Moving out of state checklist

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Last updated on August 23, 2023

A checklist for moving out of state helps tackle difficult and complex tasks – especially when moving your family, pets, and all your valued possessions to another location! Making a checklist before the big day of your move can help you manage stressful processes like this while avoiding costly mistakes. 

To make things easier, use this moving out-of-state checklist to tick off tasks for the coming months, weeks, and days before your big move.

woman writing on moving checklist on clipboard, sitting near moving boxes in living room

The number of items, using your own vehicle or public transportation, travel distance, pets, number of family members, and other factors can influence the complexity and length of your moving checklist. The key to doing all this is to plan and get things done as you build up to moving day.

What to do 2-3 months before the move

Giving yourself at least 2 to 3 months to move is essential. Even if you don’t have many possessions, planning to move out of state can take months of preparation and organizing before moving. 

Here’s what to do before you move out of state:

Scope out your new neighborhood

This is the basis for most of your moving tasks, as you must ensure your new neighborhood has all you need. Before you even compile your packing list for moving out of state, make certain that the area you plan to move to is close to your new job. Also, are schools, medical facilities, markets, and stores nearby? Consider their needs if you’re moving your whole family out of state. Find out before you move out!

Make a moving playbook

One of the first crucial steps is organizing all your tasks. This can be done by creating a moving playbook, a folder/binder to keep your entire to-do list handy and store important documents. Back up and update this playbook on a phone or computer app.

Decide on your moving budget

Figure out the cost of moving by listing all the services you’ll need to hire or use, such as:

  • Public transportation (taking the bus, renting a car, boat, or plane ride)

  • Pet transporters

  • Moving companies or rented storage trailers

  • Car maintenance and repair (if you plan to use your car)

  • Hotel or motel stays during the move

Once you’ve set your budget for the move, stick to it – but have money ready for emergencies.

Get moving supplies

This is essential if you’re packing and moving items yourself. Figure out which items you can pack and move on your own, then get the right amount of boxes, spools of packing tape, and labeling stickers. As for larger, bulkier items, don’t hesitate to hire moving professionals to pack and move them for you.

Plan your route

Get a phone app and a paper map to plan your route beforehand. Do this to determine how much fuel and supplies you’ll need if you drive. This can also help you avoid getting confused or lost when driving to your new state.

Get transportation ready

If you choose to drive your car for the move, hire a mechanic to inspect it and make any needed repairs. If you decide to sell your car, start finding a buyer. Taking the bus, plane, train, or ferry? Book tickets for any transportation you need in advance to avoid the seasonal rush.

Inform your landlord or landlady

Don’t forget to let your landlord or landlady know you’re moving! Apart from common courtesy, giving notice now allows them ample time to refund your deposit. This is also a good time to cut off any utilities you will no longer need.

empty boxes with "keep" and "declutter or donate" labels, decluttering to reduce items before moving house

What to do a month before the move

Have housing ready

As you move to another state, make sure to have temporary housing ready (such as a hotel or motel stay) if you haven’t found a place to rent or have yet to purchase a home.

Get rid of clutter

Sell off items with little sentimental or monetary value – the money you get can contribute to your moving budget. For instance, you can sell off your small appliances and then replace them once you’ve moved. Seasonal clothing items can also be donated or sold, then replaced later. 

You can hire a junk removal service to dispose of broken or old furniture. This way, you can avoid the hassle of transporting heavy or bulky items you no longer need.

Get your paperwork together

Check that your birth certificates, passports, deeds, titles, medical records, and other important documents are accounted for and packed for the move. Find out how and when to transfer essential items like your voter registration, car registration, and insurance.

Clean out the fridge

Consume food in your fridge and pantry well before moving day. Check for any emergency supplies you can use up if you don’t plan on bringing them. Don’t buy food items in large quantities from now on to avoid wastage. 

young couple packing moving boxes in living room

What to do 2 weeks before the move

Contact your service providers

When appropriate, let your bank, credit card company, internet, and cell service providers know about your move and update them with your soon-to-be new address and contact information.

Confirm your moving schedules

Check with all the moving companies or specialists and confirm your schedules. Refer to your moving playbook and go down the list of pet transporters, car shippers, and furniture movers you hired.

Contact your new garbage collection service

Get in touch with the garbage collection service in your new location. That way, you’ll have garbage bins at your new place by the time you move in.

