The Ultimate Cross Country Moving Guide
The most important part of any move, large or small, is in the preparation. Especially when undertaking a long distance move or cross country relocation, planning and organization should be top priorities on your to-do-list.
Ideally, you want to start planning for your cross country move between six and eight weeks from your target moving date. If you’re already behind schedule, don’t worry. The moving checklist below will help you catch up and make sure you’re prepared for the big move.
6-8 Weeks From Your Cross Country Moving Date
- Determine whether you can handle the move yourself or need to hire a moving company.
- Put together a file or binder to keep any moving records or receipts, including quotes or contracts from moving companies. Remember that moving costs are often tax deductible so track those expenses! Check the IRS guidelines to see what you can deduct.
- Consider whether to drive your vehicles or have them transported. There are plenty of professional services available that can transport your car, truck, boat, RV or motorcycle.
- Research your new community and keep records of your research.
- Notify all appropriate parties and contacts that you are moving.
4-6 Weeks From Your Cross Country Moving Date
- Get rid of anything you don’t need, especially for a cross country move. Yard sales and donations are generally a good way to get rid of the excess and can save you money through sales or deductions.
- Take inventory of what you will be moving. If using a moving company, take photographs for documentation.
- Measure and size your belongings. It’s a good idea to ballpark the weight if you’re using a moving company.
- Collect moving quotes if using a moving company or reserve a truck if doing it yourself.
- Gather important records, including medical and prescription drug records. Remember your local health care provider might be able to recommend someone in your new location.
- Don’t forget to consider transport and veterinary records for your pets.
- Notify any insurance or organizations of your move and transfer membership coverage if necessary.
- Think about how your belongings will fit into your new home. Drawing up a floor plan is a good idea.
- Notify any relevant financial services and institutions of your move.
- Gather legal and financial documents, which should be kept with you. For valuables and important documents, it’s a good idea to transport separately and securely.
2-4 Weeks From Your Cross Country Moving Date
- Book your move if using a company or reserve a truck if doing it yourself.
- Make arrangements to move plants and pets. Most moving companies won’t transport plants or animals.
- Collect moving supplies such as boxes, tape, blankets or anything else that may be needed.
- Start packing! You should start with stuff you won’t need during the move or right when you arrive. It’s a good idea to keep a box of essentials for things like toiletries, medication, snacks and first aid supplies to be kept with you during the move.
- Stop grocery shopping, eat what you’ve got and only buy what you need.
- Remove batteries from electronics before packing.
- Label all boxes according to where they will go in your new home. Clearly mark anything fragile or requiring special care.
- Separate valuables and important documents you will be moving yourself.
1-2 Weeks From Your Cross Country Moving Date
- Submit change of address to the U.S. Post Office, transfer any subscriptions and arrange for mail to be held if necessary.
- Notify utilities and services (water, gas & electric, trash, cable, phone, etc.) of your move and arrange a shut off date.
- Have any vehicles serviced and contact the DMV regarding your change of address.
- If you need medication during your move, make sure to contact your pharmacy with enough time to request a refill. To have your prescriptions transferred, contact your new pharmacy with the phone number of your current pharmacy.
- If moving jewelry or small valuables, a portable safe is a good idea.
- Disassemble any outdoor equipment that will be moved.
- Drain hoses, propane tanks and gasoline from lawn equipment.
- Defrost fridge and collect any tools needed for your move.
- Verify pickup and drop off times, dates and locations with moving company or truck rental.
- If using a moving company, review the bill of lading and keep a copy with you.
- Give your moving plan a final review to make sure everything is in order.
- If using a moving service, arrive at your new home before the movers so you can instruct them where to put your belongings.