Whether it’s across the world or just a few hundred miles over state lines, long-distance moves are a lot of work. They involve more logistics and more complexity than shorter, local moves. You have to worry about the flight or long drive and the paperwork involved with establishing yourself in a new state, along with everything else. You have to make sure your things get where they need to be, frequently without you in tow. It’s a lot, even for the most organized of people.
To help, we’ve put together our most helpful long-distance moving advice. These tips will help you better manage the complicated logistics, costs and unique stressors of a long-distance move.
Give yourself as much time as possible.
A long-distance move requires a lot more steps than any other type of move. Unless you have absolutely no other choice, you should plan to give yourself at least 12 weeks of prep time for a long move. The more complex the move, the more time is needed. Three months is enough lead time for most arrangements to be made, but it can take longer with more complex international moves.
If you’re especially focused and organized, a long-distance move can be managed in as little as 8 weeks. We don’t recommend cutting it so close unless you have to, however. Give yourself enough time to deal with unexpected complications.
Create a detailed schedule and budget.
Organizing will be your best friend during a long-distance move. As soon as you know when you have to get to your new place, you should create a schedule. You’ll want to plan when you start packing and which rooms you’ll need to finish unpacking at which times. Sticking to the guidelines you set for yourself will help you avoid becoming overwhelmed. Budgeting is also important. When you’re choosing a moving company to partner with for this endeavor, make sure to get lots of estimates. Be careful to choose your mover based on value, not just the lowest estimate. If a company breaks your stuff during a move, they’ll wind up costing you more money than a better company would, regardless of how low their initial estimate was!
You want to limit the number of surprises that come your way. The best way to do that is to conduct some research. You should also determine your moving budget and plan out your payments early so you know how much your move will cost. The same goes for scheduling. The more prepared you are, the less stressful it will be when the unexpected occurs.
Hire a reputable moving company.
The best way to find a reputable moving company is by asking friends for recommendations. Ask people you trust both in your current location and the place you’re moving to. You want someone with positive online reviews who is reliable and bonded and insured. Ask potential moving companies how they determine costs, what liability insurance they provide, and if they offer workers compensation. When it comes to online reviews, it’s best to look for a wide variety. Negative reviews shouldn’t disqualify a company from consideration necessarily, especially if they’re reviewed frequently. Instead, look into how the company responds to reviewer criticism. This will give you a good idea of how well they’ll handle unexpected circumstances.
It’s an especially good idea to find companies that offer both packing and moving services for long-distance moves. Packing is one of the least predictable and often most time-consuming parts of a move. It’s very difficult for most homeowners to predict how long it will take them to pack up all their worldly belongings. In fact, it can be difficult for most homeowners to even remember just how much stuff they have! Having the responsibility of packing your things off your plate can make a big move a lot less stressful. You won’t have to worry about forgetting anything or rushing to finish packing at the last minute.
Get the exact measurements of your new home.
Knowing the exact measurements of each room in your new home will help you better plan what you will and won’t bring. If your bed won’t fit into the confines of your new space, why pay money to ship or move it there? You can use these measurements in conjunction with a room layout software to plan your new space out in advance.
This is also a good time to get rid of as many of your unneeded possessions as possible. The fewer things you keep, the fewer things you pay to move. The months before a long-distance move are a perfect time for a garage sale.
Stay on top of updating documents.
Know exactly what document updates you need to make before you move. Different states have different laws for how quickly you’ll have to update your documents. As a general rule, the best way to avoid potential legal troubles is to change them right away. This is especially important for your driver’s license and registration. Don’t forget other important updates like mail forwarding, pharmacy information and school documents for kids.
The best way to face a long-distance move is to plan for it. These tips should help you better arrange your plans and stick to them.
For everything else, give Wheaton a call. We’ve been helping people make their cross-state and cross-country moves as effortless as possible for years.