FYI: This is the ultimate moving-out checklist

Get outta town

A picture of moving boxes on a pink background
(Image credit: Future)

Okay, so you’ve handed in your notice. You’re moving out. You’re outta there. Of course, it would be so easy to move out of an apartment, wave a magic wand, and have everything from your old place handled. But sadly that just ain’t the case!

There are a range of things that you need to think about and do before moving out. By planning well in advance, you won’t have anything (major) to stress about by the time it comes to shipping out.

I’ve put together a handy checklist, with all the info you need to get yourself and your house in check for packing up. You can keep this piece open on a tab throughout the moving process, or even just take a couple of screenshots and tick things off that way. Whatever works for you, boo.

Scroll on down for everything you need to know before moving out your old place...

Follow this 10-step moving out checklist for your easiest move yet

Make your fresh start as easy as poss with this step-by-step apartment moving out checklist.

1. Count the cost of house moving

Ok, there are a few costs to consider before beginning the process of moving. This could include professional moving companies with or without a packing service, or van hire and packing materials if you do it yourself. Calculate these costs, then set aside the amount in your bank account and don't touch it. If you know you're prone to spending some cash, you could always put these in a separate account so that you don't look at it so often.

2. Know the timeline for moving house

Want to get really organized? I've broken down everything you need to tick off your list in the weeks before moving...

8 weeks to go

  • Clear clutter so you don’t pay to move it.
  • Research moving firms and invite them to quote.
  • Check parking restrictions at your old and new homes in case permits are required.

4 weeks to go

  • Compare quotations and choose a moving company.
  • Start changes of address.
  • Arrange cattery or kennel stays for cats and dogs if using these.
  • Get quotations for insurance covers for the new home, to start from the exchange of contracts.
  • Make arrangements for broadband.

2 weeks to go

  • Start packing, if you’re doing this yourself.
  • Notify utility companies, etc.
  • Get mail redirection.
  • Use up food in the freezer.

1 week to go

  • Confirm arrangements with the moving company if using.
  • Set aside documents or valuables you want to keep track of when moving (and potentially put them in their own bag). These might include passports, official paperwork, laptops, jewelry, etc.

1 day to go

  • Prepare the essentials you’ll need during the move and for the first night in the new house. Think electric kettle, mugs, coffee, tea and sugar, a basic set of tableware and cutlery, soap and towels. Put these in a separate box so they're easily accessible.
  • Pack overnight clothes. Put these in an overnight bag so you can grab them when needed.
  • Empty fridge and freezer.

On the day

  • Check all cupboards and rooms are empty.
  • Take readings from your energy meters.
  • Ensure all doors and windows are secure.

3. Book a moving company

If you're planning on using a moving company, get in touch with them well before your move. I def recommend booking them a month in advance. Generally, an estimator will visit you at home to discuss the details and what will be included in the quotation. It’s worth inviting a few so you can compare the service and price. 

Be honest if you don’t yet have a date, but once this is firm, get in touch with the chosen firm ASAP. It’s probably worth having a second-choice remover in mind in case your first option is booked up by the time you confirm the date.

4. ...Or go for do-it-yourself moving

If you’re hiring your own van and have family members and friends to help with the heavy lifting, you’ll need to arm yourself with packing materials. Heavy-duty cardboard boxes (these are Amazon bestsellers), protective bubble wrap, packing, furniture covers (Uboxes' are Amazon's Choice) and tape are all items that should be on your list.

It's also a good idea to make sure not to overload boxes. For example, books should go into small boxes or they’ll be too heavy, whereas linens and clothes (this is how to pack those, BTW) can go into large boxes that accommodate bulky but light items.

5. Change your address

As well as redirecting mail, it’s also important to notify other companies that deal with your dollar or your important documents that you're moving. This way, you won't get into any trouble, and you'll save yourself unnecessary hassle later down the line.

  • Bank(s)
  • Other savings and investments
  • Credit card(s)
  • Insurance(s) (life, health, dental, pet, mobile)
  • Finance agreement(s)
  • Loyalty cards
  • Employer
  • Home insurance 
  • State driving license
  • State car registration
  • Car insurance
  • Car breakdown organisation(s)
  • State voter registration
  • Professional organisation(s)
  • Union
  • School(s)
  • Subscriptions
  • Clubs
  • Charities you support
  • Pet microchip database(s)
  • Friends and relatives

6. Sign up for renters' insurance

Don’t forget to arrange the renters' insurance for your new home. This is absolutely worthwhile doing, as it ensures that you are covered if your items are damaged in any accidents. It can also protect you if you're found to have damaged the property while you are there. Most policies cost around $10-$20 a month, which is almost a Netflix subscription. So, if you can afford the Flix, you can afford to cover your belongings too.

7. Change your utilities and read your meter readings

Notify your utility suppliers in advance of the move, so you aren't left without electricity or anything else when you move into your new place. Shivering on the first night? NTY. Check individual sites to find out the notice they require, but plan to be in touch at least two days in advance to let them know when you’re moving. You’ll need to read the meters on your last day and give each supplier the reading. Don’t forget the water as well as gas and electricity if yours is metered. Using your phone to take a snap of the meter reading is a good idea too, just so you can cover yourself.

8. Move your broadband

Get in touch with the provider of your broadband at least 14 days in advance. If you can do this earlier, that's the best idea IMO. If the minimum term of your contract has expired, you may want to check if it’s cheaper to swap providers at this point. All about saving that dollar, folks.

9. Keep your health in check

We've gotta make sure you're keeping happy and healthy, bestie. Make sure to order any repeat prescriptions before your move so you won’t run out before registering with and meeting a new doctor. You should register with a doctor and dentist as soon as you can if you’ve moved outside the area covered by your current practices.  

10. Look after your pets

Got a furry friend? If you've got a kitty, you may want to book it into a cattery for the duration of the move. If so, make sure his or her vaccinations are up to date. If you don’t do this, it’s best to keep your cat in a separate cleared room while packing and loading are going on. You’ll need to get the cat used to this before moving day.

Or, if you have a pup, you could either ask friends to have them or put them in a boarding kennel beforehand. As with a cat, if the dog is moving with you, use a separate closed room during the removal process to reduce anxiety. We can't have that cutie getting too stressy.

Now you've got everything prepared for your move, I hope that it goes well and that your new place is totally fab. Yay for being organized!

Up next: Your first apartment move-in shopping list

Sarah Warwick
Freelance Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.

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