Whether you’re a student embarking on an exciting new career, an employee relocating for work or a senior looking for a warmer climate (or to be closer to family), an interstate move is an exciting time.
There is a lot to do though, so to help you make sure you’ve covered all bases, we’ve created this 10 step moving guide:
1. Set up a To Do list and Calendar System
If you are an organized person then you will have probably already made a start on this. As you run through our guide, add anything that’s relevant on to your To Do list. When you think you’ve covered everything, sort items into priority order (using realistic timescales) and then sync this to your calendar.
There are plenty of online or mobile calendar apps but if a bullet journal or diary works well for you, this will do the job.
2. Draw up a Budget
This may not be the most thrilling part of an inter-state move but neither is running out of money within a couple days of arriving in your new home!
You will need to think about your traveling expenses, old service cancellation/amendment fees and new service set-up fees. Since it tends to follow that service providers refund in arrears and expect payment up front, you should ensure a suitable buffer to cover any finance gaps.
Some of the expenses to think about include shipping/moving fees (see below), gas costs, temporary accommodation and storage rates (if applicable), deposits and advance rent (if renting) and utilities and cable set-up.
While on the subject of money, be sure to research the cost of living in your new area. Health insurance, price of gas, property taxes and income tax are just some of the expenses that can vary wildly. Don’t forget that heating and air-conditioning costs will be affected by climate while you may need disaster insurance in certain states.
In most cases you will need to file tax returns for both states but you may be able to get a tax break on your moving expenses. Check with the IRS for specific details.
3. Explore Employer Assistance
If you are moving to start a new career or change jobs/offices, check if your new employer or office has a relocation assistance policy. Make sure you look closely at what is and what is not covered as an employee’s relocation expense. For example, a relocation package may cover your packing, transport and fuel costs but what about any temporary accommodation or storage costs at your destination? You may be able to negotiate more assistance if you stand to be out of pocket on arrival.
4. Be Ruthless When Moving (but Keep Valuables Close to Hand)
Professional movers tend to charge by weight while a heavier truck will mean more fuel if you are driving yourself. Reduce the load by getting rid of anything that you can live without at the other end or that can be easily and cheaply replaced.
Bulky items of furniture and electrical goods should be carefully considered. For example, if you are planning to upgrade your TV could you sell your old one, buy a new one in your destination city and pick it up in the hire truck en route?
Anything portable of value should be carried with you where possible. If you have important documents stored in a safety deposit box, stash the box near to hand if you can.
5. Choose Your Transport Method
There are essentially three choices here: get a professional moving service to take control of everything (pack, load, move, unload and unpack); pack and load yourself but get a shipping company to do the transporting or do everything yourself by hiring a moving truck.
For convenience, a full service from a professional mover will take everything out of your hands. Cost is usually determined mainly by weight. To cut costs, consider doing the packing yourself.
A shipping company will deliver one or more containers to your property (one container is usually enough for up to three room’s worth of belongings). You will fill it up and padlock it and the shipping company will transport it to your new address or, if preferred, a storage facility. The shipping company will need enough space to leave the container, at both ends. Prices tend to be based on number of containers and destination.
Finally, a 25-year old with a current driving license can hire a removal truck. Cost will depend on the size of the truck, the distance travelled, the number of days’ usage and insurance. You can usually hire a furniture dolly or furniture moving pads for a small fee. You will also need to factor in fuel of course!
6. Check insurance policies carefully
Whichever transportation method you are using, be sure to check the insurance policies to find out what you are and what you are not covered for. Accidents and damage during transit are always a possibility and can be a real headache when the movers or shipping company won’t pay out. The Department of Transportation can provide more information on what you should expect.
7. Update all Information
It is only when you move interstate that you realize just how many companies and organizations have your details and require notice of change of address. Some services will need changing for a local version and the sooner you can get the ball rolling the better.
Here is a brief list of some things to check up on:
- New school/kindergarten/college enrollment
- Driver’s license (new one needed in the destination state)
- Car insurance policy (also check coverage)
- Vehicle registration
- Details about laws on driving in new state
- Professional qualifications and registration
- Realtors for owned property
- Bills (including student loan, car finance, etc.)
- Bank account (may need to change)
- Savings accounts, bonds, stocks and shares portfolios
- Credit cards
- Cable service
- Postal redirection (you can usually set up forwarding for a year)
9. Arrange Your new Healthcare Services
You will need to set up a new doctor, eye doctor, dentist and, if you have a pet, veterinary services. Again, the sooner you get started with this the more likely things will be in place in time for your arrival.
Check state rules on Medicaid as you may need to be put on a waiting list. Apply for new health insurance in good time.
Everyone knows that moving is one of the most stressful experiences humans undergo so make sure you take measures to stay in control. As long as you are organized, you should at least be on top of the most important tasks.
Treat yourself to an occasional pamper, take up meditation or give yourself a weekend away. At the end of the day you want to enjoy the experience as much as possible.