Apartment Renters’ Moving Checklist

January 11, 2016 | By JD Eaton
Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Craig Hanks, a writer with Move.org, guest blogs today offering some practical advice on how to prepare for a move. 

At Move.org, we love a good moving checklist, so we make a lot of them. Each is tailored to the needs of a specific type of mover. Our Apartment Movers checklist will give you step-by-step instructions starting two months before your move to downtown Chicago, and carry you through moving day and beyond.

Two quick caveats: First, every move is different. So if a few of these bullets don’t apply to your situation, they may at least serve as inspiration for something you’ll need to do. And second, You may be moving sooner than the two months this checklist starts with. No sweat. Just jump in where you are chronologically, and integrate the previous items  where you can.

We have no doubt that Luxury Living Chicago Realty will find (or has found) your perfect downtown Chicago apartment. And now that you know the “where,” we’ll make sure you stay on track with the “how.”

Two Months Before

  • Create a moving binder. Use it to keep track of everything move-related — there will be a lot. This checklist, for instance, should be in the front of your binder.
  • Start packing your first (small) box. This box will not be packed or shipped with the others, but will stay with you throughout the move. It will contain your important documents — passport, will, deed, etc. Begin gathering these documents early so you can identify any missing items. This box could also contain small valuables.
  • Back up your files. Before you pack your computer and its peripherals, make a backup of important files and family photos on a disk or flash drive that you can carry with you (maybe in that box mentioned above) during the move.
  • Research and gather quotes from moving companies. Or begin researching truck rental companies and their prices.
  • Decide what to sell or donate. Sell items online or through a garage sale.
  • Create a room-by-room inventory of items throughout your home.

One Month Before

  • Decide on a moving company. Get a written contract that includes your moving date and costs. Or, if you’re renting a truck, make your reservation.
  • Buy packing supplies. Boxes, tape, packing paper, etc. Cover your bases with our list of packing essentials.
  • Start using the food in your freezer that can’t move with you. Your freezer should be clear about a week before the move. Take this time to dig into the back of your pantry, as well. Use it or get rid of it.
  • Plan your new home. Get the dimensions at the new apartment, and start planning how to arrange your furniture.
  • Care for your car. Take it into a trusted mechanic and ask what services might be needed for a long-distance drive or a move to a new climate. Contact you car insurance company to update the address on your policy.
  • Contact your internet, TV, and utilities providers. Set your disconnect date. Begin researching which providers you’ll use at your destination and schedule connection of your services.
  • Fill any prescriptions. Ask for doctor/pharmacist recommendations in your new area, and consider obtaining copies of your medical records.
  • Make travel arrangements. If necessary, book your flight, hotel, rental car, etc. If you’re driving long-distance, plan your route and stops.

Two Weeks Before

  • Change your address. Head to the post office website. Be sure to have your mail forwarded from the old place to the new. Also, update your address with your bank.
  • Cancel or redirect scheduled deliveries and subscriptions.
  • Confirm dates with relevant parties:
    • Landlord(s) for move-in/move out
    • Moving company or truck rental
    • Storage unit
  • Begin packing! Pack one room per day, as much as possible. Move any leftover items (excluding furniture) to a centralized location. Schedule enough time to have the packing done at least 2 days before your move date.

One Week Before

  • Begin cleaning empty rooms. Make sure to do a thorough clean. How well you clean can mean the difference between all, some, or none of your deposit being returned.
  • Pack suitcases. Have one for everyone in the family to live out of for a few days as you complete packing everything in the apartment.
  • Collect all keys. They will need to be handed over to the landlord.

Moving Day

  • Have specific information for your movers. Contact information, address of the new place, and maps for getting there.
  • Make sure the right truck shows up. It should have a USDOT number printed on the side that matches the number on the contract you signed.
  • Sign the movers’ bill of lading/inventory list. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.
  • Tip your movers! A standard tip is $20-25.

After You’ve Arrived

  • Check your utilities. Make sure everything is working properly.
  • Take plenty of pictures. If there is damage anywhere, these pictures will come in handy. This is vital if you’re a renter.
  • Change the locks. Be sure to ask your landlord’s permission. If you get it, give him or her a copy of the key.
  • Plan your housewarming party. If you have family or friends in the area, invite them. But this is more for getting to know your neighbors than anything else.


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