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Starting early and staying organized can ensure your move is as smooth as possible. (Getty Images)

Preparing to move to your new home seems like a relatively simple task – until you actually take stock of everything you own and consider both what to pack and what to leave behind. The process gets even more complicated when you factor in the opening and closing of utility accounts, cleaning and the additional planning required to get your household from point A to point B. When possible, it’s best to start planning for your move more than a month in advance – even if you don’t yet have the address of your next home.

To help make your move less stressful, here’s a checklist counting down six weeks from moving day.

[See: The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for Quality of Life in 2019]

6 Weeks Before Moving Day

Take stock of your belongings. Take a walk through your home and create three lists of furniture and appliances: those you know you’re taking, those you will definitely leave behind and those that you haven’t decided on yet. To get an accurate estimate of the cost of your move, include all the items on the “yes” and “maybe” lists when you consider the size of truck needed and total weight of your belongings.

Contact movers and get estimates. If you’re moving in the summer, you should make initial contact with moving companies at least six weeks in advance. The rest of the year, four weeks is often enough time, but earlier is always better. “The majority of people we talk to don’t know when they’re moving – they’re still trying to sell their house or buy a house,” says Jeff Nogg, co-owner and vice president of sales and business development for I-Go Van & Storage Co. It's a good idea to contact at least three moving companies for estimates.

Initiate school transfer for your kids. If you have school-age children and are moving to a new district, you’ll need to contact both schools to initiate the transfer of information and school transcripts.

5 Weeks Before Moving Day

Begin collecting packing supplies. Start collecting boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper and tape in advance so you have it on hand for packing. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s safer to buy new boxes rather than rely on Craigslist or your local stores for used boxes, says Rachel Peretz, director of marketing and business development for the American Moving & Storage Association.

Schedule a donation pickup or list belongings for sale. If you have large pieces of furniture or other items you don’t plan to keep, post them on Craigslist or a neighborhood site for sale, or schedule a donation pickup. Charities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army will pick up donations from your home – just be sure to follow guidelines for local pickup.

4 Weeks Before Moving Day

Verify your new location and the date you’ll be moving. By a month out, you’ve hopefully set either a closing date or a lease start date for your new home. As soon as this information is available, contact your mover to provide the information and confirm if this changes the expected cost of the move.

Book a self-moving truck if needed. If you would rather complete the process yourself, it’s still a good idea to book a moving truck and rental materials as soon as you know your moving day to ensure you have access to the vehicle.

Start packing room by room. Start with the rooms you use the least, such as the guest bedroom. If you’ve opted for a full-service move and will pay movers to pack and unpack your belongings, you can skip this step.

Schedule turnoff for utilities. Utility information and advice company Callmepower recommends providing one month’s notice to electric and gas companies, though the minimum notice required may be between 24 hours and five business days, depending on where you live. Be sure to schedule turnoff for after you will be fully moved out of your home and not the morning of – moving in the dark and without water would be especially inconvenient.

Set up utilities for your new home. Typically, you can only set up service with your utility company once the previous residents have scheduled their turnoff, so you may need to call back at a later date.

[Read: Should You Move to Lower Your Real Estate Taxes?]

3 Weeks Before Moving Day

Reserve parking space for moving. You may need to get a parking permit from the city that establishes a no-parking zone for the moving truck. If you live in an apartment building, you’ll likely need to reserve the elevator and loading dock to make moving furniture easier and faster. Often, this falls to you as the customer, but it may worth inquiring with the moving company if you’re using one. “Depending on the city, sometimes the mover will include a parking permit in their bid if they’re familiar with the property,” Nogg says.

2 Weeks Before Moving Day

Continue packing. Pack up bookshelves, decor and seasonal clothing you won’t need before moving day. Label everything so you know what’s in each box and what room it should go into at your new house.

Spackle nail holes. While you’re packing, remove artwork from the walls and fill in nail holes for the next residents.

1 Week Before Moving Day

Check for major events in the area. Check local news sites and neighborhood blogs to see if any events could lead to road closings, additional traffic or trouble parking on moving day.

Pack everything you don’t need for the next week. Keep a week’s worth of clothes out and just enough kitchen utensils to make meals for the next few days. Everything else can go in boxes.

Donate items you aren’t taking. While packing, you likely found quite a few clothing and decor items you don’t need. Load up your car with everything that's still in decent condition, and take it to a donation drop.

Day Before Moving Day

Confirm with movers. It’s a good idea to remain in contact with your moving company and confirm the day before what time they’re likely to arrive.

