His & Hers: Moving Day Checklist
Family of four in a field

Photo credit: Véronique Moisan.

Meet Montreal natives, Étienne Boulay and Maïka Desnoyers. She’s a real estate agent. He’s a former football player with the Canadian Football League and is now a TV personality. Together, they have two young kids and a wonderfully chaotic family. We caught up with them for his and hers tips on making your next move as smooth as possible. 

A little advice before you get started…

Maïka: When it’s time to move, the keyword is: planning, planning, and planning. Getting things done in advance is the real key to keeping a move simple (insofar as moving can be simple), efficient, and fast.

Étienne: When I was younger, I had to move quite often because of football. I can’t claim to be the most organized guy in the world… in fact, I’m just the opposite. The best advice I can give you is to have a super-organized partner with a game plan and tasks to delegate. Believe me, I hit the jackpot when I met Maïka!

A few weeks before

✓  Book a mover – especially if you’re moving on July 1. Be sure to get a truck of an appropriate size!

His advice: I know there are times when you really need to ask friends to help out. But I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to impose on friends when it’s time to move. I like to leave all the hard work to the experts.

Her advice: If friends are your only option, call them ahead of time and give them tasks that are suited to their abilities.

✓  Go box hunting. You can buy boxes from some stores, but finding your own is a good way to save.

✓  Save those morning newspapers – they’re perfect for wrapping your breakables in.

✓  Purge! Sort what you want to keep, give or toss before you start packing.

✓  Got kids? Book a babysitter for the day of your move. 

Her advice: It’s going to be a long day. There’s so much to think about when it comes to a move that managing the kids is a stress you could easily forego.

✓  Schedule Internet, cable and phone installation for the day you move in.

✓  Update your address:

    • Canada Revenue Agency
    • Ministère du Revenu du Québec
    • Health Insurance (RAMQ)
    • Hydro-Québec Credit Cards/Banks
    • Your Employer

Tip: Checking out Moving Waldo to make all your address changes at once!

✓  Start shopping around for insurance. If you already have coverage, now is a good time to switch for a better rate. If you don’t, check out why you need tenant’s insurance. Bonus: With tenant’s insurance, your stuff is covered in case something happens to it during the move.

Her advice: It’s so important to have insurance, yet most people don’t prioritize it on their to-do list! One day you may have to deal with a claim and in that moment you’ll really appreciate having coverage and an insurer that you can trust.

A few days before

His advice: Because I tend to leave a lot of things to the last minute, I strongly suggest that you take a day or two off work before your move. You’d be amazed at how many boxes you can pack in just one day!

✓  Pack away everything you can and keep only the bare essentials for use.

Her advice: Identifying the boxes is crucial. I strongly recommend indicating each box with the room it’s meant to go in, as well as what it contains. This will keep you from opening every box to find the utensils when the pizza arrives.

✓  Take photos of furniture that could be damaged in the move.

✓  Set aside a box for everything you’ll need on moving day. Don’t forget to include things like felt markers, scissors, packing tape, broom, gloves, screwdriver, garbage bags, household cleaning supplies, and moving straps.

✓  Clean rooms as you empty them out. Not only does this help ensure you haven’t forgotten anything, but it’s also a nice gesture for the people who will be moving in.

The night before

✓  Sort the food you’re keeping and the items you’ll be throwing away.

    • Put all available icepacks in the freezer and be sure to have a cooler on hand for perishables.

✓  Pack the last of your stuff. Everything should be ready for the movers so that tomorrow goes smoothly and efficiently.

✓  Do a final sweep everywhere.

Moving Day

✓  Last in, first out. Put the most important boxes into the truck last so that you can retrieve and arrange the basics upon arrival. 

Her advice: I hate change and my kids feel pretty much the same way. The most important part of a move is having the children’s rooms set up first.  The transition to a new home will be so much smoother when they have their familiar belongings around them.

His advice: I take change in stride. For me, the most important part is getting settled in quickly. Make sure that at least one room is set up the first day. A room without boxes, tidy and dust-free – a room that says “I’m home.” The rest can wait, but you want that one space where there is order instead of chaos.

✓  Be sure to have snacks and water at hand – it could be a long day.

✓  Don’t forget to leave your key for the new occupant.

✓  More housecleaning – this time at the new place! Focus on floors, cupboards and bathrooms.

One last thing…

Her advice: I’m saving my biggest piece of advice for last. For those of you living in Quebec, if you can move any day other than July 1 – do so! You’ll save a lot of money on inflated moving rates and it will virtually eliminate any chance of scheduling problems with the current tenant of your new place.

Étienne Boulay and MaÏka Desnoyers are paid spokespersons for Sonnet. 


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