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Long Distance Moving Companies Checklist

Checklist for a Long Distance Move


Most often, the weeks leading up to moving day involve long days and late nights. You’re busy trying as best as you can to get everything and everyone prepared for the move while also handling your already busy everyday work and life schedule. At this rate, by the time moving day arrives, you’ll need a whole pot of coffee just to get you out of bed!


But don’t fret just yet. We at Atlas Van Lines (Canada) Ltd. are here to help! There are several ways you can alleviate much of that last-minute stress so that come moving day, you can focus only on the important things. Below you will find what to expect for your move and several preparation and organization tips and tricks to help your entire move go as smoothly as possible. 


What can I expect for my long-distance move?


When someone first starts thinking about moving, they often envision themselves packing up and doing a long-distance, cross-country move. But soon after, the overwhelming thoughts of what this would entail may start to creep in, and, suddenly, moving to a new province or across the country seems daunting and maybe even intimidating. 


So before those anxious thoughts begin to worm their way forward, when you choose Atlas Canada as your moving company, here’s everything you can expect from us for your long-distance move.


Survey and Estimate

  • Before the big day, one of our professional moving consultants will meet with you to go over any concerns you may have and to explain how our Quality Assurance Certificate protects you.
  • They prepare an in-home estimate by doing an item-by-item survey of your belongings to create a pricing estimate and moving plan for you. 
  • The consultant will present you with the estimate and answer any concerns or questions you may have about it. At Atlas Canada, we want to make sure you can make an informed decision when choosing your moving company.
  • You will also receive a transit time guide that includes the estimated pick-up and delivery date for your belongings. 


If you decide to make Atlas Canada your designated moving company, your moving consultant will return for a follow-up appointment to go through our Quality Assurance Certificate with you. You will also receive your moving details, the transit time guide, and payment details in writing.




  • Our trained packing professionals at Atlas Canada will ensure that all your items arrive at your new home safely.
  • If you decide to pack yourself, give yourself plenty of time. We have plenty of packing tips for you if you don’t know where to start to help you use your time efficiently. 
  • Atlas Canada can provide you with durable packing materials at a reasonable cost. 


Moving Day


  • You will meet with one of Atlas Canada’s professional van operators. They and their crew will safely and carefully load your belongings onto the moving truck. 
  • Our professional movers know how to pivot, maneuver, wrap, drape and protect every item, as well as your walls, floors, stairs, handrails and doorways. Floors will be protected with runners to avoid marks or dents, and your furniture with quilted moving pads to prevent damage. If you have any light-coloured furniture, it will be wrapped in clear plastic first to prevent any marks or stains. 




  • Your moving truck is weighed at a government-inspected weigh station once it’s loaded to guarantee an accurate weight. The weight of the truck itself is removed from the final weight to give us an accurate shipment weight. This will be used to figure out your final shipment charges.
  • At Atlas Canada, we guarantee that, as long as items were not added to your shipment after we did the in-home survey, the estimated weight your professional moving consultant gave you won’t exceed 10%.
  • Your belongings will be protected in a specially equipped air-ride Atlas Truck throughout the long-distance move. 
  • Your moving consultant will make sure that all necessary paperwork is ready to go if you will be crossing the border. 
  • Atlas Canada also offers two levels of transit protection plans:
    • Full Protection: valued at $10 multiplied by the weight of your truck in pounds (lbs).
    • Basic Protection: valued at $0.60 per pound.


Delivery and Unpacking


  • You’ll be contacted by your professional van operator at least 24 hours before delivery.
  • Upon arrival at your new home, our movers will place your furniture and your packed boxes with extreme care in your designated rooms/locations, including the kitchen, bedrooms, basement and garage. Our movers will also reassemble beds and unroll carpets. 
  • If your moving crew packs any boxes for you, they will also unpack them and remove any unpacking materials and debris when they leave. 


After Moving Day


  • You will receive a follow-up from your professional moving consultant. We want to ensure that you are satisfied with your move and settling in well. You will also receive our quality questionnaire.


