And it stands to reason that a long-distance relocation—typically considered a move from one state to another—will typically involve more headaches than a simple move across town. Luckily, being organized and planning your move well in advance can help you avoid some common pitfalls.
Here is our checklist of 10 things you should consider if you’re relocating to a different state.
1. Find a Reliable Long-Distance Mover
Finding the right mover is one of the most important ingredients in ensuring your move is a success.
It’s a good idea to begin researching moving companies as soon as you have decided to relocate. Even if you’re not yet sure of your moving date, planning ahead can help you draw up a shortlist of potential providers.
As with any financial decision, it is always sensible to compare as many quotes as possible before selecting your long-distance movers.
While it may be tempting to simply choose the cheapest option, you should also ensure that the company you’re considering has a strong reputation for customer service. You can typically find this information by visiting online review sites such as Trustpilot. You can also check whether the Better Business Bureau accredits the company.
Before you commit to a provider, it’s important also to check they have all the relevant insurance to transport your goods between states. The best long-distance movers should have insurance credentials displayed on their websites.
You should also check that the company has a USDOT number as this means that it is registered with the US Department of Transportation.
2. Start Sourcing Your Boxes Early
It’s never too early to start gathering together boxes when you’re moving long distance. Leaving this to the last minute can be extremely stressful, as is discovering that you don’t have enough boxes for all your items.
Although many hardware stores sell moving boxes, you can often source these yourself for free. Consider asking your local grocery store or supermarket if it has any spare boxes. Often, these companies struggle to dispose of their excess boxes, so they may be glad to hand them over.
Local social media groups can also be a valuable resource as some of your neighbors may have boxes they no longer need.
3. Sort, Donate, Sell, and Throw Out Unwanted Items
Moving a long distance can be a great opportunity to rid yourself of unwanted clutter.
Once you have decided to move, set aside some time to walk through every room in your current property. Try to look at your belongings with fresh eyes. As you do so, you may notice unattractive ornaments or broken appliances you haven’t used in years.
Some experts recommend you follow a one-year rule. This means that if you haven’t used something in the past 12 months, there is little point in transporting it across the country.
However, if you believe an item still has value you could consider selling it online and raising some cash to help fund your move. Otherwise, you could donate any unwanted items to goodwill or take anything beyond repair to the dump.
4. Make an Inventory of What Needs To Be Moved
Having a clear idea of what you’ll be transporting between your two properties is essential when you’re planning a long-distance move.
Once you have finished decluttering your current home, draw up a list of belongings you would like to take with you to your new property. Also, consider taking photos of any fragile or expensive items. Having this type of evidence could prove useful if you later need to make an insurance claim for lost or damaged items.
Most long-distance moving companies will also draw up their own inventory when they collect your items. They will likely make a note of any pre-existing damage to your property and ask you to sign this inventory.
5. Decide How You Arrange Your Items in Your New Home
Even if you meticulously plan your move, it can be easy to overlook what you’ll need to do once you arrive in your new home.
With this in mind, it can be helpful to draw up a list of all the rooms in your new home and decide which items belong where. Doing so will allow you to direct your movers over where to leave your furniture once you arrive in your new home.
Color coding your boxes by room could also speed up the unpacking process. For example, you could assign the color green to your kitchen. You can then add a green label to these boxes or write on them in green marker. This will make it much simpler to identify where all your boxes belong as you unload them from the moving truck.
6. Submit a Change of Address to the Post Office
Relocating across the country usually involves a significant amount of paperwork. Submitting a change of address to the Post Office allows you to stay in touch with relevant financial institutions and government bodies.
You can do this at your local Post Office by filling in a PS Form 3575 or online for a fee of $1.10. If you’re particularly concerned about mail going astray, consider asking a neighbor to check your old address for any stragglers in the weeks after you move.
Here are some other organizations that you may want to notify of your new address.
Your employer’s human resources department
7. Change Over Your Utilities
Informing your utility companies of your move or setting up new contracts is vital if you don’t want to lose access to vital services such as gas, electricity, cable, or internet.
Some companies allow you to transfer your existing service from your current property to your new address. However, if you’re moving to another state, you may need to cancel your existing contracts and find a new supplier.
It’s worth taking the time to research utility companies in your new state and find a provider that suits your needs. Likewise, you may want to arrange installation in your new property shortly after your move date.
If you rent your home, your landlord may be responsible for dealing with your utility companies.
8. Clear Your Freezer
If you’re transporting your refrigerator to your new property, you’ll need to make sure you have the appliance ready for moving day.
In the weeks before your move, go through the freezer and take an inventory of its contents. As you do so, you may discover items that have been there for months or even years. You can then decide which contents you’ll need to use before your move.
On the week of your move, it’s also sensible to defrost your freezer. This can be especially important if you’re moving a long distance as ice may start to thaw in the truck during your journey.
9. Check in With Your Movers
As the big day approaches, it’s a good idea to reconfirm your details with your mover. Not only will this help you avoid nasty surprises, but it can also offer invaluable peace of mind during a stressful time.
The points you may want to confirm include:
The addresses of your old and new property
Your mover’s time of arrival
The number of movers you have hired
Your quoted price
The size of the truck you have hired
The services the company will provide—for example, whether the mover help you unpack
10. Pack Your Moving-Day Essentials
When you’re moving across states, it’s likely that you’ll be traveling for hours, and possibly even days. In this case, you’ll need certain items to hand to make your trip as comfortable as possible.
Your bag of moving days essentials should include:
Laptop and phone chargers
Any medication you or your family may need during the trip
A change of clothing
Books or toys to entertain young children
Keys for your new home
Cash for tipping your movers—although you are not obliged to tip
Toilet paper for your new home
Long-distance moving can be daunting, but it can also be an exciting new chapter in your life. For example, you may be beginning a new job or have the opportunity to make new friends in a different city or state.
Remember, the move is far more likely to go smoothly if you do your research, plan in advance, and remain calm on the big day.