Start 2 Months Beforehand —The Ultimate Moving Checklist + Timeline

Everyone knows that moving is a long and involved process. You can choose to either stress out over the seemingly unlimited tasks that need to get done, or you can conquer your move by planning in advance. Here is a breakdown for what you should be doing prior to your move:


2 Months Before

Create A Moving Binder

This could be a physical binder, or if you prefer going paperless use an app like Evernote. Keep all your notes, receipts, confirmation numbers, and documents that you need for moving.

Start Collecting Estimates from Moving Companies

Begin to estimate how much your move is going to cost. Don’t forget to compare prices between companies and shop around. Or, let Moved do this for you. We’ll obtain the best quotes for your move, saving you time, stress, and money!


It is never too early to start getting rid of things you don’t need. Start early and work through one room at a time.

Get Updated Pet Records

This could be required by your new landlord or HOA, and will be much appreciated by your new vet.

1 Month Before

Get Doctor Recommendations For Your New Area

It can take several weeks for your current physician’s office to transfer your records over to a new office, so you don’t want to delay.

Host a Moving Sale

Sell the items you don’t want to take with you. If you live in an apartment or don’t want to host a sale, there are plenty of online options to choose from — try Craigslist, LetGo, or OfferUp. Donate anything that doesn’t sell.

Schedule a Donation Pick-up

Gather the items that you want to donate and call a donation center in your area that will pick up items. Be sure to schedule the pick-up at least one month before you move as they book up far in advance.

Gather Copies of Your Financial Records and Legal Documents

These are documents that you don’t want to worry about finding once everything is boxed up. Gather them into one place and make sure you know where they are at all times.

Start the Process of School Enrollment

If you have children find out what requirements they need to enroll in their new school, such as shot records and a physical.

Order Your Moving Supplies

You will need lots of boxes and packing supplies to protect your valuable items. Try contacting grocery stores and flower shops in your area to see if you can collect the boxes they are finished with.

Begin Packing the Items That You Do Not Use Often

Clearly label the boxes of things you already have packed away, such as holiday decorations

Reserve Your Moving Date With the Moving Company

Confirm the finer details of the move — such as suggested form of payment, what’s included and not included in the quote (i.e. disassembly of items, reassembly of items, insurance, arrival time, etc.).Read more here on working with a moving company.

3 Weeks Before

Start Using up Pantry and Freezer Food

When grocery shopping start to only buy what you need for the immediate time. You don’t want to pay extra to move boxes of cupboard staples.

Continue Packing

Work at a steady pace so you aren’t having to rush at the end. Taking your time will ensure that you have time to properly label your boxes as you go.

Think About Your “Essentials Bag”

This bag could include things like your Moving Binder, toothbrush, toothpaste, medication, phone charger, and a roll of toilet paper. This is a bag that you will take with you as you move instead of putting on the truck. Having the list prepared early will stop you from accidentally packing these items.

Develop a Plan for Moving Any House Plants

You cannot move them on the trucks. Depending on what type of plant you have, you could try shipping them or if at all possible bring them with you in your vehicle. If they are too large consider your option of just taking a clipping with you to start again in your new home.

2 Weeks Before

Make Travel Plans

If you are making a long-distance move you will need travel reservations. If you are driving long distance, have your car serviced to make sure it is ready and safe for travel.

Have a Moving Party

Throw yourself a moving party so you have a last chance to say good-bye to family and friends in the area.

Plan Your New Furniture Layout

Develop a plan for where you are going to place furniture in your new home. Draw a sketch to help movers place items in your new home.

Confirm Travel Dates with the Moving Company

Confirm dates and times with any company that will be involved with your move.

Create an Easy Menu Plan

The coming week is going to be busy and many of your kitchen items will be in boxes. Eliminate needing to spend time cooking and cleaning dishes.

Continue Purging Items and Packing

Really thing about what items you need and purge everything else.

Start Working on Your Change of Address Forms

Moved can update your address with the postal service, free of charge!

1 Week Before

Purge and Pack Everything

If you don’t use it on a daily basis it is time to pack it up. If you do use it on a daily basis then you will most likely want to mark it for your Essentials Bag.

Contact credit card companies and banks with your new location and moving date

Charges in a new location can cause your account to be flagged.

Prepare your appliances

If you are moving your refrigerator make sure that you empty and defrost it with at least 24 hours to go before your move.

Pack your outdoor items

Drain water from the outdoor hose and prepare all outdoor furniture and landscaping items for the move. Drain gasoline from lawn mowers, trimmers, and other equipment.

Deep clean the house or apartment

If you were renting make sure you do any repairs necessary to get your security deposit back.

Notify your service providers and utility companies about your move

This includes trash, lawn-care, daycare, electric, cell phone, internet etc.

Transfer memberships

If possible transfer your memberships at places like health clubs, gyms, or business networking groups.

Day Before Moving

Pack your essentials bag

Include any clothes you will need for moving day and a few days until you are settled in your new home

Complete the remainder of packing

It’s time for anything that is still unpacked to get packed.

Moving Day

Start early

Moving day always takes longer than expected so start early.

Get ready for the movers

Place flooring protector throughout your house since your helpers or movers are not going to be taking shoes on and off as they enter and exit.

