One of the biggest hassles when making a short-term move is coordinating everyday logistics.
Should you update your address with your bank? Does your voter registration change? Your tax obligations?
These are tricky questions, and sometimes the answer is an always-frustrating “it depends.”
So, we’ve put together a guide to help you keep track of what address you should write down where.
First Steps: Stop Subscriptions and Bills That Go to Your Old Address
Your first move should be to cancel or reroute any subscriptions, regular deliveries and bills that are sent to you monthly.
Start with the utilities bills, the team at Zillow says. “Arrange for the utilities at your old home to be disconnected on moving day, and have them reconnected at your new residence by the time you move in,” they write. This includes electricity, gas, water, phone services, cable, Internet, and recycling and waste collection.
Next, make sure any service or publication that sends you things regularly has your new address. This includes everything from magazines to wine subscriptions to that recurring Amazon Prime dog food order.
Finally, take a moment during these updates to digitize as much of your payment information as possible. If you’re mailing a check to your water company, for example, look into whether that utility offers paperless billing so you can handle contact info and payments all online. This will save you work later when you move again.
What If You Need a Different Place to Receive Mail Temporarily?
In month to month apartments or short stays at a friend’s place, it’s not always convenient to receive mail there. Fortunately, there are options for having your mail sent elsewhere, and then you can have things forwarded onto you later, digitized and emailed to you, or held so you can pick up mail at your convenience.
The option most people will be familiar with is a P.O box. This is a useful thing to have if you are preparing to have a couple of short-term homes in the near future. You can open a P.O. box at most U.S. Post Office locations, and it will serve as a useful collection point through which all of your mail filters.
In fact, Lucas Hall at Landlordology advises landlords to recommend P.O. boxes to short-term tenants. “Notifying everyone, mainly employers, all recurring bills, stock and retirement accounts, insurances, and friends/family, of their new address is a hassle,” he says.
“… A P.O. Box will save them from having to change their address yet again in a few weeks/months.”
Expect to pay around $80 per year for a P.O. box.
UPS Store Mailboxes
Some things cannot be sent to a P.O. box, however. That’s why it might be useful to look into a personal mailbox from UPS’s Mail Boxes Etc. service. If you’re a business owner, for example, and you used your former residence as your business address, this would be a good option for you.
Further, UPS Store mailboxes will let you receive packages from all carriers, they will forward receivables onto another address when you need it, and they can hold your mail for extended periods if you need that, too. Most locations are open 24 hours per day, also, which is helpful.
Once you have a P.O. box or alternative mailbox set up, you can have any mail sent to your previous address forwarded on. This helps you tie up loose ends and ensures you get mail from people whom you might not have thought to send an updated address to.
This is an essential step for anyone who has to move out of state, she writes. “Since you may not have an exact location where you may be living, you will have to estimate what post office is best suited for you, which may be closest to your new job. You can download the application ahead of time to open up the post office box and take it with you to your current post office. You must bring with you two forms of identification. You may have to mail your rental fee to the new post office and you can get that address from your current post office.”
“Once you turn in your application and show your identification, the post office has three days to verify your credentials. At that point, someone from the post office should call you to let you know that you have your post office box. If you do not receive the phone call in three business days, I suggest you go back to your post office and speak to them. They may be able to look into it and expedite matters.”
The same sort of process is likely available for other mailbox options, such as a UPS Store mailbox, when moving out of state.
Additionally, traveling couple Sean and Jen at Venturists recommend setting up a whole new email inbox, then find a mail scanning service that will receive your paper mail, scan it and then email you the contents. That way, you can receive mail wherever in the world life takes you.
There are a number of mail scanning services available, including:
Which Organizations Need to be Notified Now?
If you don’t need a temporary mailing address, then you can simply update your mailing address with the U.S. Postal Service.
Once that’s done, Jessica Ryan at My Moving Reviews recommends looking into the following to see what needs to be updated:
- Your driver’s license — Some states require that this be updated within 30 days of moving to a new address.
- Your car’s registration
- Your insurance policies — This will also help you identify nearby in-network care providers.
- Your medical records
- Your child’s school records
Useful Workarounds When Someone Needs Your ‘Permanent’ Address
If you are staying with a family member or embarking on long-term travel, you might not have a sufficiently permanent address for the records listed above. This is definitely the case for Jenny Lachs, a long-term traveler who writes at Square Hippie.
Lachs says that when something calls for a “permanent” address (such as a tax form), you have a couple of options:
- List the address of a family member or friend who isn’t likely to move anytime soon.
- List a business address. You can rent one for a small monthly fee at a co-working space, and it should pass scrutiny when a P.O. box won’t do the trick.
When You Move Into a More Permanent Home
Finally, when it is time to settle into a home where you plan to stay for the long-term, you can begin to reach out to people who might need your new address. This includes everyone mentioned above, plus the people who will mail you less regularly: distant relatives, employers, clubs you might belong to, holiday card lists, etc.
The Allstate team has a helpful, printable checklist of everyone to keep in mind once you get settled in. Bookmark that one for now so you can have it ready when you eventually need it.
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