How to Prepare for a Move


Moving can be a daunting and stressful task. When preparing for a move, arm yourself with the careful planning and organization a moving timeline checklist provides. Moving can become a stress-free experience. At Snapbox Self Storage we understand the challenges that come with moving which is why we have crafted a comprehensive moving timeline to guide you through the process. From the initial planning stages to settling into your new home, our moving timeline will help you stay on track and ensure a successful move.

8 Weeks Prior – How to Get Organized Before Your Move

Start Organizing Your Move


Starting a moving binder is the first step to ensuring your move goes smoothly. Your binder can be as fancy and detailed as you want or as simple as a folder with your notes. You can also go digital with your moving binder and keep track of all your important information in a folder on your desktop, somewhere on your phone in the cloud.

The first thing you want to place in your moving binder is your moving checklist. This will be the item you reference most during the process of moving and should be easily accessible. You can find Snapbox Self Storage’s official moving checklist here.

Set A Moving Budget


Costs can add up quickly when preparing for a move. Having a set moving budget will help ensure that you stay on target. Depending on your budget there are different options to accommodate you. For the budget savvy person a DIY move could work out well for you. If you would prefer to hire a professional packing and moving company to handle your move make sure you have the budget to do so. There are also hybrid options of doing some or most of the work yourself and having professionals step in to assist. Read this article if you are looking to see the pros and cons of hiring movers or doing it yourself.

Below is a list of items you should consider when building your budget:

  • Professional moving company

  • Rental truck cost

  • Packing supplies

  • Travel costs (tolls, gas, lodging, food)

  • Moving Insurance

Find The Best Moving Company For You

If you have budgeted for a moving company, start looking into companies. Look online for local moving companies and start calling them.

If you are going the DIY route you can start researching truck rental companies and book the rentals. It is recommended if renting a moving truck or any equipment that you schedule to pick it up the night before the move if possible.

If you are not able to pick it up the night before make sure to schedule it as early as possible the day of the move. You also want to make sure you book enough time with the truck. There is nothing worse than underestimating the time you need the truck and only being halfway done when the rental company is calling you to see when you are bringing it back. Chances are some other family booked the truck after you and you may inadvertently affect their move and get hit with additional penalties.

Start Decluttering

Now is a great opportunity to declutter your home. Instead of throwing everything into boxes and moving it to your new home, take some time to go through everything and determine what you should keep, donate and toss. You can also plan to hold a garage sale or sell some items through a local online marketplace to try to make some money to help offset some of the moving costs.

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7 Weeks Prior – Things to Do Before Your Move

Gather Packing Supplies

Packing and moving supplies are something you should start considering early in the process. Some of the basic items you will need are boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap. Glass dividers, damp rid, markers, mattress bags, furniture covers, stretch wrap. While you can get various items from big box stores it is recommended that you go to your local storage facility. The staff there are knowledgeable about the supplies offered and they usually have things you won’t find in a local big box store.

Schedule Moving Equipment Rentals


Start looking into rentals of moving blankets and dollies for the move. Most of the major rental truck companies offer basic moving equipment for a minimal fee when you rent their moving truck. Even if you aren’t renting a truck through the company you may still be able to rent moving equipment from them. You should also ask friends and family if they have any dollies or moving blankets from a previous move that they are willing to lend you.

Secure Documents

If you are moving out of the area you will want to make sure you start the process of collecting important documents such as school records, vet records, medical and dental records.

Make sure to get copies of everything so you can easily transition after your move. Keep the documents in a secure safe place. It is recommended that these items along with important documents like social security cards, birth certificates, tax records etc… stay with you in your vehicle during the move. Nothing is worse than important papers getting misplaced or even lost in a move, especially since you will more than likely need a lot of those documents shortly after you move to set up different services in your new area. Use our document checklist to keep track of all your important records and ensure that nothing gets left behind.

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6 Weeks Prior – Measure for Your Move

Measure, Measure, Measure!


Measuring is an important part of moving. Get out your trusty tape measure and find a friend and start measuring your large furniture items. You also want to measure the doorways and hallways of your old home and new home. Get the measurements of the rooms in your new home to ensure your furniture will fit. Keep track of the dimensions of your furniture and the doorways they need to go through. Download and print our handy MEASUREMENTS sheet to take inventory of your most important dimensions.

