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Moving Guide

Moving can be a stressful time. There's so much to do before you move that it can be overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be. The key to a successful move is organization and planning. If you do this ahead of time you will thank yourself later. Just follow the helpful hints in our move checklist and packing guide and your move will be stress-free.

» Packing Tips
» Move Checklist
» Moving with Kids
» Moving with Pets

Packing Tips

There are several things to consider before you decide to pack yourself. It can be a real hassle and take up a lot of time and energy. However, it’s a great way to save money even if you use a moving company. Consult your moving company to find out just how much it will save to do the packing yourself before you begin. If you feel it’s worth the extra savings, then go for it!

Pre-Packing Guidelines

If you go ahead and do the packing yourself, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

  • Everything should be packed and ready to go before the van arrives
  • Only leave out items that you will need that night and the next morning
  • Ask your moving company about their packing standards. They may refuse to move items that are improperly packed.
  • Items that you already keep in storage such as holiday decorations should be repacked.

Packing Supplies

Use new, quality packing supplies to ensure the safety of your items.

  • Bubble wrap, foam peanuts, tissue or newspaper
  • Packing tape
  • Permanent markers
  • Scissors or box knife
  • Paper & pen to keep track of items

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Packing Guidelines

Wrap items to protect them before placing them in boxes. Bubble wrap or tissue works well. If you are trying to save money, newsprint is a cheap alternative. Just be careful not to use it with items it may damage because the ink will rub off.

  • Use 1-3 sheets of your packing material to wrap your items.
  • Line the bottom of each box with wadded paper for padding.
  • Place the heavy items in the bottom and light items in the top of the box.
  • Be sure not to overload boxes.
  • Top off boxes with wadded paper or bubble wrap
  • Plates and books are best packed vertically
  • Be sure to cushion your items well
  • Limit box weight to 50 lbs.
  • Use a permanent marker to mark the room and contents on each box. Indicate with “fragile” or “this end up” when appropriate. Marking your name may also be a good idea.
  • Start with items that are infrequently used.
  • Pack similar items together
  • Tape boxes tightly to ensure they will stay closed during the move

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Move Checklist

Eight Weeks Before the Move

  • Clean out the attic, basement, storage shed, and garage.
  • Contact your insurance companies to notify them of the move.
  • Create a move file to keep all moving documentation in one location.
  • Plan arrangements to have your children’s school records sent to their new school.
  • Start shopping and comparing moving companies or if you plan to move yourself shop for a moving van.
  • Get rid of anything you do not use. Give it away to charities, friends, family, or toss it. A garage sale is a good solution as well.
  • Verify when your landlord needs notice and make sure the give it in plenty of time.

Six Weeks Before the Move

  • Choose your moving company and make tentative move day plans or if doing it yourself schedule your moving van.
  • Obtain or make arrangements for medical, attorney, and any other records if moving to a new city.
  • Schedule a physical exam for your pets and obtain their medical records.
  • Take care of any club memberships that may need to be cancelled or transferred.
  • Clean out closets and any other small storage areas.

Four Weeks Before the Move

  • Gather moving supplies and begin packing. Start with stuff that is seldom used.
  • Schedule disconnect and transfer dates with your utility companies.
  • Organize important documents such as birth certificates and financial information and keep it in a safe place.
  • Complete a change of address form and notify friends and family and the following of your new address:
  • Schools
  • Income Tax
  • Social Security
  • Credit Cards
  • Loans
  • Doctors/Dentists
  • Banks
  • Churches
  • Insurance
  • Attorney
  • Accountant
  • Phone Service

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Two Weeks Before the Move

  • Confirm moving date with moving company &/or your rental van company.
  • Schedule to set-up your new phone service.
  • Take care of any arrangements for your pets and children for the move day.
  • Contact banks to close out accounts and/or open accounts in your new community.
  • Discontinue or transfer newspaper subscriptions.
  • Confirm all utility transfers/disconnects.
  • Take care of change of address with Motor Vehicle Bureau.
  • Clean out refrigerator and try to use up all perishable items.
  • Don’t forget about any safe deposit boxes you may have.
  • Get your car serviced if you will be driving it a distance.
  • Drain all gasoline and oil from lawnmowers and other power equipment.
  • Write out driving directions for the moving company.

Move Day

  • Confirm move time with moving company or pick time of your rental van.
  • Keep any valuables or family heirlooms with you.
  • Make sure to have your move file and keys handy.
  • Double check the entire house before the movers leave.
  • Lock all windows and doors and turn keys in if moving from an apartment.
  • Meet the movers promptly at your new home to supervise placement of boxes and furniture.

