Moving Advice

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Moving to Another State

Making a big move from one state to another can be exciting, but it can also be scary.

You can’t really be sure of what you’re moving into until you get there. Whatever the motivation, you are willing to take that brave step. Besides, starting over in a whole new environment means you can start fresh, meet new people, and discover new and fun places.

But before you make take that leap, it’s important to plan for success!

If you follow this guide to moving to another state, you will feel more secure in your transition.

There are crucial steps to be taken to ensure your new life in a different state goes as planned.  There are also some very constructive that you can do to make your move as stress-free as can be.

And we are going to share them all.

Ready to get started?

1. Research Your New State

Research where you are moving

Before you blindly move to a new state, it’s best to have a little knowledge of the area. Make a trip to your future hometown and have a look around.

What does this new city have to offer? What is the cost of living?

You can get online and request information from the state website and the city website. Many times they send you a packet with a wealth of information to use.

There are a few things that you need to double-check before an interstate move:


Each state and city has its own laws.

Make sure you are aware of the new laws you will have to abide by when you move to your new home.  Otherwise, you could find yourself in trouble with the law. Nobody wants that.


Your car insurance company will require you to update your policy because insurance requirements vary by state. Talk to your carrier to see how this can affect your insurance policy.


Those kiddos need a good education.

How do the school districts rank in your new area? Will you have a choice of which school they get to attend?

The answer to these questions can actually hold weight in your moving decisions.

The more you know about your new home town, the better equipped you will be to make a successful life there. Sure, some things will just be learned along the way, but some things you don’t want to learn the hard way (such as getting a fine for breaking a city law).

Moving out for the first time? Check out What You Need to Know Before Leaving Home

2. Get Your Finances in Check

In order to be able to reach your destination before running out of money, you need to make sure you’re financially ready.

Are you aware of all the upcoming expenses that moving entails? Have you created a moving budget?

Moving Company Expenses

The biggest expense when it comes to moving is hiring a moving company. Professional movers can be very costly and a huge headache. In fact, this is way out of budget for most people. If you fit this description, don’t worry.

There are cheaper alternatives.

If you eat your Wheaties (and can rustle up a few helpers), you can get a rental truck and make the move yourself. You’ll be saving yourself a couple of thousand dollars.

Sure, you’ll work hard loading and unloading the moving truck, but at least you can take special care of your things.

Comparing the Cost of Moving Furniture vs. Buying Replacements

Is it possible that it would make more sense to sell all your furniture and buy new ones at your new home?

A long-distance move in a truck rental could cost more than your furniture is worth. Renting a small moving trailer for your smaller items and getting furniture when you arrive might be the better option.

Take some time to find out how much it would cost to buy new furniture delivered to your new home. You might even be able to find a great deal online and get the furniture shipped to your home for free.

Setting Up Utilities

Connecting your utilities in a new state will cost money. Most utility companies like electricity, water, and garbage companies all require a connection fee. This can range from $250 to $50 each. That can add up fast.


If you are planning on renting a new place, most rentals require first, last, and security deposit before you can move in.

The deposit amounts would depend on how much your monthly rent will be. Plan on paying three times your rent before you move in.

Tip: If you are moving out of state for work, you can ask your employer if they award a relocating bonus for moving expenses. Anything helps, and some companies that don’t offer a bonus will allow for an advance to help cover these expenses.

Knowing how much money you have to delegate to your move will help you to make better moving choices. It will also help you to know just how much home you can afford.

This takes us into our next step …

3. Apartment Hunting

Finding the right apartment can be a pivotal part of your move.

You’ve already done your budgeting, so you know how much rent you can afford.

The next step is to find which apartments fall within your monthly range and write them down.

No doubt, the apartments on the list are located in differing neighborhoods. Aside from the apartment itself, neighborhoods and location can really affect your lifestyle.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a neighborhood that you are leaning towards?
  • Do you have one neighborhood that you’ve totally ruled out?
  • Which are closer to work?
  • Which are closer to shopping and amenities?

Cross out the apartments in your least favorite neighborhoods and put a star next to those in neighborhoods you like.

Now that you’ve shortened the list, try to find your top three apartments that you would like to make your new home. Don’t forget to take into consideration the square footage, security, and amenities offered by the apartment complex.

See if you can get a special offer from these apartments by letting them know that you are considering a few other apartments as well.

In the end, the lucky winner will give you the best value for what they offer, be in the right part of town, and make you feel excited to move in.