Double check all rooms

Look inside of closets and cabinets to make sure that you have not forgotten anything. Don’t forget the attic, basement, and garage if you have them.

Have a moment

Take one minute to walk through once your home is empty and soak in all the good memories that you had. Then make sure all windows and doors are locked and the keys have been transferred.


Hang on to all of your receipts for your moving expenses.

If any discrepancies come up later you will want to have a good record.

If you have moved states get your new driver’s license and tags for your vehicle

This process differs from state to state. Contact the DMV prior to going into the office so you know exactly what you need to have. Keep your vehicle titles, birth certificate, and proof of residency together in one location during your move.

Register to vote

If moving out of state this is easily completed when obtaining your new driver’s license.

Send out a change of address to all family and friends

Family and friends might not send you mail on a regular basis so make sure you notify them of your new address. The change of address card that you complete with the USPS will not help if they mail you something after the 6 month period.

Settle in and get to know your new home

Take time to enjoy establishing your new home. Hit the streets and find your new favorite restaurants and hang out spots.


Here is a printable version of our moving checklist!


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The Big Question: Do I Need Cable?

Moving is a chance at new beginnings. A new home, new circle of friends, new job, new city, and new favorite restaurants. And maybe, just maybe, a new way to watch TV?

More and more people are “cutting the cord” and freeing themselves of cable bills once and for all.

Should you do the same?

To decide, let’s take a look at what options are available to you these days, besides cable.

For Live Events

HD Antenna — For as low as $10, you can purchase a high-quality antenna to attach to your television, which will get you free access to most cable network channels, allowing you watch live events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars.

For Your Favorite Shows

Hulu Plus — For cable networks shows like The Voice and Modern Family, Hulu Plus lets you stream shows from channels like FOX, NBC, ABC, Comedy Central and FX for only $7.99/month. Add CBS shows for an additional $5.99/month.

Dish Network’s Sling TV — For $20/month, you’ll get access to most cable content, including shows from channels like AMC, TNT, TBS, A&E, ABC Family and more.

A La Carte — You can also buy seasons (and individual episodes… but who does that?) of most cable network shows on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.

Streaming Services — It’s worth mentioning that streaming services like Netflix ($7.99/month) and Amazon Prime ($99/year) are producing more and more top-quality content. If you’re not attached to any cable network shows, but are generally hankering for quality television, either of these services would serve you well. House of Cards (Netflix) and Transparent (Amazon Prime) are great places to start!

Amazon Prime also provides add-on subscription options for Showtime and Starz ($8.99/month each), and for the Game of Thrones junkies out there, HBO provides a streaming service called HBO Now, which is $15/month.

For Movies

For pay-as-you-go movies on demand you can use Amazon Prime, iTunes, CinemaNow, Google Play and YouTube and Blockbuster OnDemand. Movies are usually around $10–15 to purchase and $2–6 to rent, depending on release date and whether or not they’re HD.

You can also rent DVDs at Redbox locations for around $2/day, and there are even a few Blockbuster locations still alive and kicking!

For Sports

Sports continues to be cable’s biggest claim to fame. If you’re a die-hard sports fan, it might be difficult for you to ditch cable and still be happy.

Network sports can be accessed with an antenna, and Sling TV can get you ESPN and ESPN 2, as well as other networks like ESPN U and the SEC Network (among others) for an extra $5/month. Sling TV has had connectivity problems during large events in the past, however.

To watch non-local teams play, you’ll need to get a specific league package, such as NBA League Pass,, MLS, NFL Game Rewind (no live games though) and NHL Gamecenter Live.


Depending on your preferences, it seems pretty clear to me that cable is slowly becoming obsolete. Mixing and matching the above options can get you pretty much everything cable does, for way less money.

Check out the The Verge and Slate for some helpful “calculators” to see how much money you could actually save if you bailed on your cable subscription.

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How Far in Advance to Plan Your Move

Moving, like all major undertakings, is much easier when you plan ahead and spread out the process over time. Here are some general guidelines to help you do so:

3–6 Months in Advance

Start Budgeting: How early you want to start budgeting depends on how much you make, how tight your budget is, and how expensive you think your move will be. But generally speaking, the more time you have to save up money for your move, the better. (Related: How To Budget for Your Move in 3 Simple Steps)

2–3 Months in Advance

Start Hunting: How long it will take you to find a new place depends on if you’re renting or buying, what season it is, the skills of your realtor, what you’re looking for, and of course how determined (and lucky) you are. Some people find a new place in under a week, whereas for others it takes months. Best to err on the side of caution and start looking early.

6–8 Weeks in Advance

Start Planning: Decide on a concrete moving date, and start comparing the prices of different moving companies and moving-truck rentals (U-Haul, Ryder, etc.), with the cost of moving by yourself. Make sure to also factor in extra services you may need, like full-service packing, special crating (for pianos, refrigerators, etc.), vehicle-shipping, and storage.

4–6 Weeks in Advance

Take Stock and Purge: Go through your home (starting with closets, garages, basements and attics) and decide what you will bring and what you want to get rid of. See our guides on selling, donating, and throwing away your stuff for more help here.

Make a Decision: Once you’ve taken stock of your belongings, it’s time to decide how you’re going to move: by yourself, with a rental truck, or through a moving company (and which type).

