxes with a checklist and pen

Moving to a new house is a big deal. It can be stressful and things don’t always go as planned. So I wondered if I could learn how to stay organized with a printable moving checklist?

Here’s what I discovered:

A moving checklist takes the huge task of moving & breaks it down into a small series of baby steps. Those baby steps fall on a timeline, so it’s easy to know what to do when. When you plan ahead of time and allow enough time for each task on the checklist, you can avoid the headaches that often come with moving.

But there’s a lot more to moving, staying organized, and having your move go smoothly. So let’s keep going!

With proper preparation and planning, things will go much smoother. The things that don’t go as planned won’t be as big of a deal. And your stress won’t turn your dream into a nightmare.

So here are 11 best ways to stay organized with a free printable moving planner. That way your dream house won’t turn into a nightmare! Make sure to grab your free copy of the free printable moving planner too!

Co-authored with moving expert Jenny Harrison of All Around Moving Services Company, Inc.

How do you keep track of boxes when moving?

Trust me. Sitting in your beautiful new home surrounded by boxes is no fun. It’s even worse when you have no idea where anything is or what’s in what box.

So the key is packing similar things together. Obviously, you want to pack kitchen stuff with kitchen stuff, and so on. 

But to really get organized for our move and not go crazy, we have to take it next level. Here are the steps I like to take to keep my boxes organized:

  • Only pack items from the same room in the same box
  • You can use sheets or blankets for padding (but make sure to note that on the box)
  • Don’t bother labeling the top of the boxes (if they are stacked you’ll never see it)
  • Do label the boxes on their sides (ideally multiple sides so you aren’t having to rotate the boxes to see)
  • Color coding boxes that go together can work, but only if your movers are clear on what the colors mean
  • A better strategy is to use room stickers to clearly note what goes where (and it’s more legible and faster than handwriting)

Get a few extra wide chisel-tip Sharpies for easy labeling.

The Tag-a-Room kit on Amazon Prime is perfect for a 3-4 bedroom home and comes with 800 stickers for easy peel and stick labeling. Just click either of those links to see them on Amazon.

How do you make a moving plan?

There’s a lot that goes into moving!

It can seem overwhelming and make most of us just want to hide our heads in the sand and reach for trash bags at the last minute. But that’s not really how you want to move.

As with any large goal in life, the key is to break it down into baby steps. Then take that a little further and have a timeline for each step. My printable moving checklist, which you can grab for free, gets you that on one form that will make your move simple and (relatively) easy.

Other variables include whether you’re moving across town, state, or country. If you’re moving for your employer, that also has some unique aspects too.

But here are the basic steps in a moving plan:

  • Get at least 3 moving quotes at least 3 months ahead of time (make sure they have a do not exceed guarantee)
  • If moving for work, find out how much of the move they are paying for
  • Have a garage sale or donate anything you don’t want to move (any clothes you haven’t worn in a year are more you should get rid of)
  • Whether buying or renting at the new destination, make sure you know the exact move-in date (overlap with the old place and new place gives you some breathing room in case of delays)
  • Stop buying any food that you won’t use before the move (and start using up what you already have)
  • Contact utility and internet companies at both your old and new homes to arrange transfer/disconnect/connection. Contact them at least 3 weeks before your move to ensure a smooth transition
  • Have a plan to clean your old place once you move out (if you won’t still be local), arrange a cleaning company to do a move-out cleaning. That typically runs between $150-250 depending on how dirty and the size of your home
  • Start packing at least a week before the move date
  • Set aside toiletries and essentials in a suitcase you take with you
  • Also, set aside things like a DIY tool kit, laptops and the things you will need to find first in a box you take with you instead of putting in the moving truck

What should I pack first when moving?

Start with anything non-essential.

For instance, any of the following can be packed first without causing any disruption to your daily living:

  • Collectibles
  • Knick knacks and other decorative items
  • Paintings and framed art
  • Books
  • Picture frames
  • Special occasion jewelry
  • Small kitchen appliances you seldom use

Then consider the season. If you’re moving in summer, all your winter clothes and coats are non-essential. Same for those fireplace tools. So pack those first also.

But I would take this next level.

