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Moving tips for families

Posted by AMH Team

7m read time

Nov 30, 2023

Does the thought of moving fill you with anxiety? Us, too. But with the right preparation, you can eliminate much of that stress, embrace moving day, and get started on enjoying your new home right away. Our step-by-step checklist for moving into a new rental home will set you on the path to a worry-free moving day


1 month before you move: Starting the moving process



If you know you’ll be moving several weeks or months in advance, start ton these items as early as you feel comfortable. Here’s where to focus:

Decide whether to hire movers or DIY: Both approaches will require work, but if you have extra money saved, hiring a full service residential moving company can give you some peace of mind with transportation. Just be sure to vet all moving companies. Check their U.S. DOT number, look at reviews, and ask friends and family about their experiences. Some companies will only deliver within specific city or state limits, while others will work nationwide. If you go with the DIY approach, consider a Home Depot moving dolly rental or U-Haul truck rental to help with heavier items. 


Gather moving supplies: Boxes, scissors, packing tape, Sharpies, and bubble wrap are moving day essentials. Newspaper, blankets, and clothing can serve as cushioning, while a screwdriver helps disassemble larger furniture. You can often find free boxes at grocery stores or big box retailers, and don’t be afraid to ask friends if they have any supplies you can use.      


Begin removing clutter from your home: Chances are high that you’ve got items that won’t be joining you on the move. Start removing clutter now to make things easier come moving day. Even getting rid of just five things a day, whether throwing them out, recycling, or donating them, has a significant impact. Check out these cleaning accounts to help with tidying up. 



Talk with your kids: Moving day can be challenging for children, especially if they’re leaving behind friends and neighborhoods they’ve grown to love. Be transparent and communicate with them early and often. Talk about the reasons for moving with kids, allow them time to process their feelings, and try to teach them about their new home or city.


Start packing: Packing always takes longer than you think. Start with clothing you rarely wear and items you won’t need over the next month. You can also slowly work your way down; for example, if you have 24 cutlery sets, pack up six now.


2-3 weeks before you move: Working together to make progress 


The few weeks leading up to moving day are an excellent time to contact different providers to update records, do final checks, and ensure everything is set for the big day. Here are the moving tips for families to follow:


New schools and transferring records: If you’re moving with kids, they will probably attend a new school. Contact their current school to get records and other necessary documents — sometimes, the school can directly transfer those records to the new school. Additionally, ensure you’ve researched schools, gone on a tour (in-person or virtually), and spoken with the principal and teachers before registering at the new location.


Take a final doctor and vet visit: If you’re due for a doctor’s visit, now is the time to go. Ask your doctor for a copy of each family member’s medical records, and see if they have any references for your new area. Similarly, bring your pets in for one final vet visit and determine the best option for moving them. 


Book a car shipper: You can ignore this step if you’re moving within the same city or to a nearby location. But for cross-country moves, you may decide it’s easier to fly to the new destination and have your car shipped to you.


Change your address: To ensure you continue to receive mail, update your address with the U.S. Postal Service. Change your address on other accounts, such as your bank. Give yourself an extra day of utilities at your old home to be safe.



Reach out to friends: Friends can make a DIY move faster and more efficient. Ask friends for assistance with packing or lifting heavier items. Order some food and make it an event. If you’re moving to a new city, it’s also a good way to spend quality time with your closest pals.  


Keep packing: Remember, packing is a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on clearing out individual rooms and label boxes in a way that’s helpful to you, whether by type of item or the room it should go in.


1 week before you move: Tying up loose ends


We’re reaching crunch time! By this point, you’ve made good progress on the move, and your packing is coming along nicely. Focus on these items to start wrapping up the moving process.     

Build an essentials kit: In a perfect world, everything will go smoothly, and all shipped items will arrive at their destination safely and on time. Just in case, packing essentials for each family member will help avoid any panic. The kit should include things you regularly need, such as toiletries, chargers, important documents, a box cutter for unpacking, and medications for you and your pets.


Disassemble furniture: Break down bed frames, entertainment centers, sofas, and other large furniture to more easily fit in cars or trucks. If you’ve hired movers, they may be able to help, though it could cost an extra fee. 


Use up food and drinks: That leftover bowl of pasta primavera isn’t going to eat itself. Try to clear out your fridge before moving day. Consider donating canned goods from your pantry, which will lighten your moving load and is a nice thing to do. 


Service your vehicle: Getting a flat tire or having engine or battery failure is never fun. It’s exceptionally un-fun in the middle of a move. If needed, take your car in for a tune-up and get an oil change, tire rotation, or other service.


Finish packing: Don’t wait until the last minute to finish packing (unless you happen to be filming a documentary about stressful moves, then that’s probably a fitting decision). Finishing with time to spare will make moving day a breeze. Wrap cumbersome items that might not fit in a box in clothing, blankets, or other padding. 



Moving day: It’s finally here!


We’ve arrived at moving day — and you’re a cool customer because you’ve been following these moving tips for families. Here’s the final checklist for moving into a new rental home:

Get started early: Moving day tends to be long and arduous. The worst scenario is trying to finish transporting everything at night when it’s pitch black outside. Avoid both that — and beat the heat of the afternoon — by starting the move at sunrise. Eat a hearty breakfast to give you strength and get moving. 


Wear comfortable clothes: Moving is not a fashion show. Wear loose clothing you don’t mind getting dirty, and pick your most comfortable pair of shoes.


Do a final sweep: This step is both figurative and literal. Take a final walk around the house, checking each room and every drawer to ensure you didn’t leave anything behind. Moving creates dust and other debris, so it’s also good to sweep and dust each room, including curtains and blinds. Keep a broom, duster, or vacuum handy, and bring a trash bag and universal spray cleaner to clean and sweep everything up quickly. These cleaning tips will help with efficiency. 


Keep water, snacks, and cash handy: Moving day involves physical activity, and if you’re carrying several boxes, you’ll likely work up a thirst and appetite. Stay hydrated with water and nourished with snacks. If you’ve hired movers, offer them a refreshing beverage — and tip them extra if the move takes longer than expected.


Create a safe environment for kids and pets: Keep younger kids or ones that can’t help with the move out of harm’s way. Set up a room in the new house for children and pets (or have family nearby watch them) with toys, games, and snacks.  


Congrats, you’ve successfully conquered moving! Now, unpack at your own pace and let kids and pets acclimate to the new environment. And celebrate — this is a major moment!


Looking for a new place to live? View available rental homes in a variety of beautiful neighborhoods with AMH.


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