Out of State Moving Checklist

We made it to Austin and are now in temporary housing (a furnished apartment) until our stuff arrives at the rental. Next items on the agenda: get keys to rental house, hook up utilities, have our stuff arrive, take all that we have here to there, unpack…

Today, I’m sharing a moving checklist.  In addition, there are photos of how things looked as we were separating out what goes to the rental, what will be stored, etc.

We’ve been preparing for our out of state move for the past month.  Our usual process  typically happens over a period of 3-6 weeks.  Doing it faster than that would be difficult.  And, doing it slower isn’t a bad idea!

This is a long post!  So, if you skip over it, I won’t be upset.  However, if you plan to move any time soon, in state or out of state, it should be very valuable.

The process will vary slightly for everyone depending on your own needs and situation.   I will give information on our specific process and then you can modify it for yourself.

We constantly had a printed copy of a calendar out on our island to refer to.  This kept us inline.

{Our calendar that kept us organized.  Itried to lessen the detail visible just so you could get the general effect.}

Moving Tips – 5-6 Weeks Before

  • Budget for moving expenses.  Figure out if the move makes sense financially, what you can afford and with that information, create a budget.
  • Sell house. It will be time to have it up for sale and hopefully to have a contract on it very soon! We were under contract at this point.
  • Where to? Start researching and secure a place to move to – will it be a rental or will you try to find a home to buy? We always opt for a rental first and live there temporarily while we find the right home to buy.
    • This will require you to know what part of town you will be targeting and to make a trip out to see possibilities in person.
      • We flew to Austin and found a rental home with enough room to store boxes and furniture that will not get unpacked (in the garage), and enough room to function, yet it is not as large as the home we were leaving. No need for that, it’s temporary. We also decided on the side of town based on how far it’d be from my husband’s work.
      • We also secured temporary furnished housing for the first few days while our stuff was in transit and not yet delivered to the new rental house.
    • Fill out an application, sign a lease and send in deposits and rent.
  • Keep a file.  Create a “move file” to keep track of estimates, receipts and other important information.
  • Create a calendar to schedule out each of the items on this checklist.
  • Take photos of each room so you can remember what you have and recreate the layout if you want.
  • Van line?  Decide if you will use a van line (usually this happens when you have more stuff than will fit in a U-haul or don’t want to drive yourself) or a moving truck or a pack and store option like Pods.   We’ve used van lines each time – Mayflower, Allied and United.
    • Check with the IRS for possible tax deductions – including moving expenses.   Chris’ employer paid for the actual move (via van line) so that was not our expense or something we can deduct on taxes.
    • Start collecting estimates from various moving companies.
  • Shipping a car?  Will you drive multiple vehicles to the new location or will you ship one or more?  Begin researching auto shipping companies.   We are shipping one of our vehicles and driving the other.
  • Doctor Visits.  Schedule any last minute checkups that you need while you can still go to a doctor that you have an established relationship with.   We were sure to do dental and eye exams prior to leaving.
    • Start compiling medical and dental records – including prescriptions and shot records.
  • What to take in the car.  Make a list of things that are valuable or difficult to replace. Plan on carrying them with you in the car or on the plane.
  • Time to clean out the house.  Work your way through each room deciding what to donate or throw away.  Start planning a yard sale or contact your local charities.
    • We had a garage sale and gave all left overs to charity.  This must have lowered our box count by at least 10 very large boxes.  Those are boxes that we no longer had to pack!
  • If you need help moving, start talking to friends and family about getting their help.

{Art stacked in the family room.  This stuff will possibly be unpacked while other stuff will not.}

Moving Tips – 4 Weeks Before

  • Close on house.  For us, this sits in a strange place in this timeline.  We actually closed on our house and then rented it back from the new owners for one month while we did the rest of the things on this list.   Usually, you will close just before moving.
    • The reason we did it this way was that the buyers could close quickly and that helped us to move forward without a worry that anything would fall through.  With the state of the economy, you just never know and that can be stressful, as it’s hard to undo some of this stuff.  We actually moved into a new home once only to hear just before closing that our buyer backed out!  We suddenly had two homes.  It was nightmarish, but all worked out.  We had to move out of the new place (which we were entering early) and find another home to buy once we sold our home to a new buyer a few weeks later.  So, this seems more stress free than coordinating closing and moving right together.
  • Packing supplies.  Begin collecting boxes and other packing supplies if you will be packing yourself.  We had packers pack us, so we did not need to collect anything.
  • Schedule movers.  Start pinpointing a “move date”.   Schedule movers for the appropriate dates.  If you are working with a relocation company like we did, schedule with them.
  • Storage.  Plan for short-term or long-term storage at destination if needed.
  • Begin using things that can’t be moved, such as frozen foods, bleach and aerosol cleaners.
  • Who to notify. Make a list of friends, relatives and businesses to notify of your move. You’ll need to make them aware of your new address and phone numbers once you get them.