Give each person in the house 1 bath towel, 1 hand towel and 1 washcloth. As long as you wash them weekly, you’ll be just fine. Then all other towels get packed away (they make great padding for breakables).

Then too, you can do the same thing with clothes. 

I bet my sock drawer has 20 pairs of socks at least. Pair than down to 7 and wash them weekly and you’ll be golden. Then take that same mentality through the whole house: dishes, silverware, cups, and glasses, etc. 

Most of us own far more stuff than we really need for a week.

How long before moving should you start packing?

I would always rather have more time than less time.

By that, I mean I prefer to start about 6 weeks ahead of time. Focus on packing all those non-essentials I just mentioned above. But as you pack, you’ll also discover lots of stuff you don’t really need or use.

So by allowing yourself plenty of time, you’ll be able to throw a garage sale and make a little extra cash. And you won’t be stressed out.

Of course, most moving companies do give you the option to hire them for packing. Those guys move quick too and can pack a whole house in a day or 2. But usually, you’re paying by the hour. So packing all the non-essentials 6 weeks out can save you money.

Then save the kitchen for them if you’re going that route.

But for now, let’s get into my . . .

11 Best Tips to Stay Organized When Moving (and grab that printable moving checklist below too!)

1. Pack all the seldom-used things

Chances are that there are some things you rarely use.

Or there’s a guest bedroom in which the bed is hardly slept in and the stuff in the bathroom hardly used.

Pack all these things early on. That way it’s easier and less of a hassle when you’re packing the essentials.

With the lesser-used things out of the way, a big chunk of your work is done. You’ve now got fewer things to do before moving which helps narrow down the to-do list.

Make sure to stay organized with a printable moving checklist.

The checklist keeps you on track, makes sure nothing gets forgotten, but it also gives you a detailed timeline so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.

Amazon Prime has a convenient 50-pack of 12″x12″ foam pouches for less than $10.

Great for placing plates and other breakables into. Because it’s a pouch, the packing will go super quick. Because it’s not newspaper, you won’t need to wash everything when you unpack too! Pick up a pack of paper plates to use until you’re moved.

If you like that, get the smaller size pouches for glasses and mugs. 

Just click any of those links to see them on Amazon.

stay organized with a printable moving checklist free moving quotes banner Middle Class Dad

2. Get the Wi-Fi running

Get things like Wi-Fi and cable installed at your new place before you move in.

This means that your work won’t be delayed and you will remain connected with the world. If you leave everything until the moving day, it will be much more of a hassle.

It also means you can curl up and watch TV after that first long and tiring day of moving. So again, make sure and stay organized with a printable moving checklist.

3. Have your new place professionally cleaned before you move in

Hire a professional cleaning service and get the floors scrubbed, mopped and dusted done a day beforehand.

This will ensure you can set up all your furniture and other things in place without having to worry about the dust and dirt everywhere.

Also, get the kitchen cabinets cleaned up so everything is ready for your dishes and cookware.

Ask your movers to put down paper walkways so they don’t track up your freshly cleaned house.

4. Arrange for utility services at your new home

Some utility companies will require copies of mortgage or lease agreements to turn on services.

They may also require a deposit.

Start researching and contacting these companies early on to minimize the headaches.

Remember too that some of these companies will need some lead time and may give a range of hours for when their service person will show up.

Planning this in advance means no surprises and no downtime.

So once again, stay organized with a printable moving checklist.

5. Pack clothes in garbage bags

It’s better not to pack your clothes in boxes or suitcases.

Simply move them covered in clean, garbage bags. It saves on boxes and the bags can later be used for trash. Plus in the moving truck, those bags of clothes can be tucked in anywhere and can also provide a cushion for valuables.

6. Use moving as an opportunity to get rid of stuff

Moving all your stuff is a great time to go through your things and get rid of what you don’t want or no longer use.

Go through everything you own and make two piles, things you want to take to your new place and items you want to donate to charities or sell.

Donate or sell all the things that you haven’t used in over a year or the things you aren’t emotionally attached to. If you itemize on your income taxes, any charitable donations can be a tax deduction (click to see my article which details how to do that).

And if you are moving for a new job (and not being paid for the move), all your moving expenses may be tax-deductible too!

