Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute! Learn Exactly When You Should Start Packing for Your Big Move

When is the right time to start packing up your life for a long-distance move? Get a detailed packing timeline to make your relocation smooth and stress-free.

When is the right time to start packing up your life for a long-distance move? Get a detailed packing timeline to make your relocation smooth and stress-free.

As an avid traveler who has moved across the country 3 times, I’ve learned the hard way that procrastinating packing is a big mistake. 

Packing at the last minute resulted in forgotten items, hasty decisions, and unnecessary stress. After my last 2000-mile move from New York to California, I vowed to be more prepared next time. 

Now I want to share the exact packing timeline that has worked wonderfully for me and many others looking for long-distance moving tips.

6-8 Weeks Before Your Move Date

  • Start collecting boxes and packing supplies
  • Begin purging unwanted items
  • Have a garage sale or donate items
  • Fill out change of address forms with the post office
  • Arrange to transfer medical records and prescriptions

Why Start This Early?

Giving yourself 6-8 weeks to pack may seem excessive if you don’t have a lot of stuff. However, you’ll be amazed at how long it takes to fully organize, purge, pack, and clean your home. Getting a very early start ensures you have plenty of time to sell, donate, or properly dispose of items. 

Rushing this process can mean accidentally keeping things you should get rid of!

4 Weeks Before Moving Day

  • Confirm movers and truck rental
  • Contact utility companies to disconnect services
  • Begin packing items you rarely use such as seasonal decor
  • Start packing books, photos, art, and important documents

Don’t Forget Essential Documentation!

When packing up an entire household, it’s easy to misplace important personal documents. I once lost my birth certificate in a movie!

To avoid vital record loss, I recommend packing a small suitcase containing:

  • Passports
  • Birth certificates
  • Medical records
  • Tax statements
  • Vehicle titles
  • Social Security cards
  • Insurance policies
  • Bank and investment statements
  • Backup drive of digital files

Store this suitcase very safely as you continue packing the home.

2 Weeks Before You Go

  • Confirm travel plans and hotel stays along the drive
  • Schedule service cancellations for the final move-out date
  • Continue room-by-room packing
  • Begin dismantling furniture for moving

1 Week Before Moving Day

  • Install new locks on doors at your new home
  • Confirm the arrival time of movers and truck rental
  • Transfer prescriptions to the pharmacy at the new location
  • Empty refrigerator and freezer
  • Drain equipment containing water like hoses or water heaters
  • Set aside cleaning supplies and a change of clothes

The Day Before Relocation

This is when the real chaos begins! To stay relaxed:

  • Double-check every room to ensure nothing got left behind
  • Carefully pack your suitcases for the drive
  • Get plenty of rest for an early start the next morning!

Also don’t forget to grab cleaning supplies. I like to thoroughly clean my house right before the walk-through. 

This way you get the full security deposit back and leave the home fresh for the next residents.

With this detailed timeline, you’ll feel in control and ready to take on your long-distance move. Stay tuned for more tips on smoothly transitioning to your new home across the country!

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