The Ultimate Moving To-Do List for Your Cross Country Relocation

September 22, 2020

You probably know that you need a thorough moving to-do list when relocating, but how to know which one is the right one? Who can know better than experienced cross country movers? Even though moving state to state can be exhausting, it is possible to have a relaxed and stress-free experience. The key to that is the right organization. We’re here to help you with that.

Every cross country moving asks for a lot of preparation and time. That’s why a good list of things to do when moving can help with these numerous tasks. If you haven’t moved before, you might find all of this too difficult and unknown, and you might require more help than someone who has already moved around the country. Whatever might be the case, don’t stress. We adapted this moving to-do list to all of you who want to avoid the chaos during the whole process.

The Right Moving To-Do List Starts Eight Weeks Before the Big Day

If you want to be fully prepared to do everything with no hurry and pressure, it would be ideal to start at least eight weeks or two months before the big day comes. Why start so early? If you think that relocation takes just a few days, you’re too optimistic. Moving cross country or international shipping of your belongings takes a lot of time because there are tasks that have to be done well in advance. That’s why you need to:

  • Be sure that your new home is a good fit – If you have a chance, visit the place you’re relocating to. Check out the neighborhood, see what commuting will be like, and how close are the shops and supermarkets. If you’re moving with kids, you should see the ratings of nearby schools and the overall level of safety.
  • Decide whether you will move yourself or need help from a professional relocation company – This is important because of your finances. Long-distance moving can be quite expensive, but doing everything by yourself is very demanding, and the chances of something going wrong are high. There can also be some unexpected costs. Whichever option you choose, prepare for a long ride.
  • Create a moving budget – Once you have made up your mind about whether you will be hiring state to state movers, you can calculate how much your move will cost. Contact reputable companies to get an idea of how much you have to save to pay for their services, or call companies that rent trucks and ask for prices.
  • Look for employment opportunities – Unless you’re relocating because you’ve got a new job, learn how to get a job before you move. Start networking as soon as possible and update your resume.
  • Cancel your memberships and subscriptions or transfer them – If you have memberships that are automatically updated, it’s good to cancel or transfer them more than one month before, so you don’t end up in a situation where you’re being charged for something you won’t be using.
  • Transfer your health records – Go to your doctors and dentists and see if there is any form that you have to fill out to get a copy of your records, or they can just transfer them to your new location. You should also pick a doctor in the state you’re relocating to.
  • Contact your insurance provider – If you can stay with the same provider, that’s great. In case you have to change it, choose another one in the new location. Call your current agent and see if any policies have to be updated.
  • Notify your landlord – In case you’re renting the place you’re living in, tell your landlord that you will be leaving and give them an estimate when will that happen.
  • Go through your place and start looking at what you don’t need anymore. Single out those things and separate them into categories. Gently used stuff can be donated to charities or sold online. Another option is to organize a garage sale and earn some money. The stuff that is not in good condition should just be thrown away.
A person holding papers with wear, donate, and throw away signs
Follow the checklist and begin preparing as early as possible.

A Checklist of What Should You Do Six to Four Weeks Before the Move

Once you get rid of things you don’t need and finish most of the paperwork, it’s time to focus on yourself and your belongings. Gather boxes and packing supplies and learn how to pack clothes for moving or how the packaging of fragile items is done. There are many tips online, so look up some tutorials, or ask someone with experience of relocating. Make sure to get a lot of packing supplies, even more than you estimate, just in case. An extra box is not a big deal, but it could be a problem if you have a shortage.

This is the perfect time to create a household inventory list. This will give you a better idea of what you’re taking, so nothing gets lost or misplaced during the move. It can also help you with getting a quote from a company. Write down everything by rooms, and don’t forget to add the quantity as well.

Now you can also see what are the infrequently used things that you want to relocate and pack. Whatever you decide to pack, make sure you label each box in a way you find most convenient, but don’t seal it up in case you need something.

It can happen that the home you’re relocating to isn’t available at the time when you’re arriving – if that’s the case, find a good storage unit. A professional cross country moving company can offer you to use their high-end storage for one month, free of charge.

Next on the Moving List of Things to Do Is to Cancel Your Utilities

Call the company that provides you with electricity, cable, water, internet, gas, etc., and give them a heads up that you will be relocating. Set up a date when you will cancel the service and research the utility service providers in your new area. Contact them and schedule installation dates so that you can have electricity turned on before you relocate.

