Plan Your Move
Follow these helpful to-do lists to stay organized and focused throughout the moving process. You need to ask the right questions of your mover, prepare your kids, sign up for utilities and electricity service, pack and clean. Use these tips and our 90-day move countdown checklist to make sure you've taken care of it all.
Choosing a Moving Company
There are many factors to consider in selecting a mover you can trust to be as careful with your valuables as you are. Be sure you ask the right questions. Call several moving companies for a free estimate, and then consider these tips when making your selection.
- Find a licensed moving company.
Always use a reputable company when moving.
- Ask for references.
Check with friends and neighbors to see if they've had good experiences with a particular moving company in the past.
- Check each moving company's background.
The Better Business Bureau and your state's consumer protection agency may have records about companies in your area.
- Ask about the company's insurance.
Will their coverage pay replacement cost, actual cash value or a set dollar amount per pound?
- How will customer complaints be handled?
Find out how the company will handle your complaints and claims if something gets broken or lost during the move.
- Does the company have a commitment to on-time delivery.
Some moving companies guarantee a delivery date and others don't.
- Check for additional charges.
Ask if there are any circumstance that might result in additional charges and what they would be.
- Payment arrangements.
Is a deposit required ahead of time? Does the company accept credit cards as well as cash?
Packing Tips for Moving
Packing your belongings is one of the most difficult and time-consuming elements of the moving process. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task, but these helpful tips can ease your packing blues and help you set things in motion.
Put your important documents in a fire-safe box. Here are some documents to include:
- School records
- Home purchase/sale papers
- Marriage/divorce papers
- Pet documents
- Financial records
- Stock certificates
- Social security cards and birth certificates
Buy moving labels
When you start packing, write down the contents of each box you pack and the room where it belongs in an inventory you keep for yourself. This will make unpacking much more efficient. Label each box with its room name; using a specific color for each room can also help.
Have a yard sale or donate items you don't need or haven't used in the last 4-6 months. Use measurements of your new home to determine whether all your furniture will fit. Getting rid of excess items will make packing much easier.
Create a packing strategy
Having a good plan always lowers the stress level. Decide which rooms you will pack first, and then make a schedule to follow.
- If you can, start packing early.
Begin with the least-used items, and try to complete a few boxes per day.
- Pack on a room-by-room basis.
Keeping items from each room separate will simplify unloading the boxes.
- Keep an inventory as you pack.
Number the boxes per room and make a list of the major contents of each box.
How to pack for a move
Knowing how to pack specific items can save you time — and help ensure each item arrives at the new house safe and sound.
- Hang ironed or dry-cleaned clothes in wardrobe cartons to avoid the hassle of pressing them after the move.
- Empty the drawers in a piece of furniture before moving the piece itself.
- Place heavy objects toward the bottom of the box and more delicate articles near the top.
- Stack and wrap cups or other kitchen breakables. Place small pieces of paper between each item for added protection or use boxes from a grocery or liquor store that include cardboard dividers.
- Pack table lamps in sturdy dish pack cartons. Wrap the base of the lamp well and fill in the box with wadded-up packing paper. Pack the lampshade by itself, if possible.
- Books and records should be stood on end and packed in small cartons since they will get heavy quickly.
- Label your cords and cables with their corresponding device for easy set up after the move. It can also help to take a photo of how the electronics are connected so you can remember where the wires go, especially if you have a very complicated setup.
Pack first night essentials
Avoid a frantic search after your move by packing all essential toiletries, a change of clothes, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, clean sheets, medications, comfort items for children and a first-aid kit. Keep this box in your car, and make sure it's easy to get to once the move is complete.
How to pack breakables
Bubblewrap is great to use for wrapping breakable items, but you can also be creative and use clothing, socks, tissue paper and other packing material to ensure your breakable items stay intact. Pack your kitchen breakables in liquor cartons with cardboard dividers if possible, or place them near the top of boxes that hold your other dishes.
How to pack bulky items
If you still have the original packaging for your bulky items, it's a good idea to use it. However, you can also use trash bags, moving blankets or packing paper to transport and protect those hard-to-pack items. Don't be afraid to use extra boxes. It can be better to use more boxes without fear of damage rather than cramming items that could shift and break into a single box.