Clean the bathrooms and kitchen. Whether you’re leaving a rental or a house you sold, you typically need to leave the space broom-clean, which means every space should be free of grime, crumbs and dust. Take on the bathrooms and kitchen before movers arrive the next day.

Confirm key pickup. If you don’t already have the keys to your new place, confirm with your real estate agent or landlord exactly where and what time you can expect to get your keys to avoid delays in the unloading process.

[Read: 6 Details to Help You Decide Where You Should Move]

On Moving Day

Let the movers in. Be ready to let the movers in at the scheduled arrival time. If any items are to remain in the home, make it clear to the movers so they don’t accidentally load them onto the truck.

Wipe down any self-moving materials. If you’ve rented a truck, take the time to disinfect the interior. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, “movers are doing things like sanitizing trucks between moves,” Peretz says. Even if the rental facility notes that all trucks are cleaned, it’s a good idea to play it safe and wipe it down yourself.

Clean as you go or let cleaners in. As each room is cleared of boxes and furniture, wipe down walls, vacuum and sweep floors. For good measure, disinfect doorknobs, light switches and countertops. If you’ve hired professional cleaners to come after the movers leave, designate someone to lock up after the process is complete.

Take out the trash. You should never leave trash inside the house you’re vacating, so take out the trash ahead of time. If it’s close to trash day, take the cans out to the curb as well.

Let movers into your new home. Be sure to arrive at your home at the same time as or shortly before your movers. Provide any necessary instructions for unloading furniture and boxes.

Start unpacking. Just as packing was a long process, expect unpacking to take time as well. Go room by room, starting with the bedrooms so everyone will be able to sleep comfortably.


The 25 Best Places People Are Moving to in 2019

These places have the highest net migration over five years.

A royalty free DSLR action photo of dramatic colors as they emblazon the sky at a resort beach during sunrise/sunset. Cast in silhouette are a ferris wheel, hotel condominiums, beachcombers, and a long seaside dock.

(Getty Images)

When calculating the Best Places to Live, U.S. News factors in each metro area’s growth due to net migration over a five-year period. For the 2019 rankings, we used net migration data from 2013 to 2017 from the U.S. Census Bureau, the most recent complete data set at the time of our calculations. Places with the most growth might be attracting new residents for many reasons, including a hot job market, affordable housing, a desirable location or some other factor. Read on for the 25 metro areas – out of the 125 most populous in the U.S. – that have grown the most over this period.

25. Seattle

25. Seattle

The Smith Tower Observatory is one of the oldest Skyscraper in Seattle

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 9
Metro Population: 3,735,216
Median Home Price: $442,333
Median Annual Salary: $63,120
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 5.58%

Seattle has long had a reputation for its strong job market, with the likes of Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon headquartered in the area. Also receiving a high score for desirability in the Best Places to Live ranking, Seattle isn’t just bringing people to the area for work – they also want it to be their next hometown.

Learn more about Seattle.

24. Denver

24. Denver

Denver Colorado downtown with City Park

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 2
Metro Population: 2,798,684
Median Home Price: $393,842
Median Annual Salary: $57,400
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 5.67%

Growing 5.67% due to net migration between 2013 and 2017, Denver's population continues to swell at a rapid, although slowing, pace. This population boom is due to both its flourishing job market and high desirability among U.S. residents.

Learn more about Denver.

23. Dallas-Fort Worth

23. Dallas-Fort Worth

Texas town

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 21
Metro Population: 7,104,415
Median Home Price: $248,375
Median Annual Salary: $51,250
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 5.7%

The largest metro area on this list, Dallas-Fort Worth grew by 5.7% in a five-year period. The area’s continued growth has contributed to rising home prices, as the median home price is now $248,375, compared to just $210,181 in 2018.

Learn more about Dallas-Fort Worth.

22. Houston

22. Houston

Texas town

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 30
Metro Population: 6,636,208
Median Home Price: $223,875
Median Annual Salary: $53,820
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 5.91%

Houston takes the No. 22 spot on the list, having grown by 5.91% from 2013 to 2017 due to net migration. The large Texas metro area’s growth has slowed compared to the span from 2012 to 2016, when it grew by 6.58%.

Learn more about Houston.

21. Asheville, North Carolina

21. Asheville, North Carolina

Epic Sunset over Downtown Asheville North Carolina NC cityscape with blue ridge mountain range and Mt. Pisgah featured in the background.

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 16
Metro Population: 445,625
Median Home Price: $248,500
Median Annual Salary: $41,210
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 6.16%

A smaller metro area than most places on the list, Asheville earns its spot at No. 21 after growing 6.16% between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration alone.

Learn more about Asheville.