At Atlas Canada, we aim for exceptional service throughout the entire moving process. 


Is there anything I should not move long distance?

You may be surprised to learn that there are items that you cannot or should not take with you on your long-distance journey. Here is a comprehensive long-distance moving checklist of items that moving companies will not move:


  • Hazardous materials: movers are not licensed to carry dangerous goods on the moving van as they can explode and cause damage to your shipment. These include dangerous or flammable items such as:
    • lighter fluid
    • paint
    • oily rags
    • matches
    • charcoal
    • pool chemicals
    • bleach
    • oven cleaner 
    • ammunition 


  • Perishable items: moving trucks are not equipped with refrigeration units, so foods will spoil quickly and risk causing damage due to mould, fungus and condensation. Plus, spoiled food leaves a terrible odour. Plan to use up or give away the following items before moving:
    • meats
    • produce
    • dairy products
    • frozen foods 
    • any opened containers 


  • Plants: plants do not travel well, especially long distances. If you are bringing your plants, plan to have them with you and not on the truck. You’ll be able to tend to them better. 


Do I need a home inventory checklist?


When moving, whether locally or long-distance, something everyone should consider is putting together a room-by-room checklist of everything you are bringing with you. While this process may seem tedious, here are some of the reasons why having a checklist for your long-distance move will help:


  • It gives you a better idea of what you have and what you can dispose of or donate.
  • You can determine how many packing supplies you will need.
  • You can organize your belongings easier when packing.
  • Helps you get a better estimate of what kind of insurance you will need because your checklist will allow you to estimate the value of your possessions.
  • It helps you keep track of everything to ensure nothing is misplaced during your move.


Creating a long-distance moving inventory checklist in 4 easy steps

Putting together a checklist may seem like a lot of work, but it is fairly easy. To help you get started, here is our step-by-step guide to assembling your checklist:


Step 1


Either on a piece of paper, on your phone or on a computer, create a three-columned list. You will want to label each column with the name of the item, the condition it’s in and its estimated value. You will need one of these lists for each room.


Step 2


Pick a room in your home and inventory every item. Make sure you include each time on shelves, anything hanging on a wall, your decor and any knickknacks. For example, if you have a bookshelf, make sure you list every book and trinket on each shelf. Don’t forget to note its condition and estimated value!


Step 3


As you write down each item, make sure to note if it will be going into the same room at your new house or if it will be relocated to a different room. Either you can include a fourth column for this, or you can just make a little note beside only the items that will be moved to a new room.


Step 4


A great way to inventory everything is by taking photos or videos of the room before you begin packing. If you made a physical list, print out any photos and attach them to each list for that room. When taking a video, make sure you update the title of the video to include the name of the room. Store them safely on either a USB or in the cloud. 


You can also find several great apps in the app store that are perfect to use when you create an inventory of your home. 


Long-Distancing Moving Checklist


Moving is generally a chaotic process for everyone involved. One secret to staying on top of everything is to use a moving checklist. Below you will find our handy moving checklist that you can print out and keep on hand to help you remember everything you need to get done. 


Documents to Collect and Update


  • Moving documents
  • Home and auto insurance policies
  • Mailing address
  • Bank accounts
  • School records
  • Medical records
  • Passport and Government ID cards


Discontinue and Transfer Services


  • Internet, cable and phone
  • Water
  • Gas/Electricity


Prepare for Your Trip


  • Pack sufficient clothing to wear before your shipment arrives
  • Refill medication and prescriptions
  • Plane tickets/directions
  • Credit cards/money
  • Duplicate keys
  • Toys/games for children
  • Blankets/pillows




Never transport jewelry, money or other valuables in the moving van. Plan to have these with you.


