Moving to Sacramento | The Ultimate Moving Checklist
Congratulations! You decided to move to Sacramento. As we all know, there are many arduous steps involved in the moving process — from packing and labeling boxes to changing your address, and every detail in between.
We hope to make your transition to Sacramento a bit smoother with this complete moving checklist, which takes you through the entire process — from researching a moving company to hanging that family photo up on the mantel at your new home! Whether you are moving from the Bay Area or the East Coast, Lyon Real Estate is here to help with your move to Sacramento.
Well In Advance (2–3 Months Before) | 4–6 Weeks Before | 1 Month Before | 2 Weeks Before | 1 Week Before | A Few Days Before | Moving Day | After Your Move
Well In Advance (2–3 Months Before):
Do your research on moving companies
If you start researching moving companies well in advance, you will have more options to best fit your circumstances and budget. Whether you are moving from across the country or a few cities over, choosing the right moving company can help make the moving process smoother.
- Get quotes from a number of moving companies operating in your city, comparing prices and perks. Wait to commit until you find the best price!
- California Moving Systems is a family-run moving company that has operated in Sacramento since 1967. They offer clients a broad spectrum of moving and storage services. California Moving Systems received the coveted Milton Hill Award for Excellence, the highest award presented by Atlas Van Lines, one of the best moving companies in the country. Atlas Van Lines is an excellent choice for handling your move to Sacramento — no matter how far you’re coming from!
Get rid of everything you don’t want to bring with you
Sort through all of your belongings to decipher which items you would like to donate or sell, depending on their value. This is a natural time to take inventory of your stuff and decide what is worth transporting to your new home! It’s pretty simple: the less you own, the less you have to move.
- Drop off your unwanted items at a local shelter, or a nearby Goodwill, Salvation Army, USAgain, or other charitable organizations in your city. Your donation will help someone in need within your community or across the globe!
- Sell your high-value items using services like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, eBay, etc. Any extra money you make for furniture, electronics and other high-value items can go towards the expenses of your move!
Create a moving binder or folder for keeping track of all paperwork (either in digital or physical form)
It is best to keep all important paperwork related to the move in one spot, whether you prefer a physical binder, which is easy for receipts and quick organization, or a digital format, which ensures you can access the files no matter where you are.
Get to know Sacramento
It’s important to get acquainted with your new hometown, from local resources to unique characteristics!
- Consult our Complete Newcomer’s Guide to Sacramento, with information about coffee shops, restaurants, schools, grocery stores, outdoor activities, and more.
- We also put together a list of Things to Know Before You Move to Sacramento, offering an overview of life in Sacramento, including its climate, history, size, personality, etc.
- Subscribe to our blog! One of the best ways to stay up to speed on local happenings, both before and after you move, is by staying connected to the Lyon Local. We offer updated information about upcoming community events, local hotspots, home design inspiration, market reports, and other real estate insight.
If you have kids, arrange for their records to be transferred to their new school
Now is a good time to get the ball rolling with the paperwork transfer from your child’s old school to their new one. It’s a small detail you may forget about as the move gets closer!
- If you haven’t yet decided on a new school in the Sacramento area, GreatSchools is an excellent resource. Lyon’s relocation department is another valuable resource when it comes to schools, communities and everything else related to your move.
4–6 Weeks Before:
Get packing supplies
Stock up on all the materials you will need for packing up your house or apartment, including boxes, tape, paper, bubble wrap, permanent markers, and specialty boxes (wardrobe boxes, TV boxes, etc.). You can purchase boxes at Home Depot and other supply stores, but you can also get free boxes from local businesses! Go to a local shoe store or outdoor store — they are usually more than willing to spare a few of their empty boxes.
Moving day sneaks up fast! It’s wise to start the daunting process of packing in advance so you aren’t scrambling the week of. You can start with rooms and closets you don’t frequent or access as often, including storage areas, the office, the garage, etc. Remember to clearly label everything by room as you go!
