Planning a move is a big process and one that can easily get overwhelming. If you’re moving to a new apartment, you may wonder where to begin. It’s all too common to try to move without a plan. If you try winging it, you’ll only add more pressure on yourself later. Saving it until the last minute doesn’t mean less work, it just means less strategy, and all of the stuff you’ve been avoiding just piles on at the last minute.

Instead, set yourself a timeline. By looking at your move in phases and setting due dates for different parts of the process, you can be sure to have a smooth move.

Six to Eight Weeks Before

Start six to eight weeks in advance and get your details together. Collect all of your moving-related documents such as your lease, contact details of any services or utilities you’ll need to cancel, and determine if your new apartment building has rules for moving in. Essentially, the first step is to make sure you understand what it will take to move out and in.

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Then, give notice at your current place. Check your lease to see how much advance notice you need to provide your landlord – in many cases, this may be 60 days. Make sure you understand what you’ll need to do to prepare your apartment for turning it over to your landlord or management company.

Finally, find a moving company. The earlier you find someone, the better. You’ll be more likely to get the moving date you want, and you’ll breathe a sigh of relief knowing you have help with the hard work.

Four to Five Weeks Before

Four to five weeks before your moving day you should start to sort and purge your belongings. This typically feels tedious for many people so they put it off. Do you know what that means? You’ll end up throwing things in boxes without a discerning look. That may seem fine in the packing process, but imagine the future stage when you find yourself unpacking a bunch of stuff you don’t need or use. Do yourself a favor and downsize.

Then, start with address changes. File for a change of address with the Post Office. Do it early as it may take some time to be put in place. Next, change your address with all of your creditors – bank, credit cards, and anyone else who may send you mail.

Next, contact the utility companies to let them know you’re moving. That includes water, electricity, gas, internet, television, and any others. If you’re moving to a place that uses different providers, you’ll need to cancel your contract. If you can transfer your service to a new address, that will save some hassle.

 This is also the stage when we recommend you begin packing. Start with the things you use less often and that you won’t need in the next four weeks. Designate a space in your current home to collect packed boxes so they aren’t strewn about.

Two to Three Weeks Before

When you reach two to three weeks before your move, it’s time to start with scheduling and cleaning. If you have kids or pets, it’s best to make arrangements for them for the day of the move. With so much in motion, it can be dangerous or stressful for kids, animals, parents, and movers alike to have them running around your home.

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If you need to schedule time off with your employer, now is a good time to make it known. 

Next, have a look in the fridge and pantry. Clear out anything spoiled or unusable, and try to eat as much as you can that’s left over to save yourself packing and moving it. The kitchen pantry and fridge are easy places to downsize.

Spend this time cleaning and repairing your current home. If there are any faults or painted walls that you’ll otherwise be charged for, now is a good time to fix or paint them. Do what you need to now, and schedule a cleaner to come in at the end of your move to do the jobs that need a bit of elbow grease.

One Week Before

Now is the time to finalize your packing. Make sure to set aside an essentials box, where you’ll pack all of the crucial items for the first couple of nights in your new apartment. That includes bed linens, towels, toiletries, medication, a change of clothes, pajamas, and – if you’re a coffee drinker – a coffee pot and mug.

Check in with your moving company to make sure you’re on track and ensure you haven’t left anything out. If you have more or less stuff than initially discussed, make sure you let them know.

Schedule a final walkthrough with your landlord so you can plan for turning over the keys and ensuring your receive your deposit back. Contact your new landlord as well and confirm a date and time that you can pick up your new keys.

To support your movers, make sure you have water and snacks on hand. After all, they’re doing the hard work that you don’t want or can’t do yourself. This is a great moment to get some cash to tip your mover to thank them for a job well done.

Moving Day

The day has finally arrived! We bet you’re fully prepared by the time it comes (as long as you’ve followed the advice above, of course).

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Take care of any last-minute cleaning tasks. Take out the trash and the recycling, and walk through the rooms to make sure you have everything.

Pack your essentials box(es) with you – at least, make sure they’re clearly set aside and don’t get picked up by the movers by mistake.

Turn everything off and deliver the keys to your landlord or management company. Then, arrive early at your new apartment and do your walkthrough with your new landlord with time to spare. Next, ensure everything is put in the right room, keep track of what’s there, thank and tip your mover, and start to unfold in your new apartment.