You want to make sure the furniture you are moving is not only going to fit into your new place but also through the doorways. This will give you enough time to determine if you need to unassemble any furniture prior to moving or if it is better to sell items that won’t fit into your new place. You can coordinate with your realtor or rental office to gain access to the new property to get the measurements. Some real estate agents and property managers may also have access to the builders floor plans that you can use.

Bonus Tip: You can also use some graph paper to layout your new home’s floor plan. This will help your movers on the day of the move to visualize where you want the furniture to go. On moving day you should tape a copy of the floor plan up in each room for an easy to find guide that your movers can follow.

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5 Weeks Prior – What to Pack Before Your Move

Start Packing

This is when you want to start packing everything that you don’t need for your day to day. This includes books, home decor, any clothes and shoes not currently in season, excess kitchen supplies and anything else you can do without for a few weeks. Starting a month before the move gives you time to go through everything and make sure it is all packed up correctly. From this point forward you will continue to pack up until the move. To avoid stress it is recommended you tackle a little bit each day.

Keep It Together


When packing you want to try to keep the same type of items together. If you are packing up kitchen items don’t mix those up with things from your bathroom. You probably won’t get all of your boxes unpacked right away and will have a difficult time trying to find something if it isn’t packed up with other items like it. Usually separating your boxes by room and type is sufficient enough to ensure you can find what you need. Use our handy PACKING INVENTORY Sheet to keep track of all of your belongings and boxes.

If you have the space in a large room near the front door like a living room or dining room you should consider putting your boxes there. This will make it easier on moving day to load up the boxes.

Label Boxes

Boxes should be labeled with the room and a description of their contents. You can also create a packing inventory to keep track of your items. Keep the packing inventory list in your Moving Binder for easy access. Another option is photographing the contents of each box before sealing it up. Keep these images somewhere it will be easy to locate them.

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4 Weeks Prior – Schedule Utilities & More Before Your Move


Verify all the records you requested 2 weeks ago have all been received. If you still do not have specific documents, follow up with the offices to get those records and make sure to keep all important documents in your Moving Binder or other secure location that will be easy to locate and access throughout the moving process.

Call Utility Companies

This is a good time to start calling all the utility companies. You need to make sure that your existing utilities are scheduled to be shut off or switched out of your name and your new services will be turned on at the new location. Make sure that you do not have your utilities shut off until at least the day after your move. You do not want to have people moving you in the dark with no ac or heat or water. The same is true for your new home. Make sure all utilities are switched over and on prior to moving day if possible.

Change Your Address

You should have your address changed ahead of the move. When changing your legal address through the USPS you have the option to pre-select the date your address will officially change.

You also want to reach out to your financial institutions, doctors, insurance providers and any other official offices and let them know of your new address. Some places will ask you to contact them after you have officially moved so keep a list in your calendar to call those places at that time.

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3 Weeks Prior – Plan Your Meals Leading Up to Your Move

Meal Plan


If you are moving any great distance (more than 30 minutes) you will want to consider what perishable items you currently have. Go through your refrigerator and freezer and take an inventory. Use our MEAL PLAN sheet to plan as many meals throughout the next few weeks as possible. If you have more than you can consume and don’t want to throw it out, ask family, friends and neighbors if they would be interested in it.

If you are moving close by (within 30 minutes) You can ask people to borrow their coolers on the day of the move to transport your food to your new home. Remember to designate someone to get bags of ice the day of the move to keep your items cold.

Canned and other pantry items can also take up a lot of space and be very heavy to move. You may want to consider going through your pantry as well and either trying to consume what you can prior to the move or again seeing if anyone would like those items. There are also many areas that offer local food pantries and donation sites that can accept non-expired, sealed non perishable foods. Consider donating to your local charities to help families in need.

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2 Weeks Prior – Preparations for Your Move

Make Arrangements For Children & Pets

If you have young children or pets you may want to make arrangements for them during the move. If you are able to leave them with a trusted family member or friend you should consider having them stay the night before the move. You will be busy with last minute tasks to prepare for your move and children and pets can hinder your progress.


If you aren’t able to find a place for them the night before, consider finding someone willing to pick them up first thing in the morning. You don’t want to have to worry about your children or pets getting out through the open front door or getting in the way of heavy furniture being moved.

