planning-an-out-of-state-movePlanning a move can be a stressful and complicated undertaking – especially when it involves moving long distances or out of state. Many people find themselves spending the entire moving process worried about what they might be forgetting, because there’s a lot to keep track of. If there’s one piece of advice that anyone planning an out of state move should keep in mind, it’s this: Make lists. Make a list of every set of items you need to remember, and every series of tasks you need to get done. You’re less likely to forget things when they’re written down, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with crossing off the last item on your list often helps with stress. Here are some important reminders to get your lists started.

Tying up the Red Tape

A surprising number of people need to be properly informed of your out-of-state move if everything is to go smoothly. If you rent, you need to let your old landlord know when you’ll be leaving, and inform your new one of when you’ll be arriving. You’ll want to contact your current and new utilities so that you won’t experience an interruption in gas, electricity, phone, Internet, cable, or other services. Does your bank have branches in your new home state? If not, you’ll have to find a new bank and open an account. Some states require you to change your driver’s license right away when they take up residence, so check that out. Let the post office know about your new address, and inform any creditors you have as well. Tell your doctor (and veterinarian, if you have pets!) about your move.

What Are You Bringing?

Your move will be less expensive and less stressful if you have less stuff. Before you start packing, consider going through your belongings and setting aside the things you never use (if you haven’t thought about an item in six months to a year, that’s a pretty strong indication that you don’t need it). Have a garage sale, or donate to a thrift store, and then get ready to box up the rest. Remember to consider the climate of your new home state. If you’re moving somewhere that’s significantly warmer or cooler than your current home, you may want to get rid of some of your old wardrobe and coats.

Plan Your Packing

Will you be boxing up your items yourself, or hiring your moving company to pack? Many moving companies are only liable for the items they pack themselves in the event of breakage, so take that into consideration. Are you using cardboard boxes, or something a little more sturdy? What about large pieces of furniture – do you know how to take it apart an reassemble it without damage? If you do the packing yourself, leave plenty of time to get everything safely packed away. Label everything – an itemized list of the contents of each box is ideal, but at least label what room each box goes in.

Moving Day

Have everything packed and waiting for the movers, and make sure they have a safe, legal place to park. Be on hand throughout the process, and keep your cell phone at the ready. If you have pets, provide safe and comfortable travel arrangements. Pack valuables, irreplaceable keepsakes, medications, and things you’ll need immediately in a box you’ll transport yourself. Once everything is loaded, do a walk-through to make sure nothing was forgotten. Have a plan for where all your furniture will go when it arrives in your new home. And try to relax!