The Ultimate Moving-Out Checklist: What to Do Before You Leave

Moving out can be daunting and stressful, but proper planning and organization can make it a smooth and manageable process. Having a well-structured moving-out checklist is crucial whether you’re relocating across town or to a different state. This blog will provide a comprehensive checklist to help you before moving out, incorporating essential moving and packing tips. Additionally, we’ll touch on specific considerations for a Moving-out checklist in Chicago and highlight the benefits of hiring professional movers.

Preparing for the Move

1. Create a Moving Timeline

The first step in your moving-out checklist is to create a timeline. Start planning at least two months before your move-out date. Break down tasks week by week to avoid last-minute stress. Your timeline should include:

  • Researching moving companies
  • Gathering packing supplies
  • Decluttering your home
  • Scheduling utilities disconnection and reconnection
  • Notifying important parties about your move

2. Budget for Your Move

Moving can be expensive, so it’s essential to create a budget. Consider all potential costs, including:

  • Hiring professional movers
  • Purchasing packing supplies
  • Travel expenses
  • Temporary lodging (if necessary)
  • Utility deposits and reconnection fees

Decluttering and Organizing

1. Sort and Purge

Before packing, go through your belongings and decide what to keep, donate, sell, or discard. This process will help reduce the amount of stuff you need to move, saving time and money.

  • Keep: Items you use regularly or have sentimental value
  • Donate: Gently used items that others could benefit from
  • Sell: Valuable items you no longer need
  • Discard: Broken or unusable items

2. Organize Important Documents

Gather and organize important documents, such as:

  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Medical records
  • Insurance policies
  • Lease or mortgage documents

Keep these documents in a safe, accessible place during the move.

Packing Tips

1. Gather Packing Supplies

Ensure you have all the necessary packing supplies well in advance:

  • Sturdy boxes in various sizes
  • Bubble wrap and packing paper
  • Packing tape
  • Labels and markers
  • Furniture blankets and pads

2. Pack Room by Room

To stay organized, pack one room at a time. Label each box with its contents and the room it belongs to in your new home. This approach will make unpacking much easier.

3. Use Proper Packing Techniques

Protect your belongings by using proper packing techniques:

  • Wrap fragile items in bubble wrap or packing paper
  • Fill empty spaces in boxes with packing peanuts or crumpled paper
  • Use smaller boxes for heavy items and larger boxes for lighter items
  • Disassemble furniture and keep screws and small parts in labeled bags

Hiring Professional Movers

1. Research Moving Companies

Start researching professional movers early in your planning process. Look for reputable companies with positive reviews and proper licensing. Obtain quotes from at least three different movers to compare prices and services.

2. Ask the Right Questions

When speaking with moving companies, ask important questions such as:

  • Are they licensed and insured?
  • What services do they offer?
  • Do they have experience with your specific type of move (e.g., long-distance, moving out-checklist Chicago)?
  • What is their cancellation policy?
  • Can they provide references?

3. Read the Contract Carefully

Before signing a contract with a moving company, read it thoroughly. Ensure you understand the terms and conditions, including any potential additional fees. Keep a copy of the contract for your records.

Moving Day Preparation

1. Confirm Details with Movers

A few days before your move, confirm the details with your movers. Ensure they have the correct address, moving date, and time. Discuss any special instructions or requirements you may have.

2. Pack an Essentials Box

Pack a box of essentials you’ll need immediately upon arrival at your new home. This box should include:

  • Toiletries
  • Change of clothes
  • Important documents
  • Medications
  • Snacks and water
  • Basic kitchen supplies (e.g., coffee maker, utensils)

3. Prepare Your Home

Prepare your home for the movers by:

  • Clearing pathways
  • Protecting floors and walls
  • Disassembling any remaining furniture
  • Ensuring all boxes are labeled and ready to go

Specific Considerations For Moving-Out Checklist Chicago

If you’re moving in or out of Chicago, there are some additional considerations to keep in mind:

1. Parking Permits

Chicago has specific parking regulations, especially in densely populated areas. Check if you need a parking permit for the moving truck and arrange it in advance.

