When preparing to move across the country, there are a number of obvious and not so obvious things to consider. Not only is moving across the country a job unto itself, but it is also expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. Below is a list of important items to place at the forefront of your agenda if you are considering moving cross-country:
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Make sure you devote a sufficient amount of time to this project every day. Consider it a job because that is what it is. From the time you wake up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night, you should be devoting an appropriate amount of time to your move. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media. It can easily eat into the precious hours during the day that you have to get going. Start early and take breaks infrequently. You are moving all of your worldly possessions thousands of miles and you must take the project seriously. Take every piece of furniture into account and determine what you need and what you don’t need. Enlist the help of his many relatives and friends as possible but make sure they are reliable. People who do not show up or that do not have their heart into the project can set you back and cost you a serious amount of time. Make sure that you’re committed to this project completely because it will determine your success or failure in this endeavor.
Organize all of your belongings as best as you can. Separate everything by the specific designation. For example, kitchen, bedroom, living room, dining room, basement, garage, etc. Make sure all of your boxes are properly labeled and that all of your information is on each box so that if it gets lost it can be returned to you easily and promptly. Take the time to organize yourself and make a checklist. Single and double-check your items as you go through the process. Make sure that you make notes and add them to your list continuously. Have a separate person review your list because “the second set of eyes” is always important. If you remain diligent and organized from beginning to end you will reduce the likelihood that you will leave anything behind or leave anything out.
Only take what is necessary
When considering what to take with you on your move, always keep in mind that you were going to pay your movers by the pound. Movers will quote you based on the weight of your items. Over the years, you will notice you have accumulated a number of items that are not necessary for your move. Consider donating them or selling them on the numerous platforms that are available today such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Mercari, OfferUp, and Let Go. These are highly effective tools that will turn your unwanted and unused furniture and goods into cash. Any items you cannot sell should be donated to Salvation Army or Goodwill. Only take what is necessary because it is more than likely that when you move into your new surroundings, you will want to purchase new items for your new accommodations.
Purchase the proper items for packaging
You are going to need a number of items in order to properly package your belongings. Boxes, tape, packing peanuts, and heavy-duty equipment will be necessary to ensure that your valuables do not break in transit. Invest the money into the best product possible so that when you package your items you can have the peace of mind that even the most fragile items will survive your move to your new home.
Research how you will move and make contact with the necessary parties
In today’s day and age, it is very easy to obtain numerous estimates in a short period of time from competing moving companies. Research all of the best moving companies on the Internet and their associated reviews. Websites like Yelp are very helpful in that they give real reviews from real people who have recently used the same services you are considering. This type of information is invaluable in terms of the type of customer service you can expect to receive, the costs you will pay, and any unanticipated hurdles that may come up that you may not be contemplating. When you are moving there are so many different variables at play that it is very easy to lose focus and not consider the most basic items.. The last thing you want is unexpected circumstances to arise at the last minute that cost you extra money that you could have planned for at the outset. Conduct thorough research on these companies and call them directly. Establish contact with an individual person-get their name, the hours they are at work, their email address, and make sure that they have the authority to give you the information you are requesting. Make sure that everything is sent to you in writing and that you have a clear understanding of what you are paying for and what you are not paying for. Reduce the possibility of any surprises coming up during the process since the stress and strain of moving across the country can easily lead you to overlook possible vital details.
Take photographs of your items
These instructions apply to all of your belongings but very specifically to your cars. If you are moving vehicles across the country, make sure you have photographs and video of every inch of your car from numerous angles since any scratches or damage to the vehicles that take place during the move will be the responsibility of the moving company. Take the time to take high-quality photographs and high-definition videos of your vehicles as well. Provide them to the moving company before the move so that they know what condition your vehicles were in before they took possession of them. These same instructions apply to your personal belongings. Do not take for granted that the movers will not damage your belongings. They will be on their best behavior if they know you have documented the condition of the items before they come to their possession. Make sure the moving company confirms receipt of the photographs in writing so that you have proof that they know what condition your items were in when you handed them over to them. This can be very helpful if you need to file a claim for your goods in the event they become damaged in the move.
Research moving insurance
Just like researching moving companies, moving insurance is available to anyone moving across the country. This is very similar to car or homeowners insurance-you will be protected in the event of damage to your goods or if they are lost or stolen during the move. Obtains quotes from various competing companies so that you may best protect your valuables. Find out what your rights and remedies are and, if you can afford the insurance, take out even a small policy so that you have some level of protection in place.
Package all valuables and original documents separately
Original documents are especially important for obvious reasons. Valuables and other items that cannot be replaced should always be with you in your person at all times. If you are taking a flight, take them as your carry-on with you so they are always in your physical possession. Do not even trust to put them in your suitcase. You cannot replace certain original documents and the stress and strain of the move is enough in and of itself that if you add lost original documents to the mix it will certainly dampen your mood and add another task to your already-lengthy moving checklist. It is suggested that you buy a bag specifically for your most valuable documents and items and take It with you on the day of your move. Never let it out of your sight for any reason.
Examine all items upon delivery
This is the follow-up instructions to the initial instruction of photographing and videoing your items before your move. Immediately upon delivery, examine all of your items. Make sure that they match the condition they were in when you left them. Do not let the movers leave until you are finished with this examination. Document their condition with additional photographs and videos. If there is an issue, tell the movers on the spot and have them write up an incident report to be submitted to the company immediately. Do not let any time lapse because the company may say that once the movers left that damage was done at that time. You want to protect your interests and be able to file a valid claim with the company that is supported by solid documentation.
New address and license
Before you move, you should look up how to change your mailing address and how to obtain a new driver’s license in the new city and state to which you are moving. This is something that a lot of people do not think about before they move. It normally comes up once they have relocated. It is easy these days to look up the requirements for your new city and state on how to obtain a driver’s license. You may have to surrender your old driver’s license in the state you were leaving before you actually move. Every state is different so you will need to look into this. Go to your post office and forward your mail to your new address. Contact the local post office in the city you are moving into and find out their local rules and hours of operation. This may sound like a simple step, but when you add it to the other more complicated steps you already have to undertake it becomes a big task.
Become familiar with your new surroundings
This is the fun part. You can research your new city online using Google earth and Google maps. You will be able to see the physical landscape before you set foot into the city. This will help tremendously because when you arrive you will already know where to go. Do not underestimate the step-feeling familiar in your surroundings will put your ears and immediately make you feel comfortable. This is the first step toward calling your new city home. Find out where all the local conveniences are. Look up the banks, community centers, drug stores, and any other points of interest that you know you will be frequenting in your new city. Get familiar with the lay of the land before you even move in. Check out when these places open and when they close so that you can set up a schedule right from your first day. For example, if you like to go to the gym find out where the closest gym is to your new home and see if you can register online. Find out what time they open so that the day you move, you can hit the gym right away. Having some kind of schedule upon your arrival will give you a semblance of order and help you to feel right at home right away.
Moving cross country is a challenge that will bring out the best in you. Focus on each individual task and do not get overwhelmed. Always keep in mind that this is an exciting time and new chapter in your life. Embrace it and enjoy it! Take the aforementioned tips to heart and add your own spin to them and you will be in your new home enjoying a fresh start and a new beginning in no time at all!
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.