Moving across the country is never easy. In fact, organizing and executing an interstate move is often considered one of the toughest things people have to go through in their lives.
Why is moving so hard?
There are a number of valid reasons why moving out is so difficult:
- a house move can be rather expensive at times so your savings are likely to be at risk,
- a move takes plenty of time to plan and organize, thus intensifying the stress greatly when you have to move out quickly,
- a move usually means hard work for days on end, especially when you’ve decided to pack your things on your own, and
- a house move usually means a serious disruption of your life as you’re moving away from your friends, and sometimes your family as well.
And when you’re moving with your family, things can become even more complicated. Depending on the age of your child or children, you’ll have to face some major challenges that will increase the overall level of complexity of the upcoming relocation.
This family moving checklist will help you overcome the most common difficulties when moving out of state with a family. Beginning approximately 4 weeks before the day of the move, the family relocation timeline below will guide you throughout the preparation period, focusing on the specific tasks concerning your family members, including your pets.
Ready for the ultimate moving checklist for families?
4 weeks prior to Moving day
As long as you know how to achieve and maintain a high level of time management, you should have enough time to prepare fully for the house move in roughly 4 weeks.
- Hire movers or move by yourself. This is one of the very first puzzles to solve when moving with a family. It’s critical that you weigh the pros and cons of each house moving scenario and pick the option that’s best for everyone. Generally speaking, you could try to rent a truck and move by yourself when moving locally. However, when moving across the country, you’d be better off trusting a reputable state-to-state moving company. [Movers or DIY]
- Request quotes from movers. When moving to a new state with a family, the best way to guarantee the safety of your possessions and the peace of mind of your family members is to use the services of a top-rated interstate moving company. Get free quotes from trustworthy movers in your area and pick the offer that best suits your budget and satisfies your needs. Research well the candidate movers before picking the best offer in terms of price and conditions.
- Discuss the move with your children. You just have to find the time to discuss the upcoming move with your children provided that they are old enough to understand what’s happening. Moving to a new city, oftentimes in a new state altogether, is a big deal for school-age children because they are about to change the school they go to and leave their school friends as well. Moving house can be tough for everyone, so focus on the positives in order to persuade your children to work with you and not against you when moving out of state. [Moving With Children]
- Arrange the school transfer. When moving with school-age children, one super-important task is to arrange the transfer of the schools. First of all, you have to find a good school for your son or daughter in the destination area – remember to schedule a school tour after the move for your final decision. And secondly, arrange for your children’s school records to be transferred directly to the new school. If impossible, obtain those records from the school and take them with you to the new place.
- Look for free moving boxes. Throughout your family moving checklist, you should have various ways to cut moving costs – from obtaining free packing supplies to moving only whatever’s necessary and packing your things by yourself. Consider lowering your packing expenses by getting free cardboard boxes from friends, neighbors, colleagues, large retail stores in your area, or online. The average number of boxes to pack up an entire home is 60, so each box you get for free will help you move more cheaply. [Free Moving Boxes]
- Declutter your home of any unwanted items. This family relocation timeline advises you to get rid of any items that you don’t need anymore and you don’t plan to use in the future, or the ones you have never liked anyway. Think about it – it doesn’t make any sense to waste valuable time packing useless things and then pay good money to transport them to the new house. Be pragmatic and purge your home of any unnecessary items before you initiate the packing task. [Declutter Your Home]
- Start the packing process without delay. Unless you’ve decided to use professional packing services, you must start packing up your stuff as soon as you can. Why? Packing for a move is the most time-consuming task of them all, so you should double the time you think you’ll need to protect your belongings. Naturally, you should start packing from the hardest rooms to sort and pack – in most cases, those are the storage areas in the home. [What to Pack First]
3 weeks prior to Moving day
Now that you have worked on your family moving calendar for a week, it’s time to keep marking those important moving tasks as DONE. You’ve got about 20 days left until the move-out date so it’s not the right time to let down your guard.
- Get your children to pack up their things. It’s a clever tactic to keep your children involved in the pre-move preparation so that they can feel that they are part of the team. Besides, during a move, you should welcome all the help you can get. So, encourage your children to sort out and then pack up their own things – if they are old enough to do so, of course. Give them a hand whenever necessary but give them some freedom to make decisions about the fate of their own stuff.
