It’s not an uncommon opinion that moving houses is a daunting task. The idea of literally uprooting your entire existence, shifting it to a new location, and then setting up and starting again from scratch is nothing short of intimidating, disruptive and overwhelming. So when you’ve finally landed that job you’ve always wanted or found someone to settle down with or simply want to move to a better neighborhood with your family, you’re going to have to make some big adjustments. The roads are unfamiliar, you may not have a lot of friends in your neighborhood, timings for public transport will have to be memorized yet again, and you’d have to find new haunts to be frequent on the weekend. But thanks to our moving guide, you can rest assured this process will be smooth, peaceful, and efficient.
You need to have a plan in place, set dates for different tasks, and start packing up your life in your old residence in stages. This requires time, patience, and organization. But once you’ve set up a system that facilitates moving to a new city, the process will flow smoothly and without much struggle, even if you encounter some hiccups along the way.
1. Research Time
Go on social media platforms like Facebook and join community groups from the area. This way, you can connect with locals, who could show you around. Read the local news to get a feel of the city. Check the weather forecast, research events, official city updates, and study the local transport system. You may look for a place near good schools, or one closer to work. Please find out how long it would take to travel to and from work and home. If you like activities, look for recreational parks and workshops—zone in on supermarkets, restaurants, hardware shops, and markets. Get an idea of the cost of living in that city.
2. What’s your Budget?
Once you know when and where you are moving to, it’s time to set a budget. Remember, moving to a new city, with all your belongings, isn’t going to be cheap. Moving services, moreover, are on the expensive side, but necessary. So keep aside funds just for prepping and moving. And then make provisions for settling into your new residence for the first few weeks.
3. Contact Local Acquaintances
If you know people in the new city, connect with them beforehand and let them know you’re coming there. Local contacts are a great source of information for anything from where to buy groceries to what’s the best place to have fun. They might even help you unpack and set up if they’re close. You could do with all the support you can get, so tap into any connections you might have. Chances are, you might even make new friends through them, which is always welcome!
4. Where Will You Stay?
Are you going to buy a house, rent one or perhaps share accommodation with roommates? All these questions can be answered after you set a budget and know how much you plan to spend on your residence. If you have a job that sponsors your rent, it would be easier, indeed. But if that is not an option, you will need to look and ask around for the best accommodation that fits your requirements. You could either hire a real estate agent from the area for a consultation or go online and read reviews. Groups on Facebook share information on rentals and subletting for temporary and long-term housing that fit all budgets. Take your time in finding your new home.
The moving plan involves buying moving containers, hiring help to pack up large appliances like washing machines and refrigerators, booking a moving company, informing your landlord or real estate agent that you need to hand over the keys to your old place, and more. The best way to remember everything is to make a list. Write down dates for each errand, phone numbers of services you’ll be using, and quantities of packing material you’ll need.
Start organizing your belongings in categories that make them easy to pack and unpack. You could even pack according to rooms. Set a certain amount of bags or boxes for each room, and create labels for each package. Use vacuum-sealed bags for your clothes to save space. You might need some help packing up your washing machine or refrigerator, so consider hiring a packing and moving company for the big items. There might be things you need to buy for the new house, like utilities. So make a shopping list and set aside a day for shopping. Friends, relatives, or peers who offer to help you pack are a welcome bonus!
7. Forward Your Post
Don’t forget to change your mailing address to your new residence as soon as it’s confirmed, or the new tenant in your old house will be stuck with piles of mail that don’t belong to them. You can do this online or head to the post office if you have time. And just in case the process isn’t complete by the time you move, ask a friend to pick up your mail from the old address and send it over.
8. Say Your Goodbyes
You’d think it would not require planning, but even saying goodbye to your neighborhood, friends, peers, and relatives needs dedicated time. You don’t want to be running around on last-minute errands at the same time you’re supposed to be at your farewell party or family lunch. Plan, and let everyone know what days and times you’re available to meet. This way, everyone gets a chance to spend quality time with you before you leave.
The move is finally complete; you’ve reached the new city, have unloaded all your belongings from the moving vehicles, and are ready to enter your new place of residence. This is a big step, so take the time to feel your emotions and process the change. Having someone close with you at this time would be ideal, helping you move in, set up, and settle in. Here are some things to keep in mind as you get ready to start a new life.
1. Create Your New Happy Place
Settling in can take a while, but one way to get going is to unpack all your essentials as soon as you get to your new residence. It will create a sense of familiarity right away and make you feel comfortable in the new environment. Put your clothes in the closet and drawers in a way you like, set up your kitchen tools all over the kitchen counter. Arrange your furniture around the house. Once you’ve covered the main items, you can relax. Then, take your time to add decor to the space.
2. Set Realistic Expectations
Even if you are independent and are used to doing things all on your own, adjusting to a new city and home will take time. Don’t expect to have everything figured out in the first week itself. It’ll take a month or two to get acquainted with the neighborhood, public transport system, street names and directions, and all the landmarks. Give yourself time.
3. Get to Know Your City
Now that you’re here, you’re going to need to get around and find out where all your essential services are, like public transit stations and stops, dry cleaners, grocers, hardware stores and so on. The best way to know a city is to get on a bus and get around! Carry a map (or Google Maps on our smartphone) and discover the nooks and crannies of your new home. Read blogs by the locals and check out social events.
4. Time to Explore
Ask around for good recommendations for food, recreation, and entertainment. Try out new activities and workshops in your area. Get the local events on your calendar and see what’s popular there. Take yourself out for a meal to a restaurant or stroll in the park. Soak in the atmosphere as much as possible. It’s a great way to meet new people, have fun and let loose after a tiring week of work.
5. Meet the Neighborhood
Neighbors are the best keepers of plants, pets, and posts if you need to travel. It’s always handy to have a good rapport with your neighbors, so introduce yourself to the neighborhood. You could go door-to-door or invite some people over for a meal or drinks. Now, not everyone may be a friendly neighbor. That’s okay – get to know them anyway. Make your presence felt in the neighborhood and participate in joint activities to feel like you belong in the community.
6. Set a Routine
An excellent way to settle into a new city is to create a morning routine that kicks off your day on a positive note. A morning run or walking your dog is a great start to a day, followed by breakfast at a cafe or a yoga class. You can mix and match activities to your taste. No matter how the day pans out, you know the next one will start positively and bring you comfort. Knowing what comes next is a great source of comfort in a new environment and can keep your morale high, especially when you’re struggling to fit in or find your way.
7. Stay Connected with Old Friends
When you are in a new environment, the old one often becomes out-of-sight-out-of-mind. While this could be good in the case of detachment and calling a new place’ home’, it could work against you when it comes to your social life. Don’t forget your friends and loved ones from the old neighborhood. You never know when they drop by your city and want to hang out. And if you don’t make new friends right away, your old friends will always be there to keep you company. Stay involved in their lives while involving them in yours.
Confirm transport (make sure the movers are on time or your car is filled with gas beforehand)
Keep a checklist of moving items and check them on arrival at the new residence
Inform your real estate agent or landlord of your estimated time of arrival
Tune in to the weather forecast for the week and anticipate traffic delays
Ask a friend to join you on the trip for support
Carry extra bottles of water and some snacks for the ride
Prepare an emergency bag with toiletries, medicine, and a change of clothing
Map out the drive beforehand, with pit stops and gas stations marked out
While moving to a new city feels like the end of an era and the start of a new chapter, it doesn’t have to be as gargantuan a transition as it seems to be. With a little planning, organization, and help from loved ones, you will be able to start a new life with confidence, hope, and excitement.
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.