Whether it’s to the next state over or across the country, long distance moves can be incredibly stressful! From packing up all your beloved belongings to finding a new school for your kids, the list can seem endless at times.
However daunting the tasks ahead may seem, they’re not impossible!
Moving is done everyday and you would be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t dealt with the chaos of relocating. The best way to tackle a move is with proper planning, a great deal of organization, and breaking down tasks into more manageable parts.
Here are top tips from moving experts that will make your move as easy and stress-free as possible.
Create a Plan
Moving long distance is an undertaking that requires planning. As soon as you know you have to move start by writing down every task you need to do – no matter how small it may seem. This includes decluttering, packing, securing a truck or moving company.
If you can think it, write it down! You’d be surprised what you forget to do when you have a lot of moving parts. Once you have your list of things to do, prioritize and schedule them.
Experts suggest 12 to 16 weeks of preparation time for a long distance move. But it’s not impossible to do it in a shorter time if needed. Assess your list of tasks and identify “must do” items versus “should do” items.
You have willing family members, delegate tasks to them like helping you organize or dropping off donated items at Goodwill.
Many professional moving companies also provide packing services that can take the stress out of your schedule as well so you can focus on the most important tasks at hand.
Create Your Long Distance Moving Budget
Moving can be expensive, especially when moving long distances. You’re going to incur costs on everything from boxes and packing materials to renting a moving truck or hiring professional movers.
If you’re relocating for a job, ask your new employer if they offer relocation assistance for staff that is moving long distances. If not, and you’re on your own, you’ll need to determine how much help you can actually afford.
This will help determine the route you go down: DIY move or hiring professional movers.
Decide How To Move
Figuring out how to get your things from point A to point B is one of the first things you should think about. While doing all the heavy lifting yourself is easier on your wallet it’s time-consuming and can take a physical toll.
Professional long distance movers take care of all the details and logistics but can be expensive.
If you have a small budget or your new job isn’t willing to foot the bill, take a look at your plan and see what you can do yourself to lower the cost. You can find free boxes and packing materials in online yard sales from people who already moved or from local businesses such as bookstores or furniture stores.
Pack all your belongings yourself, or gather friends and family to have a packing party. If you can DIY some of your long distance moving tasks you’ll free-up more room in your budget to hire professional movers to do the heavy lifting, which can be incredibly helpful in the long-run.
Get In-Home Estimates from Professional Movers
If you decide to invest in professional reside movers, it’s time to get estimates. Get at least 3 in-home moving estimates from different companies. It’s recommended to schedule these at least 4 weeks in advance of your move.
This ensures you have enough time to get onto your mover’s schedule. It also gives you an idea of what you’re looking at for the cost of the move and if you can afford it.
Reliable moving companies should always come to your current home and assess your belongings to provide you with an accurate quote. If a moving company tries to give you a binding estimate online or over the phone, this is usually a red flag that you aren’t dealing with the most reliable company.
Virtual estimates are inaccurate and don’t give you or your company a full picture of the scope of your move. This may lead to extra costs once they show up on the moving day.
Get them to your home to assess your move and provide you with a quote IN WRITING.
Take Inventory of Your Belongings
Long distance moving can cause a lot of anxiety. You’re putting your entire life in the back of a truck and hoping it makes it to the other end safely. You have enough to worry about than to add making sure Grandma’s priceless antique clock isn’t forgotten.
Make a list of all your belongings.
Use it as a checklist when you arrive in your new home to ensure nothing was left behind. This list will also be useful for getting property insurance at your new home and for your professional mover’s insurance coverage.
Moving is a great time to downsize and get rid of things that you don’t need anymore. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used it or worn it in the past year, get rid of it.
Think of your move as a fresh start, where you only want to bring things that you’ll truly use and love. You don’t have to throw everything away, either. Have a yard sale to get rid of things that you don’t want anymore, or donate to a local charity.
An added bonus to downsizing is that it may lower the price of your moving estimates because you’ll be moving less stuff!
As you attack the task of packing up your belongings, try to keep everything organized. Not only will this make it easier to unpack, but your movers will be able to put each box in the exact room it’s supposed to be in.
Think of how much easier that will be for you in the end!
Pack boxes according to room or even area of the home. Label the outside of the box with this information or if you want to go an extra step you can color code labels according to the room.
It also may be helpful to add a note on the top of the box that lists out some of the items that are in it or keep an inventory list so you know what is in each box. This is useful when all you want is your coffeemaker the day after your big move, but you can’t find it in the multiple boxes label kitchen.
Pack an Essentials Bag
Getting all your belongings to your new home is only one part of the moving process. Don’t forget you are moving too! Make sure that you have everything you need with you to make the journey and the first few days easy.
Pack a bag of essentials that you’ll keep with you as you make your way to your new home. A change of clothes, chargers, medication, toiletries that will tide you over until you’re settled.
Trying to find your cell phone charger among a sea of boxes isn’t how you want to end your moving day!
Consider Moving Off-Season
If you’re flexible with your timeline, you may want to consider planning your long distance move during a less busy time of year. The peak season for moving is summer and early fall.
These times of year are the most expensive to book professional movers.
You may be able to save yourself a load of cash by planning your move in the winter months. Besides saving you money, it’ll be much easier to plan your move because moving companies are less busy.
If off-season moving isn’t an option for you, a mid-week move is typically less expensive than on the weekends.
Double-Check Your Belongings
Once you and your belongings arrive at your new home, you’ll want to double-check that everything made it. Take the inventory list that you created when you packed, and check off each item as you see it. This ensures you don’t leave anything behind.
If you do use insured professional movers, protect your items as they make the journey. Professional moving companies offer insurance coverage for damaged or lost items. Identify any missing or damaged items and reach out to your moving company for damages.
Tip Your Movers
After your professional movers have finished their job, consider tipping them as a practical way to thank them. This should be a dollar amount per hour of work they’ve completed.
You can also provide snacks and a cooler full of drinks when they arrive. Your movers are doing all the heavy lifting for you and it’s nice to show appreciation for all their hard work, as well as making your life a lot easier.
Moving is a chaotic time in anyone’s life and it’s even more complicated when you’re facing a long distance move. While you’ll have so much going on during this time, if you use the tips outlined above it’ll be easier. If you’re looking for the best and least stressful way to attack a long distance move, hiring professional movers is the way to go. You’ll save yourself both a headache and a backache!