- Prepare to have high-value items insured by taking note of all items valued at over $100 per pound, like a computer or TV.
- Make note of any damage or scratches on items and furniture. Take photos of any significant damage, so you can compare with the state of the item after the move.
- Drain all fluids from hoses, lawn mowers, propane tanks, etc.
- Finalize your donation and selling items. You will often find more items for donation and selling as you sort through more spaces in your home. Take another trip to a donation drop-off or sell some things online to make a little extra cash.
Use up things you don’t want to move
Start working through frozen or perishable food, using up cleaning supplies and making use of things you know you don’t want to transport to your new home.
1 Month Before:
Finalize your moving company
Now is the time to finalize the moving company you want to use. You may want to coordinate an in-home consultation, which will give you a better idea of the price point based on how much stuff you are moving.
- Make your reservation for a moving truck with the company. It’s wise to choose a company with plenty of locations in Sacramento, such as Atlas Van Lines, U-Haul or Budget.
This will be an ongoing process as the moving date draws nearer! Spreading out the packing minimizes stress and last-minute chaos so you can focus on handling the logistics during the last week.
- Label boxes and organize them by room or subject. This will help tremendously as you are unpacking your belongings in your new home!
- Put valuables in a specific box to transport personally. This includes jewelry, important files, keepsakes, and other valuables you want to keep with you instead of putting it in the moving truck.
- Create an “essentials” box (or suitcase) filled with things you’ll need right away when you move, such as your favorite clothes, toiletries, kitchen necessities, etc. Of course, you don’t have to fill this until the last couple of days, as it will be things you use on a regular basis.
Complete a change of address
Fill out a change of address form at your local post office or at USPS.gov. You can specify the date in which you would like to start receiving your mail at your new address.
Notify people about your move + new address
Tell the following people about your move (if they apply to you): banks, brokerage firms, your employer’s human resources department, magazine and newspapers you subscribe to, and your credit card, insurance and utility companies.
Forward your medical records
Set up a forwarding or arrange to obtain the records yourself. This will allow for an easy transition to your new healthcare provider after your move!
Transfer or cancel relevant accounts
Think about the following accounts or services that will need to be either cancelled or transferred: postal service (as mentioned), utilities, cable, telephone, newspaper, lawn service, school, day care services, bank accounts, insurance policies, medical providers, prescriptions, car registration, etc.
Confirm your move-in date with your realtor or apartment leasing office
Double-check that all is squared away for your arrival on your move-in date, whether you’re moving into an apartment or a new home. Your realtor will be thrilled to help with confirming your move-in date and that all logistics are sorted out ahead of time.
2 Weeks Before:
Prepare your car for the move
Get your car in the shop for a tune up, especially if you are traveling a long distance. You might also ask about any services your car needs if you are moving to a new climate. Sacramento has a “hot-summer Mediterranean climate”, which translates to damp to wet, mild winters and hot, dry summers.
Confirm arrangements with the moving company
Double-check that all is squared away for moving day, including your current address, your new address, your contact information, the arrival time, the truck size, etc.
1 Week Before:
Pack personal suitcases
Set everything aside that you use on a daily basis, so it doesn’t get stowed away accidentally! This includes:
- Clothes you will need during the move and for a few days after you arrive
- Phone charger
- Laptop and other electronics
Refill prescriptions you will need during the move
Ensure that you will have the prescriptions you need throughout the move and during the first few days after your arrival.
A Few Days Before:
Prepare for payment + movers’ arrival
This is a small (but super important!) detail that can often be forgotten until the last minute. Avoid panic by preparing with these small steps:
- Find out if you can pay with a credit card or if you need to use a cashier’s check, money order, etc.
- Get cash for tips for the movers, which is not required but is much appreciated. It is common to tip $10 per mover for a half day and $20 per mover for a full day.
