Moving is a challenging process if one is living alone or with a partner. There is a lot of planning, budgeting, scheduling, and hustling involved. But when you have a family, the difficulty of moving increases significantly. There is so much more to consider, regardless of the reason for the move. Moving to another home is hard enough, especially for younger children, when they are leaving the only home they have possibly ever known. But when your family has to move to another state, there is a whole heap of considerations, emotions, and things to process before the moving plan begins.
As you start planning such a move, you may realize how many considerations and decisions there actually are to make. This can be overwhelming, and if you don’t start with enough time on your hands or don’t make certain arrangements ahead of time, you will find yourself scrambling and even more stressed.
To help alleviate some of the unavoidable challenges, we have put together this comprehensive checklist of tips for moving your family to another state with the hopes that this will allow you to plan the move with sufficient time remaining, schedule things early enough to not require panic, and add a few more things to your checklist that you will be thankful you took care of ahead of time.
To adequately plan a move for your family to another state, you will realistically require a month (4 weeks). Sometimes we end up convenienced by a longer time window, and that is great, but 1 month allows a practical time period during which we can break up the necessary plan points to take care of everything without becoming overwhelmed.
Now, let’s talk about the breakdown of a set of helpful tips that will result in a lower level of stress on you and your family during the difficult process of an out-of-state move.
Four Weeks Ahead Of Moving Day
Your first, and arguably most important decision will be to decide if you will move yourself and your family independently (with the possible assistance of friends and relatives) or if you will hire a professional moving company. If your move is local, and you have enough helping hands available, you can rent a moving truck and load it up for the move. If you are moving across state lines, you are better off foregoing a DIY venture and hiring a reliable, reputable moving company.
Find And Secure A Reputable Moving Company
A move is challenging enough that you do not need to risk injury or accidental damage to your property by attempting to move things yourself. There is also the hardship of getting yourself and your family in a moving truck to a potentially distant location. The safety of your family is the top priority, which is why it’s important to consider hiring a professional moving company, especially when it is for a distant move. When you hire a moving company you are choosing to not compromise the reliability and quality of a successful move by entrusting the process to a group of professionals.
Talk With Your Children About The Move
Children who are old enough to understand moving often struggle with the idea of leaving behind the life they know, especially when it comes to leaving behind their schools and friends. That is why when you find out that you need to move, it is important to sit with your children and explain to them why you are moving and let them express their feelings.
It is important to do this in advance of the move to allow children time to process and come to terms with the idea of moving to a new home. One thing that helps, is to get the kids excited about certain aspects of your new living locations. When it comes to moving days, there will likely still be a lot of emotions, but softening the blow early on makes that impact somewhat easier.
Acquire Free Moving Boxes
Moving is seldom an inexpensive venture, even if you are being very frugal. It is important to hit the ground running in terms of cutting costs right from the start. The first method is by saving on the boxes that you will pack your old home into. You can do this by acquiring free moving boxes for your move.
While you can purchase moving boxes, which, per unit will not be expensive, typically a move requires many of these, and the costs add up quickly. You can always talk to friends in your area to see if they have any boxes they do not need on hand. You can get free boxes from sites like Craigslist or Freecycle, or hit up your local retail store as they often empty a lot of shipments and simply dispose of the boxes. Rather than bother with dealing with these, they are usually more than happy to offer them to however needs them. The same goes for home improvement stores, electronics centers, shopping centers, bookstores, liquor stores, or copy centers. Most of these places typically have boxes that are ideal in size for what you might be looking for.
Reduce How Much You Need To Pack By Decluttering
Keeping in mind that the more you have to move, the higher the costs will be as moves are typically based on the total shipment weight, it makes sense to move only those things you will actually use at your new home. There are likely many things around your home that are simply there because you don’t need to do anything with them or those that might get only seldom used. If you can declutter your home, you could potentially eliminate tons of moving costs in doing so.