Whether you're selling a home or preparing for the walkthrough with your landlord or leasing company, it is an absolute must that your home look as clean as it possibly can before you move out. Cleaning a home for sale or move out may differ a bit from a general clean, so follow these tips to have your home looking its best when it really counts.
- Declutter. If you are moving out of a rented home, this may not apply to you as you'll have all of your belongings out of your home prior to your walkthrough. However, it is quite common to have to show your home to potential buyers before you actually move out. If you find yourself in this position, get rid of excess clutter. Excessive items give the illusion of a disorderly home, even if the items are clean. More 'stuff' also makes your home look smaller, which is a negative. Go through all of your belongings and either throw out, donate, or store items that you wouldn't find in a model home.
- Focus your clean. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer. People looking at homes for sale pay extra attention to kitchens and bathrooms. Don't neglect your bedrooms, living room, etc., but be sure the 'money rooms' are looking their best. Abrasive cleaners are great for removing tough stains like grease residue, but also scratch sensitive surfaces very easily. Generally, stick with liquid cleansers with soft sponges or towels to protect your home's surfaces.
- Reach for the bleach. Nothing truly replicates the cleaning results (and freshly cleaned smell) that bleach provides. Either use cleaners with bleach, or your own mixture (1 part bleach for every 3 parts water, generally) to remove mold or mildew stains from grout in tiles, shower doors or curtains. Be sure to always wear rubber gloves when cleaning with bleach, however, and avoid any contact with your skin.
As for the rest of the cleaning process, there are ways to avoid wasting excess time and creating unnecessary stress during your clean. Consult these tips to make your cleaning process go smoother.
- Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the drying effects of water and cleansers.
- Have plenty of extra rags on hand. An old torn up t-shirt works well.
- Gather all of your cleaning supplies and rags and put them in one bucket or carry-all with a handle.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet overnight and vacuum in the morning to give the room a fresh smell.
- Always clean rooms from top to bottom.
Green cleaning products
You can clean your new home and be kind to the environment by using environmentally-friendly cleaning products.
- Deodorize a garbage disposal unit by throwing in a few orange peels.
- Use baking soda on a damp sponge to clean your refrigerator and countertops without scratching.
- Crayon marks on the walls? Apply a paste of baking soda and water to an old toothbrush, and then lightly brush the affected area.
- Minimize water stains on wooden floors by sponging with a solution of baking soda dissolved in water.
- Sprinkle baking soda on rugs and carpets before vacuuming as a deodorizing treatment.
- Stains on porcelain sinks, toilets and plastics can be removed by applying a layer of baking soda and then using a damp sponge.
Finally, relax. You've spent weeks or even months preparing for this event, and all your hard work is sure to pay off in a smoother, simpler move.
Preparing Your Kids
You can’t make your pending move completely stress free, but you can help your children become more comfortable with the situation by applying the following suggestions:
- Gather information about the city and local attractions, and then sit down with your kids and share the information and pictures you found.
- Create a fun project in which your kids make a map of the neighborhood or draw pictures of the new house.
- Encourage your children to talk about their feelings. Talking things through may help your kids understand their fears and work through them.
- Take your child to see the new city, neighborhood and house.
- Visit your children’s future school. Schedule time to meet the principal and some of your children’s teachers and future classmates in advance.
- Involve your children in planning a moving party. Then help them compile the contact information of friends and family they will be leaving.
- Pack some of your children’s essentials for the trip: toiletry items, snacks, games, pillows, stuffed animals, photos and special comfort items.
- Obtain medical and dental records for your children.
Planning a Green Move
Moves can make us all realize how much stuff we can accumulate and how much we waste. Make your move a little more eco-friendly with these tips.
Environmentally-friendly packing materials
If you're concerned about the impact your move may have on the environment, take heart. Eco-friendly products and tips can help you reduce the impact of your move on the environment. These alternative packing materials make it easy to green your move.
- Newspaper or recycled packing paper
Rolled up into balls, paper can provide good cushioning at a great price.
