If you’re relocating to a new city or country, you’ve got a big job ahead. But before you start tossing everything you own into cardboard boxes, you might want to start with a few simple boxes on paper – checkboxes. Creating a checklist a few months in advance can help you stay organized and make the process smoother, start to finish.

moving checklist

First, get rid of what you don’t need. Sounds easy, but you’ll spend more time sorting through and purging things than you might imagine. Be sure to start this process at least two months before the move. Here’s some help finding the right place to donate what you aren’t taking with you. Also in that two-months-out window, you should look into moving companies, create a binder to hold all your estimates, receipts and an inventory of all the items you’re taking with you, and if you have school-age children, make sure their records are organized.

About six weeks before your move, start ordering your supplies. You’re going to need boxes. And more boxes. And don’t forget bubble wrap and specialty containers, tape and permanent markers, too. Start using up things that you don’t want to pack and won’t need to restock before you leave (such as frozen foods or some cleaning supplies). Also, start taking measurements, if possible, of your new place to make sure furniture, etc., will fit well.

A month away, you’ll want to begin packing. Start with infrequently used items so you aren’t digging back into boxes once you’re done. Think about items that might require insurance. Separate valuables. Clearly label EVERYTHING.

This is also a good time to fill out updated paperwork – address forms, medical records, etc.

When you’re within the final two weeks, hopefully your advance planning will pay off and you can focus on the more immediate needs, like making sure your car (if you are driving) has had maintenance done, and your prescriptions are refilled, and you’ve defrosted the freezer or prepared other appliances if they’re part of the move. Do a final inventory check.

There’s certainly a lot to remember when moving. Fortunately, when it comes to Moving Money for Better, Western Union makes it easy. With more than a half-million agent locations in 200-plus countries worldwide, we’ll be ready to help, wherever you’re headed.

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