The Tiny house Blog

The Ultimate Guide to Long-Distance Moving

Updated on:
March 20, 2024
Long-Distance Moving

Image Source: Canva

If you're embarking on a long-distance move, having the right information can make the process smoother. Moving across states or the country has its challenges. But with careful planning and preparation, you can ensure your belongings arrive safely at your new home. This ultimate guide covers key long-distance moving tips you need to know. They include:

Research and Create a Detailed Moving Timeline

One of the most important things for a long-distance move is to start planning well in advance. This gives you ample time to sort through possessions and handle all the logistics involved.

For that reason, create a comprehensive moving checklist or timeline that maps out every task that needs to be accomplished and its associated deadline. Be sure to include items like:

  • Cancellation dates for turning off utilities at your current home.
  • Dates to schedule activating utility services at the new home.
  • Scheduled days for packing up each room.
  •  Date to submit a change of address to the post office.
  • Travel dates and arrangements for your household.
  •  Schedule for any cleaning, repairs, or renovations.
  • Date for the final walk-through of your previous home.

Build buffer time into your schedule so you don't feel overwhelmed and rushed at the last minute. Having extra breathing room will reduce stress levels.

Create a Detailed Home Inventory and Floor Plan

Another important step when planning for your move is to take a full inventory of every item that needs to be moved. Go room-by-room making lists of all furniture, appliances, electronics, decor, clothing, and more. Creating a comprehensive inventory allows you to estimate trucking needs, packing materials, and labor costs accurately.

Take photos and videos of any valuables or antiques for documentation. Measure all large furniture pieces and make note of any tight spaces that may prove challenging. It's also helpful to sketch out a simple floor plan of your new home's layout so you can plan where you want furniture and boxes to go.

Purge Unnecessary Belongings 

As you're inventorying each room, be honest about which items you still need versus those you can get rid of. Have garage sales for unwanted belongings or donate gently used items to charity.

Discard anything you won't need like expired food, chemicals, broken items, etc. The less total volume and weight you're moving, the lower your costs. 

Obtain Quotes from Reputable Movers

Get estimates from at least 3-5 different licensed and insured moving companies experienced in long-distance relocation. Be wary of quotes that seem unusually low-cost. Request in-home surveys so companies can view your belongings accurately. 

When comparing estimates, look beyond just the baseline pricing. Examine factors like labor crew quality, valuation coverage if items are lost or damaged, use of proper moving trucks, temporary storage options, and disassembly/reassembly of furniture. Check reviews and claims histories as well. A professional, experienced mover is worth the investment.

In addition to your main moving company, you may need to hire third-party services as well depending on your items. If you're moving pianos, pool tables, gym equipment, or other heavy and oversized pieces, secure experienced specialty movers. The same goes for professional installations of major appliances like washers and dryers.

Schedule any ancillary services well in advance to coordinate with your main moving company's timeline. 

Pack an "Essentials" Bag

Keep critical items like toiletries, changes of clothes, medications, chargers, snacks, and cleaning supplies separate in a dedicated "essentials" bag. Having these basics accessible prevents frantic searches through boxes on arrival. Also, keep irreplaceable documents like birth certificates and passports with you rather than the moving truck.

Image Source: Canva

Pack and Label Systematically

Invest in quality packing supplies like boxes, bubble wrap, and dish pack materials. Use the smaller boxes for heavier items while the larger boxes for lighter bulky items. Wrap all fragile items securely and tape up any furniture pieces.  

Clearly label every box with the room it's destined for and general contents. Use color coding and label boxes that need to remain upright. As a rule, keep box weights under 50 lbs for safety. Pack a dedicated "essentials" box of items you'll need immediately like toilet paper and utensils. 

Follow proper packing procedures for specialty items. For instance;

  • Individually wrap each dish and glass item before layering in dish pack boxes
  • Use wardrobe boxes with hanging rods for clothing
  • Disconnect and properly wrap major appliances per mover instructions
  •  Drain all gas or oil from lawnmowers and power equipment

Having everything systematically packed and labeled makes loading and unloading much smoother.

Schedule Utility Transfers

About a few weeks or months before your move date, contact all current utility providers like power company, gas, internet, and cable to schedule final billing and disconnection. Then reach out to the respective companies at your new home to open accounts and schedule start dates for your arrival. Return cable boxes and modems to avoid fees.

Do a Final Deep Cleaning

Don't leave a mess for the new owners. Set aside time before your move-out to do a final top-to-bottom deep cleaning of your home. Thoroughly clean all appliances, bathrooms, floors, walls, windows, and shelving units. Consider a professional cleaning crew if doing it yourself seems overwhelming.

Use drywall putty and paint for any wall repairs or touch-ups. Mow the lawn and clear any exterior debris one last time. The goal is to leave the property freshly cleaned and well-maintained.

Make Kid and Pet Arrangements

Moving days involve a frenzy of chaotic activity that can be very disruptive for children and pets. If possible, have kids stay with family or friends. For pets, maintain their normal routines and consider boarding them during the actual move to reduce anxiety. 

Pack their belongings like food, medications, and toys together for easy access on arrival. Make sure to update pet ID tags with your new home's address.

Plan the Shipping Route

Work with your mover to map out the most efficient travel route for their trucks to take, avoiding potential obstacles like low overpasses or road construction zones. Discuss any special permitting required for oversized loads.

Scope out the parking and access situation at both the origin and destination to ensure the moving truck can maneuver smoothly. In tight areas, you may need reserved loading spaces.

At your new home, ensure any ramps, elevators, or hallway curtains are cleared for the crew. Provide instructions for accessing the property through gates or codes.

Protect Valuables 

For irreplaceable items like jewelry, cash, records, and heirlooms, it's best to personally transport those rather than packing them on the moving truck. Use a lockbox installed in your vehicle or consider shipping some valuables separately via certified carriers. 

Confirm your moving company provides adequate valuation coverage in case anything is lost or damaged. Purchase supplemental insurance if needed, especially for very expensive items.

Book Travel Arrangements

In addition to moving your household, you'll need plans for transporting yourselves and any pets. If flying, book airfare well in advance and look into luggage rules. Have a plan for getting personal vehicles transported as well. 

For those driving long distances, map out your travel route including stops for food, gas, hotels, and pet needs. Have vehicles serviced ahead of time. Stock up on snacks, entertainment, and emergency road supplies.

Stock up on proper pet carriers and accessories for their comfort. Let credit card companies and banks know about your impending address change to avoid any payment issues.


No matter the distance, moving to a new home is an exciting new chapter. By being organized and proactive, you can make the transition smooth and low-stress. Secure reliable professional movers, parse out your responsibilities into manageable tasks and take it one step at a time. 

With some upfront preparation, you'll be all settled into your new surroundings before you know it. The journey ahead may be daunting, but the rewards of creating a fresh start await. Embrace the adventure with optimism and diligence.

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