Your in-depth guide to packing for your long-distance move

Make packing and moving plain sailing, even when going across the country.

Get moving help

Published on

There’s a saying that when you’re off to a new home, you’re set up for new adventures and memories. But before leaving port, you have to wrap things up, literally and figuratively. If you’re a newbie with how to pack for a cross-country move, this guide’s got your back and bags.

Primary steps for moving across the country

Step 1: Start with a checklist

When moving across the country, it’s crucial not to miss anything. Whether you’re relocating with pets, children, the elderly, or by yourself, there’s much ground to cover. It’s not just about packing your essentials, such as toiletries, clothing, toolkit, computer, etc.

Also, consider bigger things, like furniture and appliances. Plus, there are people to notify about your move. Make a checklist according to your needs and follow it thoroughly.

Step 2: Sort your belongings

moving boxes in an empty apartment

If you’re wondering what to pack when moving across country, consider organizing first. Some people prefer to travel light because it’s cheaper and easier. So, it may be in your best interest to categorize your stuff into three categories: keep, donate, and discard. 

You can give up old things, those that you rarely use, or stuff you have duplicates of. If you’re moving to a furnished home, you can also sell all or most of your furniture and appliances. Doing this will help lighten your load during the move while earning and saving you money.

Step 3: Do your research

Moving means doing some homework to prepare beforehand. As you go through your things, you’ll decide which of them you’ll take. In some cases, you may need professional assistance.

But to ensure a smooth and stress-free move, find a team of reliable movers. They can be lifesavers, especially if you have a lot to pack. Don’t forget to ask for recommendations from friends and check out customer reviews.

Step 4: Prepare your documents

important travel documentsAnother thing that may need some research is whether you’ll need certain documents, a new driver’s license, etc. Remember to collect and organize important papers, such as medical records and school or work files.

Step 5: Inform the necessary people

If you rent your current home, notify your landlord about your move. Do the same for your utilities, insurance company, and banks. It would be best to settle unpaid bills and other businesses to avoid issues. 

Remember to update your postal address to ensure you receive mail and subscriptions at your new place.

Step 6: Consider a garage sale

garage sale for items you don't want to pack with you

One practical long-distance moving tip is selling some of your items. It’s a great way to make extra cash before you head off to your next home. Plus, you can use the money you’ll earn for moving expenses.

Packing tips for moving across country

#1 Book with your chosen movers

Once you’ve decided which items you’ll bring, that’s your green light to call your packers. Confirm details about your move, including the date, place, time, and contact persons. Don’t be shy to ask what things movers won’t move so you can figure out a backup plan for those items.

#2: Gather packing materials

packing materials for the moveBubble wrap, newspapers, tape, cross-country boxes, and markers. These are your necessities for wrapping up, securing, and organizing your things. But you can also use other items, like bins, towels, crates, and shoe boxes. Be sure you have enough of these materials for efficient packing.

#3: Go slowly but surely

Packing all your things can be overwhelming and exhausting. That’s why starting early and going at a comfortable pace is recommended. Begin with non-essential items and store them away in labeled boxes. As you get closer to moving day, you can pack up more things until everything is ready.

#4: Use vacuum storage bags

person using vacuum storage bags to save space

If you’re wondering how to pack clothes for moving across country, vacuum storage bags may just be your next best friend. These can protect your clothing while saving up space. You can also use them for blankets, other fabrics, and toys to keep them dustproof and waterproof.

#5: Secure fragile items

Chances are, you’ll have some breakables to move, like frames, figurines, dishes, and glasses. While being careful and working with your trusted packers help, traveling long distances is still risky. Wrapping them firmly with cushioning materials like bubble wrap, towels, or blankets can double their safety. 

Besides fragile possessions, secure birth certificates, medical records, and other essential documents. You can seal them in zipper storage bags to ensure they stay clean and dry.

#6: Pack up properly

moving boxes with labels

Did you know there’s a right way of putting your things together? Think of it as a puzzle. Everything must be snug in each container without gaps to avoid having your belongings move around during the travel period. So, don’t shy away from wrapping thickly and stuffing any cracks to fill in between your items.

You can also try the Russian Doll technique, where you pack smaller things inside of bigger ones. It makes the most out of every space, eliminating hollow spaces. For example, you can stuff socks in shoes and stack similar items together. Another rule of thumb is to put heavier belongings at the bottom and lighter ones at the top.

Ready, set, pack, and go!

Your upcoming cross-country move no longer has to weigh you down. With the handy tips in this guide, you’ll be sure to face your new chapter with excitement and smiles. But to make packing and moving a hundred times lighter, call up a trusted long-distance mover for help. Find them on Airtasker today!

Find long distance movers, fast

Find a long distance mover

FAQs on how to pack for a cross country move

You can begin with non-essential items weeks before your move. Then, you can gradually pack your other belongings, leaving daily essentials last on your list.

It ranges from several weeks to a few days, depending on how much stuff you have.

Several things to consider when preparing for a cross-country move include:

  • Informing your landlord (if applicable) and utilities.

  • Sorting your belongings.

  • Preparing necessary documents.

  • Gathering packing supplies.

  • Booking with your chosen movers.

Related articles

Related price guides

Let's do this!

It's free and takes only a minute.