Congratulations! You’ve just accepted a new job in another time zone. Or maybe you’ve decided to move closer to aging parents. Or maybe remote work has made it possible for you to move to a cheaper state. Whatever your reasons for an interstate move, you’ll be joining hundreds of thousands of families who pack up their belongings and head off to a new state every year.
This is the moment when you take a deep breath and look around your home and wonder: What should I take with me?
Packing up your household as-is can be cost-prohibitive. The cost of an interstate move is based on the weight of your household goods and the distance the goods will travel, so decluttering before you pack up your home can yield immediate savings.
Read on to learn how to master your move to a new state like a pro.
Packing Up Your House
Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of work a move requires. Instead, embrace the move as an opportunity to finally address the extra piles of clothes in your closet or the equipment from a hobby you no longer pursue. Hauling scuba gear to your new landlocked state may not be the wisest financial move, so selling it before you decamp can lighten your load and put more cash in your pocket.
Decluttering Small Household Goods
You may have seen the KonMari Method mentioned on TV or in design magazines. Founded by Marie Kondo, the KonMari Method begins with the premise that every item in your home should “spark joy”. With a move on your horizon, it may not be possible to hold every item in your home and ask yourself if it makes you happy. You can, however, use the other ideas from the KonMari Checklist to cut down on the clutter, starting with clothing, books, papers, mementos, or sentimental items.
Selling Larger Household Goods
Even without realizing it, you may have formed an emotional attachment to a special buffet that you purchased at an antique shop or the most comfortable couch in the world. When moving larger items in a cross-country move, shoving in a couple of couches into the back of the moving van can quickly eat up your available space. Plus, it can significantly add to the cost of the move.
Think about your move as a chance to redecorate. A sectional that fits perfectly into your current den may not be in the right configuration for your new home. Selling the larger pieces of furniture can not only free up space in the moving van but can also give you free rein to redecorate your new home.
Don’t Pack These Items
In an interstate move, for safety reasons, there are items that you simply cannot or should not pack, no matter how much bubble wrap you roll around it. These are some general examples of household goods that you’ll need to sell or dispose of before your move. For a more detailed list, see Mayflower’s extended list.
- Flammable or exploding items like fireworks, propane tanks, or weed killers
- Valuable items like family heirlooms, jewelry, or expensive musical instruments
- Financial or sensitive information like computer data, passports, or medical records
- Plants or perishable food that may not survive the move in a hot truck
Final Cleaning of Your Former Home
An interstate move can add additional stressors to the final walkthrough of your previous home or apartment. Hiring a cleaning company to do a final clean of your empty home can remove that last step from your plate, and is one less thing to worry about during an already stressful time.
Choosing a Moving Company
Moving companies fall into one of three categories. You’ll have to weigh your choices based on your time constraints, cost, convenience, and availability in your area.
- Driving Companies
- Pros- Probably the most popular and visible kind of moving company, driving companies capture the Americana spirit of setting off on the open road for a new beginning. Nation-wide rental companies like U-Haul and Penske make it easy to reserve a truck from anywhere in the country.
- Cons- You’ll need to take time off to drive your belongings to your new location, plus you’ll need to feel comfortable handling a moving van. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of gas for a truck that averages 10 miles per gallon.
- Pros- If time is a factor, you have physical limitations, or your employer is covering the cost of the move, a full-service moving company may be the best choice. A full-service moving company like Allied or North American Van Lines can pack up your home and send you on your way quickly and with reduced effort on your part.
- Cons- This is not only the most hands-off moving method, it’s also the most expensive. For a deep dive into the best full-service moving companies, go here.
- Moving Container Services
- Pros- Giving you control over the packing part of the moving process, moving container services like ABF trucking will drop off a trailer that you fill on your own. Once you’ve finished packing up the trailer, they will pick it up and their driver will deliver it to your new location. You can then travel to meet the trailer at the other end of the move.
- Cons– Do you have space in front of your old and new homes to park a semi-trailer for a week? Do you have the manpower to pack and unpack a semi-trailer by yourself? You’ll have to carefully consider these logistics if you choose a moving container service.
Navigating Your New Home
Once you’ve arrived at your new home, you look around your domain and realize….you have to unpack.
All of the tremendous effort you put into pulling up roots in your old state now needs to be focused on organizing your life in your new state. Besides unpacking the kitchen so that you can eat on real plates, there are additional steps you’ll need to take outside of your home so that you can settle into your new digs:
- Contact the utility companies to have an account opened in your name.
- Fill out change of address forms at the post office.
- Make an appointment to register your vehicles and renew your driver’s license.
- Change your address with your bank, credit card companies, and insurance providers.
- Register to vote.
- Find doctors and dentists in your new city.
The Bottom Line
Reducing your clutter and selling old sports equipment and large furniture will streamline your moving process. As you choose a moving company, you can use this life change as a chance to leave behind the old you.
Setting off for another state is an exciting adventure, and with a little planning and preparation, you can reduce the stress of moving and embrace the new opportunities waiting for you.