Moving to a New City Checklist

Moving to a New City Checklist

Woman writing on a clipboard while looking at a moving box

Are you struggling to remember everything you have to get done? As you move to a new city it can be even harder to keep track of everything you should be doing before, during, and after your move. We’re here to help you by providing a moving to a new city checklist to help guide you throughout your move.

Deciding to Move

Deciding to move can be a very long process that involves a lot of consideration. You want to make sure you are considering all your options and not making any rash decisions. This will be the first part of your checklist for moving to a new city. Deciding to move comes with three key steps that will help you begin your journey.

Reasons for Moving

There are many reasons why people may be looking to move to a new city. Here are some of the most common reasons you may want to move.

  1. Moving to a new city for a job opportunity.
  2. Moving to be closer to family or friends.
  3. Moving to simply to get a change of scenery.

What to Look for in a City

Once you decide you want to move you must do your research when choosing which city to move to. Below we have some of the top qualities you should look into when considering a city.

  1. The cost of living in a city is crucial to know. After all, you shouldn’t move to a place you can’t afford to live in.
  2. Finding out a city’s crime rate can help you decide if you want to live there. Try to find a city with a low crime rate; one that will make you feel safe both in public and in your own home.
  3. Looking into a city’s housing options is important. You want to find a city with available housing options that fit your needs.
  4. Check out what the city has to offer. From things to do to places to see, you want your new city to match your interests.

Find a New Job

As you are deciding to move you also need to think about what you are going to do for work. While some people may be moving because they already have a job offer in a new city, that isn’t always the case. One of the most important things on our moving to a new city checklist is finding a job before you decide to pick up your whole life and move.

Moving can be an extremely expensive endeavor and can often dig into people’s savings. Having a new job lined up can help you jump right back into work and put more money into your savings. Looking for a job before you officially decide to move to a new city will also ensure you can find the position you want. You won’t be stuck in a new city that doesn’t have any job offerings for what you were looking for.

When it comes to finding a new job there are many resources you can use. Most companies post their openings online. Some of the top job search sites include Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Snagajob, and ZipRecruiter.

Magnifying glass over employment section in the newspaper

Before the Move

The next section on our moving to a new city checklist goes over things you should do before your move. These steps will properly prepare you for your move. They will also help you avoid future stress and set you up for a successful move.

Create a Moving Budget

Your first step before you move should be creating a moving budget. This is a set amount of money you have available to use during your move.

Your moving budget should be sectioned into categories. Some of the categories may be the cost of hiring movers, truck rental, packing supplies, mileage/gas, storage fees, and any other categories you might need. You can then write down how much money you can afford to spend on each category and how much money you have set aside to spend overall. Use these numbers when you are hiring movers and buying items for your move. This will make sure you stay within your budget.

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Find a Reputable Moving Company

If you are looking for extra help during your move, then finding a reputable moving company is important. There are a few choices for the type of moving company you want to hire.

Full-Service Moving

Full-service moving companies help with every step of your move. This includes packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking your items. These companies will be with you every step of the way. This option tends to be on the more expensive side, but it ensures you will have enough help during your move.

Another perk of using full-service companies is you don’t have to provide a moving vehicle and they do the driving for you. This tends to be a big reason people choose to hire a full-service moving company.

Labor-Only Moving

Labor-only moving companies help with all the heavy lifting and physical labor of your move. You can hire labor-only movers to help you load and unload your moving vehicle. This option is perfect if you are trying to save money and just need a few extra hands to help.

If you choose labor-only moving, you will need to provide your own moving vehicle and drive your belongings to your new home yourself. This may potentially add to the additional cost of renting a moving vehicle if you don’t own a vehicle large enough to carry all your items. However, you can save up to 30-50% on the overall cost of movers by using labor-only movers.

Storage Company

It’s also helpful to look into storage companies when you’re planning to move. Whether you need them to store items for a short time until your new home is ready, or for a long time until you have more room, there are many options for you.

PODS storage is a great option if you’re still unsure of what type of storage you will need. They offer both short and long-term storage options. You can have your storage container sit at your home or sent to be stored in one of their facilities. They will also deliver your storage container to your new home for you and pick it up once you are done unloading it.

Pack Your Belongings

Woman labeling a moving box

Packing your belongings before your move can sometimes be the most stressful part of a move. It’s a huge task, which is why we recommend you break it up and do it in small sections. First, pack up the items you don’t use often and save your everyday items until the end. Packing probably won’t happen all in one day. A couple of hours each day can make packing less stressful and still allow you to get it done in a short amount of time.

While you’re packing you want to make sure you’re utilizing all the space within your moving boxes. Properly packing your moving boxes can save you money during your move.