If you have no off site childcare options then consider designating a friend, family member or even trusted neighbor to come over and help wrangle the children and pets. Give them a designated area in the backyard or a room in the house where they won’t be in the way and make sure to provide entertainment/activities and snacks to keep them occupied.

If you have older children you may want their assistance on moving day. Make sure to come up with a list of age appropriate tasks that they can do to help out. Check in with them frequently to make sure they stay on task and make sure to also have something entertaining and some snacks put aside for them when they inevitably need a break. Planning a small incentive at the end of the move to reward them for all their hard work can also help to motivate kids and teens to stay on task.

Pack Your Electronics for Your Move


With all the technology and electronics in our homes many people tend to have complicated setups. Whether it is the entertainment center in your living room that has your TV, soundbars, video game consoles etc… or the computer set up in your office with your towers, monitors, and printers, many of these things come with a lot of wires. You need to know exactly what plugs into what to make it easier to set these up at your new home.

  • Photograph and document what wires lead to what.

  • Consider wrapping some painter tape around the ends of each wire with a short note as to what each end plugs into.

  • When unplugging the wires keep everything for each set up together in a bag or box so you can easily find everything.

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1 Week Prior – Last Minute Preparations for Your Move

Unassemble Furniture

Refer back to your measurements list from week 6 to confirm which furniture needs to be unassembled. Before taking any hardware out of the furniture you should snap a few pictures of the piece as it stands. You may also want to look online or reach out to the manufacturer to see if they have the assembly directions for you to access when it is time to put the piece back together.

Make sure when unassembling everything to keep all hardware in a clearly labeled ziplock bag. If there are a lot of different hardware types you may want to separate them into smaller bags and keep notes of where they go on the furniture. Mark on the bag not only the piece of furniture that it goes to but also the room that furniture will be in.

Some people keep the hardware taped to a large piece of the furniture. The problem with this is that during the move the bag can become detached and lost or the bag may get ripped, losing your hardware. It is recommended that you keep all of your hardware separated in their individual marked ziplock bags and put everything into one box. You should consider keeping the directions and any tools you will need to reassemble your furniture in the same box. That box should be placed in your vehicle and kept separate from the rest of your boxes to easily find it.

Food & Water

Moving is a lot of physical work. It is important that you and anyone you have enlisted to help stay hydrated and nourished during the move. Depending on when you start and end your move you may want to provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Luckily there are plenty of quick and easy options.

Pick up a pack of water bottles and keep it in the fridge for people to grab as they need. Pro Tip: Keep a sharpie tied to the fridge so people can mark their water bottles or else you will have half finished bottles laying around everywhere.

If you are starting early in the morning you may want to provide a quick breakfast and coffee for your friends and family. Call your local bakery or bagel shop to see what options they have available and place an order for pick up the morning of the move. If you are unable to pick up your order see about designating one of your friends or family members to pick it up (make sure to pre-pay when you place the order).

Lunch and dinner can be a simple sandwich platter from your local grocery store or deli or the tried and true pizza from your favorite pizzeria. If doing a sandwich platter, call ahead of time to see how much notice they need to order.

Keeping some easy to grab snacks is a good idea too. Try to avoid overly salty items or anything high in sugar. Granola bars, fresh fruit and fruit cups make a great grab and go snack that people can take as needed. Leave these in an easy to access location and make sure everyone knows where they are.

Make sure to have paper plates, napkins, plasticware and trash bags readily available for people.

Packing Essentials

By this point you should have the majority of your non essential items packed up and ready to go. The only items left unpacked at your home should be the essential things that you need on a daily basis and your cleaning supplies.

Spend the week getting the essential boxes packed up. Make sure to clearly label these boxes with a designation that they are '1st To Open'. Leave your cleaning supplies in a designated area so that you can access them on moving day as needed.

Clean Your New Place


If you are able to access your new home prior to your move in date then this is the perfect time to make sure it is clean and ready for your move. You can hire a professional cleaning company to give your new home a deep cleaning. Many cleaning companies offer new home packages and discounts, so make sure to ask.

If you would rather clean your new home by yourself try to enlist the help of friends and family to clean. Make sure to supply the cleaning supplies and divide tasks up amongst the group. Don’t forget to bring some music so you can jam out to your favorite songs!

