Moving House First Time Checklist

Get a pen and paper ready! It’s time to start making your checklist for moving into a new house. From budgeting for the move to preparing for life in your new home, there’s a never-ending list of things to do when moving to a house for the first time. If you’re in the process of preparing your moving checklist, be sure to include these 30 easy-to-miss steps.

What to do before the move

  1. Check the legitimacy of the moving company

    Whatever you do, don’t overlook moving company reviews when making your checklist for moving into a house. Before hiring a moving company, be sure to do your homework and choose a mover that is licensed, insured and trustworthy. You can do so by checking the Better Business Bureau (BBB),’s directory, and the FMCSA’s lookup system.

  2. Take your new home’s measurements

    Before moving into a new house, don’t forget to take a look at the blueprint of your new home. Measure all interior spaces, as well as your own furniture. This way, you’ll know exactly what belongings will fit where in your new home. You’ll also be able to better direct your movers where to place all your furnishings.

  3. Transfer the utilities

    A few weeks prior to moving, contact your utility service providers to let them know about your move. While you have them on the phone, go ahead and schedule your disconnect and connect dates for gas and electricity. Additionally, you should contact your cable and internet service provider, as well as your security system provider to schedule an installation date after the move. For more information, check out our guide to transferring the utilities.

  4. Save on your move date

    Want a less expensive move? Choose a mid-week, mid-month moving date when hiring professional movers or renting a moving truck. Also, avoid peak moving season when rates are typically higher. Instead, aim for a move between the months of October and April when demand is lowest.

  5. Forward the mail

    Don’t forget to forward your snail mail before a move. Otherwise, you could end up missing out on important bills, letters and packages. To forward your mail before the move, go to and choose the date you wish to begin receiving mail at your new address. If you want to rent a P.O. Box in your new city, read our guide to setting up a P.O. Box when you move.

  6. Notify of change of address

    You’ll also want to make sure you’re notifying the right people and places about your move. It’s better to do this earlier rather than later so that you don’t face potential hassles like missed bills or service lapses. Here is our change of address checklist listing who you should notify.

    What to do before the move

  7. Check the moving company’s non-allowables list

    Hiring a moving company? Don’t overlook their list of non-allowables. These items typically include aerosol cans, paints, pesticides, cleaning solvents, scuba tanks, propane tanks, fire extinguishers and fertilizer — just to name a few. Be sure to check with your moving company for specifics, and check out this list of what your movers won’t move.

  8. Label all boxes

    If you’re packing your belongings without labeling the boxes, you’re making a huge mistake. All fragile items should be labeled as such to avoid becoming damaged while en route. Items should also be labeled according to their corresponding rooms, such as “kitchen,” “bathroom,” etc. Read our comprehensive guide to how to pack for a move, which includes tips on how to pack and label the boxes.

  9. Use the right moving supplies

    Using damaged boxes or the wrong boxes is a big mistake when moving. Certain items, such as your television, mirrors and artwork may require a specific type of moving box (think: telescope boxes). They also may require professional packing. So before purchasing any moving supplies, visit’s box center to find the appropriate boxes for the job. (Use our packing calculator for an estimate of just how many boxes you’ll need.) This definitive list of moving supplies also details what other moving supplies are a must and which you can go without.

  10. Research the new neighborhood’s schools

    Moving with kids? Don’t overlook your new city’s schools. If you have school-age children, be sure to do your research on both the neighborhood’s public and private schools before moving. You can check school ratings with GreatSchools as a start.

  11. Find new healthcare providers

    Don’t forget to find new healthcare providers when you move. We suggest first asking your current primary care physician for any recommendations they may have in your new city. If they don’t have recommendations, check with your health insurance company to find a doctor that is in your network of providers. Before you go, make sure to get your medical and dental records from your current providers.

  12. Move your prescriptions

    Before moving, we suggest researching pharmacies in your new neighborhood or city. You’ll need to contact your current pharmacy to let them know you’re moving. You also may want to take your doctor’s written prescriptions with you. This way, you can bring them to your new pharmacy once you move.

  13. Reserve a self-storage unit

    Don’t wait until the last minute to reserve your self-storage unit. If you’re downsizing or not ready to toss your items, we recommend researching storage facilities near you. When reserving a self-storage unit, find one that offers top-notch security features, as well as a climate-controlled environment. For more information, read our first-timer’s guide to renting a storage unit. You can also find storage near you on our website.

  14. Research plant transportation rules

    If you’re planning on taking your plants with you on the move (and crossing state lines), you’ll need to check with your moving company for specific rules and regulations. Many states regulate which plants are allowed across their borders. For more information on state regulations and plant transportation, check out the National Plant Board’s website. Also, read our tips on how to transport plants in a car.

    What to do after the move

  15. Pack an essentials bag

    Chances are good that you’re not going to want to sift through hundreds of boxes for pajamas and a toothbrush. For this reason, don’t forget to pack an essentials bag for your first night or week in your new home. The suitcase should include a few changes of clothes, PJs, toiletries, pet essentials, baby essentials, and medicine. Here’s a detailed list of what to pack in your essentials bag.