If you’re using a moving company, 4–6 weeks should be far enough in advance to ensure they have slots available for you, and that they won’t gouge your wallet. However, if you’re moving between May-September (peak moving season in the US) you might want to start this process even sooner.

Lock Down a New Home: If you haven’t done so already, now is when you really need to officially have a new place to move to. You might have a little more leeway if you’re moving into a new apartment, but when purchasing a home, it typically takes 30–45 days for the loan process to finalize from the time you make a decision.

4 Weeks

Start Telling People: Notify employers, friends and family, attorneys, accountants, banks, credit card and insurance companies, schools, magazines, newspapers, etc. of your new address. Submit a Change of Address to the post office, and get clear on what your state’s DMV will require of you.

Gather Records: Medical, dental, veterinarian, schools, etc.

Schedule Disconnects: Gas, water, electric, cable, satellite, etc.

2–3 Weeks in Advance

Start packing: If you’re going to pack yourself, now’s a good time to start. Obviously, if you’re moving out of a studio apartment, you most likely won’t need 3 weeks to pack your stuff. But if you’re leaving a 3-bedroom family home you’ve lived in for years, you’ll need all the time you can get!

Pack smart, by starting with what you use the least, and saving the essentials for last. Try to finish the bulk of your packing at least a week before you leave.

1 Week in Advance

Clean-Up: Finish packing, leaving an “essentials box” for moving day. Make sure fridges/freezers are emptied, unplugged and defrosted 24–48 hours before moving day.

Following these steps will get you adequately ready for your move. For tips and advice on what you need and what to do on the moving day itself, head here.

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12 Things You Need for Moving Day

Hopefully you read and followed our guide on How Far in Advance to Plan Your Move, in which case you’ll be well-prepared for moving day. If not, well, better late than never!

Just have the following 12 things on hand and you’ll be good to go.

  1. Alarm Clock — You’re going to want to squeeze as much time out of this day as you possibly can, so set an alarm (or two or three) and make sure you get up on time!

  2. Proper Clothes — Moving is a sweaty, dirty process, so wear casual clothes and sturdy, rubber-soled shoes. Consider using moving gloves as well — a day handling cardboard boxes will leave your hands filthy.

  3. Extra Packing Supplies — Best to be prepare for the inevitable and have extra packing stuff on hand for the things you forgot to pack. That means boxes, tape, bubble wrap/towels, bags and markers.

  4. Important Documents — If you’re using a moving company, have the moving inventory, bill of lading, contracts and insurance paperwork on hand. For renters, have copies of your leases, old and new. Pro-tip: write down important phone numbers (your new home, realtor, landlord, the moving company, truck driver, etc.) on a piece of paper in case your phone breaks, dies or is lost in the mayhem.

  5. Phone Chargers — Nice segue, right? Your phone is going to be used a lot today, so keep a charger handy.

  6. First Aid Kit — Injuries do happen, so make sure to have the basics ready if you need them: Neosporin, band-aids, pain-meds, etc.

  7. Basic Tools — Having some basic tools on hand is always a good idea. A good place to start is a box cutter, scissors, Swiss-Army knife, hammer, duct tape, and a couple screwdrivers (Philips and flathead). And of course a bottle/wine opener for end-of-the-day celebrations!

  8. Cooler and Ice — Hopefully you planned ahead and did not leave yourself a fridge-full of food to deal with on moving day! Regardless, a cooler is still a good idea for snacks and drinks for the moving guys, helpful friends, and for your upcoming drive.

  9. Home Protection — Avoid damages, by putting pads on the legs of furniture, wrapping door frames, bannister railings, and any hard corners in moving blankets (with tape to keep in place), and covering your floors and carpets with whatever is handy: cardboard, plywood, carpet film protectors, old rugs, curtains, sheets, etc.

  10. Cleaning Supplies — Get that security deposit back! Or just be courteous. Have a room (or borrow a vacuum, since yours will probably be packed already), mop, cleaning-wipes, paper towels, all-purpose cleaner, trash bags, etc. Here’s some more info on How To Properly Vacate Your Apartment.

  11. Toys and Snacks for Kids and Pets — Really, you’re best off dumping your kids and/or pets on a friend or family member for the day. Having them out of the way will make the move easier and less stressful for everyone involved. If they need to stay in the house, however, keep them out of the way room as much as possible. Also make sure you have plenty of snacks and comforting/entertaining items to stay occupied.

  12. Cash — For tolls, food, parking fees, tips (for moving companies, it’s expected! $20–100 per person is best, depending on their service and how tricky the move was), etc.

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What to Do with Pets as You Move

Moving can be just as stressful for your pets as it is for you, and stressed out pets can be a serious hassle — leading to aggression, accidents, or even them running away.

Though they don’t know exactly what’s going on, they know something is happening: strange people are moving in and out of the house, the environment is changing radically as everything is packed up, and they can easily pick up on any stress or anxiety you are feeling.

Here are some tips to follow to keep your pets happy, calm, and well taken care of during a move.


Before moving, do the following:

  • Get your pets groomed.

  • Update your pets’ vaccinations.

  • Make sure your pet can comfortably fit in its kennel.

  • To reduce stress, accidents, aggression, escape attempts, and/or excessive noise, slowly introduce your pets to their kennel in the weeks leading up to the move.