- Rent a moving truck. When moving only a short distance away, you may wish to try to organize a self-move for you and your family. In that case, you’re going to have to rent a truck from either one of the best nationwide truck rental companies (UHaul, Penske, Budget, Ryder) or from a smaller local truck rental agency. Make sure you’re renting a moving vehicle of the right size (storage capacity) to avoid trouble down the stretch. [Rent a Truck]
- Visit your family doctor. Moving your family to another state means you’ll have to register with another family physician in the destination place. And to be able to do that, you’re going to need your and your family’s medical records. So, pay a quick visit to your current doctor and get all the documentation needed to sign up with another family doctor in the new city. Also, remember to get your dental records from your current dentist as well.
- Decide how you’ll transport your pets. Moving away with your family also means that any pets you may happen to have are also coming with you. No matter if you own a dog, a cat, a bird, fish, or another type of pet animal, they are part of the family so you’ll need to figure out the best way to transport them safely as well. Bear in mind that professional moving companies are not allowed to move pets for safety reasons, so the most common way to move with pets is to move them in your own car. [Moving With Pets]
- Decide what you’ll do with your furniture. One of the trickiest moments when moving with a family is to come to a rational decision about what you should do with the furniture pieces you own. You may like some furniture items while your partner may hate them for some reason or another. Your children are likely to want to keep their beds too. Remember that moving large and heavy furniture across the country is seldom worth it due to the high transportation cost. So, do you move your furniture pieces or buy new ones after the move? [Move Furniture or Buy New]
- Organize a moving sale. Provided that you can find some free time in your busy family moving schedule, you should consider organizing a moving sale with the purpose of selling all the items you won’t be moving with you. That way, you’ll be able to get rid of unwanted items and earn some much-needed cash by doing so. A successful yard sale before moving takes time and proper organization so decide whether the extra effort will be worth it in the end. [Moving Sale]
2 weeks prior to Moving day
With approximately 2 weeks before you have to move away, you should check with your family moving checklist whether the progress you’ve made is satisfactory. Hopefully, you will be able to keep up with the myriad of moving tasks and not fall behind your personal planner.
- Hire a car shipper, if necessary. When moving with your family to another state that’s too far away from where you are now, you may not be too thrilled to drive across the country for days. In which case, you should hire a reputable car shipping company and fly to your destination instead. Also, if you own two cars, you’ll want to use reliable car shipping services for the second vehicle as well. [Car Shipping]
- Change your address. Moving to a new home automatically means that your postal address is about to change too. Ideally, you will initiate the change of address procedure roughly 2 weeks before moving away so that you don’t lose any important pieces of mail in the relocation process. Luckily, you’ve got 4 options to change your address with the USPS: 1) in person at the nearest post office, 2) online, 3) by phone, and 4) by mail. [Change Address]
- Transfer the home utilities. Imagine that you’ve just moved into the new place only to find that there’s neither electricity nor running water there. Oops! You wouldn’t like that, would you? So, be proactive and arrange the transfer of the major home utilities such as electricity, water, gas, phone, and cable TV to the new home. Get in touch with your current utility providers to schedule a date for disconnecting the utilities. Then, contact the new utility companies to ensure you won’t be unpacking in the dark. [Change Utilities]
- Cancel all delivery services and subscriptions. Make a detailed list of all the home delivery services and subscriptions to all other services. Then, cancel those services one by one simply because you won’t be there anymore. Also, discontinue your memberships at various clubs, gyms, organizations, or hobby groups. If applicable, get any deposits back to minimize the likely loss of money from canceling your membership cards.
- Make a decision about your house plants. When moving locally with your family, you should be able to transport some of your favorite house plants in your car. However, when moving long distance across the country, moving your plants becomes too risky for your leafy companions so you should seriously consider giving them away to friends or donating them, if possible. Professional movers are not allowed to transport plants for safety reasons. [Move Plants]
1 week prior to Moving day
Only 7 days until your scheduled move-out date. Hopefully, you’ll be able to keep things under control with the help of this moving checklist for family relocation.
