How to Prepare for a Long-Distance Move

Full length of young male movers carrying sofa outside truck on street

Even if you’re moving from one block to another, moving as a whole is an intensely stressful process. Do you know that 45% of Americans see moving as more stressful than divorce?

When it comes to a long-distance move, we can definitely see where they’re coming from. Whether you’re planning on doing the entire process yourself, or you’re hiring movers, this doesn’t negate the sheer amount of emotional turmoil of being entrenched in a move across the country.

Whether you’re an experienced mover, or this is the first time you’re moving away, no worries. You’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading for our full breakdown of everything you need to know to properly prepare for your long-distance move.

Preparing for a Long-Distance Move 101: Set a Plan With a Timeline

Even if you’re usually a rather mellow person, this isn’t the time to go with the flow.

You’ll want to set a plan for your preparation steps, which includes a timeline so that you don’t wake up one day and find yourself less than a week away from moving and you’re not even remotely ready.

Start by creating an overarching moving checklist. This will help you give a time and place for each of your tasks. Once you’ve word-vomited on your checklist with all of the tasks that have been coagulating in your brain, it’s time to rank them according to their level of importance.

The tasks that are essential to you should be highlighted or written in red so that you don’t miss them in the chaos.

Collect In-Home Long-Distance Moving Estimates

Let’s be real. Doing a long-distance move without getting professional help is rather risky. For instance, can you picture yourself renting a moving truck and driving it more than 3,000 miles across the country?

Most people would say no.

That’s why you’ll want to start getting a variety of quotes from reputable moving companies like Greater Austin Moving & Storage. Once you have those rates on hand, pick the one that fits your budget, and has a ton of positive reviews.

Taking Stock: Inventory and Sort Your Things

There’s nothing harder than preparing for a move without knowing exactly what you’re carrying and moving with you.

Simply grabbing everything in your place and putting them in random boxes is a recipe for disaster.

You’ll want to create an inventory of your entire place. Start by going to each room, and list down every household item you can see. You’ll want to divide this list into four main sections. A “move” section, a “sell” section, a “donate” section, and a “recycle” section.

Get Rid of Any Items Not on the “Move” List

In short, once an item isn’t written on your “move” category, then you should get rid of it in one of the three ways we’ve mentioned.

You can sell it, donate it, or recycle it. After all, you can slash your moving costs significantly by only taking the things that you’re certain you’ll need in the future.

Usually, the cost of your long-distance move will mainly depend on the number of items you’re taking with you, in addition to their total weight. Make your decisions in advance by using the 1-year rule. If you haven’t used something for the last 12 months, chances are high that you don’t actually need that item.

Packing Methodology: How to Pack

At this point, you’re actually ready to physically start packing.

Your items will be handled roughly throughout your long-distance move, and that’s a fact. This means you need to pack everything extremely well, with sufficient cushioning inside their boxes.

As for fragile items, you’ll want to use some bubble wrap, or towels to protect those items. Consider every direction your boxes can take a hit (which is every single direction), and put some cushioning material between your items and the sides of the box.

Organize and Label Your Items

This will heavily depend on personal preference. But, don’t underestimate the benefits of organizing and labeling your boxes as you pack.

For instance, you can start with organizing a single box that’s labeled with “day one.” It can contain the items you know you’ll need to use the moment you make it to your new place. Those can be everyday clothes, pots, and pans, or essential electronics.

As for the rest of your belongings, you can sort them out depending on their functionality, their room of origin (like “kitchen”), or however else you like.

Don’t Pack Your Essential Items

This might sound opposite to what we’ve just asked you to do with the “day one” box. However, we mean essential items like documentation and other things that you’ll need to have on hand for quick access.

Things that you can’t bear to lose, like your social security card, your driver’s license, your birth certificate, your tax returns, and similar items.

Moreover, you might want to add some sleeping materials, toiletries, and other items that can tide you over if your moving truck took some extra time to arrive.

Avoid Packing Liquids or Food

You can always keep a granola bar (or seven) in your carry-on bag. What you’ll want to avoid is packing any perishables with your moving shipment.

It’s tempting to all sorts of vermin to your things. The same rule applies to liquids. Once a container of liquid gets jarred open, your items will be drenched. In short, it’s not worth it.

Ready to Move States?

Well, most people are never mentally ready for their moving day. Even if they’ve got everything set up and crossed out every task on their to-do list.

We can’t really blame you if you’re worried about how your long-distance move will go. But, hopefully, our explainer has shed some light on all the critical steps you need to integrate into your moving plans.

Just remember that it’ll be over soon. And, by hiring good movers, the process can be much simpler than you’d expect.

If you liked our article, make sure to check out additional tips and tricks, all available to you in our lifestyle section.


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