Understanding the move timeline

Article posted by on August 25, 2014

By Suddath Relocation Systems

Calendar dateMany people ask how far ahead one should begin the packing process for a move. Whether you’re moving across town, or across the country, the process is pretty similar as far as time frames go.  Many experts suggest anywhere between one and two months before the move date as a good time to begin the packing process. Many people think that a week or two prior to moving might be sufficient, but to have a smooth move, a bit more time is better. It is wise to plan at least a month in advance for moving an average size household.

One suggestion that can be helpful is to create a spreadsheet with time frames on it, to help you stay ahead of the process. Writing the steps and dates down can help clarify in your mind what needs to be done and when.  Understanding the move timeline can help you have a more successful move.

Gather your packing supplies

One initial step in the process should be to gather your packing supplies. This should be done at the beginning of the moving timeline.

  • Buy new or gather good clean boxes, or consider using reusable containers
  • Buy plenty of packing tape and packing tape dispensers
  • Make sure to have plenty of medium tipped permanent markers for marking the boxes
  • You will need lots of packing paper or a substitute to fill the boxes completely and avoid damage; in some cases, linens and clothing items can be used to fill the boxes
  • Determine if you will need appliance dollies straps and moving blankets for larger items

Organize your packing timeline into phases

Your packing timeline can be organized into several phases in order to make the process easier.

  • Moving sale in an american weekend on the yardPhase 1 – One month before Moving Day

–  Go through your home and discard unwanted items
–  Sell items you no longer need or want
–  Give all other unwanted items to charity


  • Phase 2 – Three weeks before Moving Day

– Pack all seasonal or unused items
•  Holiday decorations
•  Fine china
•  Winter clothes if it’s a summer move, summer clothes if it’s a winter move
•  Certain tools or other items that will not be used or needed before the move

–  Stack all of the marked boxes neatly in their home locations

  • Mother and daughter unpackig teddy bear in new homePhase 3 – Two Weeks before Moving Day

–  Determine what items need to be held out for the final days in your old home

•  Plates, silverware and glasses for each family member
•  Essential cooking gear, such as a skillet, saucepan, utensils

–  Determine what items will need to be put in “Open Me First” boxes

•  Toys for children to have immediately at the new house
•  Essential cooking gear, such as a skillet, saucepan, utensils
•  Tools needed to set up new home
•  Toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates
•  Enough linens and bedding for initial use in the new home

–  Determine what items will go with you rather than with the movers

•  Valuables
•  Important papers
•  Clothing and toiletries for each family member
•  Important toys or sleep aids for younger family members
•  Supplies for pets

  • Phase 4 – One and a half weeks before Moving Day

–  Begin the actual packing

•  Start packing less used items first and leave more used items until last
•  Pack each box carefully and use packing materials to protect items
•  Tape each box shut neatly and completely
•  Carefully mark each box with the contents and where the box will go in the new house
•  Make sure everyone performing the packing uses the same packing and marking strategy
•  Stack boxes neatly in the rooms with ease of access for the movers

This should allow enough time to have everything completely packed before the movers arrive.

Planning pays off

All of the careful planning you’ve done will really pay off when you move into your new home!

Each marked box can easily go to the location you’ve marked. You’ll want to open those “Open Me First” boxes first, to make life a little easier. Just as you’ve allowed yourself a month or so to prepare for moving day, be good to yourself and allow that much time on the other end as well, so that you can arrange the furniture as you want it, hang the pictures up, and enjoy your new home.