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Moving Cross Country: The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Wondering how to move across the country with ease? Whether you’re organizing your first move or you’re a seasoned pro, moving cross country can be overwhelming. Our ultimate moving checklist contains important details and things to do before a big move that can help create a stress-free and affordable move from beginning to end!

 

8 Weeks Before Moving Cross Country

  • Explore your new neighborhood with sources like Area Vibes and Niche, or research nearby primary and secondary schools in your new area with Great Schools.
  • Decide if you’re going to hire cross-country movers or arrange a DIY move with help from friends or family.
  • Figure out the best mode of transportation for a hassle-free move. If you decide to ship your items and fly, book your flights at least two months in advance of your moving day to take advantage of lower prices.
  • If you’re driving across the country, make sure to service your vehicles. Have a professional inspect your personal or rental vehicle, and ensure your moving truck, trailer, or moving pod is attached to your vehicle correctly.
  • Once you’ve chosen what type of move is best for you, create a moving budget. Include all moving expenses like gas, food, lodging, and cash tips for movers.
  • If you’re doing a DIY move, purchase moving items like floor mats, dollies, packing tape, and newspapers or bubble wrap.
  • Request time off from work for the move.
  • If you’re renting an apartment or house, you may need to give notice before the end of your lease. Check with your landlord to see how far in advance you need to give notice before moving.
  • Make any last minute doctor or dentist appointments for everyone, as well as any appointments for your pets. Be sure to research physicians in your new area and transfer your records.
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6 Weeks Before Moving Cross Country

  • Gather packing and moving supplies, like free boxes from grocery stores, department stores, family and friends, or online on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Nextdoor.
  • Create a checklist for moving with all your belongings—like clothes, kitchen items, or electronics—and take photos of them. This will help you keep track of everything in your home and how they should be grouped when packing.
  • Declutter your home before packing, and donate or sell your items to ease the process and create room for new items post-move. Holding a garage sale for heavy items like couches, dining tables, washers and dryers, and other bulky furniture, along with common household goods like clothes and toys, can help with this process.
  • Once you’ve tossed out any old items, start strategically packing and organizing all of the things that you don’t use or need on an everyday basis, such as art, pictures, or room decor.
  • If you’re asking friends to help you move, give them plenty of notice before your moving date and do the same with scheduling babysitters if you need help watching the kids.
  • When creating a checklist for moving, make sure you note which services need updating—like subscriptions, medical records, and more.
  • Let your current utility companies like gas, electric, and cable know when you will be leaving your home, and check with the utility companies at your new home to make sure everything will be up and running by the time you move in.
  • Set aside a few days in your schedule for friends and family who live nearby. You’ll want to have plenty of time to say goodbye before moving on to your next adventure!

4 Weeks Before Moving Cross Country

  • Pay all outstanding fines, as well as transfer or cancel any memberships that you have or want to get rid of.
  • Update your voter registration and find your new polling place.
  • Change your address for your car insurance. If you’re moving out of state, you’ll have 30 days to transfer your plates and get a new registration.
  • Use up the perishable items in your freezer, and try to make meals with pantry items to lessen your moving load.
  • If you’re planning a cross-country drive, map out your route and book hotels or an Airbnb.
  • Organize important documents like birth certificates, passports, medical records, and insurance forms in one easy-to-access folder or personal safe, and be sure to keep it with you during the move.
  • Get copies of pet records, and make sure you have their ID tags, documentation of vaccines, and registration.
  • Get a head start on cleaning up your house or apartment. If you want to get a security deposit back, you’ll need to follow the cleaning specifications in your lease.
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2 Weeks Before Moving Cross Country

  • Update your bank information, cell phone provider, and other important information with your new address.
  • Transfer and update your renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance, if necessary.
  • Keep a list of deductible moving expenses, like the paperwork from your cross-country movers, cost of the rental truck, and other moving-related receipts in one place.
  • If you’re worried you might have forgotten to change your address for something, set up your mail to forward to your new address by picking up a forwarding packet at your local Post Office or filling out the form online.
  • Research or set up trash and recycling services at your new home and cancel your current services.
  • Notify government offices like the IRS of your new address. If you’re receiving Social Security benefits, you must notify them of your new address as soon as possible.
  • If you decided to hire professional movers, get confirmation of moving details with the company.

1 Week Before Moving Cross Country

  • Grab a calendar and separate the tasks on your moving checklist between different days to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Transfer any prescriptions to a pharmacy in your new neighborhood.
  • Put together your essentials box with all of the items you’ll need for the first night in your new home.
  • Double check with your new utility companies to make sure water, electricity, cable, and internet will be up and running in your new place.
  • Remove all light bulbs from lamps you plan to move. This will save you from having broken glass in the truck or car come moving day.
  • Finalize packing glassware, like wine glasses, by paying special attention to how items are wrapped and packaged to avoid any broken glass.
  • Defrost your freezer and clean out your refrigerator. Keep any leftover food items, soda, or water in a cooler overnight to transfer on moving day.
  • You’ll want to clean your oven, microwave, sink, toilet, and other appliances the night before you move as well.
  • Withdraw cash so you can tip hired movers.
  • Drain oil and gas from any outdoor equipment you’re transporting before placing it inside for the move.

Moving Day

  • Prepare yourself for the day of the move by eating well and hydrating. Depending on the season you move, be sure to dress properly or apply sunscreen if needed.
  • Meet your professional movers or friends on time, and have a plan about what items should be prioritized for the move.
  • Clear a pathway to the front door so you or your cross-country movers can easily move boxes out of your home. Use door stops or bricks to keep the door open.
  • Make sure floors are protected as you move furniture out of your current residence.
  • Keep a first aid kit in the car or in a bag with supplies for children and pets.
  • As the final step of your moving checklist, do a final walkthrough of your old home to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.
  • Make note and take photos of any damage. Walk through your old residence with your landlord if they’re available.
  • Savor the last few hours in your old home, and look forward to your new chapter.

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Need to store your items while moving cross country? Extra Space Storage has conveniently located storage facilities throughout the nation. Find a storage unit near you!

man and woman move a chair into their living room in their new home
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