  • Prepare for accidents and line the kennel with towels or “puppy pads.”

  • Ask your vet if your pet requires any specific health certifications for travel.

  • If you know your pet is aggressive with strangers during traveling, consider asking your vet about mild sedative options. There are also anti-anxiety and motion sickness medications available.

  • If you’re moving long-distance, and will be driving multiple days, check beforehand which hotels will allow pets. Don’t trust the internet here — call the hotels for confirmation.

  • If you’re moving internationally, note that many countries require extra paperwork, vaccinations, etc.

If you’re going to be flying to your new home make sure to do the following:

  • Confirm whether or not your pet can ride in the cargo area — many can’t, including puppies, kittens, “pug-nosed” animals, and animals that are sick, in heat, pregnant, or especially weak.

  • Look up your airline’s policies regarding pets.

  • Book direct flights to reduce the risk of your pet being put on the wrong plane!

Moving Day

As a general rule, it’s a good idea on moving day to keep your pet in a quiet room, away from activity and foot traffic, to reduce stress.

If your pet is travelling with you:

  • Bring yummy treats, a first aid kit, and towels or puppy-pads for accidents.

  • Keep your pet secured. Driving with your pets loose in your car (that includes pickup truck beds!) can easily lead to injury or death, for you or your pet.

  • Make sure your pet has a collar with their name, ID tag, and your contact information, including your new address.

  • Include your pets on bathroom breaks! Keep them leashed, as the stress of a move can cause pets to run away, even if they normally don’t.

  • Don’t leave your pets in the car for too long, as over-heating can easily lead to injury.

If your pet will be in the cargo area of a plane, alert flight staff as you board. Flights can be scary for your pets — feel free to spoil them with some extra love before you hand them off!


Pets will generally be skittish after a big move; cats especially dislike change. Keep your pets in a quiet room during the hustle and bustle of moving in, and introduce your new home to them slowly.

And again, extra love and treats will go a long way!

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What is a Certificate of Insurance?

Moving seems to stir up a hurricane of vital documents — leases, income verification letters, DMV forms, medical records, insurance policies…the list goes on!

If you’re using a moving company, there’s one document in particular you need to know your way around: the Certificate of Insurance.

As far as titles go, Certificate of Insurance seems fairly self-explanatory at first glance. Most people understand both what a certificate is and what insurance is, right? What’s important to understand about the Certificate of Insurance is more what it isn’t than what it is.

Let’s start with what it is

A Certificate of Insurance is an informational document stating the existence of an insurance agreement between two parties. In a moving context, it’s what moving companies provide to customers to prove that they do indeed have insurance. It also serves as a summary of the insurance contract, with easily digestible information about said contract.

This document will typically include the names and contact details of the moving company, the insured party (i.e. the person who’s moving) and the insurance company, as well as basic information regarding what is covered.

It’s important to realize however, that the Certificate of Insurance is not the actual insurance policy contract!

A Certificate of Insurance is an easy document for moving companies to whip up for people, to provide peace-of-mind and assure them their goods are protected and they’ll be compensated in case of damages. But it will never include all the details or actual terms of the contract.

Because of this, it’s essential to look at the policy as well, so you can be clear on exactly what is covered, what is not covered, how long things are covered, in what cases they are covered, what the exceptions are, etc.

If/when you get a Certificate of Insurance, you’ll want to make sure all the names are correctly represented, the policy dates are accurate (e.g. they don’t expire before the move date), and that the insurance company named is a legitimate company.

Why Get a Certificate of Insurance?

First of all, landlords and property owners/managers will often request a Certificate of Insurance from tenants moving out, since the very process of moving can sometimes lead to property damage.

If that situation applies to you, make sure to ask if you need to provide a Certificate of Insurance before you move. And again, if applicable, don’t forget to ask the landlord or property manager of the building that you’re moving to as well. The risk of property damage is just as high for moving in as moving out!

Secondly, requesting a Certificate of Insurance is an easy way to vet a moving company’s legitimacy. A refusal to provide you with a Certificate of Insurance for any reason is a clear red flag.

Of course, if you did your homework, and found a legitimate, trustworthy moving company (click here for tips on how to do that), you won’t have to worry too much about being scammed!

For more information on moving insurance, and what options are available to you, read our guide on the subject here.

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The Skinny On Moving Insurance: Do You Need It?

To effectively decide whether or not to buy moving insurance, you need to first understand what moving insurance options are available to you.

Moving Companies

Moving companies are required by Federal law to provide you with two liability coverage options, referred to as “valuation” options. Note there is a difference here between valuation, which is regulated by the FMSCA and insurance, which is separate liability coverage offered by third-party companies and regulated by the state.

The two valuation options are:

  • Released Value Protection (also referred to as minimal or declared value protection) — The moving company is liable for the total weight of your goods multiplied by 60 cents. So if your $300, 20-pound TV is damaged, the moving company is responsible for only $12. I’m sure you can see the limitations here! Understandably, this option is free and included in the moving contract.