Confirm Details

If you are using a professional moving company now is the time to call them and confirm all the final details of your move. Make sure you are aware of the time they are expected to show along with how many people are scheduled. Your contracts and the correspondences should be safely tucked away in your moving binder.

If you are renting a moving truck and equipment, call the rental company a few days prior to the move to confirm what time you can pick up the truck and verify they will have the equipment you requested available to you. Print out all receipts and documentation for your moving binder.

You should also take this time to follow up with any family and friends who are assisting you with your move. Make sure they know what time you are expecting them, what you may need them to bring and inform them of any food or meals you will be providing.

Finally, don’t forget to confirm the final details with any sitters you may have set up for your children or pets. Make sure they are aware of drop off/pick up times and see if there is anything specific they want you to bring to make their job a little easier.

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Things to Do the Day Before Moving Day

Remove The Door

If you have a screen or storm door it is a good idea to remove it, especially if you have large pieces of furniture. By removing these doors you avoid damaging them during the move. It can also provide you the extra space you may need to get something bulky out the door.

Children & Pets

Drop off children or pets to the designated sitter for the night. If you do not have a sitter, make sure you have everything in place for the next day to ensure they are entertained and safely out of the way of all the chaos.

For older children who may be helping you during the move let them know ahead of time what expectations you have for them so they understand the plan for the next day. You will have better success by mapping out what is expected of them.

Rental Truck

Pick up your rental truck and rental equipment from the designated pickup location. Make sure that the truck has enough gas in it and that all the items you requested like moving dollies, moving blankets etc… are present. You should also ask the representative to show you how to open and close the rollup door on the truck, and set up and break down the ramp.

Night Before

Plan to go to bed early the night before and get a good night’s sleep. Make sure your cellphone is fully charged for the next day and that your moving binder is accessible as well.

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Things to Do on Moving Day

Moving Binder

You’ve spent weeks building up your moving binder with your moving day checklists and all the important information you need for the day. Make sure to keep your moving binder with you throughout the process or keep it in a designated location where it is easy to access but won’t accidentally get packed away or lost. Reference your moving binder as needed and keep a pen to add any notes of items that may come up or will need to be addressed.

Set Your Plan In Motion

As people arrive to help you with your move make sure to have your plan clearly defined for everyone. Designate different people for different tasks based on their strengths. Have a plan on what rooms or items you want moved first. Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them or you may find people standing around waiting for directions instead of actually helping you move. You also want to frequently check in with everyone throughout the process to make sure there are no issues and that everyone is on the same page.

Clearly Mark The Rooms In Your New Home

Review with your movers where the rooms in your new home are. You can add a sign on each door that leads to the room with its title. If you created a floor plan laying out where you want the furniture, post these up in the rooms in an easy to find location for your movers to review.

Final Clean

As rooms are cleared out it is a good idea to have someone designated to go in and do a thorough cleaning. They should wipe down the baseboards, clean the windows and windowsills and vacuum the carpet. For bathrooms and kitchens make sure to wipe down the counters, appliances and fixtures. If you still have time before you need to relinquish the keys and are able to return at a later date this can be saved for after the move.

Bathrooms and kitchens should be left for last as people will still be using those throughout the day of the move. Click here for a complete moving day cleaning article.

Final Walk Through

Before handing over the keys to your old home you need to complete a final walkthrough to make sure you didn’t forget anything. A good way to make sure nothing is overlooked is to go room by room and open every door, every closet, cabinet etc… and ensure it is completely empty. Leave all doors, cabinets and drawers open as you go through the home.

When you do a second pass, verify that everything has been checked and nothing was left closed. This is also when you should photograph everything! If you were renting it is important to document the condition of the place to get your security deposit back. If you are selling your home you want to document everything for the closing in case any issues arise.

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After Your Move – Don’t Forget to Relax

Congratulations! You have finally moved into your new home. Chances are you’re still surrounded by unpacked boxes, and may not know exactly where your favorite coffee mug is, but that’s ok. By following the moving timeline your new list of items you need to accomplish before you are officially settled should be fairly short and easy to tackle… on another day.

Right now make sure to take some time to appreciate what you accomplished. Bask in your new home and just relax. You worked hard and you deserve a moment to unwind and enjoy it!

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