Moving Across Country Like A Pro In 2019: The Complete Guide!

Make your cross country move cheaper, easier, and more organized with this comprehensive guide by pro moving advisor David Johnson.
cross country moving day

The decision to move was hard, but you’ve made it. Maybe you got that killer job you’ve always wanted, maybe you’re going to school, or maybe it’s your heart that’s leading you to a new destination far away. No matter what the reason is, moving across the country is no easy feat. The worries, fretting, and endless phone calls with family and friends for advice was just the beginning.  Now it’s time to actually pack and move…

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to learn how to plan, prepare, and move across country.  

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Cross Country Moving Tips By Section

How To Prepare For A Cross Country MoveHow To Pack For A Move Across Country

Hiring Cross Country MoversMoving Across The Country By Yourself

moving across country

How To Prepare For A Cross Country Move

cross country moving tipsYour first order of business is a flurry of cleaning, organizing and de-cluttering. As you are about to find out, it takes a considerable amount of time and money to move cross-country.  Why pay to move things you don’t even want? This process should take place at least two months prior to your moving date so you have ample time to get as much work done as possible. Here is a simple three step plan to prepare for your cross country move:

Step 1: Clean, Clean, & Clean Some More!

If you are anything like the average American, then you’ve probably been putting off Spring cleaning for a few years now. Take this opportunity to clean, dust and put everything away. Why should you be doing this? It’s impossible to take stock of what you have and what you need if you can’t find anything, and you’re going to need to clean up your house or apartment before you move on anyway. Besides, dust bunnies never chip in for gas, they’re dead weight.

moving cross country

Step 2: Get Rid Of Unwanted Items

Do not take trash or unnecessary items with you. Trust me; you really won’t be needing your term papers from high school again – ever. Throw them out. Do you have clothing in every size imaginable in styles no one even recognizes anymore? Donate them! The less you have to pack or take with you, the better. If you have enough stuff to get rid of, have a yard sale. The extra cash can go towards your moving expenses!

Ways To Sell Your Stuff Before Moving

  • Facebook Marketplace– List unwanted items on Facebook and price them to sell!  It’s a great online marketplace to buy, sell, or trade anything.  Craigslist still works if you don’t have Facebook.
  • Ebay – If you have specialty items that are a hard sell locally, then list them up for bid on Ebay, the online auction place.
  • Offer Up / Let It Go:  Two great apps for your smartphone or tablet to quickly take pics and list items for sale in your area.
  • Donate:  Anything that you can’t or don’t want to sell, you can donate to charities, local homeless shelters, churches etc to help somone in need while still getting rid of dead weight for the move.

Step 3: Get Rid Of Even More Stuff!

prepare for a move across country

Preparing for a move across country is half of the battle!

Think you’re done paring down your belongings? Think again!

Now it’s time to take stock of things you own that you might be better off re-purchasing when you get to your new home.

The size and weight of your load will increase your cost of moving greatly. Don’t take the washer and dryer your grandparents passed down to you that wobbles and barely works.  You can buy a brand new-to-used set on Craigslist when you get settled in. Take this into consideration as you look at everything you own.

Remember large furniture like beds, desks, tables, dressers, bookshelves, etc account for the majority of moving costs due to their weight and storage space they require.  If it’s heavy, near the end of its usable life, or easily replaceable then consider buying a new one later.

packing for a move cross country

How To Pack For A Cross Country Move

moving checklist

Tip: Make a moving checklist of things to do before and during your move to stay more organized.

Now that you know what you are taking with you, it’s time to organize and pack it all.

You’re going to need strong sturdy packing materials. The same used moldy boxes you used the last time you moved aren’t going to cut it for moving across country. You are going to need brand new (or like-new) sturdy boxes and maybe some plastic bins as well.

You’ll want tape and Sharpie Markers for labeling as well. For heavy items, you don’t want to get wet or crushed consider putting them in the plastic bins or boxes. After you move you can always reuse these for storage.

How To Pack A Moving Truck Or Portable Storage Container

(Video) How To Pack Your Moving Truck

If you are packing your own rental truck or storage container, make sure to pack them correctly!  This means keeping the heaviest stuff low, the lightest stuff high, and filling up as much empty space as possible horizontally and vertically within the truck.   Properly pad furniture and electronics to avoid scratching, cracking, and breaking when things shift during the drive.