Declutter First

As you’re packing your items you will come across items you never use or items you no longer want. It’s time to declutter your home! All you have to do is make three additional piles while you pack: items to sell, items to donate, and items to throw away. By getting rid of these items before you move you are saving room in your moving vehicle. You are also allowing yourself to start fresh at your new home.

Last-Minute Tasks

There are a few last-minute tasks you want to take care of before your move begins.

  1. Change your address. Ensure that your mail is sent to the right home. You can do this either at your local post office or the USPS website by filling out their online form.
  2. Shut off your old utilities and turn on your new home’s utilities. Make sure you allow extra time for your new utilities to be turned on before your move-in day.
  3. Prepare an emergency bag. Pack a bag of essential items such as extra clothes, electronics, chargers, snacks, bathroom items, money, and personal documents. Keep this bag with you just in case something goes wrong during your move.

During the Move

During your move, you will have a few things to do on your checklist before you move to a new city. These things will help you stay on track and transition into the next chapter of your life.

Create and Follow a Schedule

To help your moving day run smoothly, create a schedule for you to follow. This schedule will help you stay on track during a typically stressful day.

Your schedule should include time for tasks such as the following…

  1. Waking Up & Getting Ready
  2. Loading the Moving Truck
  3. Departure
  4. Lunch Break (Don’t forget to save time for your daily needs!)
  5. Arrival
  6. Unloading and Unpacking
  7. Dinner Break
  8. Setting Up the Essential Rooms and Items
  9. Early Bedtime (You deserve it after a day of busy moving!)

Say Goodbye to Friends and Family

Family waving to others on a video call

This step is one of the hardest and saddest to do during your move. Just remember, even though you are saying goodbye to your friends and family that live in your old city doesn’t mean you will never see or talk to them again. This is the perfect opportunity to say a temporary goodbye and talk about ways you can stay in contact. Whether this be texting, keeping a Snapchat streak, calling, or FaceTiming once a week.

After the Move

Once your move is complete, you only have a few things left on your moving to a new city checklist. The last few items on this list can be fun and will allow you to start the next stage of your life on the right foot.

Unpack Your Belongings

After you move it is best to unpack all your belongings first. Like packing, this does not all need to happen in one day. Start with the items you need to use right away and the most important rooms. Slowly move your way from room to room, choosing a new room to work on each day. This will allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment each time you finish a room, instead of just randomly putting a few items away in each room.

Before you know it you will have everything unpacked and put into its new home.

Decorate Your New Home

Brightly decorated living room

Decorating your new home will allow you to have some much-needed fun during your moving process. It will also help make your house look and feel like your new home.

While you most likely brought a lot of decoration to use from your old home, you may want to buy some new items. This would be a great time to go back and look back at your moving budget. Did you end up moving with money left to spare? If the answer to that question is yes, then buying some new decorations can be an amazing reward for staying within budget.

Make New Friends

Now that you are in a new town where you may not know a lot of people, it’s time to go out and make some friends. Some good places to meet people are at work, joining activities such as the gym, and introducing yourself to your new neighbors. While this may seem very scary, putting yourself out there and talking to people is one of the easiest ways to make friends.

Making new friends right away can make your experience in a new city a lot more fun. You will have someone to show you around your new town and to explore your new surroundings with.

Explore the New Town

The last step on our checklist for moving to a new city is to explore your new town. You can start small by just exploring the area surrounding the neighborhood you live in. Going on walks or bike rides is a great way to do this.

When it comes to exploring the rest of the city, don’t be afraid to look online to find some new places, especially if you haven’t made any local friends yet and are moving alone. Try visiting a variety of places such as local restaurants, small boutique businesses, malls, parks, and other local attractions.

Getting to know the new city you live in will help you feel more welcome in your new home.


Downloadable checklist graphic for moving to a new city

Moving to a new city is full of tasks you need to consider and complete. After you decide where to move, our moving to a new city checklist will help you stay on track before, during, and after your move.

Creating a budget will help you determine which movers to hire and if you have money to buy new items after your move.

Decluttering your home while you are packing will ensure you don’t have to move and unpack any unwanted items in the future.

Don’t forget the small details of moving such as changing mailing addresses, contacting utility companies, packing an emergency bag, and saying goodbye to friends and family.

Finally, make sure you make the best of your move and get to know both the area and the people within your new town. You’re going to rock it!

Jessica is a students at the University of Northern Iowa. She is majoring in English Education with a creative writing minor. In her free time she loves to read books of every genre, write short stories, and spend time with friends. In the future she hopes to share her love for reading and writing with her future students.