Old cardboard boxes can be torn into strips or squares and then rolled tightly around an item
- Packing peanuts
Buy biodegradable packing peanuts made from grain sorghum and cornstarch, and use them to cushion breakables such as glassware
- Rolled foam
Use starch-based, anti-static rolled foam to cushion computer parts and electronic equipment
Pop some extra to use for your delicate items. Popcorn's springy consistency makes it a great packing material.
Exercise your right to choose
Many retail electric providers offer wind or solar power plans. You can also sign up for related programs that support conservation or environmental initiatives. Here are a few options:
- Choose a plan that includes 100% wind.
Wind power produces no air pollution or carbon emissions that contribute to greenhouse gasses. Learn more about Reliant's renewable wind plan1 ›
- Select paperless billing as your method of choice for receiving bills.
It's good for the environment and convenient for you.
- Sign up for programs that allow you to donate to conservation organizations.
Supporting the work of environmental organizations is easy to do when you pay your bill each month. Learn more about the Reliant EcoShare℠ program ›
Green cleaning products
When preparing to sell your home, one of the first things you'll want to do is clean everything well.
This will allow prospective buyers to see how the home can sparkle, and it will give you a chance to be kind to the environment by using the following environmentally friendly cleaning products:
- Orange peels
Deodorize a garbage disposal unit by throwing in a few peels while it's operating.
- Baking soda
One of the easiest natural products to find, baking soda is extremely versatile.
Not enough time to make your own cleansers? You can find numerous biodegradable, nontoxic cleaning products at any grocery store. These "green" options are sometimes shelved separately from the other products; check with the store manager if you need help finding them.
Reliant Moving Checklist
The best way to prepare for your move day is to start weeks ahead of time. Read the following in-depth to-do list to make sure you are on the right path to preparing for your new home.
90 days before moving day
- Figure out which approach will be best for your move.
Consider your funds, resources and the distance you will be moving to determine the best moving option for you. Popular moving options include hiring a professional moving company, renting a moving truck or doing the moving on your own with the help of friends and family.
- Conduct research on your moving company and make sure to compare multiple movers in your area.
Look at customer satisfaction reviews online to see the level of quality each company delivers. Check out our tips for finding a reliable moving company.
- Choose a moving company.
Once you've conducted sufficient research, contact your top pick.
- Confirm your moving arrangements.
Get confirmation of the move dates, the cost breakdown, all the services included in your arrangement (full-service packing, vehicle transport, etc.) and any other important information you want to save.2
- Get an estimate of your electricity usage with the Reliant Bill Estimator.
In three easy steps, get an estimate of your monthly electricity usage and approximate costs for your new home.
- Learn about smart energy products and solutions for your home.
Browse our selection of carious smart energy product and solutions designed to help you save energy and money.
- Get tips on how to save energy in your new home.
Take a look at our energy efficiency tips and tools for great ways to lower your home electricity bill.
- Sign up for electricity service up to 60 days in advance with Flexible Move-In.3
Flexible Move-In is a Reliant service that allows you to schedule your electricity service at a date and time that's best for you.
30 days before moving day
- Start packing.
Four weeks prior to the move is a good time to begin to purge items you don't want and start packing less-used items you want to take with you. Go through your house and categorize belongings into groups such as "keep," "donate" or "trash."4 You can also number and label each box and keep an inventory of your items.
- Make travel arrangements.
Determine the arrangements that need to be made. If you will be staying at hotels or flying, book airline flights and hotel rooms for you and your family.
- Notify friends and important parties of the move.
Inform friends and family, insurance agents/insurance companies, utility companies, credit card companies and all subscription services that you will be moving to a new address.5
- Contact your bank.
Transfer your accounts as needed, order new checks with your updated address on them and clean our your safety deposit box.
- Transfer medical, dental, personal insurance and school records.
Make sure everything is ready before your move to your new residential area.
- Complete change of address forms for your mail.
You can complete change of address forms at your local post office or online through USPS.
21 days before moving day
- Clean out gym and school lockers.
Avoid leaving belongings behind by accident.
- Prepare your rugs and draperies for the move.
