How to plan a stress-free move

How can you make moving a little less stressful and more enjoyable? We put together a concise Ultimate Moving Preparation Checklist to help you get organised and make the best of moving to a new place.

Moving can be one of the most stressful events we face. It represents a large amount of change over a short time-frame. However, having a plan and a checklist to work from can reduce the stress and allow us to feel more in control. Our easy-to-use “Ultimate Moving Preparation Checklist” will help with your next move. 

This checklist is broken into several time frames and includes a moving tips section at the end that is worth having a look at.

Chris Cornish - Owner, Austate Removals

Follow along as we share years of experience helping Australians make the big jump. We hope you enjoy these house packing tips and our handy checklist!

4 to 6 weeks before your move

Time to start getting prepared

1. Research your new home
Do some research around your new home and its location. Take a look at:
  • Schools
  • Supermarkets
  • Public transport
  • Neighbourhood demographics
2. Contact removalists and ask for their recommendations
Get in touch with removalist companies and ask about:
  • Services they offer
  • What they advise for your needs
  • Packing and storage options [as required].
3. Speak to your removalist about their recommendations for packing


  • Moving boxes (we recommend you purchase boxes from your removalist as these are designed for commercial transportation. Boxes from your local hardware store are not.)
  • Tape
  • Bubble wrap
  • Butchers paper for packing 
4. Arrange pet care
  • This is especially important for the days immediately prior to, and the day of your move (You don’t want to be looking for a stressed-out cat or a dog on the loose as well).
5. Book in annual leave
  • It's important to schedule a couple of days before and after the move. This allows for last-minute requirements and gives you some downtime before going back to work. 
6. Arrange transport 
  • Where needed, book transport for motorbikes, boats, camper trailers, etc. Some removalists can assist with these services. 
7. Don't forget the large house items
  • Do you need to move a piano, any large antiques or other heavy items? Make sure the removalist you choose can assist with this type of service.
8. Organise important documents
Moving overseas? Include these items in your ESSENTIALS box:
  • Passports 
  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Currency
  • Credit cards
  • Accommodation details

Create a folder for organising paperwork in relation to your move - mortgage/lease documents, etc. Keep this in your ESSENTIALS Box. (More info on the Essentials Box in the Moving tips at the end!)

9. Declutter your home
  • Spring Clean - now is the time to declutter! Why pay to move stuff that you can donate or throw out. 

3 weeks before your move

Contact key businesses and get your move booked in


1. Contact suppliers
Organise the final meter readings. Aim to have these readings completed close to the moving date:
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Gas
2. Contact insurance companies
  • Update the new address details to take effect as of the moving house date.
3. Transfer relevant documents
  • Contact school, day-care, sporting clubs for transfer of relevant documents.
4. Obtain a floor-plan of your new house
  • Consider furniture placement. Measure spaces to ensure furniture and appliances fit (beds, fridge, freezer, washing machine etc).
5. Book your removalist

Let them know about:

  • Street access
  • Steep driveways
  • Overhanging trees
  • Also let them know about best access doorways, tight hallways or corners they may have to navigate. 
6. Schedule & book cleaning

Book in any cleaning needed in your current home. If you are leasing, check the contract for requirements around this.

  • Remember to book in carpets, bond cleans.
  • Supply these booking dates to your property manager.
  • Make sure your new home will be cleaned, including the oven and carpets.
  • Arrange a rubbish pick-up or a skip bin to help with the spring clean.
7. Plan your move
  • Make a note of special items that will require special care to move. Store them separately from the main moving boxes & mark them as fragile.
  • Start packing things you won’t need for the last couple of weeks before your move. Work through the shed, under the house, the garage etc. 
8. Organise utilities for your new home:
  • Internet
  • Telephone
  • Electricity
  • Gas

Make sure they’re connected in both houses if you’re departing and arriving on the same day, especially for electricity which you may still need on the day of the move.

Complete on the go! Print the checklist now and make your move easier >>

2 weeks before your move

Label and organise your moving boxes

1. Label and number your moving boxes
  • Prepare an inventory list of the moving boxes, the box number, room and contents for ease of unpacking. 
  • Label all moving boxes clearly, include the room the box is for and what it contains. Number each box.
2. Prepare and organise large house items
  • Check if there are any moving instructions for major appliances.
  • Disassemble outdoor items and children’s play equipment.
  • Contact the removalists if they haven’t already advised regarding what they are unable to carry (eg, gas bottles, fuel cans, etc).
3. Confirm the key collection details

Let your removalist know what time you’ll be able to be onsite at your new house. 

4. Update your details 
  • Electoral rolls
  • Drivers licence
  • Registrations
  • Banks
  • Employers
  • Schools and clubs
5. Get your family prepared for the move
  • Arrange for family or friends to mind small children on moving day.
  • Service the car, especially if moving a substantial distance or interstate.