2. Building Regulations

If you’re moving into or out of an apartment building, check with the building management about any moving regulations. Some buildings require you to reserve the elevator or use a specific entrance.

3. Weather Conditions

Chicago weather can be unpredictable. Be prepared for extreme temperatures, rain, or snow on your moving day. Ensure you have appropriate clothing and protection for your belongings.

4. Traffic Considerations

Chicago is known for its traffic congestion. Plan your moving day to avoid peak traffic, and consider alternative routes to your new home.

Settling into Your New Home

1. Unpack Methodically

Once you arrive at your new home, unpack methodically. Start with the essentials and move on to less critical items. Unpacking room by room will help you stay organized.

2. Set Up Utilities and Services

Ensure your utilities, including electricity, water, gas, and internet, are set up and functioning. Update your address with important service providers, such as:

  • Banks
  • Insurance companies
  • Subscription services
  • DMV

3. Explore Your New Neighborhood

Take some time to explore your new neighborhood. Locate nearby grocery stores, medical facilities, schools, and recreational areas. Familiarizing yourself with the area will help you settle in more comfortably.

Moving and Packing Tips

To further ease your moving process, consider these additional moving and packing tips:

1. Pack a First-Night Bag

Pack a bag with essentials for your first night in your new home. Include items such as pajamas, toiletries, and a phone charger. This will save you from rummaging through boxes when you’re tired from the move.

2. Use Color-Coded Labels

Color-coded labels can simplify the unpacking process. Assign a color to each room in your new home and label your boxes accordingly. This makes it easy for movers to place boxes in the correct rooms.

3. Photograph Electronics Setups

Take photos of the wiring and connections of your electronics before you disassemble them. These photos will be a helpful reference when setting up your electronics in your new home.

4. Keep Valuables with You

Keep valuable items, such as jewelry, important documents, and small electronics, with you during the move. This ensures their safety and gives you peace of mind.

The Benefits of Professional Movers

Hiring professional movers can significantly reduce the stress and workload of your move. Here are some benefits to consider:

1. Expertise and Experience

Professional movers have the expertise and experience to handle your belongings safely and efficiently. They know the best packing techniques and have the right equipment to move heavy or fragile items.

2. Time-Saving

Movers can complete the packing and moving process much faster than you can. This allows you to focus on other important aspects of your move.

3. Insurance Coverage

Reputable moving companies offer insurance coverage for your belongings during the move. This provides financial protection in case of damage or loss.

4. Stress Reduction

Professionals handling your move’s logistics can significantly reduce your stress levels. You can trust them to handle the heavy lifting, transportation, and unloading.


Moving out doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. With a well-organized moving-out checklist, you can ensure that every aspect of your move is covered. From decluttering and packing to hiring professional movers and preparing for moving day, each step is crucial for a smooth transition.

Additional considerations like parking permits and weather conditions are essential for those in specific locations, such as the moving-out checklist in Chicago. Incorporating these factors into your planning will help you navigate the unique challenges of moving in and out of a busy city.

Remember, the key to a successful move is preparation. Start early, stay organized, and use the moving and packing tips provided to make your move as stress-free as possible. You can easily and confidently settle into your new home with the right approach. 

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Non-Transportable Items

  • Nail polish remover
  • Live plants
  • Household paint
  • Lighter fluid
  • Gasoline
  • Fireworks
  • Compressed air cans
  • Propane tanks from grills
  • Automotive repair and maintenance chemicals
  • Matches

Other Non-Transportable Items

Other items not recommended for relocation by movers include:

  • Firearms
  • Food in glass jars and perishable foods
  • Lighter fluid
  • Prescription drugs needed for immediate use

The following personal items are recommended to be relocated to your new home in your vehicle:

  • Documents regarding your move
  • Identification including Social Security cards, passports, driver’s licenses, and state ID cards
  • Cash
  • Important personal documents such as financial statements, deeds, titles, wills, etc.
  • Family photos
  • Collections (i.e. coin collections, stamp collections. etc.)
  • Jewelry