Start Packing Early
There will never be a perfect time to start packing for a dreadful moving process, so the best way to alleviate rushed aggravation closer to the move, you should start packing early. There is likely a whole slew of things that you will not need to use around your home in the next month, so unless you are planning on getting rid of them in your decluttering efforts, you can pack them early on, saving yourself time and stress as the move draws near.
Encourage Your Children To Pack Their Things
If your children are old enough, they can be of great help in the packing department. Talk to your kids about getting rid of things they won’t need or no longer use, and encourage them to pack their own rooms up a little at a time. You should reassure them about how much they are helping out you and your family with the move and remind them that if they pack their things then they will know where something is if they need it.
Three Weeks Before The Move
When only three weeks remain before your move, there will still be a lot to do. Hopefully, by this point, you have secured your means of moving and set everything up. You have also hopefully begun to reduce the number of things you will bring with you, as well as getting started on the packing of those things that you will not need to use before the move. But now, you will need to ramp up the productivity and effort moving forward.
School Records’ Transfer
One thing many families caught up in the haphazardness of moves overlook is the obtaining of necessary documents that they will need from their children’s current schools in order to register the kids in their new school at the new location. This is a good thing to take care of beforehand to save yourself from scrambling later. You can contact the school and request their school records and other vital documents, or ask for them to be transferred directly to the new school if you have sorted out where that will be.
Secure School Registration At A Good School
While on the topic of schools, you will want to research the schools that your children can attend in the area to which you are moving. The research needs to explore the reviews and reputation of a particular school as we want our children to get the best education and thrive. If you know people from the area you are moving to, it’s always a good idea to get their input as they will have better knowledge of the local reputation of the school. Of course, before you actually register your children for any school, you should schedule a school tour, as well as meet with the principal and some teachers to assess your comfort and confidence level in the new school.
Vet Check-Ups For Your Pet
Our pets are a part of our family, so we want to make sure that we make necessary considerations for their needs as well. Before making a move to another state or area of the country, it’s important to schedule one last visit with your current vet to make sure everything is looking good with your pet. Moves are stressful on people, but many pet owners do not realize how stressful a change of environment is for pets. For that reason, it is also important to talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medication that your pet can use to help them manage their stress during and after the move. This would also be a good time to get all of your pet’s veterinary records so you can register them with a reputable vet office at your new location.
Arrange Method Of Moving Your Pet
Moving companies are not allowed to transport pets, which makes it doubly burdensome for families to have to make arrangements for transporting their pets to a new place. So if you are moving with a pet, especially a cat or a dog, it is important to figure out the transport arrangements that will be reasonable for you and the least stressful for them. You can either take your pet with you in your car when you drive to your new place, board them on a plane, or hire companies that specialize in pet transportation.
Get References For New Family Physician
Similar to pets, human family members moving to a new location will also need to find a new caregiver. When visiting your current physician, ask for references for a wellness practitioner or specialist in the area, and get everyone’s most up-to-date health forms together so that registering with new practice is a less stressful process.
Secure A Reliable Car Shipping Company
Those moving across the country may not feel that driving there is a realistic idea, especially if they are traveling with young children and/or pets. In these cases, flying to the new destination is a far more pragmatic option. But what about your family’s vehicles? These can be shipped with a car shipping service. If you will be flying to your new residence, this is a good time to set things up with a reputable vehicle moving company. They will get your car transported for you to your new location while you just fly there.
Two Weeks Before Moving Day
We are down to just two weeks to go, there are a few other things that are now good to attend to. You will be glad you took care of these before mere days remain until the move.
If you will not be flying, but rather drying to your new residence, it is important to make sure that your car is inspected by a professional mechanic and tuned up so that you do not run into any issues during your trip. It helps not to wait to do this until the last weeks because if there are any issues, it may take a few days for the mechanic to be able to turn your car over to you.
Make A Decision About Your Home Plants
If you have plants inside your home, you will need to decide what to do with them when you move. If you are moving somewhere nearby, you can get away with transporting the plants if they are packed properly. However, plants simply will not be able to survive long trips and moving conditions when they are transported great distances. You can look into local schools, nursing homes, or hospitals that are typically happy to take your plants into their buildings.
