Moving Out for the First Time Checklist

As Mr. Spock most famously said in The Wrath of Khan, “For everything, there is a first time.” That includes moving out of the home where you grew up, which is an exciting but admittedly stressful time. Leaving your home and family behind is a rite of passage for all Americans, something we all go through. To help make it easier, we put together a series of checklists for everything you need to do when moving out for the first time. 

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Moving Out for the First Time Checklist

Hire a Moving Company Checklist

Hiring a moving company to move you is great if you can afford it. It makes a move substantially less stressful, at least physically. Below is a checklist if you’re going to use a moving company to move out for the first time. You should start at least a month ahead of time to ensure movers can fit you into their schedule.

  • Call 4 or 5 moving companies and schedule an appointment for them to quote the cost of your move. (They send a salesperson to your home to do it.)
  • Compare your moving quotes “apples to apples.” The things to compare include:
    • Estimated Weight
    • Estimated boxes to pack
    • Insurance amount and cost
    • Any extra services like crating large items or elevator charges.
  • Choose the best quote.
  • Contact the mover you choose and set your moving dates.

Money-Saving TIP: Once you’ve chosen a mover, you can ask them for free, used boxes. (Most will have plenty of them.) Use the boxes to pack easy stuff like clothes, linens, toys, etc. Doing this can easily save you a few hundred dollars.

Moving Out for the First Time Checklist

How to Prepare for the Move if you Do it Yourself Checklist

Here’s a checklist of everything you need to do to prepare your stuff for moving. 

  • Get rid of things you don’t need, use or want. Donate, give them away or toss them in the trash. (No sense moving stuff you don’t want.)
  • Pack your stuff. You’ll need boxes, packing paper, tape, and magic markers at the very least. Remember to label your boxes by room and contents. (It makes moving in much easier.)
  • Rent a moving truck. Do this a few weeks ahead of time to make sure one is available. This task is especially critical in summer and on weekends when truck rental companies are super busy.
  • Ask friends and family to help you move. Do this early so you have a good idea of who will be coming and how much help you’ll have. (Make sure you have plenty of water and food to feed your helpers!)
  • Start gathering old blankets and comforters to use as padding on big furniture. Thrift stores and Goodwill are excellent places to look.
  • Watch some YouTube videos on “how to load a moving truck.”

Money-Saving TIP: Go to Craigslist and look under “free” to get free moving boxes in your town.

Moving Out for the First Time Checklist

Paperwork You Need to Gather Checklist

Many things are electronic and virtual these days, but some aren’t. Below is a list of all the paperwork, forms, and files you need to gather before moving out.

  • Patient files from your dentist, doctor, therapist, and other health professionals.
  • Transcripts from your high school, college, or university.
  • Titles for any vehicles you own. Car, boat, motorcycle, etc.
  • Recommendation letters from school, a job, your internship, etc.
  • Veterinarian records if you’re taking your pet with you.
  • Insurance records.
  • Diplomas, awards, certificates, and anything else of value for your career.

Things You Need to Do for the Government Checklist

The state and federal governments need information from you when you move for various reasons. Below are the miscellaneous tasks and items you need to have so you can give the government its due.

  • Your driver’s license. You’ll need it to apply for a new one if you move to another state.
  • Your passport, if you have one. A passport can help with getting your new driver’s license.
  • Any professional licenses you may have acquired.
  • Your social security card. If you don’t have a physical card, you should apply to get one.
  • Tax records if you have them.
  • Change your address with the US Post Office.

Utilities you Need to Arrange Checklist

Once in your new place, you’ll need all the same utilities you had at home and maybe more. (It depends on what your parents had.) Below are all the different utilities you need to contact for new service. We recommend doing this a few weeks early to ensure the utility companies can fit you into their schedule.

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Garbage
  • Internet and Wi-Fi
  • Cable TV
  • Bottled water delivery
  • Update your magazine subscriptions

Things You’ll Need in Your New Place Checklist

There’s so much you need when living on your own. Below is a list of the items you should have when you arrive so your first night isn’t a disaster.

  • Linens for your bed and towels for the bathroom.
  • Plates, glasses, and silverware.
  • Chargers, extension cords, and light bulbs.
  • A first aid kit, just in case.
  • Curtains for your bedroom. (Measure them in advance or ask your soon-to-be landlord for window sizes so you can get the right size.)
  • A small toolbox with basic tools. A hammer, screwdrivers, nails, screws, sheetrock anchors, a cordless drill, pliers, flashlight, electrical tape, safety goggles, etc.
  • Cleaning supplies for when you’re finally done moving in.  

A Few Last Minute Things to Consider Checklist

The following items and things to do aren’t essential but might be helpful.

  • Get insurance for your health and your new home or apartment.
  • Get a Ring or other front-door security camera.
  • Apply for a credit card if you don’t have one yet.
  • Look for a roommate to share the expenses.
  • Find the religious worship location of your choice.

These Moving Out Checklists are Brought to you by StorAmerica

Moving out the first time can be a wild and crazy experience. We hope the checklists and tips we’ve given today will help make it less so. At StorAmerica, we help folks like you move every day of the year. Our self-storage locations are secure, and our storage units are clean and safe. 

If you need to store your things before moving into your new place, a storage unit from StorAmerica is perfect. They’re easy to pack, affordable, and a drive-up storage unit is easy to access. Plus, you can come and go as you like if you need things in your storage unit.

Browse StorAmerica’s main webpage to find a location near your new home. You can also visit in person and meet the on-site manager. They will answer any questions you have about self-storage. Until then, best of luck moving out! (Remember to give your parents a big hug; they’ll need it!)

Read more on the StorAmerica blog!

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