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Moving with Kids

Children become quite accustomed to their surroundings and routines. It’s generally easier to move with younger children than older ones. Older children have time to grow attached to their environment including socially and can be rebellious. However, sudden changes are difficult for younger children. It’s a good idea to prepare them well in advance for a move. Try to be positive and keep with their routine. Communicate with them about the new home and community. If possible, take them by the new home and check out the neighborhood. Get your children involved in the moving process. Let them pack some of their own items.

Move Day

The best thing to do on move day is have a friend or relative look after your children. If this isn’t possible, make sure to have a game plan for them on that day. Use a portable playpen with their favorite toys for younger children. It’s dangerous to have them under foot. Something could be dropped on them or they could climb on the boxes and fall. Try to involve older children with the moving activities. Have them carry items that aren’t breakable to let them feel like they are being apart of the move.

New Home

Once in your new home, it’s best to get your children settled into their new rooms as soon as possible. Let them help decorate their room by even picking out the paint color. Try to maintain their routine, including any rituals you have set like TV night. As a family, become acquainted with the new area and encourage your kids to make new friends. A neighborhood house warming party can help with this. Help your children become involved in sports, clubs, and school activities. Let them stay in touch with their old friend. Be patient with your children and allow them to adjust to the new environment. It may be rough at first, but by staying positive and keeping the communication lines open it will help the process be as smooth as possible.

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Moving with Pets

Moving can be just as stressful on your pets as it is on you. Pets become very attached to their environment, especially cats. Advanced preparation can ease the move for the animals as well as you.

Regular Routine

In the hustle and bustle of preparing to move, it is very important to stick with the pet’s regular routine. Changes in their routine can cause behavioral problems and illness can result from stress. Try to stretch out your packing time over several weeks. This will help you to be prepared on the actual move day, which will make it less chaotic for you as well as your animals.


Before the move, make sure your pet is up-to-date on their shots and schedule a physical exam with your veterinarian. If your pet is on medication, make sure you have plenty to get you through the move and settled into your new home. Get a copy of your pet’s medical records along with a rabies certificate. Ask the vet if a mild sedative would be advisable for your pet if you feel the move will be very stressful on the animal.

Pet ID

Make sure to update the pet’s ID tags with your new address and phone number. Keep the collar with tags on your pet at all times during the move. It’s also a good idea to have recent photos of your pet in case they get lost during the move. A cat leash is also a good investment at this time. You’ll need it for both car and airplane travel.

Moving Day

On moving day, it is best to isolate your pets in a quiet room. Provide them with food and water and their favorite bed and toys. For cats, move their litter box in as well. Make a sign for the door so friends and movers know not to open the door because the animals are in the room. Leave the pet’s carrier in the room so the pet can get acclimated to it if you plan to use it for the move. Check on them often to reassure them and try to be sensitive to the potential that they may become emotionally upset.

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New Home


The moving process is usually much harder on cats because they become more attached to their environment. So with cats you must be prepared to give it plenty of attention and constantly reassure it with familiar items and scents so the move does not come as a shock. During the first days at the new home, keep the cat in one room along with it’s food, water, and litter box. Let the cat explore the new home one room at a time at it’s own pace. It may take a month until the cat feels comfortable in the new home and becomes familiar the surroundings.


Dogs are more attached to their owners rather than their environment so the move will be much easier for them. If possible, take your dog to the new home before the move so they can get use to the new scents. Take your dog on a walk around the neighborhood as soon as possible so he can get use to the new sights and sounds. Try to keep him on his regular feeding and walking schedule.

Travel by Car

Try not to feed or water your pet for several hours before the drive. Be prepared to make frequent stops and feed the pet either once daily or a couple of small meals during rest stops. Maintain a comfortable temperature in the car. If you must leave the pet alone in the car, make sure it is for a very short time period and leave the windows open and doors locked.

Here are a few items you should bring with you:

  • Crate large enough for the pet and it’s water and food dishes along with a litter box for cats
  • Pet's medical records
  • Water and food dishes
  • Pet’s food and water from home. Changing water can upset a pet’s stomach.
  • Pet’s favorite toys and treats
  • Your Veterinarian’s phone number and one of a vet at your destination
  • Leash and collar with tags for dogs and cats
  • Plastic bags for picking up waste
  • Comb and brush
  • Paper towels and towels
  • Blanket or bed
  • Recent photos of your pet

Travel by Plane

It is best to book a direct flight so that the animal will not be sitting outside the plane. Try to use an airline that provides counter-to-counter service so your pet will be carried on and off the plane by an airline employee.

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