Money Saving Tip:  You can obtain most, if not all, of the necessary boxes and furniture padding for free.   Visit local grocery stores, electronics stores, department stores, etc and ask for free boxes.  Avoid fruit and fresh produce boxes as they can be soft, moldy, or bug infested.   You can also re-purpose clothing, comforters, blankets, etc as padding.

Reach Out, Ask For Help & Call In Some Favors!

Enlist the help of family and friends. Invite them over, order pizza and have a packing party!  Get creative and get as much help as possible.  If you don’t have anyone you can ask, you can always hire local help.   There are many websites that offer day labor help for hire.  This is a great option if you need help lifting, loading, and packing anything.  Whatever you do, don’t hurt yourself trying to lift more than you can handle.

Volunteers of America or local church groups will be happy to help if you are disabled or need help lifting, but please don’t abuse their services if you are able to do without.

Pro Tip: Stretch and warm-up your body before starting any heavy lifting on moving day.   There will be a lot of awkward bending, lifting, and maneuvering things and you don’t want to slip a disk or hurt yourself.   Also remember to lift with your legs as much as possible, not your back!

Here’s 6 Moving Hacks For Packing (Video)

Wrap, Pad, & Label Everything!

moving box

Label all of your boxes.

Think ahead to when you’ll be unpacking these boxes. You don’t want to find yourself wading in a sea of identical boxes searching for hours for your alarm clock. Take the time to write on each box not only what items are inside but what room of your new place it goes in. If you are a true OCD control freak (no offense, we all have our ticks) you can even number or color code your boxes. Don’t worry about people making fun of you; you’ll be happy you read this tip later.

cheap cross country movers

Hiring Cross Country Movers

How To Choose A Cross Country Moving Company

cross country furniture movers

Use the quick form below to compare free, no-obligation moving quotes from USA moving companies now.

If you have a solid cross country moving budget and don’t want the stress of doing things on your own then you will probably want to hire a moving company to both pack and transport your items for you.

What Is The Average Cost To Hire Cross Country Movers?

There are a lot of factors that go into pricing a move like the size, distance, time of year, etc.

Hiring cross country movers will almost certainly be more expensive than moving yourself with a rental truck. However, there are a lot of great perks that come with hiring movers to pack and move your household too.

There is a lot of heavy lifting, wrapping, packing, folding, boxing, taping, and walking that goes into a cross-country move that can be avoided by hiring movers.

If you aren’t sure whether or not you can afford to hire cross country movers, then I strongly recommend getting some free quotes below. You can compare prices from up to 6 different cross country movers and find the cheapest rates available. From there you can determine how much money you will actually be saving by doing everything yourself.

There is no-obligation so you might as well check!

Find The Cheapest Rates On US Cross Country Movers Here

free cross country moving quotes

Use this simple form to compare prices instantly from up to 6 different cross country movers that can service your move! Compare the prices and find the lowest rates from top rated, cross country moving companies in the US!

Compare Rates From Top-Rated Cross Country Movers Below

cross country moving truck rental

Moving Across Country By Yourself

moving across countryIf you’ve decided to save money and drive cross country, transporting the items yourself, then grab a few roadworthy companions and get yourself a truck.

Depending on the amount of boxes and furniture you have you will have to work out how big of a truck you will need and if you have your own car as well then logistics will have to be worked out for that as well.

Plan your route and make sure to factor in the cost of fuel, food, and lodging that will be needed for the trip. If you have a smaller load you might be making this trip alone, if you needed help then there might be a few more people you need to feed and shelter on your journey as well.

Make sure you factor in all of these costs against the full service moving companies when you are planning your move.

When you’re all done, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Moving from state to state is no easy task. It takes months of planning, a lot of labor and probably more than one sleepless night. Just when you think you’re all done with the major decisions, and you’re starting to unpack, it’s time to hunt down the best Chinese Delivery places within five miles of your new place.

Good luck & happy moving!

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How To Prepare For A Cross Country MoveHow To Pack For A Move Across Country

Hiring Cross Country MoversMoving Across The Country By Yourself