If you’re planning to move cross-country, whether for a work transfer, family reasons, or just for a change of scenery, you’re likely overwhelmed with the big task at hand (especially if it’s your first cross-country move). Here are eight tips that can help smooth the transition.
1. Consider an Off-Season Move
Summer is a popular time to move, which means that services like movers and truck rentals are hard to find and often cost more than during the off-season. Lifehacker recommends planning your move for the months between October and May if possible.
2. Make a List, Check it Twice
Staying organized will help ensure that you’re not forgetting key logistics. This checklist from Updater is an excellent, comprehensive starting point.
3. Purge Your Belongings
If you opt to hire a mover, you’ll be paying by weight to get your belongings to your new home. And if you’re not hiring a mover, you’re responsible for packing your own truck and driving it to your destination. Either way, it pays to donate, sell, or recycle anything you don’t absolutely need.
4. Pack Methodically
While the packing process can get chaotic (especially if you have children), taking the time to pack like items together and carefully label each box will save you a big headache when you arrive at your destination. Use a simple system like family member/items/room it belongs in to get organized in your new home before you even arrive. You can also take photographs of your belongings as you pack so you have a visual inventory.
5. Give Yourself Time
For best results, plan about eight weeks from the time you hire movers to the day you set off. Booking well in advance ensures that you’ll be able to hire the company of your choice, protecting both your peace of mind and your budget.
6. Visit New Homes in Person
While this can be a challenge, especially on a budget, you don’t want to get stuck with an apartment you hate in an unfamiliar city. Spend a few days checking out real estate in your new location and be ready to sign (and leave a deposit). If that’s out of the question, consider staying at an AirBNB for the short term while you get to know your new home and find an apartment that fits the bill.
7. Know What Not to Pack
Have a suitcase set aside for valuables like jewelry and heirlooms, as well as important papers like birth and marriage certificates. This should stay with you during your journey.
8. Get Ready to Explore
Don’t let the stress of logistics kill your enthusiasm for this exciting time in your life. Plan time to stroll around your new neighborhood, get your bearings, and allow yourself time to settle in.