8 things to do when moving out of a house

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Moving is an exciting, yet stressful, time of transition. If you’re preparing for an upcoming move, congratulations! Buying or renting a new house is a big milestone.

Before you can celebrate in your new home, you’ll need to make sure everything is squared away in your current one. You need to schedule movers, talk to utility companies, pack, and clean. 

Here is a list of eight things you need to take care of before you move out.

1. Schedule movers

Start your moving process by handling the logistics. Having a plan in place to transport your belongings will put your mind at ease when you begin more time consuming tasks (like packing and cleaning). There are several methods you can use to move your belongings to your new house.

Professional movers

Hiring professionals requires the least amount of work, but is also the most expensive option. Movers’ rates are based on the number of bedrooms in your house and the distance you are moving. Expect to pay an hourly rate ($100/hr on average) for a local move and upwards of $5,000 for a cross-country move. Many full-service movers will also pack your things.

Moving container

A moving container (also called a moving cube or pod) is a great option that falls in between full-service movers and DIY options. The moving company will drop the container off at your house for you to load. Once it’s packed, the moving company will pick the container up and deliver it to your new address. Just like professional movers, the price is based on the size of the container and the distance you’re moving. On average, expect to spend $3,000 to $4,000. This is a great option if you are moving to a different state and plan to fly, rather than drive a car or rental truck.

Moving truck

Moving trucks are a budget-friendly, convenient option whether you’re moving locally or across the country. Pricing varies based on the size of the truck, how long you need it, and where you plan to drop it off. For a local move, a truck will cost around $200. For a long-distance move, expect to spend between $1,000 to $2,000.

Friends and family

Recruiting friends and family is the perfect free moving plan, especially if you are moving a short distance and have friends with larger cars.

2. Set up mail forwarding

Set up mail forwarding by submitting a change of address form on the USPS website. You can also fill out a mail forwarding form at your local post office. It can take several weeks for them to process this request, so be sure to submit your form as early as possible.

3. Contact utility companies

Transferring your utilities is an important step in the moving process that needs to be completed at least two weeks prior to your move. Before beginning the utility transfer process, check what utilities are covered at your new house. If you are renting, or belong to your new neighborhood’s HOA, some utilities may be covered. You may also be required to use specific utility companies. 

Make a list of your utility information (such as the name of each utility company, your account number, the date you need service to end, and the date you need your new service to begin). 

Decide which utilities you will transfer to your new home and which you will stop using. Most utility companies will allow you to transfer service to your new address online. If not, you can call their customer service phone number to request the change. Make sure to request that utilities be shut off the day after you move out, so that you still have things like power and water on moving day.

If your landlord or HOA currently covers any utilities, check to see whether they expect you to turn those utilities off or if they plan to handle it when you move out.

If you need new utilities for your new home, search online to find out what companies that cover your new area. If your new building or neighborhood has a Facebook group or email list (or if you know people in your new area), ask for reviews of utility companies. To set up new utilities, make an account online or call to set up service.

4. Purchase moving supplies

Ensure you have enough supplies to safely pack all of your belongings for your move. Most supplies can be found at online, at hardware stores, moving and shipping companies, like U-Haul, or office supply stores or more general stores like Walmart or Target. Here is a list of what you will need:

  • Blankets, packing paper, and packing sleeves: Use blankets, packing paper, and packing sleeves to wrap fragile items like televisions, dishes, and vases.
  • Boxes: On average, you will need 10 to 15 small boxes, 8 to 10 medium boxes, and 5 to 7 large boxes per bedroom in your house.
  • Dolly: Use furniture and box dollies to transport furniture and large moving boxes between your house and the moving truck. If you rent a moving truck, you may be able to rent these items along with it.
  • Mattress bag: Use a mattress bag to keep your mattress free from dirt and bugs during the move.
  • Packing tape: Make sure you have enough packing tape to securely tape each side of your boxes. On average, one roll of packing tape is enough for six boxes. 
  • Permanent markers: Use permanent markers to label each box. Once you get to your new house, you can use the labels to determine where to place each box. 

5. Pack each room

Keep your moving process organized by packing one room at a time. Start with non-essential rooms like guest rooms, guest bathrooms, and the dining room. Once you are closer to your move date, start packing the remaining non-essential items in your most used rooms like the primary bedroom and kitchen. Leave a few empty boxes out for the essential items you will pack on moving day.

6. Deep clean 

Use cleaning supplies to clean each room once it is packed. Although you won’t be able to clean underneath furniture or boxes, cleaning any empty space will reduce the amount of time spent cleaning on moving day.

7. Don’t forget moving day duties

Once your items are packed and out the door, there are a few final tasks you need to complete when moving out. Clean any areas that were blocked by furniture or boxes and confirm that each room is empty. If you are renting, be sure to collect your security deposit and complete any additional steps required by your landlord (such as setting the thermostat to a certain temperature).

If you are selling your home, give your keys to your real estate agent. They will take care of turning the keys over to the new owners.

8. Settle into your new home 

Once the stress of moving is over, you can focus on unpacking and enjoying your new home. Unload your boxes and unpack essential areas first (such as the primary bedroom, kitchen, and primary bathroom).

→ Here's a checklist of things to buy for a new house

Once you are fully unpacked, consider hosting a housewarming party with friends and family — moving into a new home is an exciting milestone that should be celebrated!

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