Start packing

This should be the time when you start packing your items. To avoid packing in a panic, plan this such that you can finish at least two days before the actual moving day.

What companies won't move: Anything flammable or explosive like pesticides, aerosols, fertilizer, motor oil, acids, batteries, fireworks, and other hazardous items

What to do 1 week before the move

Advise the post office

Do you get any physical mail or parcels? Inform your local post office so they can forward these to your new address.

Tackle the dirty jobs

Part of your interstate moving checklist is leaving your rental behind spic and span. This should be easier after your possessions have been packed and sorted, so get started on general cleaning jobs. If you need help, remember that you can always hire move-out cleaners. Use this time to drain gas and oil from any outdoor equipment you plan to take along.

Prepare “settling in” supplies

Prepare items to make your new residence more livable. Pack crockery, a first aid kit, and toiletries. Don’t forget to pack snacks, easy-to-prepare meals, a cooking pot, and a spatula.

Get cash ready

One of the long-distance moving tips few people mention: there may not always be ATMs along your route, so be sure to have cash on hand for emergencies.

Finalize packing

At this point, you should be done packing and putting on the last labels on your moving boxes for either you or your moving company to ship. Don’t forget to get your security deposit from your landlord/landlady.

The day before moving day

Prepare snacks

Bring enough snacks for everyone on the trip to ensure nobody goes hungry.

Bring your valuables

Pack your most valuable possessions, like jewelry and small family heirlooms, in a small bag you can carry. 

Moving day

On the day itself, make final checks on your rented apartment or home. Check every room to ensure you haven’t forgotten to pack anything and that the place has been cleaned. 

Do a final check on your car and ensure you have enough fuel for the journey. Once you’re done, bon voyage!

locksmith changing deadbolt lock, security measure after moving into a new home

Things to do when you move to a new state

Congrats on the successful move! Now that you’ve moved into a new residence, now comes the more exciting part – getting settled in! Here are some things you can do:

Hire a deep cleaning service

Even if you move to a brand-new house, it may still need a good dusting and general cleaning. You can go DIY or get cleaning professionals to do it for you.

 Get unpacked

Don’t just unpack every item you have willy-nilly – use a system. For instance, place boxes marked “kitchen items” in the kitchen, then unpack them two boxes at a time. Do the same for all the other boxes so you don’t get overwhelmed!

Boost your home security

Get a new set of locks for all your entryways and a deadbolt on your front door. You can also install a home security system with an alarm, smart doorbell, and CCTV cameras.

Make the home safe for your kids and pets

Install safety gates and lock cabinets and windows. Ensure household chemicals, tools, and other potentially harmful items are stored away from your kids and pets.

Check the smoke detectors and HVAC systems

Inspect your home’s HVAC systems if it has one, or check that the individual heaters and A/C units work properly. Test the smoke detectors as well and place new batteries to be sure.

Have your home inspected

Hire a contractor to inspect your home’s structural integrity and signs for wear and tear on the roof or ceilings. Get repairs done on them immediately to avoid more costly repairs later. 

Move to a new state with professional help

Moving to a new state is a major life decision that can be both stressful and difficult. Use this checklist for a clearer picture of what you need to do, but note that the process can vary depending on your circumstances and the nuances of your new state. Remember, this checklist, combined with the help of experienced, professional long-distance movers, can make the task more manageable. So don’t hesitate to book the services you need on Airtasker!

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FAQs on moving out of state

Do your research about the state you’re considering moving to, and weigh the pros and cons of that state. Don’t move until you’ve found a job and a new place to live in the state that you’re considering. Plan your move well before moving day, at least 3 months in advance. Plan a budget for the move and your post-move; don’t forget to make a checklist like this one!

It can be quite hard to move to another state, as you’ll have to find a new job and place and get to know your new surroundings. There’s also a lot of paperwork needed, like transferring your vehicle registration, utilities, insurance, and other important matters. You may have to say goodbye to your friends and some family members, so moving can also be lonely apart from overwhelming.

This amount can vary. If you’re moving to a new state without securing new employment, save at least three months’ worth of living expenses as you do your job search – apart from the moving expense. Consider your moving expenses, rent and security deposit for a new place, utilities, food, and other costs like transporting your vehicle and pets if you have them.

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