Checklist for Moving Out for the First Time

A simple checklist will make move out day a breeze.

Moving out of your own place for the first time need not be stressful. There are some simple tips designed to keep you on track. Before you begin, put together a "moving book." It should include two things: notebook paper, to keep notes of what needs to be done and what has already been done, and folders so you can keep all your documentation and paperwork in one easy-to-find spot.

Four To Six Weeks Prior To Move

Make notifications of your move. Begin by picking up a change-of-address kit from the post office and filling it out so mail will be forwarded to your new place. Card stores sell attractive change-of-address cards designed to be sent to friends and family. Contact your bank, insurance company and credit card companies to find out how they would like to handle the address change. Most magazines have online sites that allow you to change your address. Call your local newspaper and give them a final delivery date. Don't forget about past employers. Let them know where you're going so that they can forward your W-2s.

Four Weeks Prior To Move

Begin to think about what you want to take with you. Sell, donate or have a garage sale to get rid of unwanted items. Use up perishable foods in the house and if you're making a big move, find new homes for your potted plants.

If you are hiring full-service movers, have them come in to give you an estimate. At the very least, be able to provide them with a comprehensive list of what will be moving. Get written estimates from several companies. Find out if they are packing for you, what items they won't move and if they're licensed and bonded, then check them out on the Better Business Bureau website. Prior to your move you'll want to get professional appraisals of high-value items in case you need to make a future claim.

If you are planning a do-it-yourself move, arrange for truck rental and moving help. Buy packing materials like boxes, packing and masking tape, markers, twine and newspaper for padding.

Three Weeks Prior To Move

Pack your vital documents in one place that you can get to easily. Make arrangements to disconnect your utilities and get refunds for any deposits made. Give utility companies the new address for them to send their final bills.

One To Two Weeks Prior To Move

If you've painted any walls, now would be the time to have them returned to their original color. Scuffs on the woodwork? Have them painted or otherwise cleaned. Consider hiring a cleaning service to come in and get the stove back to pristine condition and the tub surround glistening if you don't have time to do it yourself. If the carpets need shampooed, now is the time to make the appointment for that as well. You don't want to give anyone reason to keep your security deposit.

Safely dispose of any flammable items, such as lawn mower or snow blower gas, paint and aerosol cans.

Make a plan of what is going with you in the car, including breakable items and important documents and records. Make travel arrangements for your pets and have your car tuned up.