Moving day checklist
Spring and summer are high season for moving in Canada. Even if you’re moving into your dream home, the actual process of moving itself can be highly stressful. But if you stay organized and pace your preparations over a few weeks, you’ll do a lot to make the big day go more smoothly. Just follow our guidelines below, and good luck in your new home!
Four to six weeks before the move
1 Create a master list of everything you need to do, and keep it handy to jot down things that occur to you in the coming days. Make note of special tasks like booking piano movers, sending change of address forms out, cancelling newspapers and utilities, special packing and storage needs.
2 Clean out closets, drawers, cupboards, chests, shelves, garage, attic, basement. Divide everything into four groups: Throw Away; Recycling; Giveaway/Yard Sale; Keep.
3 Hold a yard sale to get rid of things that are too valuable to throw away or recycle, but that you don’t want to take to your new home. Check your municipal website for items that can be donated for recycling or reuse: electronics, leftover paint, appliances and reusable building materials are a few items that can be dropped off there. Charities like The Furniture Bank will pick up old furniture and mattresses at no charge and give you a tax receipt.
4 Send out change-of-address forms to magazines and other correspondents. (Many periodicals now allow you to do this online.) Arrange with Canada Post to have mail forwarded to your new address starting on moving day. Begin changing over driver’s license and registration, passport, health cards, and other official forms.
5 Notify utilities, cable company, alarm companies, lawn service companies and other service providers of your moving dates.
6 Plan to use up as much of your food as possible, especially frozen items.
7 Call your insurance company to set up insurance for your new home and cancel your old policy on moving day.
8 Research schools in your new neighbourhood and register your kids at the new school.
9 Have upholstery and rugs cleaned; book window and eavestrough cleaning services.
10 Begin researching moving companies and getting estimates. Once you have chosen the company you want, confirm and sign the contract. If you are doing the packing, obtain boxes and other packing materials from your mover, or a moving supply or discount store.
11 Start packing less used items and storing the boxes in a convenient but less central room, such as den or family room. (Avoid storing them in the basement, which will just make headaches for the movers on moving day.)
12 If possible, visit your new home and make note of any special issues for the movers, such as narrow hallways or steep or winding staircases.
Two to three weeks before moving day
1 Keep records of all your moving expenses; in some cases, you can deduct them on your income taxes.
2 Continue packing boxes. Be sure to label all boxes clearly with the rooms they are going to.
3 If you live in (or are moving to) a condo, book the freight elevator for moving day.
4 Make sure appliances and house are in good working order and make any repairs agreed upon in your house sale.
One week before moving day
1 Defrost (if necessary) and clean out refrigerator, and clean oven. If you have a wood fireplace, have the chimney cleaned.
2 Start cleaning the house as much as possible, to minimize this task on moving day.
3 Finish packing all but the essentials you’ll need right before and right after the move.
4 Arrange to have pets and small children spend moving day with a sitter.
5 Start to plan for changes to the new house, such as booking painters or contractors.
6 Take down artwork and mirrors and pack them in special boxes or crates designed for this purpose.
7 Be sure arrangements have been made to ensure a smooth handover of keys to both the old house and the new house on moving day; usually these are given to the buyers’ and sellers’ lawyers.
Keep reading for more moving day tips.
1 Take down your perfect curtains, rods and rings (if you are taking these with you).
2 Pack sheets and pillows in a dresser drawer, for easy access on your first night in the new house.
3 Pack a special box with essentials such as toiletries, pajamas, a change of clothing, food and serving utensils, and anything else you might need on the first night. Be sure important documents, including real estate documents and moving company documents, are readily accessible and safe.
1 Compare the movers’ inventory with yours to ensure nothing has been left out. Plan to be there while the movers are loading, to make sure they take everything and that there are no problems. Ensure the movers have your cell phone number, or a number where you may be reached if there are any problems.
2 Once the old house is empty, do any final cleaning and sweeping up. Walk through all rooms, ensuring that nothing has been left behind, and that windows are locked and lights turned off. (Check outside as well.)
3 Turn the thermostat down to 15 degrees and turn off water heater.
4 At the new house, check to make sure nothing is broken or missing; if so, notify the moving company immediately.
5 Check to make sure appliances, furnace, hot water heater, and air conditioning unit in the new house, and anything else specified in the buyer’s agreement, is in good order; notify your real estate agent if anything is amiss.