You packed everything perfectly, including that dining room chandelier, the big-screen TV, the vintage ’70s “Dukes of Hazzard” T-shirt collection. You even got your dog’s medical records from the vet. But something’s keeping you awake at night as your move draws nigh. You know you forgot something.
Don’t worry, keep packing. We assembled this handy checklist of things people often forget to do—or don’t even realize they should take care of—so you can make sure you’re covered and can move and settle down in your new digs with ease.
1 month before: Cancel recurring charges
Taking care of a gym membership or other subscription services may fall by the wayside during the madness leading up to moving day. Worse, those recurring charges will keep mounting on your credit card while you’re in the throes of unpacking. Get a jump on canceling these at least a month before your last expected day of use, especially since many gyms require a 30-day notice.
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Can’t get out of your contract or transfer your gym membership to a facility by your new home? Sell it through online classifieds such as GymTransfer (yes, most gyms allow this!). Don’t forget to unload any prepaid class cards, too.
On the flip side, important recurring charges on your credit card—such as mail-order medications—might be canceled if your address change hasn’t caught up with billing information. So compile a list of charges and make the effort to call these companies and give them a heads up to avoid disruption in service.
2 weeks before: Call your car insurance company
The Department of Motor Vehicles advises people in the process of moving to closely manage their car insurance during the transition, as states have varying levels of required coverage. Even if you’re staying in the same city, rates can differ from neighborhood to neighborhood. So call your insurer well before the move to find out the parameters and deadlines for updating coverage at your new address.
2 weeks before: Change your address early
Most people know the U.S. Postal Service offers an online form to quickly change an address for all of your mail, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute to fill it out.
“To make sure mail arrives at your new home in time for your life there, complete the form about two weeks before your move,” says Desmond Lim, founder of QuikForce, an on-demand website that links people with professional movers. That way “you should see the first of your forwarded mail by the time of move-in.”
1 week before: Organize your finances
Important financial tasks are often forgotten in the whirlwind of moving, says consumer finance expert Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Financial Network. Since losing track of bills among piles of boxes is all too easy, Gallegos recommends setting up systems before a move that can easily transition from old home to new. For monthly bills such as phone, rent, or mortgage, it can really help to set them up for autopay, which you can typically do through your bank or the billing company.
“This can help ensure on-time payment during a hectic time,” he says. Whatever system you choose, decide which household member will be responsible for paying which bills. And as moving often incurs unexpected costs, be sure that you’ll have enough money in designated accounts at time of payment.
1 day before: Snap pictures of your electronics
Those cables in the back of your TV and modem that keep your life wired? They don’t make sense now and will make even less sense when they are tangled in a box. A simple solution is to snap a picture of the setup before you take your electronics apart—and coil the cords and label them with masking tape, for good measure.
1 day before: Pack your plants
Do you have a special plant (maybe that hydrangea you planted for your child’s birth or your mom’s prized azaleas)? To make sure you aren’t forced to leave it behind in your rush, make a list of what plants you want to take with you and put a plant plan in place. Don’t put your shovels into the moving van until the last minute—you’ll need them to carefully dig up root balls. Buy large buckets beforehand and use them to transport each plant.
1 day before: Stock a go-to box
Jen Sandlin, an agent with Cornerstone Real Estate in Boston, reminds movers to “set aside one box for the first 24 hours” in your new home. “Pack paper towels, cleaning supplies, clean sheets, towels, paper plates and silverware, toilet paper, and maybe even a bottle of bubbly to celebrate all your hard work, picnic-style.”