The following is something I wrote up for a friend when they told me they would be moving from San Francisco to Brooklyn, NY after she asked me “You’ve moved across the country before, how can I be more prepared.” It was something I didn’t think of as a valuable knowledge or a life skill until she asked me.
1 – Get everything packed and purge:
Pro Tip: start MONTHS in advance of your large move.
You can get shipping quality boxes and tape at staples, office max, or other office supply stores. There is a difference between storage quality, moving quality, and shipping quality boxes.
Use your clothes as padding for fragile things so you can ship more actual stuff you want instead of shipping packing material.
If you 1) don’t use it all the time 2) need it where you are going 3) could re-purchase it easily 3) It’s not financially or sentimentally valuable, get rid of it.
I like to start by putting the “things I cannot live without” in one pile and “things I definitely don’t need/want” in another until the quality of things left is an amount I can actually move.
When I pack boxes to ship I number the boxes and put a list of the things in the box inside with the items. I keep a spreadsheet with the corresponding information so I know where to look for my necklace, wacky socks, favorite sweater, that one book you really want to share with the cool new friend you just made, etc. This also helps in case a box is damaged or something is missing.
2 – Make a list of service providers you see in your current life on a regular basis:
- Hair stylist/Aesthetician (ask people like this for a list of products they usually use or methods)
- Yoga/Pilates Instructor/ Class (What kind of yoga is it? What does your instructor specialize in?)
- Gym membership
- Coffee shop
- Club/music venue
- Book store
- etc. – Anything you do often that makes you feel like you are at home. The sooner you find this in your new place the sooner you will be happy and comfortable there.
3 – See you doctors and/or collect your medical records (at the very least have their contact info handy) Here are some common ones:
- Regular physician
- Eye doctor
- Gynecologist (if this applies to you)
4 – Gather anything you have borrowed from friends and put it in one place so you can return it easily.
5 – Make a list of places you will need to change your address:
- Banks/financial institutions/student loans
- Subscription services
- Periodical subscriptions
- Friends and family
- Past employer for W2/1099 misc
- Insurance company
6 – Set up a temporary mail forward https://www.usps.com/manage/forward.htm it costs $1, worth it.
7 – Register to Vote in your new home.
8 – ID or Driver’s License in new home.
9 – If you are putting anything in storage be sure to keep the information about that space somewhere safe
- Unit address and number
- Location of physical key and the keypad code
- Size of unit
- Cost per month
- List of what you put inside or what boxes are inside.
Its worth noting here that by the time you get back to that storage unit half of the stuff will probably be worthless to you. Think about this when you pack it up so you don’t end up like me: drinking wine in your friends living room in your college town surrounded by things you saved asking yourself “Why did I pay to store this?!” every 5 minutes.
10 – Update Resume to remove address and list new location on job search sites, make any other changes you need to to find a job in your new home if you haven’t already.
What tips do you swear by for big moves? Did I miss anything you think is super important or helpful?