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8 Tips for planning a low-stress long-distance move

Moving is stressful whether you are moving across town or across the country — but if you stay organized and plan ahead, it can actually be an exciting and liberating experience. Below, you can find a short guide to help you plan your long-distance move as efficiently as possible.

1. Plan what to take along and what to leave behind

When you are planning your long-distance move, consider the characteristics of your new home when you decide what to pack and what to purge. For example, if you are moving from New York to California, you probably won’t need most of your winter clothes — give them away to friends or donate them to Goodwill. Also, consider the size of your new home. If you are relocating from a ranch in Texas to a tiny downtown Chicago studio, you won’t have much space for bulky furniture or extra stuff.

2. Plan for your family’s immediate needs

Your (thoroughly purged and well-organized) things will likely travel by moving truck, but plan ahead for the items you and your family need (and want) as soon as you arrive in your new home. Even if you plan your arrival to coincide with your belongings, it will take time to find everything you need (even in the most meticulously packed and labeled boxes). Certainly, take some clothes with you, but also think about medications and toiletries, toys for the kids, important documents, maybe even towels and linens to keep with you for the first couple of days as you settle in.

3. Remember that moving expenses may be tax deductible

Check with your accountant to find out if your move can be tax deductible. Make sure to keep a record of all of your receipts. In the hustle and bustle of long-distance moving, papers may get misplaced, so snap pictures of your receipts so that you don’t lose them.

4. Hire a moving company

Whether you are preparing for international moving or cross-country moving, it is important to hire the best moving company. This does not mean you should hire the most expensive movers, but definitely get a company with good reviews and lots of experience with the type of move you are planning. Do this early — get quotes, check review sites and do all of your comparisons in plenty of time before moving day.

5. Plan your notifications

Notify your landlord, friends and family, professional contacts, medical and dental offices, creditors, subscriptions, post office, schools, banks, utility companies, DMV, voter registration office, insurance agents… basically everyone. Be sure to notify the ones you are leaving in the current town and those you plan to join in your new town.

6. Don’t forget the needs of your plants and pets

Naturally, you will plan for all family members and their needs, but what about your plants? And have you considered everything you need for moving your pets? Check the animal requirements where you are moving, if any, and take the little critters to the vet for a checkup, vaccines, microchip or anything else that might be necessary. During the move, be sure to plan your rest stops with your furry friend in mind.

7.Take care of the little things

Get physicals and dental exams out of the way, make sure you have enough prescription medication on hand, get the car serviced, return library books, pick up your dry cleaning and take care of any other “small” errands that should be run before you move.

8. Plan a party

Toward the actual moving day, things may get stressful and tensions may rise. But if you planned ahead for a going-away party, it will give you much-needed and deserved time with your family and friends (away from moving boxes). It is important to celebrate the end of the era and the beginning of your new life.

Moving a long distance is exciting: It is an opportunity to start anew, create new habits and traditions and form new bonds. Often, people get caught up in the details and forget the big picture. By planning ahead and staying organized, you will be sure to take care of the details, but also enjoy the process as you build a new home in a new place.

Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping.

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