Have rugs and draperies cleaned. Then wrap them for transport.
- Measure the rooms in your new house.
Check the dimensions of your new place to see if and how your current furniture will fit into the new space. This way, you can label your furniture with colored sticky notes designating which room each item belongs in and give away or sell any excess furniture that won't fit.
- Organize a garage sale or yard sale. Donate other suitable items to a local charity.
Sell the items you categorized as no longer needed, or donate them to charities. Countless charitable organizations accept gently-worn or unused clothing. If you are too busy to take your donation to a drop-off location, you may be able to schedule a charity clothing pickup, where the organization will come to your home to collect the donation. Places that take furniture donations typically offer a home pickup service.
- Update your insurance policies.
Contact your insurance companies to update your property insurance, auto insurance and medical insurance.
- Get your automobile serviced.
Prepare your car or truck for the move with a quick checkup. You or a trusted mechanic should check your tires, brakes, windshield wipers, lights, fluids and belts.
14 days before moving day
- Select an electricity plan.
Review our FAQs for tips on how to pick the right electricity plan for your new residence. Visit reliant.com/movecenter to sign up for electric service online.
- Confirm travel arrangements for your family.6
Get everyone on the same page about where your family will be staying during the move. Arrange to have your car(s) transported if necessary.
- Arrange for cable TV, phone services, Internet and home security services to be transferred to your new home or disconnected.
Speak with your TV, phone, Internet and home security service providers, and take the necessary steps to return equipment and transfer or cancel service.
- Pack a box of cleaning supplies for the new place.
Gather cleaning supplies, a broom and a vacuum cleaner and put them in a box or location where you will be able to easily access them when you arrive at your new home.
- Set aside all items that need to be cleaned, stored or repaired.
Put all the items that need extra care before they can be used again, such as damaged clothing, shoes or watches, in one place.
7 days before moving day
- Pack a box of essentials to take with your to your new home.7
Gather important papers and other essentials into one place for easy access. You may want to put these items in a fire-safe box.
- Load up the car with traveling necessities.
Pack trip essentials such as maps, snacks, emergency road equipment (a flashlight, tools and flares), a first-aid kit, moist wipes, trash bags, spare keys, cash or travelers checks and cell phone chargers.8
- Mark any items that need special instructions.
Indicate items you do not want packed, as well as boxes you will want access to first, with color-coded stickers, notes or markings.
- Eat your perishable foods.
Make meals from any frozen foods or perishable items in your refrigerator or cabinets so they don't go to waste when you empty out the kitchen on move day.
The day before moving day
- Call Reliant before 5:00 p.m. to request same-day electricity service with Flexible Move-In.
If you didn't have time to set up electricity service in advance, call Reliant. We can often set up service for you the same day.9
- Pack a suitcase of items you will need immediately.
Each member of your family should pack a bag of items they will want immediate access to on the night of the move or in the few days after. Include medications, high-priority work or personal items, phone and computer chargers, at least two changes of clothing, and other items you typically use every day.
- Take care of remaining electronics and appliances.
Go through the house and unplug all electronics and appliances. Clean and defrost the refrigerator and freezer. Power down and pack up your computer to take with you. Make sure any TVs or fragile items are appropriately wrapped and prepared for the next day, and put all remote controls in a single bag you can pack somewhere easy to remember and find.
- Conclude financial matters relating to the sale or lease of your home.
Check to make sure everything is order and confirm where to leave or hand over the keys and garage door opener the next day.
- Review our helpful tips for traveling with children.
Traveling with children can be challenging. Take a look at our advice to make the journey more manageable.
- Leave your phone connected to the charger all day.
Keep your phone charged and ready to use.
- Ask the mover to verify the exact destination address and your contact information.
Make sure your movers are headed to the proper destination and can reach you if needed.
- Do a quick cleaning of the empty rooms.
Run the vacuum and sweep the floors one last time.
- Perform these last minute checks:
- Has the water been turned off?
- Have the furnace and air conditioner been turned off?
- Are light switches turned off?
- Are windows shut and locked?
- Are all utilities arranged for disconnection?