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A Guide to Moving Out in Canada: Checklist

Moving is a big life event that requires time, preparation and action. That is why we’ve created a moving checklist that you can use to manage your move. With five stages of moving provided in our detailed checklist, you can be certain that you have a plan for every step along the way.

January 11, 2021 in Life

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Stage 1 (2 months before moving out):

1. 𐄂 Create a digital “Moving” folder for your documents


Build a digital storage space where you can upload and keep track of your documentation related to the move, including records, receipts and quotes. Use this folder and refer to it as you move through the checklist moving guide.


2. 𐄂 Save this moving checklist


Add this file to your digital “Moving” folder to keep all of your important documents in one place.


3. 𐄂 Choose a moving company or rental truck


If your move requires hiring some help, finding a reference from a trusted family member or friend that has completed a move is your best bet, but you can also find reviews for moving companies online. If you are doing a DIY move, line up a rental truck that can fit your items. If your moving plan depends on friends for help, get ready to order some pizza on the day of the big move.


4. 𐄂 Plan your trip


Whether you are moving by car or by plane, be sure to have all reservations made by this point to secure the best travel deals.


5. 𐄂 Book work days off


Three days gives you time to arrange the move, decompress after the move, and start unpacking boxes without rushing back into work.


6. 𐄂 Obtain your children’s current school transcripts and research good schools in the area


First, ask your child’s current school to provide you with updated transcripts and records to provide your new school. Then, evaluate the different schools around your neighbourhood to see which school will be the best fit.


7. 𐄂 Host a going away garage sale or donate items


To lessen the load for your move, start finding items that you can sell or give away and consider posting on social channels or to local newspapers to bring buyers to your goods.


8. 𐄂 Collect or order boxes, packing supplies, and cleaning supplies


If you don’t have boxes you can reuse, order an adequate number of boxes and packing supplies to ensure that you can carry all of your stuff. Add to that order a full set of cleaning supplies to help you wipe down, dust up, clean out, and throw out.

Stage 2 (1 month before moving out):

For renters:

1. 𐄂 Provide a written notice to your landlord or leasing company


2. 𐄂 Cancel/transfer your renters’ insurance


Let your insurance agent or company know that you are moving and provide them with the necessary information to cancel or transfer your renter’s insurance

For both homeowners & renters:

1. 𐄂 Close out, transfer or update your services


Ensure that you are on good terms with all of the providers of your home services, including your municipal government for property taxes, hydro and gas companies, recent contractors for renovations, cable subscriptions, and any other regular expenses for your current home. Begin setting up parallel services with providers near your new home. If you are transferring to a new country, consider your banking accounts and credit cards as well. For existing American Express® customers, learn how to apply for your new Card in your home.


2. 𐄂 Update your auto insurance


Speak with a representative of your current auto insurance company to understand how the move may impact your rates. If you need a different insurance company, begin researching available options.


3. 𐄂 Forward your mail


Provide your new address to the relevant postal service to avoid missing any bills or deliveries.


4. 𐄂 Start packing your items


Organize all of your items and label each box by the room it belongs in: this will help you know where to place the box when you unload your move.


5. 𐄂 Make moving arrangements for you pets


If you have pets, make sure that you place current ID tags on their collars and that they have received all needed vaccinations.


6. 𐄂 Purchase moving insurance


7. 𐄂 Find a new dentist, doctor and any other professionals your family requires in your new neighbourhood


Ask a local resident for recommendations on a new dentist, doctor and any other needed professional or perform your own search online to see what their clients are saying about them.


8. 𐄂 Forward your medical records


Once you have contacted new doctors near your new home, have any medical records forwarded.

Stage 3 (2 weeks before moving out):

For renters:

1. 𐄂 Speak to your new landlord about moving truck access


You need to confirm that there is adequate space in the parking lot for the moving truck to park and unload your items.

For homeowners:

1. 𐄂 See if you can transfer your home insurance


Check with your insurer if you can transfer your home insurance from your current residence to your new one.


2. 𐄂 Cancel your home insurance and set up new insurance


If you call your insurer and find out you can’t transfer, cancel your home insurance and set an end date for the policy. Then, set up a new policy for your new home.

For both homeowners & renters:

1. 𐄂 Save all of your moving-related expenses


Keep hard copies of all of your moving receipts and digitize them to place in your “Moving” folder as you may be able to claim these expenses as deductions when you file your income taxes.


2. 𐄂 Double-check that your household expenses are paid off in full


At two weeks out, check your home expenses again to make sure your payment for each is current. Leaving an open balance on utility bills can lead to your file being sent to collection agencies, which could damage your credit score.


3. 𐄂 Double-check that you have taken days off work


4. 𐄂 Service your vehicle


Take your car to your local mechanic and get a comprehensive check-up and consider what upgrades you may need if your new climate is different.