- Stock up on refreshments for movers. This is a small way to show your gratitude and keep the movers stay hydrated! Grab a pack of bottled water, Gatorade or other refreshments to pass out throughout moving day.
Get everything packed up and labeled clearly! Remember to pack everyday items at the last minute, including bathroom supplies, kitchen items, blankets and linens, things you use on a daily basis, etc.
If you are bringing your freezer with you, be sure to empty, clean and defrost it at least 24 hours before your move.
Double-check all moving details
Again, confirm that everything is in place for the big day!
Clean the entire house or apartment
Set aside time to do a deep cleaning of your old home or apartment or hire someone to do the work for you! Hiring a housecleaner can certainly help relieve stress and give you time to finish other last-minute tasks.
Take a deep breath
First of all, take a deep breath! The big day is here and all that hard work has paid off. Starting the day with a good cup of coffee will also help get this sometimes-stressful day off on the right foot.
Whether or not you are the one moving boxes or you’re leaving it up to the movers, you will want to wear appropriate clothes for the weather and lots of moving around. Wear good tennis shoes or athletic shoes, loose clothing, and light layers if you are moving during a warmer month!
Coordinate with the moving company
The movers may need assistance with where to park in relation to your current home, so be ready to direct them, either in person or over the phone. Before the movers leave, ensure they have the correct address of your new place and your contact information.
Supervise the move
Make sure everything is loaded carefully and in the proper order. And if you did not hire movers, keep in mind that there is a specific method for loading items into a moving truck. Penske recommends creating an “I formation” of your heaviest items, using tie-downs to prevent shifting, placing mattresses to the left and sofas to the right, and other helpful tips for loading a moving truck. But your movers will have a tried-and-true method!
After Your Move:
Inspect delivered boxes and items
Take a look at your items to ensure everything was moved safely and without trouble.
Get all utilities up and running
If you have not yet arranged to have utilities set up upon your arrival, ensure you are set up with garbage and recycling services, water, gas, energy, etc. Take a look at the utility companies for each county in the Greater Sacramento Area:
- Sacramento County Utilities
- El Dorado County Utilities
- Yolo County Utilities
- Placer County Utilities
Unpack and recycle packing materials
Start unpacking your boxes! As overwhelming as it may seem, the faster you unpack boxes and get organized, the more settled you will feel in your new space. If you labeled your boxes well, this will be a much easier process!
Go to the DMV
There are several steps you will need to take in order to make your move more official. As you probably know, many of them involve the DMV! Find the DMV office nearest you to complete this process, whether you are moving from out of state or from another California city.
- Get a new license. If you are moving out of state, you will need to obtain a California driver’s license.
- Change your address with the DMV. If you are moving from another city in California, you will still need to change your address for your driver’s license, ID card, registration and vehicle title.
- Register your car if you are moving from out of state.
- If you are confused by any DMV specifications or requirements, take a look at their complete new resident moving resources!
Explore your new city!
There is so much to do, see, taste and experience in the Sacramento area! Follow along on the Lyon Local, our community blog offering updated information about community events, local hotspots, home design inspiration, market reports, and other real estate insight. We regularly highlight our favorite restaurants, bars, shops, hiking trails, attractions, kid-friendly activities, and much more. Our Complete Newcomer’s Guide to Sacramento is a great place to start and become acquainted with the blog and the city.
Keep in touch!
We happily consider ourselves your go-to resource for all things related to your move! Not only can we assist with all the details related to your home buying experience, but we also will help you become acquainted with the community you choose to call home. Our Relocation Services is an excellent source for any questions you might have. And when it comes time to sell your home or buy another in the area, Lyon Real Estate will still be here! Let us know how we can help make your transition easier.
May we be the first ones to welcome to your new home in Sacramento? Let us know if you have any questions related to your move!
Category Neighborhood Guides, Real Estate, Sacramento
Cathy Harrington is Lyon Real Estate’s director of marketing, overseeing the content on the Lyon Local blog, website and social media channels.