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Mar 19, 2024

Step-by-Step Moving Checklist for Relocating to the Pacific Northwest

So, you’re moving to the Pacific Northwest — congratulations! Whether you’re coming here for work or for outdoor adventures in beautiful landscapes, we think you’ve picked a wonderful place to live. But we also know that the moving process can feel overwhelming. That’s why we created a step-by-step moving checklist to take some of the stress out of relocating.

From the early stages of planning and preparation to the exhilarating moment of finally stepping foot into your new home, we’re here to walk you through it all. So, grab a cup of your favorite coffee (we take coffee very seriously here in the PNW), cozy up, and let’s dive into the complete moving checklist for relocating to the Pacific Northwest.

One to Two Months Out

In school, were you one of those people who could write an essay the night before it was due and still get a solid B+ on it? If so, good for you; that must’ve been really nice. But trust us, that last-minute approach is not the way to go when you’re planning a move. By tackling a few key tasks one to two months ahead of time, you’ll set yourself up for a much more successful and stress-free relocation.

Explore Neighborhoods

Dive into research on different neighborhoods in the Pacific Northwest to find the perfect fit for your family’s lifestyle and preferences. Consider factors such as proximity to schools, amenities, and outdoor recreational opportunities. A great resource is the Communities page on the Pahlisch website. Here, you can explore what each of our beautiful communities has to offer in Central Oregon, Northwest Oregon, Southwest Washington, and Southeast Washington.  

Find a New School For Your Kids

Wading through school ranking data and heated Facebook or Reddit threads about local school districts can be a daunting exercise. To save you the hassle, we recently created a Pahlisch School District Guide that covers school districts in all the cities and regions where we’ve built Pahlisch communities. Take a look and see if there’s a school district in your area that fits your family’s needs!

Prepare for the Weather

Yes, the rumors are true: it rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest, at least if you’re west of the Cascade Mountains like Portland. If you come from a sunnier climate, now is a good time to invest in rain gear, like waterproof jackets, pants, and boots. These items are essential if you still want to get outdoors and explore during the rainy winters.

But the Pacific Northwest isn’t all one big rainforest! If you’re moving to a drier part of the region, like Central Oregon’s high desert, you’ll want to ensure you have an insulated jacket and warm boots for when the nighttime temperatures drop and the snow starts falling toward the end of the year.

Research and Secure a Moving Company or Rental Truck

Begin by researching reputable moving companies or rental truck options in your area. Get quotes, read reviews, and confirm availability for your desired moving date. Booking early ensures you have the assistance you need on moving day and gives you time to adjust your budget to account for moving costs.

Declutter and Organize Belongings

Take inventory of your belongings and start decluttering your home. Donate or sell items you no longer need, and organize your remaining possessions into categories for easier packing later on.

Gather Moving Supplies

Stock up on essential moving supplies such as boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and markers. Gradually collecting these items as you organize your belongings ensures you buy only the supplies you need and avoids a last-minute rush to the hardware store.

Cancel Utility and Subscription Services

You’ll want to inform all utility providers about your upcoming move so you can cancel services at the appropriate time. Some of the major ones include your electricity provider, gas provider, water and sewer service, trash and recycling collection service, internet and cable provider, and home security system provider. This is also a good time to update or cancel any subscription services, like gym memberships and online shopping accounts (Amazon).

Set Up Mail Forwarding

Another crucial task to complete before you move is setting up mail forwarding. You don’t want to miss those birthday cards from grandma, and you definitely don’t want to miss any unpaid bills.

To set up mail forwarding, visit the USPS website or your local post office to complete a Change of Address (COA) form. You can choose the duration for which you’d like your mail forwarded, typically ranging from a few months to a year. Be sure to provide your new address and the date you’ll be moving to ensure seamless mail delivery.

Here are some of the key parties you’ll want to inform:

  • Banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions
  • IRS, DMV, Social Security Administration, and other government agencies
  • Health, auto, home, and other insurance providers
  • Employers and professional associations

Gather Important Documents

Start gathering important documents such as medical records, school transcripts, financial paperwork, and identification documents. Keep these items organized and easily accessible throughout the moving process. 

Week of the Move

With the excitement of your Pacific Northwest adventure just around the corner, the week leading up to your move is all about finalizing preparations and ensuring everything is in place for a smooth transition.

Finalize Packing and Labeling

As the countdown to moving day begins, focus on completing your packing and labeling tasks. Ensure that all boxes are securely sealed and clearly labeled with their contents and the room they belong to. This will streamline the unpacking process once you arrive at your new home.

Confirm Details with the Moving Company or Rental Truck

Reach out to your chosen moving company or rental truck provider to confirm the details of your move. Double-check the date, time, and any special instructions to ensure everything is on track for a successful relocation.

Pack a “Moving Day Essentials” Box

Prepare a special box or bag containing essential items you’ll need on moving day and during your first few days in your new home. Include items such as toiletries, medications, a change of clothes, snacks, important documents, and any valuables you prefer to keep close by.

Arrange for Pets and Children

If you have pets or children, make arrangements for their care on moving day. Consider enlisting the help of friends or family members to watch over them while you focus on the logistics of the move. Ensure they have everything they need to stay comfortable and entertained during the transition.