Don’t Forget to Pick Up:


  • Clothing at cleaners
  • Tools or items loaned to family, friends and neighbours
  • Items out for repair


Don’t Forget to Move:


  • Outdoor toys and accessories
  • Outdoor planters, pots and garden hoses
  • Dismantle/remove items attached to the walls


Don’t Forget to Leave:


  • Keys to the house – collect from neighbours, family, and house cleaner
  • Mailbox key(s)
  • Garage door code and portable opener
  • File with warranties, instruction books and receipts for new owners


Don’t Forget to Transfer:


  • Bank records
  • House/car insurance
  • Medical, optometrist and dental records
  • School records
  • Discontinue and transfer utilities, cable, internet, telephone and delivery services


Are labels on boxes really necessary?


There’s nothing worse than arriving at your new home, realizing you need something and having no idea what box it’s in. When all of your boxes are identical, it can be impossible to find anything you need in a timely manner. Therefore, labelling your boxes is the best way to prevent causing yourself unnecessary stress after you move. 


In addition to making finding things easier, having labels on your boxes will help movers know what rooms to put your boxes in, which will make unpacking easier for you as well. Here are some tips for labelling boxes:


Colour code each room


This method will help you sort boxes by room by using either a coloured marker or coloured tape. For example, all boxes for the kitchen can be labelled in green, while boxes for the living room may be labelled in pink. This will also make unloading easier for the movers. 


Add numbers


When labelling each room, another method you can include is adding numbers to each box (i.e., kitchen – 8). This can help you and the movers keep track of how many boxes each room will have, and when you’re doing your walkthrough, you will be able to quickly scan the boxes to make sure each one is there. 


List the contents


You will want to write down everything that is packed inside each box. This will allow you to scan their contents quickly when you are looking for something specific later on or even help you decide which boxes to unpack first. There are three ways you can go about this:


  • Write on the outside of the box using a permanent marker. 
  • Create a Google doc or spreadsheet and list the contents of each box there. 
  • Use an app to track the contents of each box. These often work by using barcodes that you add to the outside of your box, scanning the barcodes, and then speaking the contents of each box into the app. 


No matter which way you decide to track the contents of your boxes, make sure you label all sides of the box with the colour code, room and box number. This will allow movers to quickly see where the box goes and help you quickly scan them during inventory later. 


Should I create a schedule in advance?


You should absolutely create a schedule in advance, as preparing to move can become an overwhelming and chaotic experience. Creating a schedule can help you remain on task and ensure you don’t forget anything you need to do. 


If you’re not sure where to start, below, you will find our personal long-distance guide to help you stay on schedule.


8 Weeks Before Moving Day


  1. Find a moving company: start researching long-distance moving companies so that you won’t feel rushed to decide on one too quickly. Get multiple in-home estimates to determine what company will work best for you.
  2. Decide how you’ll get there: are you driving or flying to your new home? If flying, book your plane tickets now and research thoroughly to determine who you will use to ship your vehicle.
  3. Plan ahead for moving expenses: whether you’re moving yourself or using a moving company, the act of moving in itself is not cheap. In addition to the moving truck (and shipping your vehicle, if you’re going that route), plan ahead to have extra money put aside for things like hotels, dining, gas, packing supplies, and any unexpected expenses.


4 Weeks Before Moving Day


  1. Organize and declutter: sort through your whole house, including the attic, garage and storage shed. Toss what you don’t plan to use at your new house or donate it to charity. 
  2. Take inventory of your entire home: Now that you’ve reduced the amount of stuff you will be moving with you, take inventory of everything you own. Refer above for the inventory checklist to find four easy steps to help you make your list.
  3. Get your In-home estimate: Request an in-home estimate of your moving charges from your moving company agent. After downsizing, the agent can provide you with a more accurate estimate.
  4. Transfer records: start transferring records (e.g., school, medical, insurance, etc.), as these things can take a while. 
  5. Schedule the essentials: sometimes, when scheduling connection dates, you’re looking at a few weeks out. So if you call to schedule the gas/electricity, water, phone, internet, and cable now, they will be set up and ready to go when you arrive.
  6. Forward your mail: Sign up for the mail forwarding service with Canada Post so that you don’t miss anything. This is especially important for long-distance moving.
  7. Appliance Servicing: You’ll need to prepare your appliances for moving, such as your washer and dryer, so book a reliable service firm to prepare them. Also, make sure you inform your moving company agent of special items you own, such as grandfather clocks or pianos, as these will need special attention.