7. Hire reputable movers

Always remember to research and hire a reliable moving company.

Don’t go for cheap or amateur movers.

It’s better to do your homework and hire professional movers. Even if you end up spending a few bucks, the effort is worth it.

One of the most detailed posts on the Middle Class Dad site details EXACTLY how to find the Top Rated Moving Companies and eliminate the nightmare ones. Just click that link to read it on my site.

Once you have a mover chosen, then you can stay organized with a printable moving checklist, so make sure to download your copy here.

8. Have a small toolbox of essentials on hand

It is necessary to keep all the packing essentials like a tape & tape dispenser, small zip-lock bags, bubble wrap, markers, labels and other small essentials on hand. Just click any of those links to see them on Amazon.

Trust me, no one wants to run out of these things while packing.

You don’t want to go running to the store in an emergency when you find out the tape is finished, so stay organized with a printable moving checklist.

You’ll also want to have a basic toolkit and nails for installing and hanging things at the new place before you’ve unpacked all your tools and supplies.

The Workpro 100 Piece Kitchen Drawer Home Repair Tool Kit (click to see the current price on Amazon) is easily carried with one hand. It has hundreds of awesome 4 and 5-star reviews stars on Amazon and is an Amazon’s Choice product with free shipping. And won’t break the bank!

9. Collect moving boxes well before the move

You will need boxes and containers when you pack your belongings.

Ask your friends or neighbors who have moved recently if they can lend you the extra boxes they have lying around.

Start collecting boxes weeks before the move and just keep them in the garage until needed.

Craigslist, NextDoor, and neighborhood Facebook pages are great places to find free moving boxes.

Once you’re unpacked at your new place, use those same websites to get rid of the boxes and simply place them out by the curb.

10. Room-code your boxes

You don’t want to open every box there is once you arrive at your new place to hunt for an item.

Thus, it is very important to label the boxes and containers. This way you will know what things are inside or which room they are supposed to go into. This will save you a lot of time and effort.

Get a few extra wide chisel-tip Sharpies for easy labeling.

The Tag-a-Room kit on Amazon Prime is perfect for a 3-4 bedroom home and comes with 800 stickers for easy peel and stick labeling. Just click either of those links to see them on Amazon.

11. Pack an overnight bag

Always pack a small overnight bag before the move with stuff that you might need immediately.

A change of clothes for everyone, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tissues, wipes are things you might need once you reach your new place.

It might also be a wise idea to carry tea, coffee, sugar, and snacks.

The Starbucks Instant Coffee Packets just need hot water and can make any tired morning right without needing a coffee maker.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about how to stay organized with a printable moving checklist?

In this post, we looked at the best tips to stay organized with a printable moving checklist to make everything go smoothly.

We also provided our custom free printable moving planner you can quickly and easily download and print.

We also linked to some great additional resources which can help even more.

Having done all the preparations beforehand, moving should not be a hassle. So put in some thought and planning into yours and you should be good to go. Happy moving!

So don’t forget your free printable moving planner. Print it out for the refrigerator or just keep the free printable moving planner on your phone.

What has been your biggest moving headache or nightmare?


About the co-author of this post.

Jenny Harrison guest author stay organized with a printable moving checklist Middle Class Dad

Jenny Harrison is a featured blogger at various high authority blogs and magazines in which she shared her research and experience with the vast online community.

She also blogs with All Around Moving Services Company, Inc. which provides local movers in NYC as well as New Jersey, Connecticut and the Miami Dale area in South Florida.

Follow her on Twitter @MJennyHarrison for more updates.

Want to write for Middle Class Dad too? Check out everything you need to know on my Guest Blog Page.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

2 thoughts on “Stay Organized with a Printable Moving Checklist – 11 Best Tips

  1. Thanks for these tips to keep in mind for moving. It’s good to know that you should try to try to pack everything that you don’t use often. This seems helpful so you aren’t digging through packed items for things that you use often.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Taylor! I appreciate it. Unfortunately, I’ve moved 26 times in my life and my family is currently looking for our “forever home” so 1 more move pending. Thus we need all the moving & productivity tips we can get!

      Thanks for being here!

      Jeff

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