Interstate Moving: The Ultimate Checklist

You’ve got a new job or found a great deal in a new house. Now it’s time to pack up your things, gather your family, and bring everyone to a new city in another state. Moving can be exhilarating, but it can also be a significant headache.

You have to pack many boxes, do your research, prepare your new home ahead of time, and figure out how to ship your vehicle. Things can be even trickier if you attempt interstate moving, hopping the border of your current state for a new one and a new life.

Read on for an ultimate checklist of things to do so your interstate moving day goes smoothly.

Overview: Ten-Item Checklist

  • Research and Get Organized
  • Schedule the Movers
  • Figure Out School Arrangements for Your Kids
  • Set Up a Packing Strategy
  • Prepare for Moving Day
  • Finish Last-Minute Errands Before the Last Minute
  • Ensure the New House is Ready for Move-In
  • Stay on Top of Things on Moving Day
  • Get Settled in Your New Home
  • Ensure Everything with Your Old Home is Taken Care Of

Things You Need To Do Two Months Before Your Move

  • Research and Get Organized
  • Schedule the Movers
  • Figure Out School Arrangements for Your Kids
  • Set Up a Packing Strategy
  • Prepare for Moving Day

Research and Get Organized

For starters, do plenty of research and organize yourself before moving.

You should specifically research the costs associated with your new home. Nothing can get in the way of a smooth moving experience like running into unexpected expenses or capping out your moving budget. Specifically, you should research:

  • The cost of living changes you can anticipate – that’ll help you save up enough money for when you arrive
  • Tax changes for the above reasons
  • How much can you expect to pay for gas on your way to your new home

Of course, you’ll also need market research to find the perfect home for you and your family. You should plan to spend at least a few weeks finding properties, contacting rental agents, and scheduling in-person or video tours before making an offer.

Other intelligent things to research include:

  • School quality in specific neighborhoods
  • Crime quantity in the community you may move to
  • Unique attractions or elements of specific neighborhoods
  • The ballpark cost of movers/moving equipment, like hired help, a moving truck, and a transportation solution for your vehicle(s)

The more you research, the more you’ll be prepared for your moving day.

Schedule the Movers

If you don’t want to scramble the week before moving, schedule the movers for your interstate trip ASAP. The earlier you schedule your movers, the better rates you’ll get and the more flexibility you’ll have in moving equipment (such as the vehicles available).

Note that you may only need to schedule movers if you have a lot of heavy equipment or furniture you need to load into a truck. If you can move everything yourself, consider doing so to save a bit of money, or enlist friends and family members to help you do the labor of packing everything up and unloading your stuff at your new abode.

Be sure to find local moving services by looking for factors like:

  • Low moving costs - some long-distance moving companies are much more affordable than others
  • Years of experience as professional movers or experienced in international moves
  • Registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or USDOT
  • They have well-reviewed packing services for household goods and large items like pianos

Once you find the right local movers, contact storage services if needed. Hiring movers can make your moving process stress-free or much more straightforward.

Figure Out School Arrangements for Your Kids

You’ll need to figure out their schooling arrangements before moving if you have kids. Soon-to-be-moving parents should:

  • Research individual schools in the local area. Depending on where you live, you may not have much choice regarding where your child/children can attend school. If you do have an alternative, you may wish to investigate the highest-rated option(s) available.
  • Contact schools you wish your children to attend. Getting started early is ideal since even public schools can have waiting lists, especially if they are target or charter schools.
  • Enroll your kids in those schools. This usually involves filling out paperwork and providing immunization records or other medical forms. Doing this ahead of time, again, lets your kids start school at the earliest opportunity.

Don’t forget to communicate all this information to your children. Many kids don’t like moving schools or leaving their friends behind. Emphasizing the more admirable elements of their future school, like the playground size or extracurricular activities, can help them get more invested in moving with the family.

Set Up a Packing Strategy

Here’s the truth: packing for a cross-country move is never cheap. But it can be much easier than you anticipate, especially if you set up a good packing strategy.

Generally, it’s a good idea to:

  • Pack up the loose items you rarely use first. These are items like dishes you only bring out once in a while, unused or out-of-season clothes, old knick-knacks, and decorations that don't serve any practical purpose.
  • Then pack up the more oversized items/furniture you can live without for a few weeks. Disassembling the kitchen table, for example, could be a good idea if you and your family can eat at the bar or elsewhere during the lead-up to moving day.
  • Finally, pack up everything you use in your day-to-day life the day before moving. This will take the most time and effort, but you can get it done if everyone pitches in.