Clean and Prepare Your Current Home

Take some time to give your current home a thorough cleaning before you depart. Sweep, mop, and vacuum floors, wipe down surfaces, and ensure all rooms are tidy and ready for the new occupants. Don’t forget to check closets, cabinets, and storage spaces for any overlooked items.

Double-Check Important Paperwork

Review all necessary paperwork and documents to ensure everything is organized and easily accessible. This includes moving contracts, lease agreements, insurance policies, and any other essential paperwork related to your relocation.

Set Up Utilities and Establish Routines

Take care of practical matters such as setting up utilities, including electricity, gas, water, and internet service. Establish daily routines and familiarize yourself with local amenities, such as grocery stores, parks, and recreational facilities, to start making your day-to-day life feel more comfortable and convenient.

Moving Day

AH! It’s here! Moving day is here! You’ve done a lot of great prep work up to this point, so this next part should be a walk in the park. As long as you cross these moving day tasks off your list, your day should be relatively smooth.

Wake Up Early and Eat a Good Breakfast

This is big-time grandma advice. But hey, there’s a reason we listen to our grandmas. Start the day off right by waking up early and enjoying a hearty breakfast. No half-eaten protein bars as you run out the door. Treat yourself to a nice latte and a breakfast sandwich at your favorite coffee shop. You’re going to be glad you took the time to fuel up before all the craziness starts.

Get Ready for the Movers

Protect your floors and carpets with things like cardboard, ram board, or floor protection film, depending on the surface. You’ll also want to have cash on hand to tip the movers when they’re done, and having some refreshing drinks and snacks available is a nice gesture, especially if you’re moving during the warm summer months.

Supervise the Moving Process

As the moving crew arrives, take charge and provide direction as needed. Be present to answer any questions and ensure your belongings are handled carefully during the loading process. Take inventory of items as they are loaded onto the truck to keep track of everything.

Final Walkthrough of Your Current Home

Before leaving your current home, conduct a final walkthrough to see that nothing has been overlooked. Check each room, closet, and storage space to ensure everything has been packed and loaded onto the truck. This is also a good time to take pictures of your home so you have a record of how you left it. This is especially important if you were renting your home.

Oversee the Unloading Process

Upon arrival at your new home, oversee the unloading process and provide guidance to the moving crew as needed. Direct them to place boxes and furniture in their designated rooms to streamline the unpacking process later on.

Perform a Walkthrough of Your New Home

Before the moving crew departs, take some time to walk through your new home. Note any damage or issues that may have occurred during the move and communicate them to the moving company for resolution.

Say Hi to the Neighbors

A big moving truck out front always catches the attention of the neighborhood. As people walk by, don’t hesitate to say hello and get to know your new neighbors! If there’s downtime during the day, consider knocking on a few doors and introducing yourself. Not the super social type? Remember: nothing breaks the ice and warms people up like a plate of chocolate chip cookies.

Unpack the Essentials

Once the moving crew has left, focus on unpacking essentials that you’ll need immediately upon arrival. Set up beds, unpack toiletries, and arrange for a comfortable first night in your new home.

One to Two Weeks Post-Move

Whew! You did it. Now that the initial whirlwind of moving day has passed, it’s time to focus on making your new space feel like home and adjusting to your new surroundings.

Unpack and Organize Your Belongings

Begin unpacking and organizing your belongings room by room, starting with essential areas such as the kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms. And if that pragmatic advice isn’t speaking to you in your post-move exhaustion, give yourself the freedom to take your time and nest. This isn’t a race to the finish. It’s a chance to make your new house really feel like a home—your home. Enjoy that process.

Explore Your New Neighborhood

Take advantage of this opportunity to explore your new neighborhood and discover all it has to offer. Go for a walk or drive around the area, visit local shops and restaurants, and venture into the surrounding city or natural areas. If you’re moving to Northwest Oregon or Southwest Washington, Travel Portland is a great resource for finding cool things to do around the city. And if you’re moving to Central Oregon, check out our blog post about moving to Bend for some great outdoor adventure, culinary, and shopping recommendations.

Register Your Kids in Their New School

If you have children, prioritize registering them in school and familiarizing yourself with the local school district. Take a tour of the school’s campus, attend orientation events, ask about clubs and extracurricular activities that might align with your child’s interests, and complete any necessary enrollment paperwork to ensure a smooth transition.

Explore Outdoor Activities

The Pacific Northwest is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities. Take advantage of your new surroundings by exploring hiking trails, parks, beaches, and other outdoor attractions in the area. Travel Oregon offers a great list of ski areas and sno-parks, hiking and backpacking trails, and other outdoor recreation options in the state.

That should about do it! Throughout this step-by-step moving checklist, we’ve guided you through the essential tasks and considerations to ensure a smooth and successful transition to your new home. We get it; it’s a lot to keep track of. But you’ve got this!

Whether you’re moving into an intentional new home community built by Pahlisch or you’re just stopping by our website for some moving day tips, we’re honored to be a part of your journey to the Pacific Northwest. Welcome!

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