Planning a move out of state can be daunting, whether you're moving for work, family, or other reasons. Our Complete Guide to Moving Out of State answers all your biggest questions about moving out of state, from creating to-do lists, planning, and budgeting for your move to downsizing, packing your belongings, and settling into your new home.
1. What To Do Before Your Move
Organization is key before an out-of-state move. Jump here to get our planning tips.
2. What To Do During Your Move
Cool your cool on moving day with our tips for what to do during an out of state move.
3. What To Do After Your Move
Get settled in and find your footing in your new hometown with our expert advice.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about how to move to another state alone.
Moving out of state requires a lot of preparation. Organization and checklists are a key component to making your transition as smooth as possible. In this guide, we’ll help you build out those critical to-do lists, covering everything before, during, and after you move out of state.
Let’s dive right in.
What To Do Before You Move To A New State
Organization is key before you move to a new state. Here’s what to do ahead of your move to ensure a smooth moving day:
1. Research moving companies
Get quotes from moving or shipping companies early on in the moving process so you can secure your moving date as soon as possible, especially if you’re moving out of state during busier seasons like spring and summer. Check online reviews, and ask friends and family for referrals to help make your choice.
You’ll also want to make your own travel arrangements well in advance, including booking any flights, hotels or car rentals you’ll need for moving day. Don’t forget to make arrangements to move things like cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles, boats and trailers as well.
2. Get organized
Keep all your important paperwork in one place, like a folder or binder. This includes things like:
- Inventory lists
- To do lists
The less “stuff” you have to move the better, especially when you’re moving to a new state. Before you start or as you pack, take a look at everything you own, room by room, and decide what you can donate, sell or toss away.
If you’re moving quickly or are feeling overwhelmed with the task of decluttering, a professional organizer can help you tackle the process and get your clutter under control.
4. Make inventory lists
Once you’ve decided which items you’ll keep, you can make an itemized list of everything you’re moving. Make separate lists for personal items, furniture, and decor, or you can also separate your lists by room. Sometimes things get lost, particularly during an out of state move, so however you choose to organize your lists, you’ll be glad you have them on the other end to confirm everything made the move.
TSI TIP: Make note of the condition of each item on your inventory list, and take photos of valuable pieces. If something gets damaged or lost during the move, you’ll need this information to file an insurance claim.
5. Pack non-essentials
A good place to start packing is the garage, attic, basement or storage room, since these spaces are typically where most of your unused items are tucked away. You’ll likely find lots of stuff there that can be donated, sold or tossed. Whatever is left can be boxed up, labeled and made ready for moving day.
6. Separate valuables
Set aside one or two boxes to hold your valuable items—things that are sentimental, expensive and/or very important. You’ll want to keep those boxes with you on moving day so they don’t get lost or damaged.
7. Pack the rest
Over the course of several weeks (ideally!), you can slowly box up items you can live without, like:
- Off-season clothing
- Small appliances you don’t use very often
- Books and music collections
8. Disassemble furniture
In the final days leading up to your move, you can begin to disassemble furniture – take apart desks, tables and bed frames. Disassemble entertainment centers, including gaming consoles, audio equipment and other devices. Make sure any parts are labelled and/or packed with the right piece of furniture to make reassembly as easy as possible.
9. Change your address
Change your address online or call the post office to have your mail forwarded beginning about 2-3 weeks ahead of your moving day to ensure nothing arrives at your old address after you’re gone.
To help make the transition as smooth as possible, alert other important people like your employer, doctor, dentist and vet, and be sure to change your address with government services, unions and schools. And, of course, give your new address and moving date to your family and friends.
10. Cancel or transfer utilities and memberships
Moving to a new state means cancelling or transferring your memberships, such as gyms, clubs and classes. You’ll also want to alert your utility providers about your move, including:
- Security systems
What To Do During Your Move To A New State
Moving day is the most stressful part of moving out of state. These tips will help you keep your cool and ensure a calmer move-out (and move-in):
1. Clean up
You’ll appreciate walking into a clean home in your new state, and so will whoever is moving into your previous home. While your movers are loading up the truck, you can clean up behind them by vacuuming, wiping down counters, window sills and other surfaces, and washing floors. If you’re not physically able or willing to do the cleaning yourself, you can hire a cleaning service to come after you’ve moved.