{Pillows waiting to be packed in the family room.  Most will be unpacked.  Who can go without their throw pillows?}

Moving Tips – 3 Weeks Before

  • School records. If you have children, arrange to have school records transferred to your children’s new school district and/or daycare.
  • Insurance.  Now that you have a new address to refer to, call your insurance agent to see what changes to expect in your policies for changing states. Ask if moving is covered and arrange for insurance for your new home. Also schedule your car insurance to be transferred to the new state.
  • Change of address form.  File a change of address with the Postal Service. On this form, you can specify exactly what date you want mail to begin going to your new address.
  • Bank. Contact your bank and/or credit union to transfer or close accounts. Does your current bank have branches in the new location?
    • Ours did not have branches in Austin. So, we had to take the time to:
      • Open new accounts with a new bank.
      • Move over any automatic withdrawals to the new bank. This involves phone calls and forms to fill out and fax in.
      • Move over any automatic deposits to the new bank.
      • Get new checks.
      • For us, we had to also change payroll accounts and Quickbooks accounts, as well as EFTPS numbers and other tax oriented information.
      • Transfer money to new accounts.
      • Close old accounts.
  • Get together with friends before moving.  This will likely require several evenings, maybe even a weekend trip.  We traveled to Palm Desert, CA to visit friends for a weekend prior to moving.
  • Separate. Start separating items that you will be donating, items that will go in the car with you, items that will be unpacked in a rental and items that will not be unpacked or used until you find a home to buy. This will limit stuff you need to repack later once you find a home to buy.
    • Set a goal of separating out one room every day or two.  This occurs after you’ve had a garage sale and paired down your belongings.
  • Begin packing.
    • Set a goal of packing a certain number of boxes per day.
    • Label each box very well.
      • What I mean is label which room it will go in at the new house and then under that, list as many items as you can that are inside.  Another way to do this is to number it and then on a sheet of paper list what is in it next to that number.  This will be very important as you unload boxes and need to know where to put them as well as when you try to locate things inside the boxes.

{Separating things out in the office.  The far right column of shelves and computer equipment will be unpacked.  The rest will not.  It will be in the garage for long term storage.}

Moving Tips – 2 Weeks Before

  • Retrieve any items out on loan and also give back anything you have borrowed.
  • Resign from current job if appropriate.
  • Utilities. Schedule disconnection of all utility services at your old home, and connection of them at your new one. This will require you to call each individual service at your current location and at your future location. Be sure to disconnect the day after you leave and connect the day before you arrive.
    • This will include cable television, internet, home phone, cell phone, electric, gas, water and trash pickup.
    • Get new phone numbers set up.
  • Decide if you will keep your plants or give them away. Remember plants cannot be loaded on to a van line.
  • Dispose of flammables, corrosives and poisons.  Such items cannot go on a moving truck.
  • Have your automobile(s) serviced.
  • Take all things down from walls and patch holes.  This includes curtains, curtain rods, tv, and art.
  • Get haircuts before you leave and must find a new stylist.
  • Get new bank debit cards.

{Staging area for what will go with us in our car.  Don’t worry the treadmill didn’t go with us in the car!  This is the workout room and the best we could do for a staging area.  We moved everything out of it that we could.}

Moving Tips – 1 Week Before

  • Book hotel if you need one on the way to your new location.
  • Change address and phone numbers.
    • Many times, companies have a spot on every bill for you to note an address change.  If not, try changing it online.  Sometimes, a phone call is required.
      • To get your mind rolling, here are some places that you may need to contact:  bills and statements, magazines and catalogs, banks, your employer. Be thorough with your changes of address.
  • Empty gas from your lawn mower.
  • Plan meals for the last week of the move to help empty the refrigerator and avoid using appliances that will already be packed.
  • Assemble a folder of important information about the house for the new owner of your home.
    • We left them manuals for appliances, extra tile, paint, and instructions for the pool and such.  Confirm the times that packers and/or movers will arrive.
  • Notify friends and family of your new address and phone number.
  • Finish packing and prepare an “essentials” box. Pack your suitcases and valuables separately to be taken in your car with you.
  • Empty, defrost and clean your refrigerator at least 48 hours before moving day. Prepare all appliances for loading.
    • For me with food allergies, this meant I had to cook enough food for the next 5 days prior to cleaning out the fridge.  I can’t eat prepackaged items, so this took a little extra prep work.
  • Fill any prescriptions or medications you will need for the next couple of weeks or until you find new doctors.
  • Give out new phone numbers and address.
  • Return propane tank if you have one for a barbecue pit.
  • Arrange to leave your keys with the new tenants, your landlord, or a trusted neighbor.
  • Unplug all electronic appliances 24 hours in advance of a move, except plasma televisions, so that they will be at room temperature on moving day. This includes home computers, stereos, and audio/video equipment.
  • Give groceries that will not be moving with you to a friend or neighbor.
  • Pack the items you will take with you in the car.  We cleared out our workout room and used it for a staging area for the car.  We took computers, clothing, medications and vitamins, paints, cleaners, files, and pillows with us in the car.
  • Confirm all utilities.  We called to confirm internet and phone, for example, only to find out that they were coming out before we even arrive and charging us extra installation fees.  So, we had to get that straightened out.  Therefore, confirming things is worth your time.