  • Full Value Protection — The moving company is liable for the full value of your goods. If something is damaged, destroyed or lost, they will either repair the item, replace it with a same-value item, or reimburse you the cost of repairing/replacing the item. Note the “same-value” stipulation here: e.g. if your 2-year-old dryer is destroyed, you will get another 2-year-old dryer, not a new one. And Full Value protection does not cover anything worth more than $100/lb (jewelry, antiques, etc.) unless you specifically mention these items to the moving company. Prices for this option vary by moving company, and you’re usually required to purchase a minimum amount of coverage.

Homeowners/Renters Insurance

Homeowners and renters insurance will not help you much. During a move, personal items are typically only protected in case of theft. So if you drop and break a couch on your way out the door, it’s most likely not going to be covered. Some insurance policies will also partially cover damages that occur during transit, but usually only a paltry 10% of their value.

And don’t forget about the deductible, which still applies during moves. If something is stolen, but you haven’t met your deductible, you’re not going to get full coverage.

Other Options

You can talk to your homeowners/renters insurance agent about extending coverage with one of the following options, or purchase them through moving companies or third-party insurance companies.

  • Valued Inventory: You purchase coverage based on the value of your goods. Usually purchased in large chunks, e.g. multiples of $1000.

  • Transit Insurance: For damages that occur in the truck. This is a popular option, as most moving companies’ basic options donot cover this.

  • Total-Loss Coverage: For “acts-of-God”, e.g. fires, floods, freak asteroid strikes, etc. This option is all or nothing, and does not cover individual items.

  • Pairs and Sets Coverage: For items that can only be purchased together, e.g. a vanity mirror/cabinet set.

  • Mechanical and Electrical Derangement: Would cover, for example, a TV that looks fine on the outside but hasn’t worked since the move.


If you don’t have a lot of expensive things, you probably don’t need insurance. Just be careful with your stuff! And if you’re using a moving company, remember you get their basic coverage option free-of-charge.

If you have many special or expensive things, however, like jewelry, china-ware, antiques, electronics, etc., you’re likely better off purchasing extra insurance coverage, as neither moving companies nor your homeowners/renters insurance will offer much protection.

And if you feel you’re between the two options just mentioned — go with your gut!

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How to Update Your Address with the DMV

One of the necessary evils of moving is updating your address with the powers-that-be. This process is called “completing a change-of-address”, and one of the many institutions you need to do this with is the good ole DMV.


No matter where you’re moving to, in-state or out-of-state, you need to complete this “change-of-address” process with the DMV. Doing so allows the DMV to update your records, driver’s license, vehicle registration and vehicle title. If you don’t do this, anything the DMV tries to send you will be mailed to the wrong address, and you will get a hefty ticket if a cop pulls you over!

Now what exactly does this “change-of-address” process require of you? What do you have to do?

Well, unfortunately, the answer to those questions is complicated, because the process is different in each state.

That’s right. Each state has different regulations on what forms and tests are required, what fees will be applied, how much time you have to complete each step and what you can complete online or by mail versus what requires an in-person appointment.

While we could make this Moved’s longest blog post yet by listing each state’s information here, instead we’ll point you to an extremely useful database that already has all the information you need.

Click on this link to be directed to the home page. Once there, select your state from the drop-down box at the top of the page. On the next page, click the green “Address Change” box at the lower-right corner, and you’ll be taken to a page that will tell you what you need to do to change your address with the DMV in your state.

General Rules

While we’ve got you here, read on for some general rules and tips to keep in mind during this process.

  • Be (very) wary of timelines! While some states are friendly, like California, and give you up to 10 days to inform the DMV of your new address, others (lookin’ at you Connecticut) require a form within 48 hours of your completed move.

  • Filling out forms. Some states require separate forms to update your vehicle registration and title certificate.

  • Inspections and paperwork. Many states require up-to-date car insurance and vehicle safety and emissions inspections results in order to register your vehicle.

  • License plate (in-state). If you’re moving somewhere within your current state, there’s obviously no need to change your license plates.

  • License plate (out-of-state). You may need to pay for a new license showing your updated address. Some states only require you to put on small labels with your new address, and others require no updated license at all.

  • Driver’s license (out-of-state). If you’re moving to a new state, you’ll need to get a new driver’s license. Thankfully, if your license is still valid, often all that’s required for a new one is a vision test.

  • Old plates. Note — some states require you to send your old plates back to a DMV in the state you moved from.

Changing your address with the DMV can be a small step, easily forgotten. Avoid potential fines and add it to your moving checklist!

And head here for more information on who you need to update your address with when moving.

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How to Ship Your Car When You Move — Part 2

Make sure to check out the first article in this 2-part series for information on the different auto shipping options.

Because using a truck is the most common way people ship their vehicles when moving, in this article we’ll give you tips for picking a good auto mover company, and guidelines for preparing your vehicle for shipping.

Let’s dive in!

Picking an Auto Mover

You have two options for finding an auto moving company: carriers and brokers.

Carriers are the companies that do the actual vehicle-shipping. Brokers save you time and hassle by finding carriers for you, for a fee. Cutting out the middle man and going straight to a carrier will most likely be cheaper, but it might take you a while to find a company you like.

For brokers, MoveCars and Moving are good places to start. For carriers, check out Consumer Affairs’ list for the Best Auto Transporters for 2016. You can also talk to any moving company in your area, as many offer vehicle shipping options.

To avoid scams and bad moving jobs, stick with companies that:

  • Are accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and have high ratings and no complaint histories.

