Moving is one of those tasks that can be quick and simple, lengthy and difficult, and anywhere in between. However, when your new residence is located several states away or completely across the country, there is so much more that goes into the planning and moving process.
Getting all of your possessions from one part of the country to another is difficult all by itself. But it’s all of the little, minor details that are easy to correct when you move close by, that will be much more difficult to deal with from across the country. With so much to plan for, how do you avoid missing something? How do you avoid missing several things?
Well, it’s simple; you create an all-inclusive cross country move checklist and you stick to it. The key is getting started early on the process and you break it down into 8 manageable, weekly segments:
8 Weeks from Moving Day
We start at the 2-month point and count our way down, week by week, until moving day. Here are the tasks you need to focus on when just beginning the moving process:
- Put together a plan for packing
- Look into moving companies
- Find/Reserve a storage unit
- Start filling a bag/box with essentials (toiletries/medications/bedding/clothing/etc.)
- Preparing to clean your home before moving
Your moving plan can start as simple as post-it notes being stuck to the refrigerator. But we suggest getting a digital version, perhaps a moving app, and creating a detailed cross country move checklist. Don’t forget to back it up.
Research movers that handle cross country/multi-state trips to make sure that you give them enough notice. Reserve a storage unit either near the place you are moving from, moving to, or both, depending on your needs. As far as cleaning your home, if the situation calls for it, bringing in professionals can save you a lot of time and money.
7 Weeks from Moving Day
After the first week, you will begin to focus on the early stages of getting ready to move, and letting people know about the planned relocation. Some specific chores to handle:
- Begin Packing
- Contact essential people and Organizations concerning your move (doctors/HOA/schools/PTA/banks/etc.)
- Begin saying farewells to neighbors and friends
Things that you don’t need day-to-day or seasonal items can be packed now. You might be surprised how busy you get with other tasks the closer the move gets. And a simple backyard BBQ or pizza party is a great way to bid adieu to your acquaintances from the neighborhood and local area.
It’s also a good way to say goodbye to work friends as well and eliminate the need for another gathering.
6 Weeks from Moving Day
Some important things need to get accomplished a month and a half before the move. These include:
- Establish your moving budget
- Make an official notification of your intent to move with your employer
- Narrow down your moving companies to your top choices
A budget is only as good as the owner’s ability to stick to it, remember that. Having something on file with your boss ensures that it can’t come back on you if someone wasn’t made aware of your departure. You need to get your preferred movers list down to no more than 3.
5 Weeks from Moving Day
With just over a month before the big day, you have some time-consuming activities that need to get dealt with:
- Continue packing and early organizing (deciding what you do and don’t want to keep)
- Have your utilities scheduled for termination or transferred (where possible)
- If you plan to drive a vehicle, have it thoroughly inspected and tuned-up
- Clean your home
Although you have more time to get your utilities taken care of, getting things done early will give you the time to handle the increased chore list the closer you get to the move. Some people tow their cars when moving long distances.
If you plan on driving one or more vehicles, have them checked out by a certified mechanic to make sure they are ready for the road. And whether you decided to go pro or DIY, it’s a good time to get your home cleaned.
4 Weeks from Moving Day
It’s exactly one month from moving day and this week isn’t full of laborious tasks because you’ve been staying ahead of the game. Consider this your easy week before kicking into overdrive:
- Finish organizing and eliminating
- Touch base with your employer to remind them of the upcoming move
- Submit your change of address
- Decide on and hire movers
By the one-month mark, you should know everything you are throwing away, confirm your move with your company, register your change of address with the post office, and make your final choice about the moving company.
3 Weeks from Moving Day
Now you’re getting into the home stretch. Get these things handled this week:
- Pack a Moving Day/Night Survival Bag
- Complete cancellation of all utilities
- Schedule your transportation
- Create a list of the things that still need to be done
Your survival bag should be like the essentials bag/box you packed for the house but on a personal, 1-day level. Take a small travel kit of toiletries, a towel/washcloth, snacks/water, overnight clothing, and anything else you prefer.
If you are flying or taking some other mode of transportation to your new home, schedule it now. To make sure that everything you need to get done gets covered, go back over your cross country move checklist and create an updated one, both with remaining tasks and new ones.
Finally, we highly suggest having your change of address and utilities handled by now. As you will see, from 2 weeks to one week to moving day, there isn’t much spare time to handle stray tasks.
2 Weeks from Moving Day
There are a couple of last-chance tasks that if you don’t get started this week, you will have missed your opportunity to do it in time for the move:
- Finish any packing that remains
- Last chance to change your address
- Last chance to cancel/transfer your utilities
- Say goodbyes to family and close friends
- Confirm/Finalize Transportation
You should have everything that you don’t use daily packed by the end of this week. Check-in to make sure your travel plans are secured. And a more intimate dinner party or gathering at a favorite restaurant is a good way to share goodbyes with loved ones.
1 Week from Moving Day
For the next 7 days, and moving day itself, you will feel like you’re doing a thousand things a day. But it’s ok, just follow your cross country move checklist and get these things done in the final week:
- A quick once-over from your mechanic to make sure everything is ok for the trip (recommended for higher mileage vehicles or vehicles that required extensive maintenance or repairs)
- Check your original cross country move checklist list and 3-week left-to-do list and complete them
- Load essentials bag/box into your vehicle
- Final goodbyes to loved ones
- Confirm change of address (if not done prior)
- Confirm cancellation/transfer of utilities (if not done prior)
Complete any remaining chores on either your original or 3-week left list as soon as possible. One last dinner at home or a small going away party for those closest to you may be in order. If you have waited until this point and still haven’t started the process of changing your address or transferring/canceling your utilities, it is too late to get it done on time, now. You will be dealing with this after the move.
The Day of the Move
Well, it’s finally here. There is no need for a big speech; you know what you need to do today. Gather up your movers, your friends, and your moving supplies, and get these things done:
- Put your moving day/night survival bag in the car
- Make your move safe
- Stay focused and organized
- Be prepared for anything
- Have a backup plan
- Double and triple-check the house
- Take plenty of breaks and drink lots of water
Make sure everyone working on your move is safe. Get cords rolled up. Keep the boxes out of the walkway, follow the take breaks and drink water rules, work at a reasonable pace, and everything should be fine. Understand that inevitably, something unexpected will probably come up.
It could be a delayed moving van, a canceled flight, a vehicle that suddenly won’t start, or anything else. There is nothing that can’t be fixed, rescheduled, or otherwise dealt with. Give one last run-through of the house (then do it again). Moving across the country isn’t like moving nearby where you can just shoot back over and grab something that you left. When you leave, it’s gone.
Customizing Your Own Cross Country Move Checklist
The thing about making these types of checklists is that each one will be unique to the person/family moving. You can get all of the ideas for the big and common tasks associated with moving, but there will always be items you want to be handled in a certain way. Make sure your list has all of your needs covered.