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Home sweet new home

Moving stirs up all kinds of emotions—you’re excited to start a new chapter, but it’s also a lot of change. It’s no wonder we get so anxious about it.

According to BigSteelBox, a nationwide survey, moving and storage company, nearly 60 percent of Canadians report high stress levels associated with their move. That’s likely because for many of us, a home is the largest purchase we’ll ever make. You need to find a home you can afford, which can be challenging in today’s market, as well as sell your current house, align your closing dates and get packed—all within a short period of time.

Procrastination is the biggest stressor for Canadians when moving, BigSteelBox reports. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure an organized and efficient move. The key is to prioritize your task list and plan early. From your first day of house hunting to the moment the truck is finally empty and leaves the driveway, here’s a breakdown of what needs to be done and when to keep things on track.

As soon as possible: organize your papers

Designate a file for documents related to your move, including receipts, estimates, legal documents, notes and checklists. Create a digital folder for email confirmations, too. This is also where you’ll store your master to-do list to track your tasks. Be diligent about keeping your paperwork together in one place—you’ll be thankful later when everything is readily available.

The new owners of your old home would appreciate a folder with helpful information, too, such as appliance warranties, security codes, mailbox keys and community bulletins.

Six weeks ahead: book your vehicle

moving truck

Whether you’re renting a truck or hiring a full-service moving company, book at least six to eight weeks before the big day, especially if you are tied to specific dates. Set a budget for your move and get at least three quotes from reputable and insured providers to ensure your belongings are protected and you get a good deal. Ask for recommendations from friends or social media groups and check reviews online.

If you’re moving in or out of a condo, book the elevator and parking space for your moving truck or container in advance. If possible, avoid moving on the first or last day of the month as these are the busiest times.

couple moving to new home
StefaNikolic | iStock

Five weeks to go: clear the clutter

Don’t pay to move things you’ll never use. Sort through each room and decide what items to keep, donate or recycle.

Aside from giving away clothing and household goods to local charities, consider other eco-friendly options. You can discard leftover paints, stains and electronics for free at your local dump, for example.

Stock up on packing tape, markers, wrapping paper and boxes. These materials are available from your moving company or at your nearby hardware store. Or if you plan to move yourself, consider asking a local grocery store, liquor store or florist for boxes to save you from purchasing them. Use bubble wrap and newspaper to protect fragile items.

Start packing things you won’t need prior to the move, such as holiday decorations, sporting goods, family photos and decor items. Clearly label each box with the room that it goes in. If you’re using a moving company, check if there are restrictions on transporting aerosols, propane tanks, lawnmowers and the like.

Four weeks: communicate your move

Notify all the utility and service providers for your current home that you’re moving and set up accounts for your new property one month in advance to avoid any service disruptions. Keep notes of any important account information or reference numbers you may need later. For a fee, Canada Post can automatically forward your mail to your new address.


Don’t forget to let the Canada Revenue Agency, your employer, banks, health care providers, home and auto insurance companies and subscription services know of your upcoming move. If you have kids, also look into school registration in your new neighbourhood.

woman packing moving boxes
KuznetsovDmitry | iStock

One to four weeks: countdown to moving day

At this point, it’s all about filling boxes. Try to pack at least one every day to avoid panic later on. Don’t forget to label them fragile or “this side up” when necessary.


The week before you move, reconfirm all arrangements with your lawyer, mortgage provider, moving company, cleaners and anyone else helping you the day of. Pack a bag with the necessary toiletries, medications and clothing you’ll need for a couple of days, along with a box of critical items in case you get to the new house before the moving truck arrives. This should include toilet paper, a shower curtain, towels, a utility knife, dish soap, dishes, any pet essentials, a toolbox and cleaning supplies. Don’t forget the all-important coffee maker with grounds and mugs, too.

The day of

With all the commotion, don’t forget to stop for a bite to eat—it’s important to keep your energy up and show you appreciate those helping you. Swap out the traditional moving day pizza with takeout from Swiss Chalet, East Side Mario’s, Harvey’s or Kelseys, where CAA Members enjoy exclusive discounts on delicious treats and entrees.

Once you’ve settled into your new place, update your driver’s licence and health card with your new address. To make it feel like home, look for wall paint, furniture, curtains, floor coverings, appliances, backyard decor and more from CAA Rewards® partners. Visit our website for a complete list.

Moving is never fun, but it’s possible to make things easier. Whether you’re moving around the corner or across Canada, an organized and efficient move begins and ends with having a proper plan and sticking to it.

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