How Early Should I Start Planning a Move?

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How Early Should I Plan on Moving

Whether you’re moving across town, to a different city, or across the country, moving can be an exciting experience. It can also be overwhelming and expensive, especially if you don’t know how to plan for a move in advance. 

So, if you’re planning on moving out of your current home soon, White Glove Moving has tips, tricks, and a detailed timeline to help you plan early and make your move easier. 

Factors That Will Affect Timing 

If you want to know how to plan a move successfully, timing is key. If you can start preparing at least a year in advance, moving will be easier, smoother, and less stressful, though any planning you can do ahead of time will help. However, we know that advanced planning isn’t always needed or possible, and different factors will affect a timeline for moving out of state or locally. 


If you’re moving within the same city, you could probably get away with planning on moving out in two months or less. But if you’re moving further than that — like across the state, to another state, or the other side of the country — you’ll need more time to plan your move. This extra planning time is required to find a new home, coordinate with your moving company, pack, and tackle other moving tasks, so it’s essential to give yourself as much time as possible. 


In most cases, the bigger the house, the more belongings to pack. Additionally, the longer you have lived in your current home, regardless of size, the more you’ll have accumulated. When you’re planning on moving out, you’ll probably need more time to complete your packing.  

Don’t forget about the types of items you’re moving as well. Specialty items like pianos, art, or antiques need extra care during the moving process, so you’ll need to add pickup and delivery times into your timeline for moving out of state. 


The time of year you plan to move out also influences how long you’ll need to plan for. The busy season for moving companies is spring and summer, which extends from May to September. If you’re planning on moving out during this time, you’ll want to plan at least four to five months in advance so you can get the moving services you need. 

Why You Should Prepare a Year in Advance

One of the biggest reasons to plan a move in advance is the cost. Moving can be expensive, especially the further you go from where you currently live. Many financial factors go into moving, including hiring movers, purchasing packing materials, rent or mortgage costs for your new home, and more. 

When you plan your moving timeline at least a year in advance, you can budget and save for these costs instead of covering them at once. Give yourself a budget goal — long-distance moves can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 — and start saving money from each paycheck to put toward these expenses. 

Half a Year Before Your Move 

Now that you know why you should start planning early, it’s time to break down how to plan a move leading up to moving day. Let’s start with six months before the big move — figuring out your new home and location. 

Choose a Neighborhood

You may have a general idea of where you want to live in your new area, but now is a good time to narrow down your location, even down to the neighborhood you want to live in. As you start a deep-dive search into your new area, here are some things to consider. 

  • Do you have a job lined up? If not, research the job market and see what career options in your field look like in your new city. 
  • Calculate a cost-of-living comparison between where you currently live and where you plan to move. 
  • Research when you can start looking at property or applying for rentals before moving. 
  • Determine specifics about your neighborhood, like social norms and practices so that you can settle in faster to your new way of life. 

If you are moving close by, you may just need to research the neighborhood to help you get a better feel of the area. 

Start House Hunting

What is one of the most critical factors in how to plan a move? Where you’re going to live! If you want to buy a home in your new area, the entire process can take anywhere from a month to six months, meaning you should start house hunting well before your moving date.

Apartments are generally easier to get into, but there may be a waitlist or multiple applicants that make the process take longer than anticipated. Once you know where you’ll be living, it can make it easier to progress with the moving process. 

Create a Timeline or Checklist

Create a moving checklist, so you have a timeline for moving out of state. On this list, you’ll have tasks you should complete and by when to help ensure you’re fully prepared come moving day. 

Three Months Before Your Move 

Now that the date you’re planning on moving out is getting closer, it’s time to iron out some of the details of your move. Here are things you should do three months before your move. 


If you are selling your home before moving, take time to do a thorough cleaning so you can prepare to list your property. Cleaning up gives you a clearer space to take on your next task — downsizing. 


Moving is an excellent reason to look closely at your belongings and decide what you want to bring into your new home. Start sorting your things into groups — keep, sell, donate, or toss. This process may take a while, so starting before your moving date is critical. 

As a bonus, the fewer belongings you have, the more cost-effective your move may be. Plus, anything you’re keeping but don’t need right now can go straight into any moving boxes you have on hand, which gives you a head start on all your packing!

Two Months Before Your Move 

Depending on how well you’ve followed your moving checklist, two months can feel like plenty of time or not enough. Still, no matter where you’re at in the process, here’s what you should be doing two months before your move. 

Gather Supplies 

To prepare for packing, you’ll need to get your moving supplies — boxes, packing tape, Bubble Wrap, etc. We recommend getting at least 20-25% more than you think you’ll need so you won’t have to stop mid-packing to get more. Once you have everything you need, you can start packing lesser-used items to prepare for moving day. 

Inventory Your Belongings 

One thing many people forget when planning a move is to inventory their property. Make a detailed list of all your belongings ahead of your move, then use it to track everything as the moving truck is unloaded. This inventory list will also come in handy if anything goes missing or is damaged in the process.

