Moving can be stressful whether you’re moving across town or across the country, but with thoughtful planning and patience it can be done with the least amount of stress to you and your family. In this article I share my thoughts on how to achieve a successful cross-country move.
Step One: Take the time to plan and save between $10-15k. You need to cover expenses incurred at your current home (storage fees, advertising for sales, etc), the trip to your new location (airfare, movers, U-Haul) as well as expenses at your new location (rent/security deposit, hotel, storage fees, food).
Step Two: Decide which options work the best for you and your family. Are you moving with a new job and new home awaiting you? Are you moving far enough away that flying there is a better option while movers drive your belongings to you? Once you decide on how to get there, and how to get your stuff there you will know whether or not you need to have a moving sale before you go. For the moving sale, plan a whole weekend to sell as much as possible, and make arrangements for a charity truck to come afterwards at some point to pick up what doesn’t sell. Depending on the size of your home and family renting a small dumpster may also be a good idea to discard broken furniture/toys, clothes too beat up to pass along, etc.
Step Three: For the journey to your new location don’t forget to plan for food and gas and also plan extra time. If you’re beginning a new job on Monday, don’t plan to fly there Sunday. Delays and cancellations happen at all times of the year, and if you’re driving a U-Haul give yourself extra time to allow for sleep, rest stops, eating, and (God forbid) flat tires or truck breakdowns. It’s better to arrive early and have to find ways to amuse yourselves than it is to be late and feel like you’re scrambling and upsetting people. Also? Your wife doesn’t want to be in a new home and have to unpack everything on her own because you got there just in time to run to your new job.
Step Four: Your new location. If you are relocating and don’t have a job or new home lined up (it happens) I recommend finding an extended stay hotel, if possible. These are set up as short-term residential places (studio apartments), have full refrigerators and cooktops and you pay weekly instead of nightly which saves you money.
Another idea, if you’re moving to a coastal area, is to do so in the off-season where you can rent a cottage/cabin/condo at a discount. They are usually rented by the week, but depending on where you are, you may be able to talk the owners into renting by the month since it means guaranteed income for them.
With these steps in mind moving doesn’t have to have a negative aspect for you or your family. Remember, the further ahead you can begin planning the smoother things will go. Good luck and happy moving!