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Moving Day: A Checklist of What to Do

You've done everything right, and now it's your moving day!

Follow this step-by-step checklist before, during and after your move to ensure that you -- and your stuff -- arrive safely at your new home.
Before the Movers Arrive: 

  1. Doublecheck each room to be sure everything is packed and ready to be moved. And make sure closets, cupboards, attics and basements are empty -- it's VERY easy to overlook things here.
  2. Make sure the items you will move yourself are set apart from the items to be moved by the movers. If possible, move these items into the car or to the neighbor's house before the movers even arrive -- it's just one less thing to worry about.
    Moving Day Paperwork

    On moving day, the mover will give you the Bill of Lading – this includes all information about your move, including pricing and delivery dates.

    Go over it line by line and ask questions before signing. Make sure the dates, services requested, valuation insurance, and dollar amounts are filled in and identical to those contained on your original estimate. Keep the Bill of Lading with you – don't pack it!

    Attached to the Bill of Lading will be your original estimate, your order for service, and the mover's inventory. Make sure to check the inventory closely -- it represents the mover's opinion of the condition of your furniture. If you do not agree with the mover's inventory, you must dispute it before signing.

    When you reach your destination, use the driver's inventory to check off items as they're unloaded. When the move-in is complete, you will need to acknowledge receipt by signing the inventory sheet and the Bill of Lading.

    If you have high-value goods, you will fill out a high-value inventory sheet. If you're packing yourself, leave the boxes open so that the moving company can inspect the box to insure they were packed properly. You sign the sheet at origin and when boxes are unloaded to verify they were received in proper order.

  3. Make sure you have your own personal bag packed and set aside before the movers arrive. You should have whatever items you need during the move and for a few days after the move, just in case the moving van is delayed.
  4. Get rid of any clutter that could get in the way of movers.
  5. If you have children, get someone to watch them so they don't get hurt, or set aside a room where they can stay during the move.  
  6. Put your pets in a room where they will not be in the way of the loading process; better yet, have someone watch them, or board them.  
  7. Make sure there's plenty of parking space for the moving van.
  8. Make sure you know how the moving company wants to be paid -- get this ready prior to the move day. It's often cash on delivery, but many companies will take a credit card. Ask your movers. Most moving companies expect to paid right after the job is completed.

When the Mover Arrives:

  1. Review all paperwork and details with the crew chief – you will be presented with a bill of lading, which sets forth all the conditions of your move. (See this article for more on the types of moving paperwork you will encounter.) 
  2. Accompany the driver as he inspects each piece of furniture and prepares an inventory sheet. There will be a detailed description of your goods at the time of loading on the inventory. Make sure you agree with his assessment of the furniture's condition in case you need to file a damage claim later.
  3. Provide all other phone numbers where you can be reached while shipment is in transit. Make sure you have the crew chief's name nd telephone number – and make sure the movers have the exact address of your new home.
  4. Establish a solid, friendly relationship with your movers from the beginning (see this article for more tips on getting along with your movers).
  5. Have water or cold drinks available for the crew, and maybe some food. 
  6. Be available to assist the crew with any questions they have. If you will not be available during the move, arrange for someone else to make decisions in your absence. Leave them detailed notes about anything you want them to remember. This individual may be required to sign documents obligating you to charges, so give them a number they can reach you at and notify the moving company of your replacement.
  7. Most importantly -- relax and let the professionals do their job!

Closing Up Your Old Home

  1. Re-check all closets, cabinets, storage areas, drawers and the basement and attic to ensure everything's been loaded onto the van.
  2. Throw out all garbage.
  3. Lock windows and doors, shut off faucets, set thermostats and turn off all lights.
  4. Leave any keys or garage door openers for the new owners.
  5. Leave your forwarding address and phone number with a neighbor in case you need to be reached.            

At Your New Home: 

  1. Label the rooms so the movers know which is which, and provide floor schematics so they know where to place furniture and other large items.  
  2. Use the mover's inventory – prepared by the mover when they loaded your items – to check off the items as they are unloaded from the moving van.

Once Everything Is Unloaded

  1. You will be asked to sign the inventory sheets and bill of lading. Check these documents closely; don't sign until you're sure you have everything.
  2. Unpack the kids' room and the kitchen first – you want to make your kids feel settled in their rooms. Because the kitchen is a central part of many peoples' lives, it's good to have this area up and running.
  3. Set up your beds relatively early; you'll be tired, and sleeping on the floor is not a good way to celebrate the first night in your new home.  
  4. Take it easy, meal-wise, on the move-in day. Prepare something beforehand that will be ready to eat; better yet, pick up something to-go.
  5. Celebrate your new home!

Your Next Move:

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In the Press

A Moving Company's Moving Story
June, 2012

Relocation.com's survey was recently featured on the front page of USA Today. The headline entitled "Moving in Hard Times" highlighted our results that moving and relocating behaviors were only moderately influenced by the economy.


Our lifestyle survey found that Americans are seeking smaller homes and a suburban lifestyle. These riveting results were recently featured on USAToday.com in an article entitled "American dream shrinks as smaller homes gain favor."

"This user-friendly site includes a blog and a subscription-only newsletter, too"

The Washington Post

"Relocation.com provides you with all the tools you need to get quotes quickly from movers in your area."


The Business Week