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  • Writer's pictureJason & Liz Sautter

The Ultimate Guide to Preparing for an Interstate or Long-Distance Move

Moving is often listed as one of life’s most stressful events, but with careful planning and organization, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. An interstate or long-distance move requires even more meticulous preparation. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the complexities of relocating across state lines or to a far-off city.

1. Planning Your Move

Start Early

The earlier you start planning, the better. Ideally, you should begin preparations at least two to three months in advance.

Create a Moving Checklist

A detailed checklist helps ensure you don’t miss any critical steps. Break down tasks into weekly or bi-weekly segments.

Budget Wisely

Moving can be expensive. Create a budget covering all potential costs, including:

  • Moving company fees

  • Packing supplies

  • Insurance

  • Travel expenses

  • Temporary housing (if necessary)

  • Utility deposits and setup fees

2. Hiring a Moving Company

Research Moving Companies

Look for reputable moving companies with positive reviews and a track record of reliability. You can also ask friends and family who they have used in the past when they moved.

Get Multiple Quotes

Obtain at least three quotes to compare prices and services. Make sure to inquire about any additional fees that might not be included in the initial estimate. A good rule of thumb to consider when getting quotes would be

Verify Credentials

Ensure the moving company is licensed and insured. For interstate moves, they should have a USDOT number provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

3. Packing Strategically

Gather Supplies

Stock up on packing supplies:

  • Boxes (various sizes)

  • Packing tape

  • Bubble wrap

  • Packing paper

  • Markers

  • Labels

Pack Room by Room

Start with the least used rooms. Label each box with its contents and the room it belongs in.

Protect Fragile Items

Use bubble wrap, packing paper, and sturdy boxes to protect delicate items. Take note to clearly mark these boxes as "Fragile." This is very important, especially if you're working with movers, so that extra care will be given to those items so they will not break while in transit

Create an Essentials Box

Pack a box with essentials you’ll need immediately upon arrival (e.g. toiletries, clothes, important documents, basic kitchen supplies.)

4. Notify Important Parties

Change of Address

Update your address with the USPS and inform banks, insurance providers, and any subscription services.

Transfer Utilities

Arrange for disconnection of utilities at your current home and setup at your new location. This includes electricity, water, gas, internet, and cable.

Update Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration

Check the requirements in your new state for updating your driver’s license and vehicle registration.

5. Preparing for Moving Day

Confirm Details with the Moving Company

Verify the date, time, and logistics with your moving company. Ensure they have the correct addresses and contact information.

Plan for Pets and Children

Arrange for pets and children to be looked after on moving day to reduce stress and distractions.

Conduct a Final Walkthrough

Before leaving, do a final walkthrough to ensure nothing is left behind. Check all closets, cabinets, and storage areas.

6. Settling Into Your New Home

Inspect Your Belongings

Upon arrival, inspect your belongings for any damage. Report any issues to your moving company immediately.

Unpack Methodically

Start with the essentials box and gradually unpack room by room. This will make the process less chaotic.

Get Acquainted with Your New Area

Explore your new neighborhood, locate nearby amenities, and introduce yourself to neighbors. Familiarizing yourself with the area can help ease the transition.

7. Final Tips for a Smooth Move

Stay Organized

Keep important documents and receipts in a dedicated folder. This will be handy for tracking expenses and any claims for damages.

Take Care of Yourself

Moving can be physically and emotionally draining. Make sure to eat well, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

Don’t hesitate to hire professionals for tasks you can’t handle yourself, such as packing, cleaning, or setting up new utilities.


An interstate or long-distance move requires significant effort, but with careful planning and organization, you can make the transition as smooth as possible. By following this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle each stage of your move and start the next chapter of your life with confidence. Safe travels and happy moving!



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