  • Have active USDOT (Dept. of Transportation) and MC (Motor Carrier) numbers.

  • Are members of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA).

  • Provide certificates of insurance.

  • Don’t ask for wire-transfer payments.

TransportReviews is a helpful site for vetting auto mover companies.

Preparing Your Vehicle

Once you’ve picked an auto mover, follow these steps to avoid any problems with the moving company or damages to your car:

  1. Wash it — Previous and potential damages will show more clearly.

  2. Empty it — That includes garage door openers, electronic toll-passes, CDs, etc. Some companies allow you to pack things in the trunk, with a weight-limit.

  3. Remove Accessories — Exterior spare tires, grill and car covers, non-permanent bike racks, luggage racks, spoilers, etc.

  4. Disable alarms — Fickle alarms can be triggered during the move.

  5. DO NOT fill your gas tank — Less gas in the tank means a lighter vehicle and a cheaper move! Most companies require you to stay within the quarter- to half-tank range.

  6. Check for leaks — You could be liable for damages if your car leaks all over the car below yours.

  7. Check tire inflation — To avoid damage during loading/unloading and transport.

  8. Take photos — The carrier should do this as well, but it’s always good to have your own photos in case of a dispute.

  9. Lock it after loading.

Side note: Some companies only accept vehicles in working condition, or they’ll require a things like certain amount of ground clearance, a working driver’s side door/window, or working brakes.

When the time comes to hand over your vehicle, the carrier will inspect it. Most carriers will require you to be present during the inspection. They will record any damages, nicks, scratches, etc. on a “bill of lading”, which they will hand to you.

Sample Bill of Lading


Then, when you pick up your car, if there are no new damages, you sign the bill, give it back to the carrier and you’re done!

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How to Ship Your Car When You Move — Part 1

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just fold up your car and pack it in a suitcase? Stuff some socks around the edges toss it in the moving truck?


Hopefully Google is working on that one! In the meantime, you have a number of options for auto transport. Let’s take a look.

On the Road

The most common option for vehicle-shipping is to use a truck. There are plenty of independent Auto Mover companies to choose from, and if you’re already using a regular moving company, many of them also offer their own vehicle shipping options.

Generally, it takes up to a month to ship your vehicle by truck, with rates running from a few hundred dollars to ship to the next state, to upwards of $1000–2000 for a cross-country trip. You’ll be quoted based on the make/model, weight/size and condition of your vehicle, the distance of the move, and your insurance coverage.

When shipping by truck, you can choose between:


Your car is transported on the back of an open truck, just like the trucks you see on the highway transporting vehicles to car-dealerships. This option is cheap, but leaves your vehicle open to potential damage from rocks, weather and leaking fluids from vehicles above yours.


Your vehicle is fully enclosed in the back of a truck. This eliminates any possibility of damage from the elements, but is more expensive. Typically used to transport antique, classic and luxury vehicles.

With Goods

Some moving companies offer to place your vehicle in the same truck as the rest of your things.

Most auto movers give you the option to pay for expedited delivery and a spot on the top row. You can also choose between terminal-to-terminal (where you drop off and pick up your vehicle at a delivery hub) and door-to-door delivery, or mix and match the two.

Finally, while it’s not technically a shipping option, you can also pay someone to drive your vehicle to your destination for you. Some auto mover and moving companies offer this as an option, or you can hire a professional through a company like ProfessionalDrivers, or find someone yourself through classified ads.

Other Options

  • By Train: Shipping your vehicle by freight train is faster and safer, but typically more expensive than by truck. Sometimes it may require extra insurance as well.

  • Amtrak also provides a limited vehicle-shipping option, called Amtrak Auto Train, that runs between Washington D.C. and Orlando, FL. Note that you also have to be on the train.

  • By Air: The safest, fastest and most expensive option.

  • By Boat: A slower, slightly less reliable and usually cheaper option for moves overseas.

Once you’ve chosen a car shipping option, make sure to check out part 2 of this series here for information on how to pick a good auto mover company and how to prepare your car for shipping.

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When Is The Best Time To Move?

Picking the right time of year to move can be the difference between a stress-free breeze and a hellish experience you’ll shudder to think of for years to come.

What season is best for you really depends on your particular situation. Let’s take a look at each season’s pros and cons:



  • Peak Season. May-September is when most people are moving. There will be plenty of open listings to choose from, and if you’re selling, you’ll have more potential buyers to choose from as well.

  • No School. Not having kids in school makes it easy for families to move long-distance.

  • Warm Weather. Both house/apartment-hunting and moving day will be easier and more pleasant during the warm summer months.


  • Peak Season. You’ll have more people to compete with and less room to negotiate with landlords/agents. Moving companies will also be busier, often overbooked, and will charge higher rates.

  • Hot Weather. If summers are hot and muggy where you live, home-hunting and moving day could be rough.

Takeaway: Plan far ahead, keep an eye on the weather, book moving companies well in advance, and be prepared to act quickly to snag a place before someone else does! This is the best time to move for families moving long-distance.



  • Dead Season. Almost no one moves during winter, which means if you find a place, there will be almost no competition from other buyers and you’ll have all the power during price-negotiations.

  • Cheap Rates. Moving companies are at their cheapest during winter.


