Module 4: Choosing and Moving into Housing — Preparing to move


Preparing to move



You’ve found a new place, and now you’re waiting until it’s time to move in. But there’s lots to do in the meantime to get ready!



For a handy checklist of things to do before and as you move, click here to download. You can also scroll down for more detailed information.




Give notice to your current landlord.

    • If you are renting your current housing, you will need to let your landlord know that you plan to move out.
    • Usually you need to tell your landlord at least one full month in advance, before the day that rent is due (so that they have at least one full month after you pay rent to find another tenant).
    • Give them a written letter with your name, address, the date, and the date you plan to move out. Make sure you keep a copy of the letter.
    • Careful! If you don’t give enough notice, you may not get your security deposit back.

Deal with service accounts.

      • Make a list of all the services you currently pay for, such as electricity, water, phone (landline and cell), internet, and cable.
      • Do any of these accounts need to be cancelled before you move?
      • Do any of them need to be transferred to your new address?
      • Often companies require a certain amount of notice before they will cancel or transfer an account, so be sure to look into the details.
      • Also check if you will need to set up any new service accounts for your new place.

Clear out what you no longer need. If you have things you don’t need or want anymore, now is a good time to get rid of them.

      • See what can be shared, donated, and recycled.

Start packing. Sometimes packing can be more work than people expect, so give yourself extra time to get it done.

      • First, you’ll need to gather supplies to pack your items safely and securely—this may mean cardboard boxes and tape, garbage bags, or plastic bins. Grocery or other stores, community organizations, or people you know may have boxes to give away for free, so ask around as soon as you can.
      • Pack the things you don’t need right away (e.g., books, seasonal clothing), leaving the essentials for last (e.g., kitchenware, bathroom items).
      • Label boxes so you know what’s in them.
      • You may want to make an “open first” box that has things you may need right away, such as food, medications, toiletries, and kitchenware.

Update your contact information.

      • The federal government (e.g., Canada Revenue Agency), BC government (e.g., the ministry, BC services card, Medical Services Plan, driver’s licence), the bank, credit card companies, other companies you have accounts with—all need to know your new information.
      • You may be able to make this change by visiting their website and accessing your account online.
      • There may also be friends, family, and service providers (including your doctor) that you will want to give your new information to.
      • If you receive any subscriptions or newsletters, you’ll have to update your address to continue receiving them.

Consider mail forwarding.

      • You may want to pay a fee to use Canada Post’s residential mail forwarding service, which will ensure that any mail sent to you at your old address will be forwarded to your new address.
      • Then when you receive mail with your old address on it, you’ll know where you need to update your address.
      • You can use the service for a few months, a year, or more.

Review your rental agreement. Take another look at your rental agreement to see if it all makes sense.

      • If it doesn’t, you can go over it with the help of a support or outreach worker. They can also help with interpretation services if you need them.
      • If you have questions for your landlord, get the answers in writing (sending an email is a good way to keep a record of communication). Save the messages for as long as you live there.

Plan for moving day.

      • Will you need services or the help of friends or family to move? Arrange this as soon as possible. If you don’t have someone to help you move, some community organizations are able to lend a hand.
      • Contact your past and future landlords to set up a moving time, as well as times to do your moving out and moving in inspections. You might want to try and arrange a few hours of overlap time, to give you a chance to have your things in two places at once while you transfer it.

Clean and repair. The last thing to do before you move out is clean.

      • If you’ve been renting your place, you’ll need to make sure you clean thoroughly in order to get your security deposit back. This includes appliances (e.g., stove, oven, fridge, freezer), sinks, shower and tub, toilet, windows and coverings, light switches and fixtures, mirrors, walls, and floors.
      • You may also need to fix anything that’s been damaged (e.g., holes in wall) in order to get your deposit back.

Look after yourself. Planning a move and then doing it can be stressful and tiring.

        • Try to eat and sleep well.
        • Try to do things that make you feel good, whether it is connecting with your community, being with friends, or being alone.
        • Plan to do this while you’re settling into your new place as well.