1 week before your move

Prepare an action plan for the moving day

1. Organise mail, subscriptions and services
  • Organise to have mail redirected, have it held or ask a trusted neighbour. 
  • Re-direct or cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions, discontinue any delivery services. 
  • Advise of changes / cancel services like the babysitter, gardener, cleaner, etc. 
2. Ensure your new home is prepared
  • Check all utilities are/have been connected, and hot water service is on at your new house (a good shower after moving is incredible).
  • Contact the new local council for garbage collection services and new residents information.
  • Have security checked at your new home. If concerned, book a locksmith to change the locks. 
3. Organise furniture 
  • Dismantle all furniture that comes apart. (Eg. beds, any furniture that was originally purchased flat-packed).
  • Place any screws or bolts into a zip lock bag, write on the bag which furniture it belongs to and store in the ESSENTIALS Box. 
  • After the last use of the lawn mower, clean the mower and drain the fuel in preparation for the move.
4. Organise moving boxes
  • Plan to carry all important legal documents and jewellery yourself in your ESSENTIALS Box. 
  • Start packing your NECESSITIES Box with bed linen and towels.
  • Keep all family and pet medical records, dental records and school records together for the move in the ESSENTIALS Box. 
5. Go through the last details
  • Fill any prescriptions prior to the move. 
  • If your house will be empty for a while, inform the police and neighbours.
  • Return all borrowed and rented items eg. library books, DVDs, etc. 
6. Have an action plan
  • Prepare an action plan for moving day, what needs to happen, and when. Check out our checklist for Moving Day below as a starting point. 

2 to 3 days before your move

Time for final checks and trip preparation

1. Ensure you do final checks in your current home

Don't forget places like:

  • Shed
  • Garage
  • Garden shed
  • Tops of cupboards
  • Drawers 
2. Get prepared for the trip
  • Prepare all tech items for travel eg. computer, printer, laptops. Backup all hard drives. 
  • Make sure you have cash available for any last minute expenses. Have moving costs and finances organised (including takeout for dinner on moving day). 
3. Organise last items
  • Lightly water indoor plants and pack them in plant moving boxes (usually plastic lined). 
  • Unplug and tie up appliance cords.
  • Have pet food, bowls, medications in an accessible box. 
4. Make sure your new home is ready
  • Have everything ready for the new house - meters read, garage remotes, house keys, air conditioner controllers etc. Ask if there is anything you need to know eg automated sprinklers, gate codes etc. 
5. Advise your neighbours
  • Farewell current neighbours and leave your new address details with them just in case. 
6. Advise the new residents
  • Prepare a friendly note for the new residents coming into your current house. Advise them of any relevant information (garbage collection, neighbourhood watch, etc) to help them settle in.

Complete on the go! Print the checklist now and make your move easier >>

1 day before your move

Sort out the moving documents and finish packing

Complete forms:
  • If leasing your current house, complete exit reports and take photos.
  • If leasing your new house, complete the entry form (prior to furniture and moving boxes going in) and take photos as evidence.

Finish organising for the move:

  • Empty and defrost the fridge.
  • Organise an esky and ice to transport fridge items. 
  • Finish packing your NECESSITIES Box.

Moving day

The big day has finally arrived!

1. Say farewell to your old home
  • Do a final check through your current house.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Turn the power off.
  • Remove garage door remote from car.
  • Return all keys and remotes to the real estate agent.
2. Check items before and after the move
  • Check off all items as they go into the removalist truck.
  • At the completion of unloading, check that you’re happy with the condition of your furniture.
  • Notify your removalist right away if there is something missing or damaged.

Moving tips

Some general things to consider when moving house

We included additional house moving tips to make your move easier. 

Label your moving boxes

Set aside 2 moving boxes and label them ESSENTIALS and NECESSITIES: 

  • The ESSENTIALS box is for the important things like TV remotes, keys, zip lock bags (containing screws, bolts and tools for the reassembly of beds and furniture), moving paperwork, important family and pet documents (medical, school, etc)
  • The NECESSITIES box contains life’s necessities; the kettle, tea and coffee, medications, easy breakfast foods, children’s special toys, phone chargers, toiletries, snacks, corkscrew, light bulbs and stanley knives (to open moving boxes), bed linen and towels, and a spare change of clothes for everyone.
Prepare an inventory

As you pack for the move, prepare an inventory of everything you own, noting any scratches or dents. As part of this process label all moving boxes clearly, giving each box a number, the room it is for, and contents. This helps with the inventory but is also a great way to prioritise unpacking. 

Assemble beds first

Assemble beds as a priority, especially for children. It helps maintain children’s routines, and there is nothing better than hopping into a clean bed after a hectic day of moving.

Choose the right box size

When packing, a good rule of thumb is that the larger the box, the lighter the contents. Use smaller moving boxes for heavier items. Always place heavier items at the bottom of the box and lighter items on top. 

Separate a set of clothes for the move

If you go with a professional packing service, make sure you leave out a couple of sets of clothes and items you will need for the day prior to moving, moving day and the day after. 

Choose the right wrapping paper

Instead of using newspaper to wrap breakables, which can dirty items due to the print, simply use crushed butchers paper.

Help your pets adjust to a new home

After you have moved into your new house, keep cats inside for at least a few days to de-stress and get familiar with their new house. 

Leave out personal items

For your own peace of mind, take personal and sentimental items in your car with you. 

Mouving House Checklist - Austate Removals - Couple looking at their new home

Would you like to print this checklist? Click below to download it.

The Ultimate Moving Preparation Checklist