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Tips on Moving Out of State

The moving process can be stressful. From packing your belongings to starting a new job, preparing for life in a new state can feel overwhelming.

Fortunately, a bit of planning and organization can do wonders for your stress levels. Taking care of these tasks can help smooth the transition.

Mom and dad with two daughters holding boxes well walking into their new home.

1) Make a Plan

Planning ahead is key to a successful interstate move. Start by:

  • Creating a moving budget
  • Researching the cost and timeline of different moving companies and services
  • Looking into packing and storage options, such as storage units or portable storage containers
  • Drafting a moving timeline, populated with important tasks
  • Noting which friends and family may be willing to help

2) Get Organized

Create a binder that contains all moving information and documents in one place such as:

  • Your moving checklist
  • Quotes and estimates
  • Invoices and receipts
  • Contracts
  • Contact information and addresses
  • Itineraries
  • Medical or school records (if applicable)

Just be sure you don't pack your binder into a moving box. It should stay with you during all steps of the move, so you always have the information you need at your fingertips.

3) Reduce Your Packing Burden

Before you hire a moving company, pare down your belongings. After all, many movers charge by weight when moving items from state to state. Why pay to move things that you no longer want or need?

A move can be an ideal time to go through your home room-by-room and clear away clutter. Separate your belongings into four categories:

  • Keep
  • Sell
  • Donate
  • Dispose

Selling items you no longer need, use, or have room for at a yard sale or online can offer an added benefit: extra money to help pay for the move. Donate items to charity, or give things away to friends and family. Finally, dispose of anything that's not useable.

Once you've pared down, you can create a moving inventory list.

4) Secure a Reputable Mover

Now that you have an idea of the scale of your move, use your inventory list to obtain accurate estimates from moving companies. Interstate moves are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; the law requires a mover to provide you with either a written estimate of all expenses or a guarantee of total charges.

When selecting a mover watch out for these red flags, and avoid movers who:

  • Provide an estimate over the phone or online, without seeing your items
  • Demand cash or a major deposit before the move
  • Don't give you a written estimate
  • Want you to sign incomplete documents
  • Don't provide information about their company's registration or insurance
  • Use generic trucks or doesn't have a valid website, office, or warehouse

5) Handle Addresses, Registrations, and Memberships

Moving to a new state involves lots of easy-to-overlook steps that are, nonetheless, important pieces in the relocation process. Start by submitting a change of address form to the U.S. Postal Service. You can choose a start date for mail forwarding.

Cancel any memberships at gyms or other local organizations. If you have children attending school, contact current and new schools to determine which records they need.

Contact your utility companies and let them know a shut-off date. Similarly, contact the utility companies in your new home and set up a start date. You may need to consider gas, sewer, water, trash pickup, recycle, electricity, cable, and phone service.

Moving from state to state involves many moving parts. Take care of these five tasks to help ensure a smooth move.

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