Arrange For Friends and Family To Help You
Because packing and moving are both challenging endeavors, you will want to make sure that you have friends and/or family members who are available to help you. If you reach out to them now, you give them plenty of time to arrange their schedules and make sure they are available to lend some type of assistance to you either before or on moving day. The help could even involve someone who can spend time with the young kids to make sure they are otherwise occupied as you deal with the moving process.
Going Away Party
When you are ready to take off for your new location, you will want to see those people you care about most one more time before taking off. Many of your loved ones will probably assist you in one way or another during your move, so it would be a nice gesture to treat them to a party to celebrate your friendship and kinship. Make sure that your children’s closest friends are also invited so that the kids can spend some additional time with their friends before moving away.
Update Your Mailing Address
You may be moving, but many places that send mailings and packages to your home will not be aware of the changes. It will take a lot of time to update your addresses across everything you wish to continue receiving, so make sure you arrange for your mail to be forwarded to your new address until you have made all of the necessary changes. You can make the postal address changes online, by phone, by mail, or even by stopping by the post office in person.
Update Home Utilities
When you arrive at your new home, you will need the electricity, water, gas, and other utilities ready and running. Similarly, once you move out of your current home, you will want those services stopped there so you are not charged for them more than you need to be. Make sure that these things are taken care of ahead of time so that you don’t have to think about it when you are busy with the actual move. Setting a date for the new services to be turned on and current services to be turned off is an easy way to assure that everything is set up for a smooth transition. Depending on where you are moving could even influence if you can simply transfer your services to your new residence.
One Week Prior To Moving Day
At this point, you will begin to really feel the pressure of the move, so you will be glad you have already done a lot of the packing and making the necessary arrangements before this point. Now, that the move is looming, you will need to take care of the rest of the major components of the move.
Check How Far Along You Are In Packing
With a week to go before moving day, it’s a good time to assess how you are doing with your packing efforts. If you are not as far along as you were hoping to be, this is the time to double your packing efforts. You don’t want to dwindle down the days and then panic and rush. By the time only a week remains you should have ideally packed up all of the storage areas, and all but the absolute daily essentials from your kitchen. If you suspect you will not finish packing on time, get some packing assistance as soon as you can.
Compile Boxes Of Family Essentials
Every family member will need certain items to make the period of their family move as manageable and personally comfortable as possible. To facilitate this, request that every family member, including kids, pack a box of their absolute essentials. These boxes should contain sufficient enough items to allow each family member to perform all of the things they need to do if you show up at your new home before the movers arrive with all of your things. Especially important is that you pack all of the vital medications for both family members and pets.
Disassemble Large Furniture Pieces
With a few days ahead of the move it’s time to try to take apart as much furniture as you can safely do. If you can disassemble certain big pieces, it makes them easier to move. If you are not comfortable doing so and think you will risk damaging your furniture, then leave the job to the experienced movers when they arrive.
Try Using Up All Of Your Remaining Food
If your fridge still has plenty of food remaining, try to not go to the store and load up on extras. Try to work your way through the remaining food supplies as transporting perishable items rarely works, and when it does, it necessitates more room for coolers. Canned goods can last during the trip, but they are typically bulky and heavy, so they may not be worth bringing along. If you don’t think you can get through the food you have remaining, you can always give the rest of it away to friends, family, or local shelters so that people who need them can use them.
Bid Farewell To Your Old Home
If you have lived in a home for a while and have a lot of happy, fond memories tied to the place, departing from it can be very taxing emotionally. A good way to deal with these memories and emotions is to find a way to properly say goodbye to your old home. Talk with family members about their fondest memories of this house or apartment and remind them that as long as they keep those, the place they come to know as their home will always be in their hearts.
