We know a thing or two about preparing for a successful move. We’ve helped hundreds of our clients with this huge task. We developed Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Moving Guide to give you the tools you need to prepare and plan for a seamless move.
“Packing up an entire home while you're working out the final details of your new home purchase can be overwhelming,” said Megan Ryan of the Zimmerman Group. “We created this step-by-step moving guide to take some of the work off your plate.”
Our step-by-step moving guide is an essential part of a smooth transition. Here’s when to start and what to do during each step of the moving process.
After the Inspection and Attorney Review
Begin your moving process before you even make it to the closing table.
- Set your moving budget: One of the biggest costs of moving is hiring professional movers. An in-state move in Illinois can cost between $70 per hour and $115 per hour depending on the size of your home.
If you choose to skip professional movers you may need to factor in the price to rent a truck, dolly, or other moving equipment.
You’ll also need to consider the cost of packing supplies, a cleaning service, storage unit, and temporary housing if necessary.
- Start decluttering: This is the time to identify what items you’re going to take with you to your new home.
Download our Downsizing Decision Tree to help you get started.
- Get organized: Start a moving binder or folder where you can keep all your moving-related documents, receipts, and notes.
- Create a blueprint: Create a room-by-room moving plan to help ensure your move is as lean and streamlined as possible. Use this blueprint to name or color code each space in your new home, then pack your boxes accordingly.
Check out our sample Moving Blueprint.
Five weeks before closing
- Purchase packing supplies: Now’s the time to start gathering up your packing supplies. You may be able to find some items at little or no cost by asking for extra boxes or packing materials on local social media groups.
Now is also the time to secure a moving company or sign a rental agreement for a moving truck and other equipment if you plan on making the move yourself.
- Start packing: With five weeks left before your closing, it’s too soon to pack up your kitchen. But it’s the perfect time to pack non-essential items like holiday decorations and off-season clothing.
- Label boxes consistently: Print out your moving blueprint so everyone who is responsible for packing knows the plan and is labeling boxes consistently.
- Enlist help: Ask your friends and family to save the date of your move. Even if you’re hiring professional movers you’re likely to need a few extra sets of hands.
Two - Three Weeks Before Closing
- Change your address: Start the process of changing your address in key places like USPS, your bank, your credit card companies, and subscription services. Don’t forget to update your online default shipping addresses as well.
- Reconfirm your movers: If you’ve hired professional movers give them a call and confirm the details. If you’re relying on friends and family, check in to see who is still available to help out.
- Schedule utilities service termination: Many utility companies will allow you to schedule a termination date up to two weeks in advance. You may have to break your contract and pay a fee depending on how your termination and contract date align.
- Get a babysitter: Secure a babysitter and a pet sitter if needed to make the move less stressful.
The Week Before Closing
- Finish packing: At this point, you should have all but your most essential items (medicine, toiletries, weeks’ worth of clothes), packed and ready to go.
- Itemize boxes: It can be helpful to create an itemized list of the contents of boxes containing valuable or important items. Add these lists to your moving binder or folder.
- Share your plan: Print multiple copies of your moving blueprint so your movers, friends, and family will know where everything goes the day of your move without having to find you each time there’s a question.
The Day of Your Move
- Do a final walk-through: Check drawers and closets for any items you may have missed when packing.
- Meet your movers: Walk through your home with the movers and explain your moving blueprint. Discuss how you want heavy pieces of furniture moved and indicate any items that need to be disassembled.
- Stick around: Stay close by to answer questions and check that everyone understands your plan.
- Coordinate the drop-off: You can’t be in two places at once, but it’s important to have someone at your new home when the movers arrive. This way you can check, one more time, that everyone understands your blueprint and which room is which.
Being present when the movers arrive is one of the best ways to ensure a smooth transition.
- Treat your helpers: It is customary to give your movers a tip if you’re pleased with their work. You should also have water on hand for the professional movers and your friends and family - moving is a physically draining job!
Once everything is in place, you may want to offer up a meal to say thank you to your friends and family for all of their hard work.
- Unpack the essentials: Don’t exhaust yourself trying to unpack everything in one day. Instead, find your essentials box (food, medicine, toiletries) and just unpack what you need for the evening.
Moving can be exhausting and stressful. But with a little planning, preparation, and our step-by-step moving guide, you’ll be relaxing in your new home in no time.