5. 𐄂 Confirm your appointment with your moving company or truck rental


To avoid a serious last-minute headache, make a quick call with your moving company or rental company to confirm the date, time, and addresses for your move.


6. 𐄂 Update your bank account address


Be sure to inform your credit card companies and banks of your new address, along with any other accounts tied to your current address.

Stage 4 (1 week before moving out):

1. 𐄂 Get refills for prescriptions


Go to your pharmacist and get your last prescription refills, being sure that you can last a few weeks before you locate a pharmacist in your new hometown.


2. 𐄂 Take down all of the pictures and posters on the walls and pack them


If you’ve used the proper tape or thumb tacks, you should have a relatively easy time removing items you’ve hung around your home. To minimize the damage to your walls, you can use a blow dryer on low heat to peel tape off more easily. When you’re peeling anything off the wall, remember to peel slowly and carefully.


3. 𐄂 Unplug all electronic appliances and pack them safely


4. 𐄂 Take everything out of your cupboards


5. 𐄂 Disassemble all furniture


Organize all of the respective pieces (brackets, fasteners and screws) by putting them in sandwich bags taped to the furniture.


6. 𐄂 Hire a cleaning company or have a deep cleaning day


Hire a cleaning company or set aside a day for you and the family to perform a deep clean to avoid any fees for damage or mess left behind.


7. 𐄂 Do a whole house inspection


Inspect every part of your home to avoid leaving something behind and to find any minor damages that you can quickly repair. If you have a landlord, have them join you on an inspection so you can address anything that she/he notices.


8. 𐄂 Prepare cash


Whether for travelling, tipping your movers or treating your friends to pizza, cash can help you act quickly on a long day of moving.

Stage 5 (moving day):

1. 𐄂 Prepare water


For movers and for your family, be sure to have some water handy to refresh during an exhaustive day.


2. 𐄂 Remove blankets and linens from beds


Keep your linens handy so they will be ready for a quick wash at your new home.


3. 𐄂 Meet the moving company team


Ensure that you meet the moving company team and provide any instructions about fragile or heavy items. Before they begin loading the truck, you will receive a Bill of Lading (BOL) that accounts for the move details, including inventory, terms of payment, etc.


4. 𐄂 Observe the move


While you may want to get to your new place as soon as possible, observing the movers can help you provide guidance and be confident that your items are being handled with care.


5. 𐄂 Keep your valuable items with you


Safeguard your most important assets and place them in boxes to take with you as you travel to minimize the threat of damage or loss during the move.


6. 𐄂 Conduct a final home inspection


Walk around every area of your home and make sure that all lights are turned off, windows are shut, doors are closed and that nothing is left hiding out of sight. You may want to take photos to keep for your records. Try not to cry, but cry if you must.


7. 𐄂 Review and sign the movers’ Bill of Lading


Before the movers leave, make sure to review the BOL carefully and sign it to confirm the items on the truck and address any stated damage.


8. 𐄂 Pay the movers for moving services


If you feel that your moving service was safe and helpful, you can include a customary tip.

4 tips to help you pack

Packing can be stressful and time consuming if you are unprepared. Here are a few basic packing principles that can help you avoid damaging your items, save space, and declutter as you move.

1. Start packing early

Especially for rarely used items, begin packing as soon as you have cemented your move. If you can do a bit of packing every day, you can avoid a last-minute rush.

2. Packing boxes

Using right-sized boxes is key – smaller boxes should contain heavier items so not to overload on weight. The bottom of all your boxes should be lined with solid and heavier items to build a base to place lighter items on top. Consider using towels and linens as packing protection, a tactic that is both cost-effective and eco-friendly. Finally, limiting each box to items from a specific room will make unboxing simpler when you move in.


You could also consider alternatives to using boxes. For example, some pots can make good packing “boxes” as they are where you can put utensils or other kitchen items within the pot. As stated above, you can always use soft items like kitchen towels to help keep your items safe even while not in a box.

3. Remembering it all

Taking snapshots with your phone of your TV or computer wire setup can make reconnecting quicker and simpler. Placing these photos into your digital “Moving” folder can help you easily locate them.

4. Prep your moving day bag

Put together bags that include toiletries, medicine (including first aid), towels, and clothes. These can go with you on the ride to your new home and give you easy access to your must-haves. You don’t want to have to find the box that has your toothbrush after a long day.

How to pay for your move

Financing a move can be another considerable task to take on during this major life event. While you can cut costs by recycling boxes, moving it yourself or adding a roommate in your new home, new homes deserve the fresh furniture, gleaming appliances and detailed decorating that only money can provide.


If your garage sale didn’t get you enough cash to cover the movers, using a credit card can bridge the gap, especially if you use a rewards credit card. With a Membership Rewards® enrolled Card, you could use the expenses from your move to earn points. These points can be redeemed against eligible purchases charged to your Card1, such as new furniture, appliances, or other decorations to make your new home sparkle.

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