Countdown: 12 Weeks to Moving Day

You're moving! Yikes! Don't panic: although moving can be an intense and exhausting experience (it's one of the biggest causes of stress), breaking it down into week-by-week tasks can make it much more manageable. Here's what to do when -- to make your move as easy as possible.

12 Weeks Before

Create a file to hold every detail of your move, from estimates and receipts to maps of your new town and lists of hot spots your kids might like.

Check out the Chamber of Commerce for interesting info on your new destination.

Start interviewing movers and asking for face-to-face estimates.

Review your moving budget, and check with the IRS about which moving expenses might be deductible.

If your car or boat has to be moved, start researching special companies that ship automobiles and boats.

10 Weeks Before

Make sure your older children know about the move so they have plenty of time to spend with friends and say their goodbyes.

Nail down your mover. Make sure you understand all the ins and outs of the estimate and exactly how you need to pay the mover and when.

Make a list of any legal transactions or paperwork that needs to be done before you move, and which documents you'll want to have with you.

Take inventory of which items can't be moved (propane gas in the grill, toxic substances, perishables) and figure out how to use them up or give them away.

8 Weeks Before

Draw a floor plan of your new home and take a hard look at your current furnishings and how they might fit into the new space. If some things won't fit, plan a garage sale for a few weeks before you move.

Alert your doctors and other medical professionals that you're moving and will need copies of medical files for every family member. Ask for doc recommendations in your new hometown. Make last doctor appointments.

6 Weeks Before

Make a last appointment with your veterinarian if you have a pet.

Talk to your insurance agent about transferring coverage to your new home, and ask if your insurance covers household items in transit.

Figure out which items need to move with you, including jewelry and safe deposit contents, and how you'll safely transport them.

5 Weeks Before

Update your address book and make a list of people to whom you want to send moving announcements.

Make a relocation plan for your plants. Most movers won't take them, so it's up to you to transport them or donate them to a good home.

Start thinking about what you could pack early -- those items that aren't used a lot or only seasonally, such as holiday decorations and out-of-season clothing.

If you're packing some items yourself, start gathering boxes and other necessary supplies.

4 Weeks Before

Tell younger children about the move, and plan some special time/events with them to ease the transition.

If you have a pet, visit the vet to take care of all shots and paperwork. Make travel arrangements for your pet.

Make arrangements to have school records transferred.

If you belong to discount store clubs or health clubs, ask if your membership can be transferred.

Arrange connection/disconnection dates with utilities in both locations.

Notify all magazine providers of your address change, and fill out a change-of-address card at the post office.

3 Weeks Before

Reconfirm any travel arrangements for your family, including airplane tickets, rental cars, lodging, etc.

Reconfirm with your mover that they are not overbooked and will be able to load you on the agreed-upon day.

Call your newspaper carrier with a cancel-by date and sign up for the paper in your new location.

Get a checkup for your car before any long trips. Collect copies of maintenance records, and get your auto registration transferred, if necessary.

Dispose of unmovables -- flammables and poisons -- in an environmentally responsible way.

2 Weeks Before

Visit your bank to close or transfer accounts. If you have a safe deposit box, notify the bank that you'll be closing it and plan for when you'll pick up your valuables.

Hold a garage sale to get rid of all that stuff you haven't used in years (or never liked).

Pick up medical paperwork and make sure you have necessary prescriptions filled and enough refills to get you through the first few months in a new town.

Make sure your children are on board with the move and that all goodbye/transition activities are scheduled.

Hire a cleaner to do a final-sweep cleaning job once the house is empty.

Create a folder of helpful information for the next resident.

1 Week Before

Reconfirm all details with your mover.

Send out change-of-address announcements to family and friends.

Close your safe deposit box and pack your valuables with you for safe traveling.

Plan how you're going to handle meals once the movers begin packing your dishes and your fridge is empty.

Back up your computer and make a hard copy or replacement disk of important information.

Pick up all dry cleaning and anything being repaired. Return anything you've borrowed from neighbors or the library.

A Few Days Before

Empty your fridge and all wastebaskets. Clean all appliances.

Make a "survival kit" list so you're sure you have all of the things you need to carry with you (and they don't get packed at the bottom of a box).

Drain any hoses or outdoor pieces that are going with you, such as birdbaths.

Make sure you have enough cash to tip movers and for unexpected expenses.

Make arrangements for your children and pets to be occupied and taken care of on moving day.

Moving Day

Give family members time to roam the house and yard to say goodbye.

Eat breakfast! You're going to need fuel for this busy day.

Pack everything the movers aren't taking in your car or someplace where it won't be accidentally loaded.

Be vigilant about checking off physical inventory items as they're loaded onto the truck.

Have a smile and a treat -- a beverage and cookies -- available for the moving people. You want them to like you and take extra-good care of your stuff.

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