Moving day is never a relaxed affair even if you are just relocating across town. If you are moving across the country, the logistical difficulty of getting all of your stuff - and yourselves - from one place to the other increases dramatically.
Therefore, it's even more important to put in the necessary preparation when you are moving a long distance, which begins long before the movers arrive.
What not to bring
The time leading up to any move is a great time to take inventory and donate or throw out anything you don't absolutely need, but it's even more important during a long-distance move. In the months leading up to the move, getting rid of old clothes or furniture that you won't use at your new place can reduce the stress of packing, but there are also a few items that really shouldn't be shipped whether you could use them or not. Here are some common items that you'll likely want to leave behind:
* House plants. There's the potential for all the dirt to make a big mess in the truck, but they're also unlikely to survive a long-distance move.
* Anything combustible or flammable, including but not limited to ammunition, propane tanks, gasses or oils.
* Anything that could spill and damage other items in the truck, such as disinfecting cleaners, bleach and house paints.
Lining up the movers
In a long-distance move, it's even more important to hire the right mover for the job. Getting in touch with movers early in the process will give you plenty of time to take care of what you need to on your end to make the move go smoothly.
As you consider long distance moving companies, make sure each is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at www.protectyourmove.gov. On the site you can also find helpful information on preparing for your move, including a checklist of everything you should do before, after and during the move. You should also receive a brochure titled "Ready to Move?" and a booklet titled "Your Rights on Responsibilities When You Move" from the mover that will help you as you go through the moving process.
In any move, perhaps the most important part of the process is accurately detailing everything you plan to move during your call with the moving company prior to your move. This is especially important in a long-distance move. Not only will this help you to get an accurate estimate from the company, but it will allow the movers to plan for the right-size load and ensure that everything finds its way onto the truck.
Since moving especially fragile or unique items yourself might not be possible during a long-distance move, talk to your mover ahead of time about these items and learn how you'll need to pack them so they don't get broken or damaged. Especially valuable or sentimentally important items such as jewelry, photographs and sensitive paperwork should be either taken with you or sent using traceable shipping options.
You may also need to make separate shipping arrangements for big-ticket items such as boats or all-terrain vehicles. Your mover may be able to help you in finding the right service for these items.
If you'll be staying someplace temporarily before you move into your permanent home in your new location, your mover can also help get the items you won't immediately need into storage. And if you have a small gap between your move-out and move-in times, talk to your mover about temporary storage options.
A long-distance move is never easy, but with a well-developed plan and the proper amount of preparation, you can make it go as smoothly as possible.