2. Final walk-through
As each room is emptied, take a moment to check that nothing has been left behind. Look for things like cables or cords in the outlets, and remember to look inside the closets for odds and ends that may have been missed.
3. Check personal items
Double (and triple) check that your valuables and personal items, like your overnight bag, jewelry, paperwork, and child and pet supplies have not been packed onto the moving truck. Check your list of items you want to travel with you, not with the movers.
4. Confirm travel arrangements
If you rented a car, pick it up and fill the gas tank. Make sure you have maps, directions and GPS coordinates set and ready to go. If you booked a flight or train, verify that it’s on time. If you booked a hotel, call to verify your reservation.
5. Keep receipts
Make sure to keep track of all your moving day expense receipts (especially if you’re moving for work and your employer is covering your moving expenses), including:
- Taxi or rideshare
- Flight or train tickets
What To Do After You Move To A New State
Here’s what to do after you move to a new state to help you get settled and comfortable in your new hometown.
1. Check for loss or damage
If you hired a professional moving company, check the condition of your belongings after transit. Keep a pad of paper handy as you unpack and be ready to document any damage. Take pictures of anything you think may have been damaged in the move. Also check items against your inventory lists to see if anything is missing.
TSI TIP: If any boxes are damaged, take pictures BEFORE you open them. The insurance company may require proof of damage to the packaging, versus broken pieces within a still sturdy box.
2. Clean surfaces
As you settle in and begin to unpack, give surfaces a quick wipe down with a disinfectant. Focus on countertops, window sills, floors, door handles, stair railings and even your furniture as you rebuild each piece.
3. Inspect your new home
Check for any pre-existing damages and take pictures of anything that needs minor and/or major repair. This is even more important if you’re renting, as you don’t want to be held responsible for the previous tenants’ damage.
4. Get to know your area
Get out there and explore your new surroundings! Take a stroll through downtown or hop in the car to tour the outskirts. Scout out your a great grocery store, fitness center, and restaurants so you can start to feel comfortable in your new hometown.
5. Find a new doctor
It can take a while to assemble a new medical team, so it’s best to get this process started as soon as you arrive in case you are put on a waitlist. Remember to have your medical records transferred from your previous family doctor, dentist, etc., to your new one. Don’t forget to do the same thing for your pets.
6. Set up utilities
When moving out of state, chances are you simply canceled your previous utility accounts. If you didn’t initiate the process before your moving day, check your lists and start getting set up again at your new home as soon as you can after you arrive. Choose your preferred cable, internet and phone companies, and set up electric, gas, water and sewer accounts. If you have a security system at your new home, you’ll want to get that set up as soon as possible also.
7. Change your voter registration
Now that you live in a new state, you need to register to vote. Do a quick Google search to find out how to register as a voter in your new state.
8. Transfer your driver’s license, car registration and insurance
In addition to changing your address, you’ll need to register your vehicles and get new insurance coverage. If you’re planning to stay for an extended period of time, you’ll also want to get a valid driver’s license in your new state.
9. Collect and submit moving receipts
If you’ve moved for work and can expense any relocation costs, make sure all your receipts are collected and organized for submission and reimbursement. Even if you aren’t expensing your move, you may still be able to recoup some of your costs when you file your annual income tax. Keep all your receipts easily accessible just in case.
10. Make your new home yours
Now that you’ve unpacked (at least for the most part), you can begin to make a list of odds and ends you’re missing. You can also start thinking about how to make it feel like home. Do you need new furniture for an extra room? Maybe a fresh coat of paint and new artwork will add some flair. It’s yours to decorate however you like!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I move out of state on a budget?
The best way to move out of state on a budget is to, well, create a budget. Get our advice on creating a moving budget.
What should I consider before moving to another state?
There are many things to consider before moving to another state, starting with your reason for moving. If you’re moving for work or to be closer to family, you may not get to choose what state you move to. If you’re moving for any other reason, many factors are worth considering, from things like the housing market, cost of living, and taxes, to employment opportunities, culture, and weather.
Where should I start when moving to another state?
The best place to start when moving to a new state is to get organized, make a budget, and start researching your moving options. Once you have these pieces in place, you can start sorting and packing your belongings. Read our detailed moving timeline and checklist for a week-by-week breakdown of how to move long distance.
What is the best way to move out of state?
The best way to move out of state will depend on factors such as your budget and timeline, your physical ability, and the amount of stuff to be moved. Learn more in this out of state moving guide.