Don't forget to acquire plenty of boxes, packing tape, newspaper, and bubble wrap to protect fragile items, plus other necessary supplies. Just like it's a good idea to schedule movers ahead, buying this equipment sooner rather than later is wise so you don't have to visit multiple stores to get the boxes you need.

Prepare for Moving Day

Prepping for moving day means taking care of basic errands and checklist items like:

  • Call your utility companies and inform them that you’ll be moving. You can tell utility companies to cancel your service the day after you are scheduled to move to ensure you don’t run out of electricity or phone service at an inopportune time.
  • Contacting a vehicle transportation service like Carvaygo. Carvaygo can ensure your car or truck is safely transported across state lines to your new home while you drive a moving truck or van.
  • Finalizing house sale paperwork, if necessary
  • Contacting your current home’s landlord or mortgage lender to inform them of your intent to move (which should be done as soon as you start looking for a new house)

What To Do Two Weeks Before the Move

  • Finish Last-Minute Errands Before the Last Minute
  • Ensure the New House is Ready for Move-In

Finish Last-Minute Errands Before the Last Minute

In the run-up to moving, remember to finish up some "last-minute" errands before the actual last minute. Doing this will save you significant headaches and stress on moving days.

  • Prepare and pack any items you might need but don’t use very often
  • Leave the boxes of often used items open in their rooms so you can easily retrieve them or pack them up as needed
  • Get out cleaning supplies and start deep cleaning once you remove items or pack things up. Deep cleaning can take longer than you anticipate, so the earlier you start, the better
  • Start working through food in your fridge and cabinets by eating it or disposing of it
  • Get your car serviced (if you plan to travel using your vehicle)
  • Dispose of any flammable fluids like lighter fluid, fireworks, aerosol cans, and paint

Ensure the New House is Ready for Move-In

You’ll also want to contact your new home’s owner and ensure it’s ready for you to move into. Ask whether the house is empty (or whether it will be open on time) and if there’s anything else you need to sign, do, or be aware of before you roll up to the driveway.

How To Stay on Top of Things on Moving Day

Moving day is here – it’s time to hit the ground running.

Before the Move

Spend time preparing for moving day by preparing your home and items for the interstate hop.

  • Set out clothes that are appropriate for moving. For example, if you’re moving to a very cold state or moving in winter, make sure that you keep out enough coats for everyone, so you don’t become too cold when you unload your stuff in your new house.
  • Go to bed early so you can wake up early and get on the move before significant traffic.
  • Charge up all your electronics, such as mobile phones or laptops
  • Pack a “first-night” bag. This should include toiletries and a change of clothes so that if you end up staying at a motel or sleeping on the floor of your new home on the first night, you won’t have to dig through your carefully packed boxes to get critical things
  • Prep or pack some food
  • Organize and prepare any necessary paperwork, like house paperwork

During the Move

Once on the road, turn on a podcast or your favorite tunes, and remember to stay focused. Driving on the interstate can be challenging, especially if you are stuck in the driver's seat for hours. Try to switch up driving responsibilities with other adults to stay safe.

It’s a good idea to stay in touch with your chosen interstate moving company (if applicable). Make sure the long-distance movers have the moving date and that they’ll be at your new home at the right time.

After the Move

After moving, don’t worry about unpacking everything or setting up your new house right away. Move the bare essentials into your home and place most of your boxes in the garage or living room. Then just make a bed and get a good night’s rest – you earned it.

Things You Should Do After the Move

  • Get Settled in Your New Home
  • Ensure Everything with Your Old Home is Taken Care Of

Get Settled in Your New Home

After crossing state lines and spending the first night in your new house, it’s time to get settled. For lots of movers, this is the fun part. You get to unpack everything, decide where to set up your favorite decorations, and organize your new home to your liking.

Spend time getting settled, and remember to check in with your kids about their new school. Don’t forget to send back the moving truck or van you rented (if applicable) or to take possession of your transported vehicle if you used a service like Carvaygo.

Ensure Everything with Your Old Home is Taken Care Of

As a last tip, call the person or company who took charge of your previous home and make sure everything is taken care of. This is especially important if you previously rented and want to get your security deposit back. By calling in asking if everything is well, you can make sure they don't "forget" to return your security deposit promptly. This also helps you remember to return keys or things you forgot to leave behind if needed.

What To Do Next

Congrats – you’ve accomplished an interstate move and finally made it to your new home. Now it’s time to begin unpacking everything, decorating your new house, and settling in for good. You’ll also want to inquire as to the status of your transported vehicle(s) if you used a transportation service.

You can always rest assured your vehicle will get to your new home on time and in good condition with Carvaygo. Contact Carvaygo for a long-distance moving quote and discover how easy it is to ship your car with professional interstate movers.

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