Change Your Address Six Weeks or a Month Before You Move

Another task on the moving list of things to do is changing your postal address. Here’s how it can be done via the US Postal Service’s Website:

You will find the button that says “change the address” – click it and fill out the form that shows up. You will get to choose when you want to start forwarding your mail to your new address. Provide them with your new permanent address and some proof of identity. Fill out your credit card number, and they will charge you one dollar.

If You Opted for Professional Moving Help, You Should Book the Service Right Away

Cross country relocation companies have busy schedules, so if you wish for them to help you out, book the date of your move during this period. In case you’re relocating on a budget, avoid the moving season from May to September because that’s when the prices are higher. Keep in mind that relocating on weekends and holidays is a pricey option, or sometimes not an option at all. If you don’t care about the cost of your move, just be sure you’ve found a reputable company that will handle each box with care and expertise. They can also provide you with a full packing service if you don’t want to do it yourself or you’re in a hurry. In that scenario, you won’t have to lift one box – the experienced team will do all the work.

Two movers carrying boxes
Professional cross country movers will take a lot of worries off your shoulders

Pets Find Relocation Stressful as Well, So Preparing Them Should Be on Your Moving To-Do List

Your furry roommates are going through a lot of changes during this period that they can’t understand, so try to make it easier for them. In case you’re moving with pets, there are some things you have to take care of after you find out that you can bring them to your new location.

  • Since they will be in a cage or a carrier during the travel, start getting them used to it. You can bring a bit of their food and water inside, or some of their favorite toys.
  • Visit a vet and request a full checkup
  • Get their documents, health records, and a moving permit

After that, the only thing left on the list of things to do when moving is to pack them a bag with essentials a few days before the move and to give them less food and water a day before.

A family relocating with their dog
Help your pet to overcome long-distance moving

A Two Week Before Checklist: Plan Your Meals, Pack the Rest of Your Household Items, and Clean the Old Place

If you don’t want to leave any waste, plan your diet for the last two weeks before the relocation date. The ideal scenario is that there’s no food going to waste, so if you don’t eat everything you have, you can give it to food banks or make dinner for a lot of people.

As the relocation day approaches, you can pack more and more items, leaving just the bag with moving essentials such as the change of clothes for a few days, toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, and other hygiene products.

If you decided to relocate by yourself, figure a way to handle all the bulky pieces of furniture that have to be disassembled. Your electronics and other fragile items can also be packed by now. One of the great tips is to take pictures of the cables behind your devices before you unplug them so that you can plug them back in easily when you arrive in your new home.

You can also start to clean as you pack more and more things. Do a deep cleaning of everything, vacuum and dust the place, wipe the floors, and scrub the bathroom. This is an integral part of the to-do list for moving because you will avoid risking your security deposit or a cleaning fee.

Planning on Getting Car Shipping Services?

This is the timing in case you wanted to get auto transport as well. Usually, a good car shipping company needs a couple of days to pick up your vehicle, so calling them and booking two weeks in advance is perfect. Learn how to prepare the car for shipping, and don’t forget that you will need a new driver’s license in another state.

What Is Left for the Last Several Days?

Since most of the tasks on the list of things to do when moving are done, you can finish your last-minute errands such as getting prescriptions if you have any, do some more cleaning, and packing of the kitchenware. Inform the people who don’t know that you’re relocating and do the last check-up around the house before the relocation. You will probably need to defrost and empty your fridge and freezer, which takes at least 24 hours, so do it on time. Once you empty the place, take photos or a video to show that there’s no damage and that the house or the apartment is in move-out condition.

More Tips for a Week Before the Moving Day

If you wish to travel a bit before reaching the final destination, you can make your plans now. Take out the map and plan the route you will take. You can also create a relocation playlist of the music you love to make this trip more fun. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast and see what you can expect.

A checklist with a house
Your moving to-do checklist is finally coming to an end.

Enjoy Your Relaxed Relocation Day

Ticking off everything on the moving list of things to do will leave you with only packing a suitcase of essentials and getting cash for tipping your long distance movers. Keep your inventory checklist with you at all times and follow it while you load the boxes and other things in the truck. Hand over the keys of your now-former home, keep some snacks and water with you and hit the road. Share this list of things to do when moving with your friends and family if you found it helpful.

Eleanor Stewart