Moving is a complicated process. Keeping up with belongings, family members, movers and a number of other tasks can be a daunting proposition. That means the more organized you are, the less stressful the move will be.

While the general timeline is flexible, here are some steps you should take to help your move happen effectively and efficiently.

About two months before you move, call several movers for estimates. Keep in mind that on-site estimates are usually more accurate. Once you choose a mover, discuss costs, packing, timing and insurance. It’s also a good idea to contact a tax professional about information on tax deductions regarding moving and what receipts you’ll need to keep.

Next, prepare an inventory of everything you own. Divide the list into three categories: things to be moved, things to be handled by you and things that will be left behind. You should handle anything that qualifies as a one-of-a-kind item, such as personal papers, jewelry, and photos. Also, ask the schools your children attend to forward the children’s records to their new schools.

About six weeks before your move is the time to start familiarizing yourself with your new community. Contact the local chamber of commerce for information on schools, leisure activities and community events.

One of the next steps is to begin collecting the materials you will need for the move such as boxes, containers and other packing materials. It’s also time to register your children in their new school.

About a month before the move, contact your moving company to schedule the move date. Complete a change-of-address form with your local post office, and let your insurance companies know about your move so you can transfer all insurance on your home and belongings.

When you’re two weeks away from moving, contact the utility companies in your new community to get them connected. Make your final packing decisions, and start packing those things you don’t use often. Now is the time to clean and clear your home, including closets, the basement and the attic.

A week before moving is the time to tie up loose ends. If you’ve made a checklist of tasks, now is the time to look back through it to make sure nothing’s been overlooked or unaccounted for. Make sure your mover has a phone number and address where you can be reached if you’re not going directly to your new home.

On move-out day, make sure you’re present when the movers arrive. Confirm the delivery date and time at your new address. Communicate as much as you need with the movers. Remember it is your obligation to remain on site until everything is loaded. Always do a final walkthrough of the premises, and refrain from signing any documents until you have completed your final inspection to make sure nothing is left behind.

On move-in day, make sure you’re present when the movers arrive. You should get 24 hours notice prior to their arrival, which will give you time to arrange for unloading. Have your payment on hand for charges, and keep in mind that many movers will not accept a personal check.

Make sure the utilities have been connected, and plan to be available for your movers to help direct them in the unloading process. To prevent possible damage, televisions, computers, stereos and other electronic devices shouldn’t be turned on for 24 hours after delivery, allowing them time to adjust to room temperature.

Sources for these stories include:,, Federal Citizen Information Center Home Page,,,,, San Diego Association of Realtors,,, and