How to: Make an out of state move
Although I’m on my third >1500 mile move (and 6th over 250 miles) I’m by no means an expert. I’m doing this by myself so I have a lot less to worry about than if I had a family and my standards for my physical dwelling are embarrassingly low.
That being said, I’ve learned a thing or two that are obvious to me but might be useful for you. This current move isn’t a corporate paid move, but no matter who’s paying for it, a long distance move is a big undertaking.
Here are my must-do’s before, during and after a big move.
Planning the move (finding your new 'hood)
There’s absolutely no substitute for spending time in the area where you’re looking. In some cities, things look close on the map but feel far while you’re there. The opposite can also be true. You’ll have to drive your commute, to the grocery store, the gym, etc. and get a feel for how long things take.
Spend more time than you think you need to find the right neighborhood. Once again, things feel different in real life. You’ll probably get an immediate feel, but sometimes it takes a few days to hone in on the right spot for you.
While you’re in the city you’re moving to, do things you’d normally do. Go to a running group, out to happy hour, or to church - whatever it is you do in real life!
Use all of the internet tools at your disposal to find places to plug in. There’s a wealth of information online to find your tribe. For example:
Facebook events (search in the location and look at the suggested events)
Social clubs (like “new to town” groups on Meetup.com)
Then, take all of that information and figure out how close they it is to your potential home and office locations.
Whether you're looking to buy or rent, it’s helpful to meet a few different Realtors. Besides finding someone that’s a good fit for you, you’ll also get a number of different perspectives on the neighborhoods and social scene.
Finding schools may be the number one priority for you if you have kids, but I haven’t done that yet so find a good Mom-blog for answers there
During the move
Do as little grocery shopping as humanly possible — use up all of your frozen food, condiments, and pantry items.
File a change of address with USPS and forward your mail — I like to do this about 5-7 days before I leave so you can catch anything that’s getting mailed and would arrive to your old address after you leave
Arrange to have utilities turned off and then back on
If you are driving:
Get your car serviced
Remember that your car is a lot smaller than you think it is. Don’t leave too much out that you’ll “just take in the car”… it still needs to fit!
Organize early! I generally don’t pack until the moving date gets really close, but that’s because I everything is organized and I know where the bodies are buried. The more organization that you do up front, the faster the packing goes!
Organize your closet, pack away off-season clothes, and make a donation bag.
Clean out your bathroom toiletries and file all of the loose paper on your desk.
Make sure to take any irreplaceable items or important paperwork with you (not in the moving truck)
After the move
If the change was something you were looking forward to, you’ll probably feel excited by the newness and settling into your new home for anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Then… it will set in. You’ll wonder “what the heck did I just do?”. If you’re introverted like me, you’ll be exhausted by trying to meet new friends and showing up to events where you don’t know anyone. If your new home is a good fit, this hopefully won’t last long. You’ll wake up one day and realize you have friends that you’re looking forward to seeing and a social calendar that isn’t completely blank.
It usually takes me 8 months to feel like I’m fully settled somewhere… sometimes faster, sometimes slower. You just have to keep it at and give yourself a break every once in a while. You don’t HAVE to go out every night. Set a weekly social goal and then stick to it. Mine is usually “one social thing per weekend that isn’t a workout” - social workouts are easy for me so they don’t count.
If you’re an extrovert… I don’t know what to yell you. Maybe it’s easy for you! I’d love to hear 🙂
Those are my best tactical tips - I hope they help!
Let me know your best ones in the comments!