Moving your home from one place to another is a big life change. Some people are good at it due to the nature of their job but for most of us it is a rare occurrence. The longer we live in one place, the more likely it is for the move to take an emotional and mental toll on us. Even before we begin the guide let us suggest taking the move as a positive sign that life is about to become more exciting and a better tomorrow awaits.
For people inexperienced at moving homes, especially large distances, keeping track of everything to do can become a real challenge. Even though we may have post-its on the fridge or files on our phone or computer to remind us to do things, it can get out of hand causing stress and anxiety.
Another major point of concern when moving your home is the safety of your household materials during loading, transport, offloading, and unpacking. Make sure to avoid common pitfalls during this stage of your move to avoid the heartbreak of seeing damaged items which had sentimental or financial value.
You’ll find many moving guides which lay out the whole process in detail. But we feel that as long as you do the essentials right, everything else will take care of itself. There isn’t any need to fret over every little thing to add to your stress, especially at a time when you’re working and preparing for a home move at the same time. You can work on some non-urgent things after you move.
So here is a guide to the big do’s of moving across state lines in the United States:
1. Evaluate Your Destination
The first task you should set about is to focus on your destination. You may have a time frame by which you have to be present at the new location and you want everything to be set up perfectly when you get there. Research the city, town or county where you’re moving to. Learn about it as much as possible.
The distance of your destination from your home is an important factor to consider. It will directly impact the moving expenses you will incur. At this stage just check how much an average moving truck based on mileage and distance will cost to drive across to the destination. This would be a rough baseline for the transport cost. If you decide to hire a truck to move your stuff, you’ll have a rough idea of how much you’re paying above cost. Negotiate and haggle the rental price it’ll be worth it.
If you have a family, you have to consider schools in the destination area. You’ll want your kids to be eligible to attend the best school so that limits your options in terms of the neighborhoods where you’ll want to settle down. Of course, if the best school is out of reach due to rent/mortgage budget constraints you can move on to targeting the next best school in the area.
Work Place Location
Then you consider another priority - the location of your work place. You’ll want your new home to be as close to it as possible to avoid commute time and expenses. If you have a job offer already you know for sure where you’ll be going every work day. If you don’t, you know the industry you work in so be sure to know which areas related businesses are located. Check out the prevailing house rents/property prices in these neighborhoods.
Although violent crime and property crime rates have been falling over the past quarter century in the US, it is still a good idea to check stats on the crime rate in your destination area. We’d recommend this action especially if you’re moving to an urban area. Better safe than sorry!
Parks, Activities, Attractions
Besides all this, you’d want to check out the popular activities in the area. Keep local attractions, outdoor adventures, entertainment venues in mind to build up excitement for your move. You need something to do on your days off, right? Think about everything you won’t be able to enjoy once you move, and do them for the last few times before you bid adieu to your current home.
2. Search for Housing
This is a no-brainer. After your initial due diligence on your destination neighborhoods, you should start exploring potential homes or apartments for moving in. You can list down the features of your current home and decide if your next abode should be more expansive, on par, or less glamorous than your current one. Property mortgage or rent prices could be significantly different, because we all know how important “location” is in real estate.
For most people, renting an apartment is a good choice. You don’t want to get locked into a mortgage plan unless you’re absolutely ready to own a house and keep up with the payments. Renting an apartment is a flexible option in case you have to move out again in a couple of years.
You need a good online resource to search for a decent place to live. When a coworker was moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin she used this Abodo search page to see a listing of the available apartments on a map of Milwaukee. Certain apartments are “verified” which means the Abodo team has checked their availability, accuracy, and legal authenticity.
She checked the apartment images, used filters to narrow down her search further, relied on user reviews and easily arranged a tour of the apartment. Now our colleague is happily residing in a spiffy apartment.
Check out Abodo to look for apartments at your new destination.
3. Order Utilities
You will want to take care of the utilities at your new place. Check with the landlord, building reception contact or real estate agent whether you need to take action to have these essentials connected to your home. You can call the local authorities to have connections set up. These utilities are easy enough to procure.
Apart from showering, cooking, cleaning, you want your new home to be a den where you can relax and unwind. That’s why you’ll need to take care to have a cable TV, internet, and phone connection set up. This is not so easy. There are so many options for triple play packages that you’ll be left wondering which one’s best for you. Local Cable Deals is a resource to help you research and order a package for cable TV, internet and phone that best fits your needs.
4. Get Rid of Unused Stuff
Don’t be a hoarder. Let go of things you don’t need and use. Have a yard sale to make some extra cash for your moving expense and declutter your home at the same time. Anything you sell you can buy again later on a need basis.
You can also list items on Craigslist, eBay etc., to hasten the decluttering process.
5. DIY or Hire Movers
If you enjoy physical work around the house, have experience with packaging, and help from house mates/family members in doing the packing, then it makes sense to save money and do it yourself. Just make sure to start way ahead of time because all of us have the tendency to slack.
However, if your budget allows such a service, hiring professional packing and moving firms is a great way to ease the transition from one place to another. You just supervise to make sure everything’s being packed properly and loaded safely. You can concentrate on taking care of things other than packing with the time you save.
It’s a good idea to get movers insurance as well!
6. Maintain Item Log
You should record everything that goes into a box, number it and label it by room (e.g. 3 lamps, living room, box 5). Keep a record on a spreadsheet or a phone app. Mark boxes with the corresponding numbers and rooms. It’ll make your job easier when you are unpacking later. It will also allow you to claim any missing boxes after transport.
Make sure to have a nice big “FRAGILE” label on any boxes containing sensitive and expensive items. If you have a fancy piano, it’s best to have it moved by specialists with experience. You can even use the fragile tag for TV’s, electronics and crockery.
7. Leave It Clean
You want to find your new house or apartment in a livable, clean state. That’s how you should leave your current home. So get to cleaning only after you’ve managed to pack and ship most of your stuff.
If something around the home is broken which is your responsibility to fix, don’t leave without doing your bit.
8. Grab the Essentials
In all the hectic packing and moving, the last thing you want to do is lose any important documents. Make a file or folder to keep all the important documents safe. Carry them on your person during the move. Place the documents in a locker or safe when you get to your new place.
Besides this you need toiletries, food, bed sheets, and clothes to sustain you for a few days before you get your new crib decked out to be comfortable and unpacked.
9. Update Your Address Officially
Contact all relevant organizations, institutions and government offices to update your address. You may be under a legal obligation to do so within a certain amount of time.
10. Unpack and Settle In
It may be tempting to leave unpacked boxes lying around for weeks after moving. You’ll feel so much better if you consistently unpack at your new home, whenever you get the chance. Deciding what should go where in the new space could be tricky but it’s also fun!
Remember, your move is only truly finished when you unpack fully. So conquer your procrastination and spruce up your new home with all your belongings.
That’s the gist of it. We hope your move goes smoothly. Enjoy your new home and best of luck for a new life in a new state!