Guide to Moving Out of State in 7-Step

Full article 11 min read

Why do you need a “Guide to Move Out of State”? Because this is one of those lifetime experiences that depend on your attitude: you either choose to be positive about it and plan things in advance to avoid stress or leave everything to chance and dwell on it for months.

How to Move out of State

With our quick “Guide to Moving Out of State’ on how to proceed, you’ll get the knowledge and inspiration to do everything the right way. planning your state move can save you loads of money and time and eliminate negative emotions. Obviously, moving out of state is something more complicated than switching apartments and you might not get the chance to collect the hair dryer you left behind, but who said it’s impossible?


1. Set the date and take things from there

family looking from behind boxesRelocation plans can drag on for months – but once you have set a date, everything becomes more tangible. So take your time to figure out the big day before you start making any arrangements.

The next thing you can do is set interim goals and dates for each of those goals. This greatly speeds up the planning process and you end up with much less stress than you would otherwise get.

Use an online calendar and set automatic reminders to keep things under control at all times.

2. Set your budget and start saving in advance

Depending on the distance and the kinds of stuff you’re going to take with you, the cost of moving to another state might as well spin out of control. Traveling, hiring a moving company, sorting out financial matters in your home state, etc. can eat up a significant part of your budget. However, if you spread the expense over time, it’s easier to gain back control.

Do online research to figure out the costs of living in the state you are relocating into. These may differ from the ones in your home state significantly.

Also, remember that some companies offer relocation support as part of their benefits package. If you’re moving because of the job, be sure to find out what that includes. Typically, employers cover shipping and delivery expenses.

Likewise, you should find out if the tax deductions apply to your situation. If you are relocating because of your job and meeting certain distance requirements, save all the slips and deduct your costs during the upcoming tax season.

3. Hire a good moving company

When moving out of state, you are going to need professional help with your arrangements. So your next step should be hiring movers to move out of state.

There are three types of moving companies you can choose from:

A professional full-scale moving company. These guys will do everything: pack, ship, deliver and unpack. All you have to do is to tell them your destination address. Obviously, this kind of service is the most expensive one but if your budget allows it, it’s the best service you can get. Alternatively, you can do the packing on your own to save money.

Truck rental firms. If you are comfortable driving large vehicles, you can save a large chunk of your relocation budget by driving on your own. This option is not for everyone, of course, as you have to be at least twenty-five years of age and hold a valid driver’s license.

Shipping containers firms. If you want to do the packing on your own but don’t want to handle the transportation, this option is just for you. Pack your items, order the service and the company will deliver the containers to your old place and then to your new address.

To save your budget, contact a few moving companies and ask them to prepare cost estimation sheets (see the form above). Compare the costs and select the best option. By the way, if you are packing on your own, a good way to get free cardboard boxes is to pop into the local shops that usually discard plenty of these.


4. Discuss additional moving services

Your movers are likely to provide a whole array of additional services that you can also consider.


If you own any valuable possessions of an unusual shape (for example, pieces of art, musical instruments, etc.), you will need custom containers to transport them. If you do not have these, your moving company can help.

Disassembling and assembling of the furniture

Bulky items can give you a hard time packing. Besides, most furniture items have quite complex structure so if you are not at ease with disassembling them on your own, assign your movers to do that for you.

Discarding packing materials upon arrival

Imagine the sheer amount of the packing materials you will have once all your stuff is safely unpacked in a new place. If you do not have the chance to sort this out on your own, your movers can handle it for you for an additional fee.

Delivering your belongings to your new place

Find out whether your new place has an elevator or a flight of stairs. Obviously, the moving company will charge you more for moving your possessions up the stairs.

5. Start packing

family moving out of state with kidsPacking is probably the most tedious and daunting task for many of us. It is important, though, to start packing your belongings in advance so you can then ship stuff to another state. Remember that the weight of your belongings will determine the cost of delivery so think carefully about what you need to take with you to the new home.

Packing is easier said than done, though. Many people find it hard to part with things they are accustomed to seeing every day. A good rule of thumb is to dismiss stuff you have not been using for more than a year – chances are you will abandon it in your new place too.

Here is a good checklist you can follow:

  • decide what you are taking with you and what is left behind. Consider selling your unnecessary items on Amazon or Craigslist;
  • pack heavy and large items first, then move on with packing smaller items;
  • never ship your valuables with a moving company and pack them safely to take it with you;
  • use separate rooms for storing items you are going to take with you and the ones you will need to discard.

Remember to separate things you will need during your last days in the old place and the first days in your new one in case the bulk of your belonging will arrive after you. Here is a list of the essentials you will need:

  • your documents (IDs, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, etc.);
  • cash and credit cards;
  • keys;
  • tickets;
  • basic medicine supplies;
  • food and drinks;
  • your mobile phone, laptop and chargers.

If your movers will do the packing for you, make sure to leave clear instructions of what needs to be transported and discarded.

Remember about your pets and make sure you have reliable carriers available. Make sure to have pet food in the vicinity.

Another important thing is to know what things are not allowed to transport, as your movers will refuse to ship them. These include hazardous chemical materials, fireworks, weapons, any equipment with fuel, etc.


6. Sort out your paperwork

Moving between states entails some sort of paperwork too. These are some of the most important things to be aware of:

  • let your landlord know you are moving out in advance and notify your employer at least two weeks before moving if this is not a corporate relocation;
  • contact the US Postal Service and notify them about the change of address;
  • submit the Address Change Request to the Internal Revenue Service;
  • contact your bank manager to discuss what is the next step to sort out your finances in a new state;
  • contact your insurance provider to find out how your insurance will work in a new state. Also, consider getting a moving insurance (for example, the US Department of Transportation offers moving insurance packages you can find interesting);
  • contact your electricity, water and gas providers to notify them you are moving out of state so you will not be charged with huge bills afterwards.

On the day of leaving, arrange someone in charge to collect your keys (this can be your landlord or new tenants). Remember to check the water taps and turn off central heating as well as unplug any utilities that are left behind. Also, leave some cash to tip your moving company for a great work.

When moving between states, remember to cancel your current subscriptions and reschedule them to your new address. Let your friends and family know of your new address.

7. Get used to your new place

Most of people are overwhelmed with the task of arranging the state move and do not give living at their new place much thought at first. Surviving first days and weeks in a new environment is both an exciting and challenging experience so here are a few things to do first of all:

  • research logistics. Get to know the local area better and make mental notes of where essential amenities are situated;
  • locate the nearest hospital and police station;
  • get in touch with the DMV office in your new state to learn what is the procedure of updating your driver’s license;
  • unpack;
  • enjoy the new experience!

Happy relocating!


Written by

Alex Sherr is the founder of Long Distance Moving, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.