Keep in mind, this all happens while you are still working, doing usual yard work and errands at your current home, selling a home, finding a new home and packing.  Nothing else in life slows down much.  So, it’s a balancing act and one that requires quite a bit of organization!

{Chaos in the family room as we separate what will get unpacked in the rental and what will not.}

Moving-Out Checklist

  • Make plans to be present when packers and movers are there, and personally supervise hired labor. You are ultimately responsible for how your goods are packed and loaded.
  • Save “last load” items for the rear of your shipment. This might include your vacuum cleaner or bed sheets.
  • Check every room, closet and cabinet one last time before deciding everything is loaded.
  • Verify the destination address and your contact information is correct so that the driver can reach you.
  • Take note of utility meter readings.
  • Leave a note with your new address in the house so that future residents can forward any stray mail.
  • Load car.
  • Turn off your water heater and set down your thermostat.
  • Clean the house up in a reasonable way – make sure nothing is filthy.  Maybe a quick vacuum, wipe off counters, sweep, if you can.
  • Shut water off.
  • Make sure you have a map or gps system.

{Separating things out in the craft room/ studio.}

Arrival/ Moving-In Checklist

  • You are likely to arrive at your new home ahead of your shipment. Take this time to look things over and to ensure your utilities have been connected.
    • We had to wait at the empty rental house for Directv, Internet and home phone.  We did not have to be present for anything else.
    • Note:  During transit time, we stayed in a furnished apartment.  There was a window of 2-7 days for our stuff to be delivered.
  • Verify that your mail is being delivered to your new address and pick up any mail being held.
  • Consider drawing out your new floor plan and decide where you want furniture and appliances placed.
    • Place this floor plan of your new home by the entrance, so the movers can use to determine where each piece of furniture should go.
  • Plan to be present when the movers deliver your shipment.  There is usually a window of several days during which time you will want to stick close to the area.
  • Unless you are paying the movers by credit card, have a cashier’s check or money order ready for the driver.
  • If you used movers, be prepared to tip them.
  • Install appliances.
  • To prevent possible damage, television sets, other electronic equipment and major appliances should not be used for 24 hours after delivery, allowing them time to adjust to room temperature.
  • Move from any temporary residence to the home your stuff was delivered to/ that you will live in more permanently.
  • Go to your local grocery store to help replenish your pantry.
  • Time to unpack.

After-the-Move Checklist

  • Get a new driver’s license and new tags for your automobile.
  • Register to vote.
  • Oder new address stamps, labels and stationary.
  • Find new tax accountant in new state.
  • Dissolve LLC and start new one in TX.
  • Register your new phone numbers on the do-not-call list via www.donotcall.gov.

Note:  If you have children or pets, unlike us, you will need to schedule times for people to watch them along the way so you can get things done.

I hope that is helpful to anyone out there who is moving!  If you have anything to add to it, leave a comment!

Is there anything I forgot?



  1. I don’t envy the work of moving…I hope all goes smoothly for you! Can’t wait to see what you do with your new digs!!

  2. wow girl! you are ubber organized! Im impressed. I’d be running around like a mad woman just tossing stuff in boxes only to freak out when I had to unpack b/c I couldnt find a dang thing!

  3. The picture of all your throw pillows made me chuckle! Chad always says I have too many pillows, and that picture showed him I am not crazy LOL. Good luck with the transition!

  4. Great list. I always ask my current medical providers if they can refer me to anyone in the new area. Along with your ideas of what to leave for new owners, I give the name of the best babysitter (with parent’s permission), best restaurant, etc.

  5. AMAZING list. I am going to bookmark this one, for sure!!

  6. Great tips! I hope I don’t have to make any big moves for a long time… what a LOT of work!!!

  7. So glad to have you in this wonderful city!!! Hope everything went smoothly!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>