  16. Clean the former home

    Before you move, don’t forget to do one last sweep of your old place. Once you’ve made sure everything is packed or tossed, you’ll need to do a deep clean of the home. This should include vacuuming all floors, cleaning out the fridge and wiping down surfaces, among other things. For details, see our easy move-out cleaning checklist.

  17. Organize items before the move

    Before you start packing, we recommend getting your home organized. Any items that won’t be necessary for the new home should be set aside for either donating, selling or storing. If you have a slew of belongings that need to be disposed of, try hosting a garage sale before the move. Having less stuff to move will only make your relocation less stressful and less expensive.

  18. Get cash before the move

    Planning on tipping your movers? While it’s certainly not required, many people choose to tip their movers for a job well done. Have cash on hand to tip movers. Here’s how much to tip: For simple, local moves, it’s acceptable to tip $20 per mover. For a complicated, long-distance move, you can tip around $30 to $50 per mover, depending on your budget, overall satisfaction and effort put forth by the movers. Read more advice on tipping movers.

  19. Consider your pet’s needs

    Moving with a pet? Don’t overlook your furbaby’s needs. Be sure to pack a bag or box of pet essentials, as well as a crate if needed. Pet essentials may include pet food, toys, bones, kitty litter, etc. Pet owners should also collect their pet’s veterinarian records.

  20. Register your vehicle

    Moving to a new state? You’ll need to get a new driver’s license as soon as possible. You’ll also need to register your vehicle and let your car insurance know about your change in address. Our advice is to visit your new city’s DMV website to find rules and deadlines within the first week of your move.

  21. Send out a moving announcement

    Don’t forget to let your friends and family know you’ve moved! While you can certainly send out an official moving announcement through the mail, it may be easiest to email or text all contacts with your new address.

  22. Ask about a relocation package

    Are you moving for a job? Your new employer might cover at least some, if not all, of your moving expenses. Ask your new employer about a relocation package and other work-related questions, such as the commute time.

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What to do after the move

  1. Unpack necessities first

    From your toiletries to your kitchen gear, there are certain things you will need during the first week in your new home. Make sure that boxes filled with essentials are clearly labeled so you can find them when you need them. When unpacking your home, we recommend starting with the bedrooms and the kitchen. Next, unpack your living room, office and laundry necessities. Save rooms with non-essentials, such as a gym and playroom, for last.

  2. Recycle moving supplies

    Finished unpacking? Now it’s time to get rid of those boxes. You can always sell or give away moving boxes to those who need them, or you can simply take your moving supplies to the closest recycling center. Just don’t forget to flatten the boxes before you go.

  3. Change the locks

    There’s no telling who the former owners gave keys to in the past. For safety and security reasons, making a few copies of the new keys is also a good idea in case you lose one. To rekey the house, you’ll need to contact a local locksmith during the first week in your new home.

  4. Set up a security system

    If the home already has a security system in place, you’ll need to contact the company to arrange for a transfer of service to your name. In addition, most security companies will want to come out to the house to make sure the security system is installed to your liking. Passwords and passcodes will also need to be changed.

  5. Test all smoke detectors and install carbon monoxide detectors

    Upon moving into your new home, test the smoke detectors to ensure they’re in working order. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the house. Use EPA’s directions for installing carbon monoxide detectors.

  6. Find trusted home maintenance providers

    Don’t wait until your AC dies or your toilet overflows to find one. Go ahead and research local service professionals in your area to figure out who you want to hire to help with home maintenance needs, such as a handyman, plumber and electrician.

  7. Figure out trash and recycling pickup days

    If you’re moving to a rental, the landlord should let you know the trash and recycling pickup days as well as the pickup timing. If you purchased a new home, you can ask the sellers or neighbors for trash and recycling pickup timing. We also recommend that you locate a nearby recycling center to dispose of your cardboard moving boxes and supplies responsibly.

  8. Meet your neighbors

    Now’s the time to say “hello” to your neighbors and introduce yourself. Get outside, take a walk, head to your local bus stop or store, wave, smile, and introduce yourself to neighbors you see out and about. Here are our 12 tips for getting to know your neighbors.

Frequently asked questions about moving into a house for the first time

Keep reading to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about moving into a new home.

  • What is the first thing to do when moving into a new house?
    Safety comes first. When moving into a new house, we recommend first conducting a walkthrough to make sure everything is in working order. Test smoke detectors, install carbon monoxide detectors, and childproof the home to make it as safe as possible while you unpack and get settled.
  • What should I do 30 days before moving in?
    A month before moving in, you should begin packing, confirm your moving date and time with the movers, and let friends and family know you’re moving. You may also want to begin making necessary improvements to the home (i.e. painting walls and repairing appliances) 30 days before moving in. This way, the home is ready to go come moving day.
    Is there a checklist for moving?
    Our Moving Planner checklist helps plan your move eight weeks out. The customizable moving checklist and personal tasks list will help you stay organized throughout the moving process. We also have checklists if you are moving with kids, pets, seniors, for a job, to another state, across the country, and if you are moving your office.

Ready to move?

Fortunately,’s extensive network of reputable and reliable movers makes it easy to find and book the best moving company for the job. All relocation companies in our network are licensed and insured, so you can rest assured that your move will be in good hands. Best of luck and happy moving!

Moving House First Time Checklist
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