How to Move Across the Country in 5 Steps

Moving is a task that nobody looks forward to. There’s planning, packing, loading, transporting and then unpacking on the other end, and unless you sell the entire contents of your home to the new buyers, it’s unavoidable. At least the move only lasts one day, right?

What if you are relocating to the other side of the country? This changes everything because it isn’t just your brother-in-law and his truck for the day. There are many things to consider, especially the logistics, which can be overwhelming. Need some help? Here is how to move across the country.

1. Have a Strategic Plan

Everything we do has a thought behind it. While we can go on autopilot when commuting to work or brushing our teeth, bigger tasks require more planning.

Moving across the country has many moving parts, so it’s best to start by planning everything. The more prepared you are, the better, so decide:

  • Are you hiring movers?
  • Are you moving everything yourself?
  • Are you driving or flying?

If you rent a truck and drive across, you must plan how long it will take. Set a realistic time limit for driving hours and book lodging. For a moving company, you need the right-sized truck or container to fit everything that’s coming with you.

Some companies will take your items to a big facility, pack them into a container truck and other people’s stuff, and drop off and pick up moves along the way. Ensure you know when your household items arrive, so you aren’t left with an empty house for a few days.

2. Storage Containers

So far, we discussed hiring a moving company or driving your stuff across yourself. There is, however, another solution; renting a portable storage container.

A storage unit at home gives you the best of both worlds because you get to pack it and lock it up. Then the company picks up your container, drives it across the country for you and drops it off at your new home. You can have the container dropped off in your driveway several days before the move so you can load it at your leisure, and it is safe and secure until the day of the move.

Once delivered, you don’t have to rush to unload it either because you can keep it until you are done. It is easy and effective for moving, especially over a long distance. Storage boxes are weatherproof and clean, so your items are safe before, during and after the move.

Relocating across the country is not for the faint of heart. It takes proper planning and execution, so use this as a guide to a successful long-distance move. Then enjoy your new life on the other side of the country.

3. Go Through All Your Stuff

Now that you have decided on the logistics, it’s time to pack. You don’t realize how much stuff you have until you go through a move, and this is the time to discern what you need.

Set aside a few boxes, label them, sell, donate, and throw them away. As you start packing, you can pull out things you don’t need, and a good rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn or used them in the last six months, get rid of them. The exception is seasonal items like winter/summer clothing and Christmas decorations.

Sell what you can on Craigslist and Facebook marketplace, then donate the rest. It will make a move much easier and save you money.

4. Have an Arrival Kit

You want to hit the ground running when you trek across the country and arrive at your new home. This means you need the essentials to function in your home right away. Even if all your moving boxes arrive when you do, it takes a while to get through them, so having an arrival kit will make life much easier.

Arrival kit contents:

  • Toiletries
  • Phone charger
  • Change of clothes
  • Important documents
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Paper supplies
  • Snacks
  • Water bottles

Every family member can have their kit and include the items they need right away, so once you pack yours, help them pack theirs too.

5. Packing for a Long-Distance Move

When you move locally, you can be a laxer because you handle the boxes, which will probably only be loaded and unloaded once. For cross-country moves, it’s different. Even if you drive a truck with your house contents yourself, the road may be bumpy, and loads can easily move around, especially over a week of driving and 1000s of miles.

Make sure you pack items tightly, so there is no shifting in the boxes. Use packing material or sheets, towels and clothes to fill the gaps. Label boxes according to the room it goes to. Such movers can easily put them in the right location, and you don’t have to move them later. Pay special attention to glass and other delicate pieces, so they make the journey intact.

Inventory your items as you pack in case something goes missing, and have a checklist for unpacking on the other end.

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