Everyone expects to make a few moves in their lifetime. Getting your first apartment, getting a better apartment, maybe even buying a house at some point — these are natural parts of going through life. Moving out of state, away from the places and people you’ve known for so long is a whole different event. There are more logistics to consider, and the process of learning a whole new area can feel stressful on its own. So we are here to help! These are our best tips for how to prepare for moving out of state.

Start preparing as far in advance as you can.

Just about everyone has the same perplexing experience with moving: it always takes longer than you think. So give yourself plenty of time to slowly chip away at the details. There isn’t a perfect timeline for how to prepare for moving out of state, but take our advice and start early. This will save you from the last-minute panic of realizing you’re not ready, and the moving truck is arriving soon! So at least six weeks in advance:

  • Organize all of the documents you need for your move in one place. Include a moving checklist, quotes that you get from professional movers, information about travel plans, and receipts or confirmation on services that you schedule.
  • Start researching new neighborhoods and determine the specifics of where you want to live. If you can’t find a permanent home before you move, choose a short-term rental option so you have somewhere to land.
  • If you’ll be staying in temporary housing secure a storage unit. for your stuff so the movers have somewhere to unload.
  • Book important appointments like dentist, doctor, or car maintenance.
  • Buy plane tickets if you will be flying, and determine what to do with your car if you have one!

Decide on your moving method.

Will you hire a full-service moving company to pack for you? Will you pack yourself, and have movers transport your belongings? Or are you a DIY kind of person, who will rent a moving truck and make the trip yourself? These decisions may depend on your moving budget as well as your timeline. Get at least three quotes from different companies as you prepare for moving out of state — just to make sure you’re not getting a quote that’s way out of line with the industry standards.

Take care of the little details.

It’s two weeks prior to your move! Now is a good time to take care of the little things. Change your address with the Post Office and with your bank. Call the utility companies to schedule when utilities need to be turned off at the old place and on at the new. Talk to your car insurance, health insurance, cell phone provider, and anyone else that needs to know you’re moving.

And here’s a big one that will help you prepare for moving out of state: start decluttering and start packing! It might not seem like it will take you two weeks. But even if you’re having your movers do most of the work, you might as well clear out what you don’t want before they ship it to your new home.

Don’t forget to say farewell to your favorite people, places, and things.

Moving out of state is not without its fair share of farewells. Amidst the bustle of preparing to move, make sure you take time to see your friends and family. Go to your favorite ice cream spot, walk your favorite path, and drink it all in before you leave.

Learn about your new state and prepare accordingly.

If you’re moving from NYC to Florida, for example, it makes no sense to pack all of your winter gear. Vice versa if you’re moving from a hot to cold climate: you are going to need a good jacket! When you’re packing your travel bag, find out what you will need for the trip and upon arrival. That way you don’t have to try to unpack your boxes just to find something climate-appropriate.

Pack and unpack efficiently.

It doesn’t matter how you prepare for moving out of state if your boxes are a disaster on arrival! When you are packing, do your future self a favor and pack like with like as much as possible. Use a home inventory list or app to keep track of what you pack, and label each box with its contents. Then unpack systematically Go room by room, starting with the spaces you will need to use first. Avoid the temptation to unpack a little in each room!

Make the final notifications and changes.

Notify the IRS, update your car registration, and register to vote in your new home state. As soon as you ensure your mailing address is updated with the Post Office, you’re official! Time to start going for adventures to really get to know your new home state. Congratulations!