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We’re getting ready to hit the road again. It’s been a short six months here in Virginia, but now it’s time for us to start moving to a new state and on to the next duty station. It seems that I just finished unpacking and now we’re doing it all over again, planning a long distance move. I’m actually sitting in our hotel room as I’m typing this. The movers came last week and we’ve been in a hotel the past few days.
I’ve moved on average every three years since I’ve been born and I’m no expert on relocating, but there are a few tips for moving to a new state that I’ve learned along the way. Some I’ve learned the easy way and some I’ve learned the really hard way. Moving is one of the stressors of military life, but it has to be done.
Whether you’re a seasoned relocator (and always preparing for a military move), preparing to move for college, or making a once in a lifetime move and looking for job relocation tips, here are 5 tips for relocating out of state that can help you on your next move. You can use these as a moving checklist as you’re preparing to move out of state and on to the next chapter in life.
5 Tips for Relocating Out of State
- Get Rid of the Garbage: Go through each room and separate the things you want to come on the move from the things you need to or want to get rid of. This includes old clothes, toys, household goods, junk mail, old bills that can be shredded, etc. A lot of these things can be donated depending on their condition. You don’t want to move into a new home with your old clutter. Trying to go through all of this after your move will be more daunting then getting rid of it before you move.
- Pack Enough for the Transition: Make sure you have enough clothes (and underwear) to last from the time you leave your old house until you move into your new one. This move I did pack enough clothes for us all, but I didn’t consider the weather or formal obligations we have in between. I packed for sunny FL, but I didn’t take into account that I’d be in VA and MD for a couple of weeks before heading that way. Too bad for me, this is the coldest week of the season so far and I’m freezing. I had to buy a coat and some shirts with sleeves. I also didn’t consider that I had to attend my husband’s graduation. I would’ve probably been the only spouse with jeans, sneakers, and a tshirt at the graduation. Luckily, my husband asked what I was going to wear because I completely forgot to pack an outfit.
- Submit a Change of Address: On top of submitting the USPS form, make sure you call each of your utility companies. If you put a deposit down and are current on your bills, there is a good chance that you’ll receive your deposit back. An updated address will allow you to receive the refund check without having to wait weeks on end. Also, contact any loan companies you may use. You do not want a late payment of bills appear on your credit report because you don’t receive a bill at your new address.
- Perish Those Perishables: Who wants to travel with eggs, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.? It’s way easier to eat your perishable foods then it is to pack them up and bring them in the car with you. Stop buying perishable foods one to two weeks before your move, unless they will be eaten before you relocate.
- Don’t Forget the Kiddos: I know you won’t drive off and leave your kids (at least I hope not), but there are a few things you should consider when relocating with small children. This is a big change for them. Whether it’s leaving friends, having to sleep in a hotel bed for a few days, or adjusting to a new school and home, it is a good idea to sit down and explain all of the changes to your children. Older children may understand the changes more than younger ones, but you can still expect some type of reaction to the change. Some kids may act out and some may get a little reserved. Do your best to listen to what your children are trying to tell you and let them know that even though things are changing, you all will still be together and that having those feelings are ok. My son acted out a little, but it’s understandable because this is the second time we moved to a new home in a six month period. He was finally adjusting to a new home and now he had to leave again. He cried when he couldn’t sleep in his own bed because the movers took it. I explained to him that his bed will meet us in Florida and he will be able to sleep in it again once we get down there. Even though he’s only two, that explanation helped him out and he hasn’t asked for his bed since.