Woman prepares long distance moving checklist on a tablet, surrounded by boxes

8 To-Dos for Your Long Distance Moving Checklist

On the list of difficult moments in life, moving to a new city or state ranks right near the top. An endless number of tasks to get done before you hit the road + a tight deadline to complete them in = guaranteed stress.

The easiest way to eliminate moving stress is to hire a team of professionals like Wayfinder that will handle everything for you, from packing to unloading. But if that’s not in the cards for your budget, we suggest creating a detailed moving checklist to help make your long distance move as smooth as possible. This might seem intimidating, but it’s more than doable and will pay off big time if you stick with it!

Keep reading for 8 must-have tips from the Wayfinder team to put on your list.

1. Bring your checklist on-the-go

Your checklist will be your best friend throughout the moving process, so you should always have it within easy reach. And what’s the one thing you always carry, everywhere you go? Your smartphone. Download one of the many checklist mobile apps, and you’ll be good to go if you need to jot down some notes or double check your next task. Most of these apps even have the option to sync across multiple devices, allowing you to view and organize your list on desktop or tablet as well. Keep all the info you need for your move right at your fingertips.


2. Take inventory – it will help you in the long run

Now, this part will be a bit boring – but don’t skip it! Taking inventory of your belongings is an important part of the moving process. It will save you time and money every step of the way: creating a budget, decluttering, packing, etc. Making a comprehensive list of everything you own will also help you keep track of it during the long distance move. Just refer back to the inventory to make sure all of your things have arrived safely at your new home.


3. Declutter to cut moving costs

It’s time to go Marie Kondo on your stuff! The general rule of moving is: the more you move, the more you pay. Getting rid of unnecessary items is a great way to save money that can be redistributed elsewhere in your budget. Use your inventory list to review and audit your belongings, letting go of anything you just don’t need or want anymore. You can sell items online or in a yard sale to make some extra cash, and consider donating to a thrift shop or someone in need. But only trash them as the last resort!

Go through your belongings before a move and decide what you want to keep, and what can be sold or donated.


4. Be aware of timing to stay on schedule

After you’ve chosen to work with Wayfinder Moving or another company, it’s a good idea to book them as soon as possible – especially during peak season – to ensure you get the time and date you want. Some movers even offer a small discount for booking early. The biggest time sink during a move is usually packing. You need to be aware that packing will take a lot of time and plan your schedule accordingly.

If you aren’t purchasing packing services from your movers, you can tackle the task on your own with a systematic approach:

  • Buy packing supplies based on your inventory list, to avoid spending money on supplies you don’t need.
  • Pack non-essentials at least two weeks before the move.
  • Pack everyday things about one week before the move.
  • Prepare your essentials bag/box during the week of the move.

We suggest you pack your belongings in this order to make the process quicker and less stressful. Also, take some extra time to label boxes as you pack – it will help you keep track of your stuff and make organizing your new home a lot easier.


5. Keep the essentials with you

Moving over a long distance can create a wide “delivery window,” meaning it could take days or weeks for your boxes to arrive on the moving truck. To make sure you’re comfortable while you wait, prepare an open-first box and essentials bag to take with you to the new place. The open-first box should be packed with items you’ll need right when you arrive, like towels, bedding, dishes, and a couple pots and pans. In your essentials bag, take your toiletries, a few changes of clothes, valuables, and small personal electronics – anything that you’ll want close at hand during the move.


6. Make arrangements for children and pets

Obviously your little one or fur baby means the world to you. But they should never be in the house on a moving day. All the hustle and bustle is likely to upset or stress them out. Not to mention that, on the day of the move, the house isn’t considered a safe environment. Plan to have your children or pets out of the house until the commotion passes. You can ask family or friends to babysit them, or schedule professional daycare (doggy or human). Both are good options to keep your family safe and out of trouble.

Keep kids and pets out of the house on moving day – it’s a lot safer!


7. Update your personal information

You’re probably eager to get your long distance move underway, but you won’t get very far without the proper paperwork. Moving to a new address means you need to update your personal info in a lot of places, including driver’s license, registration, utilities, and passport. Make sure to research how long it’ll take to process these changes and plan accordingly. You’ll also want to file a Change of Address (COA) with the postal service about two weeks before moving day.


8. Refer to your checklist often

Good news – you don’t have to write your moving checklist all at once. Moving is a long process, and new tasks will pop up left and right. Expect the checklist to grow and evolve with as you progress. With that in mind, here’s our final advice: write down everything! And we mean everything – even the little things, like “buy coffee” and “don’t forget chargers.” In the chaos of moving, it’s okay if you become a bit forgetful.

Want more advice on preparing for a move? Check out our Ultimate Moving Checklist for a comprehensive to-do list!


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