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How to prepare for a long distance move 

Moving across the country to the great state of Utah? Moving is stressful anyway, but adding in the complication of a cross country move can be especially difficult. Here are our top 16 tips for preparing for a long distance move. 


1. Plan your move…budget and timeline

Moving across the country isn’t cheap or easy. It takes time, money, and lots of planning. Before you become completely overwhelmed, you need to get organized!

Start by creating a checklist of everything you need to do before the big day. Then, create a timeline so you have easy to find deadlines. Sort your list in order of priority so the most important items happen first. Finally, decide what your moving budget looks like. Often, with cross-country moves, there is a moving budget provided by a new job, however, this isn’t always the case. Set a budget for every step of the move for a less stressful experience. 



2. Hire professional long-distance movers

What’s the best way to reduce the stress of a long-distance move? Hire in-home movers! Be sure to request an estimate from multiple moving companies and choose the one with the best reviews and affordability. Also, make sure the company you choose is in good standing with the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and has proper accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. You’ll be glad you let the experts handle this part of your move!



3. Decide whether or not to keep your furniture

Long distance moving cost is typically calculated based on total shipment weight and furniture is heavy. Go through the furniture in your home and determine whether or not it makes sense to move them long-distance. Unless you have antique or sentimental furniture, it may be cheaper to leave it behind and buy new furniture when you arrive at your destination.



4. Sell or donate unwanted items

Now’s the time to ask, “Do I really want to go to the expense of moving this item?” Consider selling or donating items you no longer need or want. Use the 1 year rule if you are having a difficult time deciding what to take with you. If you haven’t used the item for 12 months or longer, leave it behind. If you are up for the task, a garage sale might be a good way to earn a little extra cash while still getting rid of unwanted items.



5. Create an inventory

Now that you know what is going with you, it’s time to create an inventory. You can do this by making a list or by using an app like MoveAdvisor.  Go room to room and make note of each household item. You don’t need to detail every small item, but you’ll want to put the major items on your inventory list. Also, make a note of the current condition of your belongings and any pre-existing damage.



6. Determine a packing timeline

Packing is an overwhelming process for many people. Where do you start? What do you pack first? What should you pack last?

The best way to tackle packing is to set a timeline. Set small, attainable goals and assign deadlines to keep you on track. Make sure you have all the packing supplies you need before you get started. With a long-distance move, you’ll want to invest in bubble wrap, stretch wrap, packing paper, and tape. 



7. Start packing or hire professional packers

It is a time consuming process, so you’ll want to start packing sooner than later. If you find yourself running out of time, ask friends and family to pitch in when you need help.

Not up for the task and have room in your budget? Hire professional packers! For many families, hiring professionals is the best way to make moving less stressful. 



8. Separate essential items

As you start packing your home, you’ll want to set aside essential items for each family member. These are items you’ll need while the bulk of your belongings are in transit. It may be a few days between your arrival at your new home and the arrival of your belongings. Essential items may include (but are not limited to):

  • Some clothing
  • Hygiene items
  • Towels
  • Bed Linens
  • Plastic utensils and plates
  • Medications
  • First aid kit
  • Basic tools (screwdriver, hammer, bottle opener etc.)



9. Set aside items you DON’T want the movers to move

Even with the most experienced movers, there are certain items you should never entrust to anyone but yourself. You may want to think twice before packing your grandmother’s jewelry in a box for transport. So which items should you keep with you?

We recommend moving these items yourself:

  • Items of high monetary value
  • Cherished possessions
  • Important documents
  • Expensive jewelry
  • Expensive electronics
  • Family heirlooms
  • Artwork, antiques, and collector’s items
  • Essential items you can’t go a day or two without



10. Label boxes

Don’t underestimate the importance of accurately labeling a box. You may think you’ll remember what’s in each box but you’ll be left with a house full of mystery boxes if you aren’t careful. When you label your boxes, mark down it’s destination room, a few of the contents inside, and any special handling instructions.



11. Prepare your pets

If you are moving pets, they’ll need a little TLC before moving day. Take them to their vet for a checkup and prepare to transport them in your personal vehicle. If that’s not an option for your moving situation, look into hiring specialized pet movers. You’ll want to make sure your furry companions arrive safely.



12. Change your utilities

By now, you are down to the last few “to-do” items on your list. Forgetting about utilities could mean unpacking in the dark and no one wants that experience! Change the utilities for the house you are leaving behind and make sure everything is in order for your new home as well.

Don’t forget to check:

  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Sewer
  • Gas
  • Internet
  • TV services
  • Phone
  • Garbage

Let each utility service know the date for shutoff or activation so you don’t experience any gap in service. 



13. Forward your mail

Don’t forget to change your address and forward your mail! The USPS makes it an easy process you can do online. It takes about two weeks for the Change of Address to go into effect so plan accordingly!



14. Obtain medical and school records

Another “to-do” list item that is often forgotten is obtaining your medical and your children’s school records before you move. When you are all settled in, you’ll want to find a new family physician. You can often arrange for a direct transfer of school records between the two schools.



15. Be ready for your movers

On moving day, you’ll want to be prepared for the movers arrival. Have your home packed and clearly designate which items go on the moving truck and which items you’ll be responsible for transporting. Be prepared to be present the entire time. Have specific instructions ready for them and don’t forget to provide your movers with snacks and other beverages while they are hard at work moving your belongings. You may also want to cover floors and carpets with tarps, old sheets, or blankets. Don’t forget to have some cash on hand and make sure you tip them for their efforts.



16. Say goodbye

The hardest part of a long-distance move is saying goodbye to family and friends. Have a party or stop by one last time to say your farewells. It’s a great chance to spend quality time with people you care about.

It’s also an exciting time for your family as you are off on a new adventure. Focus on the positive and think about all the exciting things ahead of you! 

Moving to Utah and looking for a house? We’d love to help! Give us a call at 801.210.0819 and let us know what questions you have. 

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