Planning a Cross-Country Move

New jobs can bring new opportunities, new salaries, new apartments and even new states.  When life is telling you to pack your things and make a big move, plan on making preparations of equal measure. Here are a few tips of the trade from your friends at Move For Free.

How
Unfortunately, all of the things you’ve slowly accumulated through the years won’t fit nicely into the back seat, trunk or on the roof of your sedan. Moving can be a stressful, tedious and time-consuming ordeal, especially with poor planning. Whether it’s by box, bag, POD, truck or mail, your things will have to get to your new place. Choosing your medium is the first step. After you’ve taken an inventory of the items making the trip, choose the best option for safely getting them from point A to point B. Compare sizes and prices on self-service moving trucks, hiring professional movers, using a move/store service like PODS or UNITS or simply taking several trips back and forth (truck owners may compare bed space vs. cost of gasoline).

*If your current job is sending you cross-country to another office or branch, the company generally picks up the tab. Unfortunately for most, landing a brand new job out of state rarely includes a free move.

*Some apartment locator services will comp a percentage of your long-distance move.

When
A common mistake when moving long distances is trying to do too much at once. Very little is more stressful than trying to cram a huge to-do list into a tiny time window. While it’s tempting to finish your move in as few long road trips as possible, it’s better to overestimate the amount of time and trips you think you’ll need. Keeping to this idea, don’t give yourself too small of a moving window. Play it safe, and allow yourself at least two weeks between when you start moving and when you need to be out of your old place.

Where
If you’re starting in L.A. and ending up in Connecticut, an important thing to keep in mind is the climate. It may be sunbathing weather on the west coast but, in the rest of the world, jackets are necessary. Make sure that you check the weather of your final destination and pack and dress accordingly. This also comes in handy when packing cleaning supplies. If you’re going to be dealing with muddy footprints from snow or rain, make sure you brought everything you need to clean them up afterwards.

Family and Pets
Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Sound like a fun trip? Of course not. If your family includes young children who aren’t big enough to help out, leave the rascals at grandma and grandpa’s house until the final trip. This same principle applies to pets. They may love car rides, but keeping an eye on them can get tricky during the back and forth trips from the car to your new house. If you live close to family, you can rely on them as cost-free babysitters or house sitters while you’re gone. If you choose to bring your pets instead of leaving them with friends or boarding them, make sure you pack bottled water, a bowl, their leash and plastic bags to clean up after them at rest stops.

An awful lot goes into starting in a new place, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Plan ahead, allow yourself plenty of moving time and don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help with your little ones (furry or otherwise). With proper forethought, moving can be nothing more than the first chapter in your new life. Keep a positive attitude, remember to have fun, and don’t forget to change your address with the USPS!