Carefully Plan Your Trip To Your New Home
If you are driving to your new place and it’s at a faraway destination, you will want to think about making the most of such a trek. A trip moving like this does not need to be an exclusively driving endeavor. If you plan to make strategic stops and book hotels at which you can stay for a night while passing through a particular part of the trip, it will help in breaking up the monotony and exhaustion of such a long drive. Those who are traveling across the country can take this opportunity to see the sights they have wanted to see around the country but never have, and share those moments with the entire family.
Now it’s time for the most challenging part of the moving process: the move itself. Are you and your family ready to tackle the big day?
Get Things Moving Early
Every moving day includes at least a couple of unexpected occurrences or unplanned scenarios, so start it early to be optimally prepared and have adequate time to deal with those. This will be a long day, and the more you can get done early on, the faster you can get the show “on the road.” Everyone in the family is encouraged to get to bed earlier than usual the night before to get adequate rest for a tiring day and to get up and moving early. Trust us, you will all need the energy.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
If you are going to be moving on your own, make sure you wear appropriate attire. Moving can be very dangerous so it’s pivotal to wear comfortable, supportive, and adequate footwear as well as light but sturdy clothing. Don’t wear anything with sleeves or protruding parts that could potentially get caught on items you are moving. Even if professional movers are doing all of the work for you and you are simply heading off for your road trip or heading out to catch your flight, it’s important to be ready for a long day by wearing breathable, comfortable clothing.
Keep Everyone Safe And Protected
The safety of your family is a priority paramount to any other. This is especially important during moves. Have a reliable friend or family member attend to the kids and/or family pets to keep them at a distance from any danger during the move. Take it slow with heavy objects and assure that everyone gets adequate hydration and plan time for necessary breathers.
Do A Final Sweep Around The Home
To make sure everything is as it should be and nothing is overlooked, take a final, carefully attentive walk through your former residence. Look for any minor things that may have been overlooked and collect them. Make sure all the windows and other access points are securely locked and that the utilities have been shut off. Lock the front door and say one final farewell to your old home.
Several Days After Moving Day
Consider that it will likely take a few days for you and all of your belongings to arrive at your new residence, especially if you are moving far away. That means a few tough days filled with commuting and minimalist living are ahead. It can be easy to get frustrated by these things, so it’s important to keep a solid mindset and positive attitude for the best results.
Unpack At Your Preferred Pace
Once you arrive at your new home, you will want to unpack all of the essentials to have a comfortable first night at your place, even if the rest of your things have not yet caught up with you. Once that happens, you can begin unpacking. The nice part of the unpacking process is that you are where you will be for a while, so there is no hard deadline on when you need to be fully unpacked. Even if it takes a couple of weeks, it’s worth it if does not create additional stress in your life.
If you are moving to a new home with young children, you are likely concerned with not yet knowing the unexpected dangers of your new home. That is why it is essential to thoroughly investigate all of the rooms in the home to make sure any potential dangers to your youngsters are addressed and everything is secured to give you and your family peace of mind.
Allow Pet Time To Explore And Adjust
Moving to a new home will be a bit of a shock to your pets too. The change in environment could be stressful to them, so make sure to keep an eye on them while they are getting acclimated to the new abode. With dogs, you will want to take them out for short walks around your new neighborhood to help them familiarize themselves with the sights and scents of the new area. Cats, on the other hand, are best kept indoors for at least a week in a room where they are surrounded by familiar things to help them accept their new surroundings.
Keep In Touch With Loved Ones
When we move we leave our old lives behind, and most importantly, our friends and family. Make sure to connect with and stay in touch with those you care about to keep your connection to your home solid. You can keep in touch with friends over the phone, text, video messaging apps, email, or even traditional mail. Make sure that your kids keep in touch with their friends from back home as well.
Look Out For Signs Of Relocation Depression
Leaving your old life behind is a heavy load on anyone mentally and emotionally. This could have ripple effects on your family members, each to their own varying degrees. The changes can leave people feeling unsettled, out of place, and down. There is a lot of effort involved in adapting to new surroundings and dealing with the separation anxiety of your former life. You will need a lot of strength to combat any such phenomena in the post-move era, but with your family bond together, you can overcome it and get used to your new life.