Let’s say you live in Bakersfield, CA and you’re moving to an affordable Chicago, IL apartment because you just received a job offer you can’t refuse; double your present salary, four weeks of PTO per year not including sick days, a nice 401K match, and a big chunk of stock. The only problem is that you have to move ASAP and you’re wondering about the best ways to get this job done.
Following are our top five tips for a successful cross-country move, whether or not you live in the U.S. or Canada:
Get and Stay Organized
You got your job because you are a great project manager, so use your work skills to make your relocation a seamless process. First, get rid of everything you don’t need; do a garage sale, advertise on Craigslist, or just give that stuff you don’t need to someone that does. Old computer monitors, CDs, cracked plastic kids swimming pools and two of the three lawn mowers in your shed can safely be disposed of. The less junk you have, the easier it will be to move it.
One Room at a Time
Pack one room at a time. Not only will this help you to stay organized, it will give you a great sense of accomplishment as you can close the bedroom door knowing that all of your belongings in that room are carefully packed and ready to go. Bonus tip: Save the kitchen for last and you’ll avoid a couple weeks of fast food dinners.
Yes, we know you lift at the gym, and that you bench-pressed 275 last week. That won’t do you much good if you and your stick legs are stuck on the basement stairs with a 200-pound freezer trying to push you the wrong way. Instead of trying to be a superstar, get some moving help. Professionals will arrive with the right tools and equipment, and while you can help, you can leave the really heavy stuff to them.
Pick Your Moving Method
Since you’re moving and maybe looking for a way to trade in your car, we really like container moves where you get a cube dropped on your driveway, fill it up, lock it up and have it delivered to your new residence. A variation of this where a semi-trailer is used can work nicely also. Again, we strongly suggest that you get loading and unloading help. If containers are unprofessionally packed, you can find a broken mess when you unlock your container or trailer at your new place.
If you want to stay with your stuff the entire time, you can rent a 24-foot truck and hit the road. Most of these trucks are made for amateur truck drivers, so they come with automatic transmissions, good A/C and at least an FM radio. We vote for satellite radio as a nice option, by the way.
Seasoned DIY cross-country movers will tell you this, however:
- Stay in a major hotel/motel near the interstate.
- Travel at night and sleep during the day. That way, your stuff isn’t sitting your parked truck all night unattended.
- When you do park, back the truck tightly against the wall to minimize any chances of a break-in.
You got a great job, and if you follow the guidelines above you’ll have a great move also.