20. Phoenix

20. Phoenix

Phoenix Arizona with its downtown lit by the last rays of sun at the dusk.

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 26
Metro Population: 4,561,038
Median Home Price: $234,183
Median Annual Salary: $49,500
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 6.3%

Phoenix serves as a particularly hot destination for retirees. But the job market and ample outdoor activities continue to attract new residents of all ages. The area has grown by 6.3% over a five-year period.

Learn more about Phoenix.

19. San Antonio

19. San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, USA - SEP 28: Section of the famous Riverwalk on September 28, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. A bustling place with many restaurants and bars.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 34
Metro Population: 2,377,507
Median Home Price: $211,800
Median Annual Salary: $46,200
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 6.6%

The third of four Texas metro areas on the list, San Antonio has experienced significant growth due to net migration: 6.6% between 2013 and 2017.

Learn more about San Antonio.

18. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

18. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina, USA downtown cityscape.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 10
Metro Population: 1,824,266
Median Home Price: $249,294
Median Annual Salary: $53,788
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 6.76%

Home to major universities – the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, Duke University and North Carolina State University – the Raleigh and Durham metro area has plenty of former students who are choosing to lay down permanent roots, while others are flocking there for the job opportunities the schools and other locally based corporations offer.

Learn more about Raleigh and Durham.

16. Jacksonville, Florida (tie)

16. Jacksonville, Florida (tie)

Sunset at Jacksonville beach

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 42
Metro Population: 1,447,884
Median Home Price: $174,658
Median Annual Salary: $45,760
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 6.88%

Sunny Florida weather, a below-average cost of living and a growing business district continue to attract residents of all ages to Jacksonville, which grew by 6.88% due to net migration between 2013 and 2017.

Learn more about Jacksonville.

16. Nashville, Tennessee (tie)

16. Nashville, Tennessee (tie)

Nashville written on a building of the historical district.More images from Nashville in the lightbox:

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 15
Metro Population: 1,830,410
Median Home Price: $248,883
Median Annual Salary: $47,110
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 6.88%

With growth numbers like this, aspiring country singers certainly aren’t the only ones moving to Nashville. The largest metro area in Tennessee comes in at No. 16, having grown by 6.88% due to net migration between 2013 and 2017.

Learn more about Nashville.

15. Fayetteville, Arkansas

15. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Houses in a neighborhood in Arkansas

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 4
Metro Population: 514,166
Median Home Price: $177,942
Median Annual Salary: $45,830
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 6.94%

Northwest Arkansas’ largest metro area continues to grow rapidly, by 6.94% over a five-year period due to net migration. Fayetteville’s growth is picking up speed as well. In last year’s ranking, Fayetteville saw just 6.44% growth due to net migration from 2012 to 2016.

Learn more about Fayetteville.

14. Charlotte, North Carolina

14. Charlotte, North Carolina

A foggy and colorful sunrise in Charlotte, North Carolina during the morning rush hour traffic.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 20
Metro Population: 2,427,024
Median Home Price: $213,983
Median Annual Salary: $50,150
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 7.06%

Growing by more than 7% between 2013 and 2017 from people relocating to the area, Charlotte attracts many newcomers due to its role in the banking industry, as it’s home to Bank of America and major offices for Wells Fargo.

Learn more about Charlotte.

13. Las Vegas

13. Las Vegas

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 71
Metro Population: 2,112,436
Median Home Price: $271,767
Median Annual Salary: $44,450
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 7.33%

One of the recession’s hardest-hit cities, particularly in the housing market, Las Vegas continues its upward trend with a growing job market and plenty of entertainment options to attract new residents.

Learn more about Las Vegas.

12. Boise, Idaho

12. Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 17
Metro Population: 677,346
Median Home Price: $221,475
Median Annual Salary: $43,880
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 7.77%

Offering a more laid-back vibe than Las Vegas, Boise comes in at No. 12. Idaho’s capital grew by 7.77% between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration alone.

Learn more about Boise.

11. Tampa, Florida

11. Tampa, Florida

Skyline of Downtown Tampa, Florida, US

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 56
Metro Population: 2,978,209
Median Home Price: $199,717
Median Annual Salary: $46,080
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 7.93%

The second of nine Florida metro areas on the list, this Gulf Coast metro area grew by 7.93% between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration.

Learn more about Tampa.

10. Charleston, South Carolina

10. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina, USA in the French Quarter.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 45
Metro Population: 744,195
Median Home Price: $246,408
Median Annual Salary: $44,970
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 7.97%

People love visiting Charleston, which is helping the South Carolina city’s tourism industry boom. But plenty of visitors are clearly choosing to stay, as the Charleston metro area grew by 7.97% due to net migration over five years.