  • Dead Season. Less people moving means less places available. Selling a home will also be much more difficult during the winter.

  • Cold Weather. When it’s freezing outside, looking for a new place is unpleasant and moving-day is miserable. Freezing weather can also damage items and cause safety hazards.

  • Holidays. They can be stressful enough without dealing with a move on top of it all.

  • School. Most people seem to agree it’s harder on kids to switch schools halfway through the year.

Takeaway: Difficult overall due to the weather and general lack of activity. But potentially much cheaper if you can find an open place. This is the best option for those with a tight budget.



  • Weather. Both seasons offer generally better weather, less competition and lower moving company rates than summer or winter.

  • Selling. Houses typically sell for more money in the spring.

  • School Shift. If you live near colleges or universities, many apartments will open as students finish school.


  • Less Activity. There will be fewer open homes and apartments for you to move into and less people looking to buy.

  • School. Spring/fall are awkward times for kids to change schools. Spring-break is a potential window for families moving locally, however.

Takeaway: Both seasons are less extreme than summer and winter, making them great options for moving for pretty much everyone except families moving long-distance.

Once you’ve picked a season that will work best for you, keep in mind that moving companies are most busy on weekends (when people are off work), and at the end/beginning of the month (when most leases end).

If you can swing it, moving on a Tuesday or Wednesday in the middle of the month will typically be your cheapest option.

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The Best Way to Pack for a Stress-Free Move

If your goal is a stress-free move, you need to pack with a plan.

Rushing around in a frenzy, stuffing everything into garbage bags the night before moving day? Not a great plan. That’s how your things end up broken, forgotten, or accidentally thrown out with the garbage.

The best way to pack for a move is to start early and pack smart. Just follow the guidelines included in the 3-step process below, and you’ll be well-prepared for a stress-free move!

1) Purge.

Start 5–6 weeks before moving day, by taking stock of your things. Decide what you actually want to bring with you, and for everything else, check out our guides on how to get rid of it all. You can give extra stuff to friends and family, donate it to charity, sell it online or set up a garage sale, or simply throw it away.

2) Prepare.

Once you’ve purged, it’s time to gather packing materials.

If you’re using a moving company, they may provide you with everything you need, in which case you’re off the hook!

But if you’re in charge of getting your own packing materials, you’ll need the following: boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper, wrapping pads for fragile items, and — if you’re using cardboard boxes — scissors/box-cutters and lots (and lots) of packing tape.

You can save money and grab used boxes from people on Craigslist who’ve just finished moving, Liquor and grocery stores, and sites like UsedCardboardBoxes. Another, environmentally-friendly option is to rent plastic moving boxes from companies like RentAGreenBox, Gorilla Bins, Bin-It, and JuggleBoxMoving.

Don’t forget you can save space by packing things in your laundry baskets and suitcases!

Finally, take note of everything that you’ll need a special box for, like hanging clothes, guitars, stand-up lamps, cribs, artwork, televisions, etc., and get those boxes as soon as you can.

3) Pack.

Three weeks prior to moving day, start packing all of the non-essential items in closets, attics, and out-of-the-way spots.

With two weeks left, pack the majority of your clothes, dishes, books, artwork, etc.

If you spread it out effectively, then the last week is basically just clean up!

Leave for last an “essentials box”, which will include your valuables and anything you might need during the move or in the first few days after arrival. Options include: toilet paper, toiletries, towels, flashlights, batteries, snacks, bottled water, valuables, a change (or two) of clothes, laptops, phone chargers, basic cooking supplies (plates, cups, utensils, can opener, soap, sponge, etc.) medications, bedding and pillows.

The “essentials box” is also great for kids! Have your children pack their own box with whatever items they deem special. They will love being able to pack it themselves, and you can add to it yourself after they’re done.

A few general packing tips:

  • Label boxes! Use printout labels or a big marker to let future-you know what’s inside.

  • Pack room-by-room to keep things organized.

  • Heavy stuff at the bottom, lighter stuff on top.

  • Fill empty spaces with clothes or packing paper to avoid damage.

  • Wrap fragile items in clothes to save on paper and bubble wrap.

And the last of our packing tips for moving? Don’t forget anything!

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Don’t Forget These 3 Things When You Move

Moving is like juggling 50 balls while running down the street. If one or two balls dropped behind you, who could blame you for not noticing? You’re still trying to keep 48 other balls in the air!

Here’s a list of things people commonly forget when they move…

1) They Forget to Bring Everything.

  • Things in the home. It’s easy to forget to pack things that seem a part of the house itself, like curtains, drapes, rugs, mirrors and plants. Other common areas forgotten include the cabinets under the sink and over the fridge, storage areas in the basement, attic or under the stairs, and medicine cabinets.

  • Things outside your home. Don’t forget your outdoor furniture, garden accessories and tools, hoses, plants, flower pots, planter boxes and whatever is in your shed, if you have one.

  • Things around town. Make sure to remember the contents of your safety deposit box, clothes at the dry-cleaners, items in storage, things neighbors, friends and family have borrowed over the years.

  • Collect records. To avoid a potentially expensive, lengthy hassle having them transferred later, you’ll want to collect all personal records, including medical, dental and pharmaceutical records, children’s school files and veterinarian records if you have pets.

