A cross-country move can fuel your family's stress level. But it doesn't have to. With some careful planning and strategic prep-work, you can take the anxiety out of a long-distance haul. Before you start boxing and bagging your belongings, take a look at the top tips for saving time, money, and your sanity.
Take Your Time
Plan ahead for your long-distance move. Provided that this isn't an impromptu move, start the planning process at least three months ahead of time. This gives you the chance to connect with a moving company that meets your needs (and your budget) and has the time to move your belongings. Waiting until the last minute may limit your options, leaving you to choose whichever company can accommodate your cross-country dates.
Downsize and Donate
Moving across the country can get costly - especially if you have an excessive amount of furniture, boxes, and belongings. The less stuff you have, the less you're likely to pay. Not only can bringing less with you save your overall moving budget, but it streamlines the process. With a lighter load, you can more efficiently pack, keep track of, and unpack your belongings.
Again, start this process early. Ideally, you'll begin to downsize three months prior to your target move date. Begin by taking a home inventory. Use a spreadsheet or inventory/moving app to list all the major items/groups of items in your home. Review the list and decide what you don't need. Consider getting rid of older or worn furniture that you'd rather replace when you decorate your new home.
Leaving behind heavy appliances, such as refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines, can make a major difference in your moving costs. These items can also add to your overall home sales value, scoring you more money before the move. If the buyers don't want the appliances or the appliances are worn, selling them as-is or having them hauled may save you money in the long run.
After reviewing major household items, decide what smaller belongings you can remove. Coordinate this whole-home purge with your garbage day, or hire a hauling company to take everything away. Items that are still usable can go to charity. If you're short on cash, hold a yard sale or sell the items online.
Accidents happen. A cross-country move provides plenty of opportunities for expensive items to break or disappear. Instead of ending up with a costly surprise, insure your valuables prior to the moving date. While this may add an extra cost onto your move, the peace of mind that it offers is priceless.
It's tempting to pack each room's items together. But this isn't always the most efficient way to move. After a long road trip, you won't want to search through boxes and bins for one set of dinner plates or a single cup. Create first-day (or first-week) boxes that include the necessities you'll want right away.
Along with packing in a time-friendly way, separate fragile items. This allows you to label breakable boxes and lets the movers know which items deserve a higher level of care.
Bring a Bag
Don't pack absolutely everything - especially if the moving company gives you a delivery window (and not a precise date). If you get to the destination a day or more before the movers, you'll need some items with you. This obviously includes clothing and hygiene products. But it may also include bed linens, towels, dishware, pet items, children's toys, or small electronics (such as your home computer).
Do you need help with your cross-country move? Contact Stuart's Moving and Storage for more information.