How to Prepare For a Cross Country Move

There’s no way around it: moving across the country is a big deal! It’s a chance to see new places, meet new people, and have new experiences. It’s truly life changing. 

But along with the opportunity comes a lot of hard work. Moving is tough! There’s so much to plan, prepare, and keep track of. It can feel totally overwhelming. 

If you’re planning to move across the country, we’re here to help. Read on for the ultimate guide to preparing for a cross country move. 

Step 1: Downsize 

cross country moveUnless you’ve fully embraced the minimalist lifestyle, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of stuff in the time you’ve lived in your home. While some of that stuff is certainly important, there’s probably also a lot that’s not-so-necessary. 

Downsizing is an important first step to a cross-country move. Not only will it reduce your number of boxes, but it will help keep moving costs down and save you a lot of work once you arrive in your new city. 

Before you start packing, go through every item in your house to decide what you want to keep, and which can get rid of. There are many different strategies when it comes to downsizing. Our favorite is to place each item into one of three piles: keep, sell, and giveaway. More valuable items can be listed on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to help recoup the costs of moving. Others can be donated to a local charity

Step 2: Choose Your Moving Method

Now that you’ve determined what’s coming with, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to move it all. When it comes to a cross-country move, you have a number of options. You could: 

  • Rent a moving truck, fill it with your belongings, and drive it across the country yourself. When estimating cost, be sure to include the cost of gas, accommodations, and meals while on your journey. 
  • Hire professionals. You can find long distance moving companies San Diego, New York City, Chicago, and everywhere in between. 
  • Rent a moving POD or storage container and have it shipped to your destination. This hybrid route can be a great option if you don’t want to pay for professional movers, but aren’t looking to go full DIY. 

Step 3: Pack 

moving houseOnce you’ve figured out your method of moving, it’s time to pack for your new home! Unless you’ve chosen to go with full-service professional movers, you’ll need to pack your items on your own. 

Here are a few tips to make the process easier: 

  • Pack items by room for easier unloading and unpacking on the other side. Label each box according to room or use a colored sticker to represent each room. 
  • Don’t leave any empty space in your boxes. The more space your items have to shift around, the more opportunity for damage. Fill empty spaces with crumpled newspaper, foam peanuts, or other padding materials. 
  • Things like clothing and brackets can do double-duty as packing materials. Wrap fragile items in soft items to kill two birds with one stone. 

No matter what, be sure to pack a small bag with a few days’ worth of clothing, toiletries, and other essentials for the first few days after your move. That way, you won’t need to hunt for your necessities once you’ve arrived. 

Step 4: Book a Room 

When moving cross-country, there’s a good chance that things may not go according to plan. Perhaps your moving POD will be delayed, or maybe you’ll run into unexpected traffic on the cross-country drive and won’t arrive till evening. 

If you’re moving across the country, it’s always good to have a backup plan. We recommend booking a night’s stay at a hotel or Airbnb for your first night in town. If anything happens on your journey, you won’t be scrambling last minute for a place to sleep. If things do go smoothly, you won’t be rushed to get your bed set up or have to spend the night camped out on your living room floor. 

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