How to prepare for a cross-country move?

Moving across the country is a great adventure and quite a big challenge at the same time. You need to move to a (very) different part of the country, meet new people, adopt a new way of life and before all of that you need to pack all your belongings, have them transported to your new home and then unpack all the boxes. All this can be pretty hectic and overwhelming, so here are some tips on how to prepare for a cross-country move. Here’s how to save money, save time and keep your smile!

Prepare for a cross-country move before you hit the road.
Prepare for a cross-country move before you hit the road.

First things first

When you’re planning a cross-country move, you’ll need to hire reliable long-distance movers. But, it’s a long way to hiring movers. There are things you must do by yourself to prepare for a successful cross-country move.

Start with decluttering

This is not a fun thing to do. But it can save you quite some time and money and help you prepare your long-distance moving budget. Also, it can help you to start living a new way.

Basically, you will go throughout your home, sorting out things by importance. This is a must-do preparational step for moving long-distance. As you will see, there are a lot of benefits of decluttering home before the move, so make sure you do it thoroughly because it’s for your own good.

Declutter to save money

When you need to take your stuff across the country, you’ll think twice before you pack your bags and boxes. Because it costs. A lot. So you probably won’t be like “oh, I’ll take this box full of gardening tools, I might need it one day.” You’d rather be like: “Do I need this or not? And do I need in the foreseeable future?” So if you’re moving to an apartment, you’re definitely not going to be taking your gardening tools across the country.

That box with gardening equipment makes so much difference when it comes to your budget. You could take it to your new home and pay to transport it across the country (and then just keep it useless in your new home). Or you could save by not taking it with you and earn by selling the items from it. How about that? Now think the same way about every single item you have. It can pretty much change perspectives, can’t it?

Declutter to save time

Get rid of anything you no longer use or need before you need to pack and unpack it. Yes, decluttering takes time, but once you’re done with it – you’re done with it. If you keep carrying useless stuff wherever you go, it’s a never-ending story. You need to pack that particular item, then unpack it, then keep it somewhere, then move it around the house, then pack and unpack again. Sounds tiring, doesn’t it? Prepare for a cross-country move by avoiding it all.

Declutter to start a new life

You’ve probably heard about traveling light? And even if you’re not doing it yourself (yet), you probably think it’s a very cool idea. Well, living light is an even better idea! Try it out and you’ll never get back to a cluttered home and a cluttered life.

New York
From East Coast to West Coast or the other way around?

How to get rid of the things you no longer need?

There are a few options to do this, so choose the one that is going to be the most convenient for you:

Sell your stuff

You sell some stuff and you use that money for your move. Isn’t that great? Seems like you can’t go wrong here… But you actually can. Don’t try to sell every single thing you no longer need. Some things will take forever to be sold and you don’t want to spend ages dealing with them. Besides, this is a great chance to share with family and friends and to also help those in need. So here’s what else to do…

Pass some things to your family and friends

If someone you know could make great use of some of your items, then go for it. The less time it takes, it will be easier for you to prepare for a cross-country move.

Donate some of your belongings

Put some things aside to help those who need it the most. But keep in mind that you should not donate anything and everything. If an item is damaged and could no longer be used properly, there’s only one way to deal with it.

If you don’t have time or means to go and donate stuff yourself, some charities can help you with that. There are charities you can call, depending on the stuff you have, and they can pick them up. So, ask around about Goodwill, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and Furniture Bank. These are all reputable charities you can trust and use their free services.

Toss some things away

After you have gotten rid of all the things you won’t be needing any longer, but you still have too many things, you may consider throwing them away.

Of course, there are things you can’t just throw away in the garbage when moving. This goes for non-disposable waste, hazardous materials, dangerous matters that can pose a health risk, etc.

If you possess some of those items, ask around what you can do about them. Some services can help you out with that.

Golden Gate Bridge
Let’s cross the bridge and move across the country!

Don’t forget about food

Food waste is important to keep in mind when preparing for a cross-country move. You should prepare on time and calculate your average food consumption, so you can reduce food waste when moving. Believe it or not, this way you can save more than you think.

Pack smart if you want to prepare for a cross-country move

The first thing you need to do about this one is to decide who’s doing it – yourself or professional packers? If you choose to do it yourself, you’ll immediately save some money as you won’t be paying professionals to do that for you. But will you be saving in the long run? What kind of moving boxes do you need? How much time will it take? Will you be able to handle everything properly, without risking any damage along the way? Do you think you’ll be able to pack your stuff like a pro? Probably not. Let’s face it, packing your household like a pro is harder than it seems. This is why you should consider hiring professionals to take care of the job. Prepare for a cross-country move the best way possible.

Professional Movers And Packers
Smart packing is of the utmost importance

If you decide to do it on your own, then here are a few things to keep in mind:

Start early

It always looks like it will take less time than it actually will. You can wait until the end to find that out or you can start early. How early should you go for it? As early as possible.

Get some strong, sturdy packing materials

You’re moving across the country and not just two blocks away. So, you are going to need quality packing supplies. Our ultimate packing supplies list suggests getting:


  • Quality moving boxes – make sure you get boxes of different shapes and sizes so you can fit a wide range of items you have;
  • Bubble wrap – you’ll need it for securing your items and protecting them in transport. You can’t imagine packing fragile items without bubble wrap. You can get it in rolls or sheets;
  • Packing paper – also for the protection of fragile items. Especially important for packing mirrors.
  • Furniture pads – use pads to protect not only your furniture from cracking but also your floors and walls from scratching and damage. It will help your deposit back.
  • Packing tape – this is a must-have packing tool you’ll be using to seal your boxes. Make sure you get a wide packing tape with a dispenser, which will make your life a lot easier.
  • Labels and markers – you’ll be using them to label your boxes;
Cardboard Moving Boxes
Quality moving boxes are mandatory

Label all the boxes

Labeling the moving boxes is a step you must not skip. It will help you protect your moving items, especially the fragile ones. When you label your boxes, you’ll make it easier for movers to decide on the best positions for given boxes inside the moving truck. Besides, you’ll realize how important labeling is when you start with the unpacking. It’ll make your unpacking process way easier and faster.

When it comes to labeling the moving boxes, you can use premade labels or make them yourself. Or, you can use permanent markers and write directly on the side of the box what’s inside. Pay attention to your handwriting and make sure the letters are big and thick enough so anybody can read them.

Permanent Markers
Labeling the boxes is a very important stage

Hire a reliable company for a cross-country move

Hiring a trusted moving company is always important and it’s even more so when you need to prepare for a cross-country move. So here’s what to look for when searching for a suitable company.

Ask your friends. Then ask Google

Your friends might not be able to give you recommendations. No worries, Google will deliver. Check the reviews even if your friends were able to help. Just in case.

Check relevant associations and organizations

Do you know about the American Moving and Storage Association and state associations of movers? Have you heard about the Better Business Bureau? Did you know you could check the company’s history by calling the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s consumer complaints hotline (888-368-7238)? Now you know about it.

Pay attention to their service and their attitude

If a company representative is rushing you and looks like they just want to get rid of you while you’re asking questions or when they’re about to give you their estimation, that’s a major red flag.

To sum it all up, declutter your stuff and decide what to bring to your new home and what to leave behind. Start early with packing on your own or choose to hire professional packers. Hire a reputable and trustworthy moving company, so that you don’t stress over that part of the move. That’s all you need to prepare for a cross-country move like a pro.

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