  • Speaking of pets, don’t forget them! You’d be surprised how many cats and dogs get left behind during moves. Here are some tips on this.

  • Leave some behind. Amidst the packing frenzy, make sure you do leave behind spare keys, garage door openers, and any items you borrowed.

2) They Forget to Tell Everyone.

  • The people. Let everyone know you’re leaving! That includes family and friends of course, but also neighbors, housekeepers, gardeners, babysitters, etc. Then there are the officials: schools, employers, banks, government agencies, insurance companies, and the post office.

  • The companies. Call your utility companies and schedule your water, electric, gas, satellite, etc. to be disconnected the day after you move.

  • The memberships. Cancel memberships (gyms, yoga studios, etc.), return library books and movie/game rentals, and pick up any prescriptions.

3) They Forget to Prepare for Arrival.

  • Take measurements. “Will it fit?” Don’t forget to ask this question! Trust me, you don’t want show up with a couch that won’t fit through the door.

  • Get the keys. Get all the keys: You have the key for the front door, but does it open the deadlock too? A successful move is one where you actually get inside your new place.

  • Accommodations. If your beds won’t arrive ’til after you do, make sure to book sleeping arrangements well beforehand, so you’re not scrambling for a place to sleep after a long day of moving.

  • Parking. “Where can I park?” Another great question, easily forgotten. Waking up to realize your car’s been towed is no fun.

  • Pack the essentials. Include anything you might need in the first few days. A good place to start is toilet paper, toiletries, towels, bottled water, snacks, a change of clothes, phone chargers, and things like plates, cups, and utensils. See #3 here.

It’s easy to forget what you’re forgetting, so don’t hesitate to refer back to this post throughout the moving process!

And if, despite your best efforts, you end up still forgetting a few things, make sure to write them down when it’s all over. That way, the next time you move, you’ll have a personalized list to refer to.

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The Proper Way To Donate Stuff You Don’t Need

As you pack things for your move, you’ll notice a lot that you no longer need but could be valuable to others. Clothes, furniture, electronics… anything really. As long as it’s not broken or gross, it likely can be donated.

There are three benefits to donating…

  1. You help others in need.

  2. You get rid of things you don’t use.

  3. You can get money back with a nice tax deduction.

So how do you actually donate?

The Goodwill and Salvation Army are always good places to go with your donations. Depending on your state, there are a multitude of options. See this article for your state.

Don’t have time to drop it off?

That’s okay! You can have Big Brothers Big Sisters come pick it up or have a TaskRabbit do it for you. It’s easy to donate.

How do I deduct charitable donations?

The IRS has eight tips for deducting charitable contributions that you should look at before donating. In order to properly make the deduction you will have to value your goods. Check out Goodwill’s Valuation Guide for a rough estimate of what your donations are worth.

That’s it! You’re able to get rid of some stuff, pay less in taxes, and help other people in need. And moving is a perfect time to do it.

Have stuff you need to sell or throw away? Check out these two articles (selling & disposing) about how to do those. Good luck!

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How To Sell Things When You Move

Moving is a perfect time to get rid of things. As you pack, you’ll notice items that you simply don’t use anymore. Many of these things are still in good condition and useable by someone else. Selling them is a great opportunity to get rid of stuff you don’t need while banking some cash in the process.

So how do you do it? There are several places where you can sell your stuff…


This is the obvious one. eBay has been the go-to marketplace for two decades for people looking to buy and sell. You’ll have to take a little time listing and shipping, but they’ve made it pretty easy at this point. Notably, their integration with Shyp makes it super easy to send items to buyers after they are sold.


Another obvious option. If you trust the people on the other end, this is a great place to sell things quickly. There is more risk to getting it done here because, unlike eBay, there isn’t transparency regarding the buyer and their history and the platform doesn’t actually facilitate the transaction. Everything is up to you. But nonetheless, it’s another high-traffic site where you can offload your goods.

Your Network

This is probably the first place you should go. Reach out to your family, friends, co-workers, and any organizations you belong to. You can send a good old-fashioned email or post in places like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to let your network know.


LetGo is an interesting app that lets you buy and sell goods to people in your area. This is a good option if you’re looking to offload something quickly and don’t a lot about how much you get for it. Post it on there for a cheap price and have someone come by to pick it up.


Amazon is the e-commerce destination for pretty much everyone. They have a seller program which allows you to sell your used goods along side all of their other products. You pay a small fee to do so, but will have a lot of traffic coming to your page.


This is another e-commerce site that enables you to act as a small business selling your goods on their platform. They specialize in unique goods and have an audience looking for these niche items. It’s a good place to offload anything that wouldn’t fit on the above sites.

Garage Sale

This will take some time to set up and market, but it’s a good way to get rid of things if you have a free day. You won’t get as much traffic as an online marketplace but the transactions will be quick and painless.

eBay Valet

Don’t have the time for any of the above? Give it to eBay and let them sell it for you. They, of course, will keep a percentage of the sale but it’s the price you pay for the service.

There are also countless niche communities where you can sell and trade specific products. Search Google and see what’s out there. If you take good pictures and market the goods well, you can quickly get rid of your junk and make money on it. And for anything you aren’t able to sell, you can donate it to people who need it.

Happy Selling! 😉

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