Moving is always stressful, but a long-distance move takes it to a whole other level. From scheduling your moving dates to packing everything you own, planning is essential. At base, you have to understand exactly what you are getting into and lay the groundwork for your move early. Doing so will prevent racing against time – and minimize anxiety in the process. In particular, you can use the following tips to help plan you move with care – and to avoid getting overwhelmed by stress of your next adventure.
- Start with Scheduling
A clear calendar will keep you organized. While some tasks like setting utilities’ turn-off/on date are time sensitive, others like completing your change-of-address form have more leeway. Recognizing when you need to have each task completed will keep you on track and avoid potential complications or fees. At the same time, you’ll be able to minimize undue anxiety.
From there, set a timeline, including an ideal move date. When will your new home be available? When does your job start? Choose a date some time in between for your belongings to arrive. Then, contact potential movers around 3 months ahead of time. Since summer is the height of moving season, consider a date in the off months when prices are lower and companies are less busy.
- Find the Right Mover
Get professional moving help from movers with the experience and skills to transport your houseful of stuff with minimal disasters. In the process, you can choose only the services you need. Each potential company should provide an in-home visit or a visual survey, and estimate the moving costs. This will help you stay within the budget.
Be sure to research each potential mover. You can start by referencing their Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and other sources. In general, larger companies are best for long-distance moves because they will have a higher hauling capacity and experienced crew. Depending on your circumstances, you might also consider transporting your vehicle so you don’t put the burden of driving cross country on it.
- Organize for Your New Home
Next, it’s time to downsize. The more you ship, the more you pay; so, use your moving estimate to help recognize how much you need to cut down. You can also look at what might cost more to move than to replace. Then, pare down your belongings, and get rid of anything not used in the past year. You might hold a garage sale, donate items to a local thrift store, or even arrange for a pick-up of larger items.
At the same time, recognize what will change in your move. If you’re moving into a smaller space, analyze what furniture is not needed. Try mapping out your home, with exact measurements for where each piece of furniture will fit – and whether each will fit through stairwells and corners. In addition, think about leaving climate-specific items like sweaters and snow blowers behind.
- Pack for the Long Haul
A long-distance move requires long-term packing, so start with durable boxes. Then, prepare each box with packing tape and cushioning. Pack each to the brim so that nothing is loose, and check that containers are well-sealed to reduce the potential for damage. You can generally start packing items that you don’t regularly use around 2 to 3 weeks ahead of time.
To ease unpacking, consider packing each room separately with contents listed. Keep heavier items in smaller boxes, and leave lightweight fabrics in dresser drawers to save on space. Other soft items can be packed in heavy-duty trash bags as cushioning. However, be sure to pack a Day One box of pots, plates, toiletries, clothes, and other basics just in case. In addition, keep important documents like your social security card, birth certificate, or passport separate so you have them if needed, and take it with you instead of packing it.
- Take Care of Special Items
Several belongings require special care. Food should be avoided as it will attract unwanted stowaways, while liquids can easily seep onto and damage your own and others property. In addition, outdoor furniture will have to be inspected for pests. Meanwhile, mattresses should be packed in a box to prevent damage, and your car will have to be driven or shipped to your new home.
Houseplants take up climate-controlled space, so consider leaving them behind. More importantly, pets require extra care, as a long-distance move is very stressful for them. Pack their crates, medicine, and supplies, and give your pets plenty of bathroom breaks. Before your arrival, though, consult state and city ordinances to ensure that your canine, feline, or other companions are fully legal.
- Expect the Unexpected
Moving is a high risk industry. As your property is repeatedly loaded and unloaded, something unpleasant might happen. While every move is covered by basic valuation, which limits the movers’ liability to $.60 per pound, you can pay for full coverage to ensure that damaged or lost items are replaced or repaired.
After your move, give yourself the time and space to settle into your new home and city. Although it may feel strange at first, putting yourself out there for events and organizations will build your new social network. Give yourself time to acclimate, and be prepared for meltdowns by human and animal family members alike. As noted above, moving is a stressful life event. However, with careful planning, you will come out the other side stronger – and ready to take advantage of this new opportunity.