Relocating across the country can be overwhelming. It requires a higher level of organization, discipline, and patience than relocating across town (or grocery shopping with a bunch a screaming toddlers). You’ll be faced with a unique set of challenges, and you’ll want to be prepared to conquer all of them. This is an adventure; treat it as such.
“To make an end is to make a beginning”
T. S. Eliot
Sound good?? While you’re still feeling like a brave little trooper, read the following tips. They will help even the most disorganized among us to win this battle!
Eight Weeks Before the Big Day
By now you’ve found your new home and selected your kids’ new schools. You’ve started sorting, discarding, and packing. It’s time to get serious.
Locate a moving company that performs interstate moves.
This won’t be hard. Once you make your first online inquiry, you’ll be swamped with moving advertisements and emails. Narrow your choice to three, and then get estimates. Meeting with the moving reps will give you a good feel as to whether this company will be the best fit for your needs. You want a company that understands the regulations involved in moving from state to state. The company you choose should understand not only the monetary but the emotional value of your belongings. Check reviews, compare prices, and be sure that there is a contact within the company that is available to answer questions and keep you updated. Then, you can make your decision. The lowest price isn’t always the best choice.
Create a budget and try to stick to it.
This will be hard. Moving is not cheap. Many companies will “overestimate” so that you have a nice surprise when it’s time to pay the bill. But, there are no guarantees, and there are extra expenses not directly related to the moving company costs. It’s best to know how much you can spend and budget accordingly. Good luck with that. If you’re not good with this sort of budgeting, create a moving budget chart or spreadsheet to help you stay organized.
Notify your children’s current school.
It’s time to inform you children’s current school that they will be moving on. In most cases school administrators will contact the new school for enrollment protocol and record-transfer procedures.
Determine a plan for packing and storing.
Prior to packing, read our Prepping for a Move blog. And, take a quick look at some self-storage tips. You may want to use these tips for storage once you get to your new location. You can pack the items you want to store in separate boxes and containers and have the movers take them directly to your carefully chosen self-storage facility.
Four Weeks Before the Big Day
It’s time to think about changing your address, contacting the utility companies, and checking in with doctors and vets.
Change your mailing address.
You’ll want to change your address with the USPS so that your important documents and materials aren’t being sent to your old address. You can do this online or at the post office. Don’t forget to inform the banks and government institutions (like the IRS and the DMV). You should also give your friends and family your address if you really want to (the longer you wait, the longer you can keep them from visiting). If you can’t move into your home right away, you can rent a PO box temporarily.
Think about your medical and vet records.
With today’s electronic health records systems, it should be easy for your new physician to access your records. If you’re more comfortable requesting copies of your records directly from your doctor, you can do that, but there may be a charge for this service. In any case, you will have to sign a release form to have the records transferred, so you can complete that chore before moving. Don’t forget about Rover and FiFi. Pet laws vary from state to state so it’s a good idea to keep your pet’s registration and vaccination information with you throughout your move. In some states you can be fined for not having this information.
Contact utility companies.
Contact your new service providers early so that you can have your utilities activated a day or two prior to moving day. Moving in by candle light is not an option, and you don’t want to be without TV and internet. Don’t forget to schedule cancellation of your current services, but wait until the day after your move. You will need water and electricity, and you may need your internet. Your realtor should be able to provide you with utility phone numbers and information.
Two Weeks Before the Big Day
You need to confirm moving services, not only to verify information but to refresh your memory.
Confirm all moving services.
Call you moving company contact to verify pick-up time, moving services, and costs. Use your contract to confirm the information.
The Big Day
Even with your outstanding organizational skills, this will be an exhausting and emotional day. Don’t worry, you’ve got this!
Be ready for moving day.
The first thing you need to do is read our previous blog, Moving Day Made Easy. Get up and dressed early, make sure you have plenty of cash for basics and to tip the movers, and have your essentials kit packed and ready to go.
When you arrive at your new location, check that all of your belongings also arrived.
Review the moving inventory and check for lost or damaged items. The movers will have a corresponding list with everything on the truck and its original condition. If everything is in order, sign the inventory sheet and request a copy. A moving company rep should sign off on the document as well. Again, this is a hectic day, and you will probably miss something. When you notice loss or damage after the movers have gone, take pictures as evidence and file a claim. Your original contact at the company will still be able to help you.
After The Big Day
It’s time to deal with legalities.
Establish legal residency.
You need to establish legal domicile for tax and voting purposes. Check with your state agencies, as every state has different requirements to establish legal residency.
Update your driver’s license and vehicle registration.
Update this information as soon as possible. To prevent long lines, most states have online appointment scheduling available at the DMV. To apply for a driver’s license, you typically need your current license, proof of residency, and your social security card. Be sure to check your local DMV website for more information. You also need to update your vehicle’s title, registration, and license plates, and have it inspected in your new state. Don’t forget to check your auto insurance.
Now it’s time to enjoy your new home, make new friends, and explore the community. Good luck and stay tuned for more moving articles!