- Assess whether you’ll need any packing help. Packing up your things for moving is the major task during a house move, so your principal focus should be on protecting your valuable possessions for safe transportation. It’s fairly easy to assume you’ve got the packing task under full control… only to realize a few days prior to moving day that you’re way behind your packing timeline. Assess the situation carefully and ask your best friends to help you finish the packing job, if necessary. [Friendly Help]
- Pack an essentials box for your children. When moving with children, you just have to pack a box full of essential items for them – things they will surely need during the relocation trip itself. What you pack in that box will depend primarily on the age of your kids: the essentials can vary from baby stuff (disposable diapers, baby food, clothes, toys, etc.) to teenagers’ items such as electronic devices and books. [Essentials Box]
- Prepare an essentials box for your pets. When moving with pets, either locally or long distance, you’ll also need to prepare a box full of essential pet items for your animal friends. The idea is to make sure they feel safe and comfortable during the relocation trip so consider packing pet food, special treats, bedding, favorite toys, and even their favorite blankets for extra comfort. Prepare the appropriate pet carrier for cats and birds for their own safety.
- Get your family car serviced. When you’ve decided to drive to the new destination, one thing you might forget to do is to ensure that your family car is ready for the trip. Don’t take any risks – unless your car is fairly new and in top condition, it’s a good idea to take your family car to a garage to be serviced properly prior to a road trip of hundreds or even thousands of miles.
- Plan your relocation trip. The car journey to the new home doesn’t have to be spent just driving the vehicle non-stop. If you happen to have more time to spare, then you can easily organize a fun relocation trip with exciting stops along the way. Such a plan should be particularly appealing to your children who would love to see new places and experience new adventures on their way to the new home.
- Consider organizing a farewell party. Luckily, your family moving checklist is not only work, work, and more work. Shortly before having to go away, do consider organizing a farewell party for family friends and relatives. After all, you’re moving out and you never know when you’re going to see your dear friends again. If your children are old enough, they can invite some of their friends over so that they can spend some time together before the move-out day. [Say Goodbye to Friends]
Must-read: Moving Checklist: Interactive & Printable Moving Checklist
Move day has arrived!
Are you ready to handle the most physically demanding and mentally taxing day of the entire house move?
- Get up early. Moving day will be a (very) stressful day so you’d better get up early enough to give yourself more time in case you’ve forgotten to do something important. An early start is also a bonus when moving in the summer when temperatures can reach record values at noon and early afternoon. Do your best to persuade your family members to go to bed earlier the night before in order to have the required stamina on Moving day itself.
- Keep your valuables with you. You should have finished the house packing job by that moment and have only a few minor packing tasks to complete before your movers arrive or you start loading up the truck during a self-move. Remember to keep all valuable items with you at all times – documents, jewelry pieces, money, bank cards, portable electronic devices, and so on. Do not trust your movers with your valuables no matter how trustworthy they may seem.
- Ensure the safety of your children and pets. Moving with children can be dangerous, especially on Moving day when bulky furniture items and heavy boxes will be taken out of the home for an extended period of time. You must take precautionary steps before it’s too late – ask friends or relatives to come over and look after your children and pets in a room away from the packing and moving action.
- Dress appropriately for the occasion. One of the reasons why Moving day can be so dangerous is the probability of personal injuries – the worst thing that can happen during a house move. So, to protect yourself and those around you, remember to dress appropriately for the occasion: 1) wear your most comfortable pair of closed shoes that also have rubber anti-slip soles, and 2) don clothes that will not restrict your movements in any way. [What to Wear on Moving Day]
- Greet your movers. When you’ve hired a professional moving company, then you should be ready to greet the movers on the pre-arranged day and time. Show them around the house, give them any specific instructions, if any, and then just let them do what they do best. It’s best to hang around in case the pros have any questions for you. Also, be a good host and offer your hired workers cold bottled water when moving in the summer.
- Do a final security check. When the moving vehicle is loaded up and you’re about to leave the current place, do one final tour around the house to secure all doors and windows, and switch off all the power, water, and gas. Also, look around for any forgotten items before you lock up the place and start the family relocation trip.
Moving Day Checklist: How to Survive Moving Day in 20 Steps