4 Important Things I Learned After Moving Cross Country

In my opinion, moving should be ranked as one of life’s most stressful activities. I know you’re probably thinking – that’s a bit dramatic, but to me, moving is as terrifying as it is exciting. The experience sounds great on paper; new city, new job, new friends (maybe), and so on. Those are the results you expect to have once you’ve already arrived at your destination. The excitement of a move can quickly turn into a horror story if things don’t go as planned.

When I decided to move from Los Angeles to Austin, I wasn’t prepared. There were moments when I felt as though every step forward was followed by two steps backwards. I quickly went from feeling super excited about the move to wishing it were over.

Based on my experience, I have come up with these 4 tips that can be applied to a wide variety of potential situations that can occur when moving cross country:

1. Create A Plan with Timelines

I think it was Benjamin Franklin who coined that famous saying “To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail”. I’m sure he wasn’t talking about moving, but he sure could have been. Creating a plan with set timelines should be everyone’s first action item when planning a move. We all think that we have superior organizational skills and the amazing ability to keep track of everything in our minds. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that just isn’t true.

Instead, we humans have a tendency to forget things and to get caught up focusing on little tasks instead of the big objective. An organized plan with set timelines is very effective. By organizing and prioritizing tasks within the framework of a timeline, you’ll avoid making one of the most common and detrimental mistakes that first time movers make – failing to plan.

For example, picking the right moving company should be something to consider in the initial stages of your move. After you’ve chosen a moving company you can look for packing supplies and start putting away the belongings you know you won’t be using until you’re settled into your new place. In the final stages you can have your car serviced, cancel memberships, and so on.

2. Selecting the Right Movers

After creating a time sensitive plan, selecting a moving company to help you execute the plan is hands down the most important part of your cross country trip. They will be in charge of handling your belongings, driving them cross-country, and helping you put them all away. For example, these Austin Movers specialize in helping people move to and from Austin, Texas. They take things a step further by offering information about moving to specific neighborhoods in Austin to give movers more relevant information to make their moving seamless.

This is no easy task.

They take on a big responsibility, and it’s vital for you to compare quotes before deciding which movers you want to hire. Of course, if you’d rather take care of the process yourself, then it would be worth it to look into local movers who can help you with clunky furniture or hoisting your possessions through windows.

If you’ve decided to go with cross country movers, then you must be diligent in your research. For starters, the price of your quote may depend on many aspects. You should avoid moving during peak seasons, as prices increase significantly during those times. The distance to be traveled and how many items you have also influence pricing. Attentively look into additional costs on a company by company basis, as fees tend to rack up on your final bill. Consider movers with great testimonials, reviews, awards and commendations, which are all great signs of a professional business.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential moving companies, the next step is to request a quote. An expert will inspect your home and give you an estimate on the job. Be sure to ask important questions such as what kind of liability coverage they provide if they were to damage any of your valuables. Furthermore, be on the lookout for red flags such as too-good-to-be-true quotes. Of course you’ll want to save some money but assuming that you’ve done your research, you will immediately know if a company’s estimate is unrealistically low. If the quote sounds suspicious, it may be worthwhile to look a little deeper into the company’s track record and customer reviews before hiring them.

3. Throw Away or Sell What You Don’t Need

So you’ve successfully created a timeline with an estimated completion date, and you’ve chosen a moving company. What’s next? Time to get selective. Dispose of the things you honestly do not need.

It’s easy to convince yourself that you will eventually use that mini slot machine you bought as a souvenir on your trip to Vegas, or that old laptop you stored in your closet after getting a new one. Now is the best time to leave behind anything that you won’t need or use in the future, as moving costs often correlate to the total weight and volume of what needs to be transported.

Here’s the thing; we typically convince ourselves that once we throw something away, there will come a time in the future when we’ll really need it, and regret getting rid of it. The truth is, that time almost never comes. I know this from firsthand experience. Years after my move, I had to clean out two closets jam-packed with stuff I hadn’t used since moving to Austin. I’ve moved twice since then and I came up with a rule that I always follow – If I’m not sure I will use it, I do a coin toss. Heads I keep it, tails I don’t.

Whenever I flipped tails, I would try to sell whatever it was for some quick cash. Anything that wasn’t in sale-worthy condition, I gave away or donated to the Goodwill.

4. Packing

Everything is set. You’ve gotten rid of all the things you won’t use after the move and everything you will use is ready to be packed. However, before diving headfirst into the packing pool, use this last tip to save yourself hours of time and frustration.

What really helped to keep my move organized was that I had packed and labeled everything myself. More importantly, I also kept a detailed inventory of all the items I had packed in each of the labeled boxed. I did this by means of a lengthy list. Each box had a title, and under each title I catalogued the contents within. That way I knew what every box contained without having to open them, and saved myself countless hours of organization time upon arrival to Austin. But before I got there, I needed boxes.

An easy way to get boxes is to go into any grocery store or liquor store and ask. Most places are willing to give them away. I was never denied boxes whenever I asked for them, unless they simply didn’t have any.

Creating a plan with timelines, selecting the right movers, getting rid of unnecessary things, and using a simple inventory tracking system when packing will save you time, money and unnecessary stress.

Despite the unforeseen hiccups that you may face, you’re moving cross country to start a new chapter of your life, so embrace and enjoy the entire experience – from planning to unpacking. Oh and one last thing…take some notes along the way, this might not be your last move.

What stories do you have about your moving experience? We’d love to hear from you, please comment below!