Moving Long Distance? Prepare Checklists

Full article 8 min read

What To Prepare When Moving Long Distance: Checklists!

One of the most difficult things to do when relocating is trying to think ahead.

It’s easy to say “Make a list,” but if this is your first long-distance move or if it has been a long time since you made a big move, you may not be able to foresee all the things you will need to take into consideration.

That’s where a great checklist can come in handy.

Here then, are some checklists to help you think ahead and prepare when moving long distance.

Checklist One: Budget

The budget checklist takes into account, not just the costs associated with moving long distance itself, but also those associated with leaving your old home and renting or purchasing your new one.

A great way to do this list is using a spreadsheet. It allows you to keep track of projected expenses and compare those to the actual expenses. This will help you keep track of where you may need to cut costs during the process.


Old Home Expenses:

  • Lease Termination Fees (Renter)
  • Sales Commission and Closing Fees (Home Sale)
  • Utilities Disconnection/Final Charges
  • Cleaning
  • Repairs
  • Damages

New Home Expenses:

  • Security Deposit and First and Last Month Rent (Renter)
  • Cash Brought to Closing (Home Purchase)
  • Utility Connection Fees
  • Property Taxes
  • Cleaning
  • Repairs

Transport to New Home:

  • Moving Company and Costs Associated
  • Moving Company Packing/Unpacking Charges
  • Vehicle Fuel
  • Airplane Tickets
  • Lodging
  • Food
  • Pet Transport/Boarding
  • Car/Boat/Other Vehicle Shipping
  • Parking Permit/Fees
  • Tolls


Checklist Two: Packing and Moving Supplies

Even if you are using professional movers when moving long distance – (booked through LDM, naturally) you will still want to pack at least some of your items yourself. And you will also be responsible for ensuring your old home is left clean when you leave.

In addition, even if your contractors are packing for you, you may want to do some labeling and color coding yourself. These helps ensure a smooth transition to your new space.

  • Boxes of Various Sizes
    • Small Book Boxes
    • Medium Boxes
    • Large Boxes
    • Wardrobe Boxes
    • Dish and Divided Boxes
    • Art Boxes
    • Plastic Bins with Lids
  • Tape
    • Shipping Tape (2-4 Rolls)
    • Strapping Tape (2)
    • Masking Tape for Labels
    • Shipping Tape Dispensers (2)
  • Scissors
  • Box Cutters
  • Sharpie Permanent Markers (large nib—several of these; you may also use various colors for different rooms, family members, etc.)
  • Colored Stickers for Room/Family Member Color Coding
  • Packing Material: Bubble Wrap, Dish Paper, Packing Paper (Don’t forget to use blankets, sheets, towels, pillows, throws, etc. as filler in boxes.)
  • Hand Truck and/or Dolly (rent or borrow if needed)
  • Work Gloves
  • Rope, Twine, or Bungees to secure items in car trunk or roof rack, if needed
  • Cleaning Supplies kept separate (last in, first out)

Checklist Three: Timeline

Organizing your move into multiple tasks with deadlines will help keep you on track and keep you from becoming overwhelmed.

This timeline is for eight weeks, but you can easily adapt it to a longer or more compressed schedule.


Eight Weeks Out

  • Let connect you with a great long distance moving company.
  • Schedule your move with our recommended and pre-vetted movers.
  • Make an inventory of everything you will be transporting (you may want to do this during your on-site estimate with the moving company)
  • Divide inventory into Moving Truck items, Car Items (which you’ll carry yourself), and Discard (Yard Sale, Giveaway, or Trash)
  • If possible, get a floor plan of your new home. Also, begin to planning the furniture placement. This will help with labeling during the move.

Six Weeks Out

  • Schedule airline flights if required.
  • Clear out closets and storage areas.
  • Have a yard sale or schedule a pickup from a local charitable organization (or both!)
  • Transfer children’s school records to their new district.
  • Have medical records sent to your new doctors.

Four Weeks Out

  • Confirm your booking with your moving company and ask any questions you may have about guidelines, logistics, etc.
  • Schedule movers two days before Moving Day if they are packing for you.
  • Schedule hotel stays if needed during the process.
  • Purchase boxes and packing materials if you are packing your home yourself.
  • Pack items you do not need before the move, such as out of season clothing, some books, decorative items, etc.
  • Schedule change of address online with
  • Notify friends, family, bank, insurance, and other billers of your change of address.
  • Pre-order new appliances, furniture, linens, and other items for delivery to your new home.
  • Make copies of important papers (birth certificates, passports, medical records, etc.). Place them in a file or location you will remember. Keep the originals with you and carry them yourself.


Three Weeks Out

  • Schedule Utility disconnect at your current location and hookup at your new location.
  • Begin packing room by room. Start in areas you use the least (guest room, formal living room, guest bathrooms).
  • Arrange child and pet care on the day movers are packing the house and/or the truck.
  • If your building has a freight elevator, arrange to have padding hung and reserve access for moving day.

Two Weeks Out

  • Arrange to move plants and pets
  • Dispose of items you are not allowed to transport, like gasoline or propane tanks.
  • Continue packing things you don’t use in rooms you use (like fine china in a kitchen cabinet or seldom used beauty products in a master bath)
  • If you are carrying the appliances out, schedule a plumber, electrician, or other workman to disconnect at your current location and reconnect with your new one.

One Week Out

  • If you must change banks due to your leaving, open your new bank account this week (you may be able to do this online)
  • Check and ensure you have medication to last until after the changing place of living and the transfer of your prescriptions.
  • Have your doctor write a new prescription for after the move or check with your pharmacist regarding transfer of existing prescriptions.
  • Clean out the refrigerator and freezer two days before you transport it.
  • Keep packing!
  • Pack a first night box and/or a suitcase to get you through the first couple of days until your essentials are unpacked.

We hope you find these checklists useful as you begin planning ahead for your relocation. And don’t forget, the most important item on your to-do list is getting a quote from a pre-screened moving professional at


Written by

Alex Sherr is the founder of Long Distance Moving, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.