3 Weeks Before Moving Day


  1. Start packing: people often underestimate the time and effort it takes to pack up an entire house, so give yourself plenty of time. Check out our helpful packing tips if you don’t know where to start. 
  2. Make arrangements for young children and pets: if you have pets, make transportation arrangements. Don’t forget to get your pet’s health records from your veterinarian. Also, arrange for care of any young children or pets with a friend or grandparent on packing, loading and delivery days.
  3. Use up frozen foods and staples: plan to use up any frozen foods as it is not recommended to transport them long distances. Also, by using up pantry items, you will have less to pack. Until moving day, consider only purchasing what you will eat before moving.
  4. Dispose of flammable products: Movers are not licensed to carry dangerous goods on the moving van, so you must dispose of any flammables. 


2 Weeks Before Moving Day


  1. Create a floor plan: designate where your furniture will go in your new home. This will make unloading more efficient as your movers will know exactly where to place everything. 
  2. Have your vehicle serviced: if you’re planning on driving, get your vehicle fully serviced to prepare for travel.
  3. Disconnection date: schedule the disconnection of your utilities, cable, and internet. Also, don’t forget to stop or reroute any delivery services.
  4. Return borrowed items: return borrowed items you come across while packing. Also, gather anything you’ve loaned out to family and friends. Pick up any dry cleaning or items out for repair.


1 Week Before Moving Day


  1. Final preparation time: finish packing your essentials and suitcases. Carry any valuable documents, currency and jewellery with you — never put these on the moving truck.
  2. Clean your refrigerator and freezer: clean them 24-48 hours before moving day to allow enough time for them to dry if you plan to take them with you. Leave any lids and doors open to help them dry.
  3. Clear your walls and ceilings: packers and movers don’t remove items such as curtain rods, drapery tracks, and blinds, so make sure you remove anything you have attached to the walls and ceilings. 
  4. Outdoor prep: drain water from garden hoses and empty out any oil/fuel from lawnmowers and other machinery. Gather up any outdoor toys and put them somewhere they can dry before loading them onto the truck. 
  5. Double-check important items: run through your list of your important papers, keys, medications, and plane tickets to make sure you have everything. 


Moving Day


  1. Be helpful but not in the way: try to keep your house organized and accessible to make things go more smoothly. Let movers know what items are breakable and what is and isn’t moving. 
  2. Don’t leave early: plan to stay until the moving van has left so that you can: 
  1. Tour the house with the van operator during inventory.
  2. Sign the Bill of Lading.
  3. Confirm they have the correct new address, delivery date and contact numbers.
  4. Do a final walkthrough of the house.
  5. Double check that windows and doors are locked, utilities are discontinued or turned off, keys are transferred, and lights are out.
  1. But do plan to arrive early: you’ll want to reach your new place a day before the moving van. This way, you can confirm utilities are on and that your floor plan is correct. 
  2. Verify inventory: check your inventory list to make sure all of your belongings are unloaded and accounted for. 
  3. Appliance installation: in case the moving truck was delayed, you should wait to schedule this. But once your belongings are unloaded, arrange to have your appliances installed.


Final moving day tips to help things go more smoothly


  • If you don’t want to spend money while travelling, pack meals and snacks for moving day, while on the road, and even for the first day in your new home. The last thing you want to do during all that chaos is cook — that is, if you can even locate your boxes of food or dishes.
  • Ensure that the last box you pack is the first box you open. It should be full of items to help you clean and unpack, such as:
    • scissors
    • a box cutter
    • an extra charging cable for your phone/tablet
    • wipes
    • hand and paper towels
    • plastic cups
    • sponges
    • shower curtain
  • Lastly, put together a list of anything you want to be done immediately. This list will help you to remember what should be done first so that you’re not scrambling to do something at two in the morning, such as:
    • Setting up an area for young kids/pets.
    • Putting together your bed so that you have a place to sleep.
    • Setting up the bathroom so you can take a shower.