Long-distance moving is no easy task. Even the most organized and methodical person can start to feel overwhelmed when the tasks start to pile up, details keep surfacing, and the movers have more questions to consider. Don’t let the weight of preparation take over the excitement of your move — use our ultimate timeline for a long distance move to be sure nothing gets missed.
2 months prior to the move
- Before the packing and cleaning frenzy begins, organize all of your important documents in one place. Passports, medical records, birth certificates, insurance cards, financial records, all of it. Make sure to keep things organized for your children and pets, too
- It’s time to clean house. Organize all of your belongings into three categories: Take, Donate, Sell. This part can take a significant amount of time, especially if you have a big house — so get going early, and be honest with yourself about what you really want to take with you
- Make a list of all house maintenance that needs to be completed before your home is ready to sell or rent. Likewise, make a list of any maintenance that needs to be done in your new home and start contacting potential contractors: painters, plumbers, heating and cooling systems, carpenters, etc
- If your children are enrolling in a new school, begin the enrollment process. For private schools, this process will likely need to start a few months earlier!
1 month prior to the move
- Need storage? Now is the time to find a suitable unit to rent so it’s ready when you are. Determine whether you’ll need climate-controlled storage, 24-hour access, or extra security so you’re prepared to find what you need quickly
- One month before you move, you probably know your move-in date. That means you can begin switching over utilities, setting up cable and/or internet, and making appointments to have your current utilities switched off after you move. Make notes about who you speak to and when you set the appointments to keep everything organized and avoid double-booking yourself
- Start packing! Identify items you won’t need for the month prior to your move (think out-of-season clothing, decorations, etc.) and start packing them up. Be sure to label the boxes and leave them unsealed in case you need to add more items over the course of the month
- Once you have a decent idea of your inventory, it’s time to compare quotes and hire your long distance moving company
2-3 weeks prior to the move
- It’s time to check in on your medical needs. Transferring your records can take up to a month, so submit the necessary paperwork to your medical and dental practitioners to get things moving. Notify your insurance company of your change of address to get new cards in the mail, particularly if you’re moving to a new state. Note: you may need to change insurance companies if that is the case!
- Have your vehicles checked to be sure they will pass inspection in your new state if that is occurring? If you are moving within the same state, you may be able to change the address on your license ahead of time. Registering your vehicle typically requires going to the town clerk, but may also be possible ahead of time
- Pack! Start to include items that may be slightly inconvenient to be without — select kitchen wares, wall decorations, even some furniture can be packed at this point
1 week prior to the move
- Now the packing mode gets serious. Track down any items you’ve loaned to friends, clothing that is still at the dry cleaners, things that were sent for repair, and pack it all. Identify a “miscellany” box for all of the random things that don’t have a clear home
- Pack a travel bag with the necessities you’ll need between your old home and your new one. Keep the essentials readily available for your first night in your new home: sleeping things, bathroom essentials, and a couple changes of clothes
- Road Tripping? Make sure your car’s oil has been changed, tires have been checked, and everything is ship-shape so your interstate move goes smoothly
The day before the move
- Disassemble as much furniture as possible the day before the move and pack up any bolts or other pieces in clearly labeled bags. Make sure the movers know where each piece goes in your new home to avoid the day-after furniture shimmy
- Disconnect all of your appliances, including defrosting the refrigerator and freezer. Clean them out well!
- Double-check with your real estate agent or future landlord to be sure someone will be there to let you and the movers in when you arrive
- Load as much as you can into the car if you are driving, and be sure your tickets are ready and bags are packed if you’re flying
On moving day
- Make sure someone will be present to meet the movers, and that they know your inventory and have permission to sign official paperwork like the bill of lading
- Double, triple check every corner, closet, and cubby in the garage before handing over your keys to the real estate agent or your landlord
- Take a deep breath, and turn your eyes to the horizon. A new home awaits!
- Once your stuff arrives, do a thorough check of your inventory to make sure everything is there. Then look for damages to be noted on your bill of lading, so that you and the movers can sign off
- Do a walk-through of your new home to check that everything is in order (no leaks, fire alarms are working, etc.). If buying a home, the real estate agent will probably be present for this part
- Unpack and enjoy! We think unpacking after you move might just be the most fun part…