Moving is never an easy process, but things get even more complicated when moving to a new state. Not only do you have to pack all your belongings and transport them to a new home, but you must leave behind everything and everyone you know.
Making the journey to a new state can be exciting, but can also leave you with feelings of alienation and homesickness. There are many things to consider before making an out-of-state move, especially whether the move is the right choice for you.
1. Ask yourself why you are moving
Before making the move to a new state, consider why you are moving. It's not an easy decision to make and requires thorough deliberation to avoid regret later.
The most popular reasons for moving to a new state include:
- Employment opportunities
- Better climate
- Educational opportunities
- Cost of living
- Change of scenery
While a fresh start can be refreshing, it's important to be certain of your decision before you go. Consider everything that is going to change after an interstate move.
There are likely to be people you are going to miss. Moving to sunny California from cold, dismal New Jersey may seem like a no-brainer, but you may have a change of heart afterwards. The sunshine and beautiful weather may not seem so pleasant without the comfort of your family and friends nearby. While leaving those you love will be difficult regardless, spend some time contemplating the reality of saying goodbye.
2. Do your research before choosing a neighborhood to move to
Before choosing a new state to call home, it is important to spend significant time conducting research. If you are moving due to a corporate transfer or a new job, you may not have the luxury of choosing where to live. However, thorough research is still essential when choosing a neighborhood.
Additionally, being well-informed about the state will only make your transition easier. The following are just a few of things you'll want to research before moving:
- Climate: What is the weather like? Will you be comfortable there? What kinds of clothes will you need? Are there any clothes you should get rid of before leaving? Will you need to buy new clothes?
- Housing: What is the housing market like in the state? How affordable are the homes there? Is it better to rent or buy?
- Jobs: What is the job market like? What are the unemployment rates? What are the major industries and sources of employment? What is the typical starting salary for your position?
- Schools: If you have children, you will want to know more about the school systems in the state. Which districts have the best schools? What are the standardized test scores or graduation rates? What colleges are nearby and how affordable are they?
- Crime rate: What are the crime rates in the state? Which cities are the safest? The most dangerous?
- Recreation: What entertainment options are there? Are they suited to your needs? How does your potential new city and state measure up to your expectations of a good time?
Culture can also vary greatly from state-to-state. Culture shock can take some getting used to, and we all adapt to things at our own pace. Make a list of all the foods, attractions and other things you love about your state and think about how you will adjust to life without them. Perhaps the new state has more to offer than your current state, in which case the cultural changes won't pose a challenge.
3. Downsize your belongings before you start to pack
Once you're certain about your interstate move, it is time to start planning. An important thing to consider in a long-distance move is downsizing your belongings to make your move cheaper and easier.
Sell or donate:
- Clothing unsuitable for your new climate
- Broken or outdated electronics and appliances
- Anything you haven't worn or used in a year
Now that you have de-cluttered your home, you can focus on packing the essentials that you will be taking with you.
4. Find a moving company that specializes in interstate moves
Moving to a new state is not the same as moving across town. You will have significantly more distance to cover, so you won't be able to take multiple trips. Hiring a moving company will make the move much easier and less stressful.
Any moving company that operates across state lines is required to have a USDOT number by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). The company should also be licensed in each state that they operate in. Verifying this information will prevent you from being scammed by an unregistered or rogue mover.
TIP: Remember to always schedule movers in advance -- 8 to 12 weeks is recommended for long distance moves.
5. Say goodbye to your old neighborhood
The hardest part of moving to a new a state is saying goodbye to your home, your neighborhood, and of course, your loved ones. No matter how much you are anticipating all the changes, leaving the familiar can put a serious damper on the excitement of starting anew.
However, there are many ways that you can gain closure and reduce your distress when saying good-bye to your old life.
- Visit your favorite places one last time. Have a meal at your favorite restaurant, take a stroll at your local park, have a drink at your neighborhood pub and visit some of your favorite shops. Enjoying some quality time in these treasured landmarks will allow you to reminisce on the wonderful memories you have made in your hometown.
- Have a going-away party. Plan a gathering to say adieu to your friends and loved ones. Invite your closest friends and family to make your last day together meaningful. Keep the fare low maintenance and simple-don't plan an elaborate sit-down dinner that will keep you slaving away in the kitchen all day. You want to spend the time interacting with your loved ones and making meaningful memories. The night should be about friends and fun, not fancy accommodations.
- Plan a return visit. Nothing can ease the pain of leaving better than looking forward to returning soon. Plan visits in advance so you can anticipate seeing everyone again whenever you're feeling lonely in your new home.