4. Spread the Word

Guide to moving to another state

I’m sure you’ll have plenty of uproars if you just disappear to your new home without letting your friends and family know.

So before you ride off into the sunset, give everyone time to come to grips with your move.

It can be hard to have the same conversation with so many people, so to make things a bit more efficient, send a group email to your friends and family. Let them know when you will be moving and what your new address will be.

If that sounds too informal, how about a party?

Everyone loves a party, and you might even get gifts! Win, win!

You can have your new address on cards to be handed out and great memories to bring with you to your new home.

If you’ve decided to DIY your move, you can use this time to find some willing helpers for Step 5 …

Another alternative to moving your furniture is renting a furnished apartment. Learn the pros and cons here.

5. Smart Packing

You never really know how much “stuff” you have until you try to fit it all in boxes.

Packing is a stressful job. You can make it better by using a little organizing and a little simplifying.

Get Free Packing Materials

Businesses all over town throw hundreds of cardboard boxes into the recycling each week. They are more than willing to let you have them. You simply have to ask. The best places to find sturdy boxes are the liquor stores, bookstores, and grocery stores. More on the best ways to find free moving boxes here.

The same goes for packing material. Old newspapers are the best way to go for wrapping, but you can also ask furniture stores if they have any bubble wrap they no longer need.

Plan Your Packing Process

It’s a good idea to have a timeline for your packing. Always pack non-essentials first. These include your electronics, books, decor items, etc. You can start packing these weeks before you move.

Follow these other simple packing rules:

1. As you are packing, it’s a good idea to simplify and declutter by getting rid of anything you haven’t used in the past year. There’s no need to bring unnecessary items with you, and you’ll cut down on your amount of work.

2. Put heavy items in small boxes and lighter items in bigger boxes. Make sure you don’t make your boxes heavier than 50 pounds each.

3. Pack one box with important papers and sentimental items that you don’t want to lose. Keep this box with you at all times.

4. The last box that you pack should have everything you need the night of the move and the next morning. This will be different for everyone, but some examples would be a change of clothes, toiletries, coffee (a must), and a phone charger. Put this box in an easily accessible place with a big red check on it, so you know which it is.

6. Forward Mail and Transfer Utilities

Forward your mail when you move

Before you leave your old hometown, you should ensure that your utilities are ready to go for your new home.

Forward your mail

You can do this one of two ways.

First, you can get online at and fill out the online form for a change of address.

The second is to walk into the local post office and request a change of address form. Fill it out with your new address and hand it back to the postal worker or simply leave it in your mailbox for pickup.

Transfer utilities

There are some utilities that you could transfer to your new address without having to set up a new account. Most cable, phone, and internet companies are nationwide and could possibly continue your contract at your new address. Check with customer service to see if they can get your utilities up and running at your new address.

Set up new utilities

Electricity, water, garbage, and gas are all locally maintained utilities. In a whole new state, you will most definitely be dealing with new utility companies. They may need a credit check and deposit before setting up your utilities.

Don’t wait for the last minute to take care of these, or you might be living in a home without electricity and water for a couple of days.

7. Establish Your New Home

Home, sweet home! You’ve finally made it!

But there are still a few loose ends to take care of before you can completely settle in.

Here are a few things to do ASAP after moving in:

Get a New Driver’s License

Now that you are officially a resident of your new state, you need to get a new driver’s license with your new address. Most states require that you do this within a certain amount of time after moving there permanently.

Find out when your deadline is, so you make it to the DMV with time to spare.

Get a Pet License

If your new home requires it, get your furry friends licensed so that you don’t get fined.

Update Your Insurance

In your research in Step 1, you did some digging into the insurance requirements in your new state. Make sure you call your insurance company and set up a new policy for the corresponding day of your move.

Take Advantage of Moving Specials and Offers

When you make an official change of address with the United States Postal Service, you will automatically get a few offers from companies like the Home Depot and furniture rental companies. These can come in handy if you need a few things for your new home or for temporary housing.

But there are more money-savers and moving services out there that many aren’t aware of.

Check out this list to see if you would benefit from any of these discounts.

Don’t forget to supply your new kitchen: The 53 Kitchen Essentials for Your Brand New Apartment


By following this step-by-step guide, you can take a hectic out of state move and smooth out the kinks. This way, you can get to the things that matter, enjoying your new place and making it uniquely yours.

Welcome home!

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