Find a Moving Company

When considering how to plan for a move, remember that a good moving company can make all the difference. Research moving companies near you by reading reviews to find a few good options. From there, contact at least three companies to get a quote on your upcoming move.  

Here are some tips to help you find a good company and avoid moving scams

Gather Documents

You should get all your important documents in one place, so they don’t get lost during the move. These documents include: 

  • Birth certificates 
  • Passports 
  • Medical records 
  • Social Security cards 
  • School records 
  • Item warranty information 

Make sure all this paperwork is in a secure location so you know where it is on moving day. 

Six Weeks Before Your Move 

With a month and a half left before you’re planning to move out, you need to focus on one essential thing: packing. 


No one wants to rush around doing last-minute packing the day before moving. This is how you end up with missed items, jumbled boxes, and tons of stress. When you think about how to plan a move, make sure you have a solid plan for how you’ll pack. You may also be interested in learning more about movers unpacking service and helpful packing tips here.

One Month Before Your Move 

With one month left, you need to start getting ready for life where you’re moving. Here are tasks you should take care of now on your timeline for moving out of state or the next town over. 

Get Ready for Your Address Change

It’s time to update your address with various agencies. Not updating addresses is one of the most common moving mistakes that people make, and it can lead to missed mail, suspended services, or shut-off utilities, so don’t forget! 

Change your address with the following services: 

  • U.S. Post Office (forward mail to your new address)
  • Insurance 
  • Car registration 
  • Credit card providers 
  • Subscription services (internet, cable, etc.)
  • Banks
  • Loan providers

You’re going to need gas, water, and electric utilities in your new home, and some companies need time to get services turned on or settled in your name. So, you should also contact these providers in your new area to ensure everything is ready to go once you move in. 

Make Travel Arrangements 

As you plan for a move, don’t forget to make travel arrangements for getting to your new home. If you’re moving locally, you can easily drive over after the moving truck leaves your old place. But, if you’re planning an out-of-state move, you’ll need to decide if you’re taking a road trip or buying plane tickets. Finalize these plans now, so you’re ready to leave after you finish moving out. 

Prepare Pets 

Are you planning on moving out with your furry friends? Take a trip to your local vet before you go to get current vet records and refill any prescriptions. Then, make travel plans for getting your pets from home A to home B. 

Notify People About Your Move

If you’re renting as you figure out how to plan a move, remember to give a 30-day notice to your landlord so they know you won’t be renewing your lease again. If your lease is locked in for a specific time, ensure you aren’t moving out early, or you’ll risk losing your security deposit and getting fined. 

You’ll probably stay with the same company for a local move. But if you’re leaving for good when you move, ensure you also give them adequate notice to find your replacement. 

One Week Before Your Move 

You’re in the final countdown, and according to your moving checklist, you should feel pretty prepared to go. Movers should be scheduled, housing should be finalized, addresses should be updated, and most of the packing should be done. 

Tackle these last few tasks as you spend the final week in your current home. 

Deep Clean 

Before your lease ends, do a thorough, deep cleaning of your house or apartment. Your landlord may have a move-out cleaning checklist you should complete, helping ensure you get as much of your security deposit back as possible. 

Deep cleaning your apartment or home is also an excellent time to go through every space and ensure you haven’t missed any of your belongings. 

Schedule a Walk-Through

Talk to your current landlord and schedule a final walk-through of the space. Take time-stamped photos as you do the check to ensure you have proper documentation of the apartment if there are any issues getting your security deposit back.   

Are you moving into another rental in your new city? You can also request a video walk-through with your new landlord to double-check everything is good to go once you move. If you know anyone in the new location, you can send them to do the walk-through and take pictures for you. This helps you understand how everything looks before you move in. 

The Night Before Your Move

You’ve done it — you made it to the day before you are planning on moving out. At this point in your timeline for moving out of state, everything is packed and labeled, your home is clean, and you’re ready to take on moving day tomorrow. 

You just have a few final tasks to complete before moving on. 

Prepare for Travel 

If you’re flying, check in to your flight and put all your travel documents together. Preparing for a road trip? Make sure the car is loaded, you have your snacks, and your gas tank is full. 

No matter how you get to your new home, you should have a “first-night” bag full of necessities like phone chargers, bedsheets, a change of clothes, and toiletries. Prepping this bag ensures you won’t have to rifle through boxes trying to find everything once you move in. 

Rest Up 

You’ve put in a lot of effort researching how to plan a move and getting ready for moving day, so now you deserve to rest. Take some time to say goodbye to your current home and relive some of your favorite memories there. Then, head to bed to rest before your big day tomorrow. 

Where to Start When Planning to Move 

Now you know how to plan an out-of-state or local move, you’re ready to start planning at least a year before the big day. Tackle the process in small steps and do whatever you can now to make moving easier for you, including: 

Need Local or Long-Distance Movers?

At White Glove Moving, we have decades of experience in local and long-distance moves in and around New Jersey and New York or even across the country. If you have questions about how to plan a move, want to get a moving quote, or are ready to start planning your move, contact our team today.