Learn more about Charleston.

9. Melbourne, Florida

9. Melbourne, Florida

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 25
Metro Population: 568,183
Median Home Price: $198,425
Median Annual Salary: $48,240
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 8.74%

Growing 8.74% due to net migration between 2013 and 2017, Melbourne sees particular interest from seniors. The metro area’s median age is 47.1 years old, compared to the national median age of 38.1, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Melbourne.

8. Orlando, Florida

8. Orlando, Florida

Sunset on the Boardwalk - Disneyworld

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 63
Metro Population: 2,390,859
Median Home Price: $233,050
Median Annual Salary: $44,410
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 9.28%

The home of Disney World and Universal Studios doesn’t just attract tourists hoping to see their favorite fictional characters up close. It also brings people who are planning to make this warm-weather destination their home.

Learn more about Orlando.

7. Lakeland, Florida

7. Lakeland, Florida

A walking bridge on Lake Parker, Lakeland, Florida, and an eastern cedar tree

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 59
Metro Population: 652,256
Median Home Price: $171,967
Median Annual Salary: $40,560
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 9.91%

Located in the center of Florida’s peninsula, Lakeland is showing strong growth that mirrors the state’s coastal metro areas featured on the list. Lakeland grew by 9.91% from 2013 to 2017 due to net migration alone.

Learn more about Lakeland.

6. Austin, Texas

6. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, USA downtown skyline over the Colorado River.

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 1
Metro Population: 2,000,590
Median Home Price: $292,500
Median Annual Salary: $51,840
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 10.09%

Following the Great Recession, an increasing number of tech companies have been opening offices in this Texas metro area. Its affordability relative to the likes of spendy California metro areas such as San Jose and San Francisco is driving many people to Austin for work. It’s a hot enough destination that the metro area grew by 10.09% over five years due to net migration.

Learn more about Austin.

5. Port St. Lucie, Florida

5. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Aerial drone image of Port St Lucie Florida USA

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 78
Metro Population: 454,482
Median Home Price: $211,083
Median Annual Salary: $42,500
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 10.24%

Located along the Treasure Coast, Port St. Lucie attracts people looking for a place with plenty of waterways to explore and, of course, the warm Florida weather. The Port St. Lucie area grew by 10.24% during a five-year period.

Learn more about Port St. Lucie.

4. Daytona Beach, Florida

4. Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach skyline aerial view.

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 99
Metro Population: 623,675
Median Home Price: $192,817
Median Annual Salary: $38,710
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 10.35%

Daytona Beach’s growth from net migration between 2013 and 2017 nearly hit 10.5%. The coastal metro area attracts plenty of tourists to NASCAR races and local beaches, but many of these visitors also appear happy enough to make the place their next hometown.

Learn more about Daytona Beach.

3. Sarasota, Florida

3. Sarasota, Florida

Drone of siesta key beach

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 18
Metro Population: 768,381
Median Home Price: $237,260
Median Annual Salary: $42,680
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 13.1%

With a median age of more than 51 years, Sarasota is a particularly attractive destination for retirees, even more so than other Florida locales. Sarasota grew by a whopping 13.1% in a five-year period due to net migration.

Learn more about Sarasota.

2. Fort Myers, Florida

2. Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers Beach pier, Florida, USA.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 35
Metro Population: 700,165
Median Home Price: $219,200
Median Annual Salary: $41,380
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 14.42%

Fort Myers ranks No. 2 on the Best Places People Are Moving list for the second straight year. Fort Myers grew by 14.42% over a five-year period due to net migration.

Learn more about Fort Myers.

1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach South Carolina aerial view at sunset

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Best Places 2019 Rank: 75
Metro Population: 432,772
Median Home Price: $181,800
Median Annual Salary: $35,890
Net Migration, 2013 to 2017: 17.41%

Myrtle Beach may be small, but it’s proving popular among people looking for a new place to live. Like many of the Florida metro areas on the list, this coastal South Carolina spot attracts plenty of retirees looking for warm weather year-round, lending to the metro’s median age of 46.5 years.

Learn more about Myrtle Beach.

The best places to live in the U.S. based on net migration:

The best places to live in the U.S. based on net migration:

USA, Florida, Stuart, Aerial view of suburbs

(Getty Images)

  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Fort Myers, Florida
  • Sarasota, Florida
  • Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Port St. Lucie, Florida
  • Austin, Texas
  • Lakeland, FLorida
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Melbourne, Florida
  • Charleston, South Carolina

See full list.

Read More

Tags: real estate, housing, moving, renting, new home sales, existing home sales, pending home sales


Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.

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