How to Move Across the Country
When you’ve decided to move across the country, it’s an exciting time. Your imminent move will lead to so many new opportunities and changes. We can’t wait for you to have the chance! But when you’re getting ready to move, you may also find there are a lot of challenges for the actual moving process. How do you get all of your stuff from where you are now to the opposite coast?
Moving across the country can be an overwhelming task. But with the right strategies in place, you’ll find it’s a very doable process, and you’ll be enjoying yourself in your new home in no time. These are our best tips for how to move across the country—as efficiently and affordably as possible.
Prepping for Your Move
Before you pack a single box or hire a mover, you should be prepping for your move. These are some of the most important steps to help you pre for your big move.
Make a Plan as Soon as Possible
As soon as you know you’re going to move, you should start planning—even if it’s really far in advance. Moving can be a time consuming process, so the more time you have to do it, the better off you’ll be. So as soon as that job lines up or the perfect house falls into place, start making your moving plan.
Downsize as Much as You Can
One of the biggest challenges of moving is the sheer amount of stuff most people own. Let’s face it: however long we’ve lived somewhere, we’ve accumulated a lot of *things*. So look at a big move as a great way to downsize and get back to the essentials.
What should you get rid of? The short answer is anything you don’t need. Most of what you own is honestly replaceable. Yes, even that super cheap couch you found at a yardsale. There will be more couches and more opportunities to get good deals on furniture and clothing. Try to sell as much of your furniture as you can—especially any furniture you could easily purchase at your new place. That may include your mattress. Those can be big and heavy, and you can easily get a new mattress in a box.
Craigslist is a great way to get rid of furniture quickly, but you could also hold a yard sale if your circumstances allow for that. To get rid of other things, you can donate, hold a yard sale, or even just let your friends come through and take what they want. After all, you probably know a few people who’d be happy to take some clothing, dishes, or throw pillows off your hands with very little hassle.
Pick the Right Time
There is a time and place for everything, including moving across the country. Most people end up moving in the summer to try and get settled before the school year. If most people are moving in the summer, it means prices go up during the summer. So if you can help it, try moving during a different time of the year to get better deals, find moving supplies easier, and avoid having yard sales with everyone on your block.
Of course you may not be able to control when you’re moving, but you can still research the best moment during that season to move for your area.
Organize and Pack Right
Packing is an extensive part of moving, but doing it right can save you so much time on the flip side. Before you pack, try to get boxes as cheaply as possible. Why buy them all? Instead, ask around for boxes, including at some of your local stores. There are stores that will give away the boxes food was shipped in. You may also have a neighbor or friend who recently moved who would love to declutter their house and give you supplies.
Once you have your boxes, create a plan for packing. Take an inventory of everything you’re going to move and mark which box that item will be packed into. That way instead of just wondering where the strainer is, you can check your inventory and find the right box quickly when you’re unpacking your kitchen. Organize what you’re packing as you pack it. That way it’ll be organized when you pull it all back out.
Determining How You’ll Move
Once you have your boxes and have downsized a lot, what’s next? You need to figure out how you’ll get those boxes and your possessions to the other side of the country. There are a few ways to do it, so you’ll just want to weigh the costs and pick the right one for your situation.
Moving It Yourself
One of the cheapest ways to move is to move all your stuff yourself. You can rent a trailer or a truck and haul everything from one side of the country to the other. To make this option work, you’ll probably need to seriously downsize. Because unless you’re planning on driving across the country a few times, you only have one shot to move everything. You’ll also want to shop around to find the best trailers or trucks to rent for the best prices (and ease of returning on the other side of the country). But with some companies offering as low as $15 a day, moving your belongings yourself can be a budget friendly way to move.
Using a Professional Mover
A professional moving service is the full package: they pack up your stuff, move it across the country, and unpack it in your new place. You don’t have to worry about much more than arranging the dates and making sure the movers have access to both homes. This route is also usually the most expensive. Some large companies may offer you a relocation budget, which could make this option a possibility. You can also shop around, get quotes, and compare prices to find the best one for you.
Shipping It All
A very popular option for moving across the country is to fill a shipping container with all your belongings and then have it shipped to your new home. From there, you just unpack it all and move in. This route is particularly good if you are moving some furniture or a large amount of books. Larger and heavier items don’t fit well into a rented trailer, and they might rack up your prices with a moving company. But a shipping container could do the trick.
Overall, any of these ways are viable for moving across the country. Remember that you don’t have to choose just one. You can ship some stuff and haul some stuff yourself. Mix and match for your unique needs.
Moving Across the Country
Once you’re packed up and ready to move, it’s time to do the deed and head across the country.
Have the Essentials with You
One mistake some people make with moving is they pack *everything*. Then when you show up at your new place, you don’t have anything easily accessible to use for those first couple of days as you’re unpacking. As you move, keep essential clothing, toiletries, sleeping supplies, and even kitchen necessities with you or easily accessible.
Take Care of Yourself
Driving across the country can be exhausting. Make sure you are taking care of yourself along the way. Take breaks, stay somewhere overnight, eat well, and drink water. Don’t forget to enjoy all the sites along the way. After all, it’s not every day you get to see so much of the country.
Getting Started in Your New Home
Once you’ve made it to your new home, what’s next? Well, there’s the insane amount of unpacking that needs to happen, but is there anything else?
Use a Sublet if Necessary
If you can’t get into your new home immediately, use a sublet or temporary space to have somewhere for all your belongings to be shipped or stored. While you won’t be able to fully unpack here, it’ll be better than having your belongings shipped somewhere they can’t be yet.
Watch Shipping Dates
Pay attention to the dates your belongings will ship. It’s possible that your stuff won’t arrive right away or that it might come in waves. You can work with whatever dates you need, but keep an eye on what those dates are, so you don’t get caught off guard or without something you need ASAP.
Buy New Stuff
Once you’re in your new home, it’s time to move in and to buy new stuff to replace what you downsized. Scour the yard sales and thrift stores for killer deals on everything you’ll need to fill your new home. Get a new mattress in a box shipped right to your front door from Simmons. Find old couches with character or a whole new set of throw pillows.
Moving across the country can be both daunting and thrilling. Hopefully these tips have given you a solid plan for moving forward with your big move. Soon you’ll be moving across the country with minimal frustration.