Your must-read 8-week guide to preparing for a move

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Let's be honest: There's no such thing as an easy move. (After all, it ranks alongside job loss, divorce and death of a loved one on the stressful-situations scale.) But the more you plan and organize in advance, the less taxing it will be. We polled experts at top NYC-based moving, packing, storing and organizing companies to create an optimal timeline of when to do what. Keep it handy for your smoothest move possible (and CLICK HERE for a printable infographic—click a second time to zoom in).

T Minus Eight Weeks:

• Now’s the time to request a moving date with your old and new buildings, say the experts at FlatRate Moving.

• Begin researching moving companies (you can compare mover reviews and prices at

• Make an inventory of the items in your home and decide what you won’t be taking with you, then contact various charities and marketplace venues (CraigslisteBay, the local second hand store) to pinpoint where you can unload your goods.

T Minus Six Weeks:

• Book your mover. The earlier you book and the more flexible your moving date, the better your quote will be, say the pros at Unpakt.

• Begin paring down by getting rid of or donating the stuff you no longer want or need (old magazines), and using up what you can (like food, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and the like)

• Start packing items you won't need for the next few months, like off-season clothes, tchotchkes, books, etc.

T Minus Four Weeks:

• Reconfirm your moving date with your old and new buildings and reserve an elevator if necessary. In some buildings, you may have to provide a moving deposit or fee.

• Book a storage unit. You can cut down on moving costs by putting some items you don’t need for the next few months into a storage unit. Manhattan Mini Storage offers unlimited free one-way trips in their Storage Taxi (a van with plenty of cargo space) to help you transport your stuff to one of their storage facilities.

• Contact utility and related companies (gas, electric, oil, water, telephone, cable TV) to disconnect service disconnect at your old address and reconnect it at your new address (just make sure to keep everything as is until moving day). Submit your change address with USPS and related services (magazine subscriptions, newspaper delivery, etc.). FYI: FlatRate gives all of their customers access to their partner, Updater, an online service that forwards your updated contact info to friends, family, utility companies, subscription agencies and more, free of charge.

• If you’re going to be doing some or all of the packing yourself, now’s the time to purchase or accumulate moving supplies, like boxes, bubble wrap, tape, markers, and labels. You can go the old-fashioned route and buy boxes, or use a service that will drop off reusable crates a few weeks before your move and pick them up a few weeks after, says David Mendizábal a moving expert with GYST, an NYC-based lifestyle management company. Unpakt can help you estimate how many boxes you will need base don the size of your current home.

• Begin packing things you won’t need for the next month. Make sure to label everything clearly. It will make unboxing much easier later.

T Minus Three Weeks:

• Locate all of your important documents (passports, birth certificates, wills, insurance policies...) and move them to a safe place, like a fire-safe box or a safety deposit box.

• Finish giving away, donating or selling any items you’re not taking with you.

T Minus Two Weeks:

• If you have young kids, book your babysitter now for moving day!

• Make sure any certificates of insurance are completed for all buildings that require  paperwork.

• Pack up the fragile items first and then, everything else room by room, leaving only items you absolutely can't live without in the upcoming days. Be ruthless.

• Confirm move details with your moving company. Most places will give you a courtesy call to confirm your appointment, but just in case, call to confirm that you’re all set. There is nothing worse than waiting around for your moving service and being stood-up, says Mendizabal.

T Minus One Week:

• Make sure your new home is clean and ready to move into.

• Pack the rest of your items, leaving the kitchen stuff for last (you're probably still using whatever is left).

• Break down your beds and other furniture.

• Pack a suitcase of clothes and essentials for the first few days in your new home. According to Mendizábal, this should include PJs and clean sheets for the night after your move, a toothbrush, face wash,and an outfit for the day after the move. The last thing you want to do when you finish moving is start opening boxes to find sheets or clean socks!

• Put anything that isn't needed ASAP into storage to retrieve at a later date.

T Minus One Day:

• Finish packing everything.

• Empty out what’s left in your pantry and refrigerator.

• Take out the trash and recycling.

Moving Day!

• Make sure your moving company has a way to reach you (Tip: Take your phone off vibrate!).

• Do one final sweep of your apartment. Breathe a sigh of relief!


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