Planning a Move
You have a job offer in hand – the only problem is that it’s 1,000 miles away. Planning a cross-country move can be exhilarating, frightening, and everything in between. Between finding an apartment long distance and figuring out how to get your stuff to your new home, moving can become a full-time job. Read on for What College Forgot’s simple tips for making a major move as seamless as possible:
- Decide how you’ll move your belongings
- Assess what you should take with you
- Pack your things
- Figure out how you’ll move your car
- Find an apartment or house before you move
- Tie up loose ends before leaving
Decide how you’ll move your belongings
You have several options, which vary in ease and price, for moving your possessions across the country. First, plan your budget and find out if your new employer will pay for moving expenses. Many employers are willing to contribute, but they may not offer unless you ask.
If you can afford it, hiring full-service movers can be the simplest way to get your household across the country. Companies like Allied and Mayflower pack all of your furniture and boxes into their truck, drive it to your destination, and unload when you get there. Full-service moving companies will even pack your boxes for you, for an extra fee. These companies may also provide boxes and packing paper at no charge. If you want to hire professional movers, call them at least a few weeks before your move. A local agent will come to your house and give you a firm estimate.
If you want to save money or don’t have that much furniture, you may want to consider renting a moving truck and driving your belongings across the country yourself. Companies like U-Haul and Penske rent trucks to do-it-yourselfers. You pack and drive the truck yourself. Make sure to reserve your truck at least a few months in advance of the move.
Some people choose an in-between option that is less expensive that a full-service mover and less work than a do-it-yourself. Companies like Pods drop off a container for moving at your house. You pack and unpack the container yourself, but the company drives the container cross-country for you.
Assess what you should take with you
A move is a great excuse to do any overdue spring cleaning. Sort through your clothes, books, and knick-knacks and decide what you need and what you can dump. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t looked at something in the past year, you probably don’t need to take it with you. Have a garage or stoop sale or donate your unwanted items to charity. Many charitable organizations will pick donations up at your house, oryou can also drop off donations at stores like Goodwill.
Take a close look at your furniture. If it’s old and falling apart, it may be a good idea to leave it behind and buy something new. Full-service movers often charge by the pound, and if you move yourself, you have to carry everything on your own. Check out websites like Craigslist to see if you’ll be able to purchase used items at a reasonable price in your new location, which can be cheaper than moving your own used items.
Pack your things
Boxes are the most substantial packing supply you’ll need when planning your move. If your mover doesn’t give you boxes, you can purchase them at office supply stores. To save money, ask your local grocery store to save boxes for you. Purchase a couple rolls of packing tape and packing paper. You can use newspaper to pad the boxes, but don’t wrap individual items with newspaper – the print may stain your things.
When you’re packing, cushion your belongings as much as possible. Scrunch up a few sheets of paper and put them at the bottom of each box. Then wrap each item individually with packing paper or bubble wrap. Boxes should be packed tightly, which will minimize shifting in the moving truck. Label each box clearly with a permanent marker. Dishes, pots and pans can go in large boxes, but books and heavier items should be moved in smaller boxes to keep down the weight of individual boxes.
Figure out how you’ll move your car
If you don’t want to drive to your new home, you can hire a company to transport your car for you. Most companies that transport cars load them onto trucks and deliver them to your destination. Professional moving services will also transport cars, but they usually charge more than vehicle transport companies. Search the Internet for companies that serve your area, but be wary of websites that allow you to input information. Many of these websites sell your contact information to third parties, who then inundate your inbox with offers. You can check up on local companies by looking at their rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Find an apartment or house before you move
WhatCollegeForgot.com has great articles on finding an apartment and buying a house, but finding a place to live from a distance has a set of additional challenges. You may be able to find an apartment online through sites like Move.com or Apartment Guide. These sites often list approximate prices, apartment amenities and availability. You can also look at floor plans and photos. Most of the apartments listed on these types of sites are run by professional management companies. You can also look for apartments on Craigslist. Be wary of scams by avoiding offers that seem too good to be true.
Consider calling a real estate agent who works in your new area. He or she can help you find an apartment. Although most real estate agents specialize in home buying, some are willing to help renters. A real estate agent can help you find hidden gems in your new neighborhood. If you’re having trouble finding an agent, ask your new employer to suggest one. If you have enough time, drive or fly to your new home and spend a weekend looking at homes or apartments.
If you’re renting, start looking for a place to live about a month before you move, as most landlords won’t hold an apartment for more than a few weeks. Consider signing a short-term lease. Although your rent may be a little higher, you’ll have the option to find a new place once you know the area a little better.
Once you find a place to live, call the local utilities and set up a date to start service. Also call the television, Internet and phone company and set up an appointment for soon after you plan to arrive.
Tie up loose ends before leaving
In addition to saying goodbye to your friends and family, make sure to contact any business associates or services about your move. Change your address or cancel services with the following:
- US post office
- Credit card companies
- Student loan providers
- Your bank
- Utility companies
- Cable, phone, and Internet providers
By: Jessica Bayliss
Jessica Bayliss is a freelance writer specializing in finance and education. She has degrees from the University of Illinois and Texas A&M-Kingsville and is still learning all about what college forgot.