Whether you’re moving out of state for a job or for a fresh start, it’s going to be a stressful process. But if you’ve got a plan in place with a checklist, you could do it with minimal trouble.

Why a checklist, you ask? Since moving out can be chaotic, a checklist would ensure that you have everything required for the move done and accounted for. Here are the things you’ll need in your checklist:

  1. Visiting and Finalizing Your New Home
  2. Documents and Records
  3. Budgeting Your Move
  4. Hiring a Moving Company
  5. Arrangements for Pets
  6. Bidding Farewell and Starting Over

Infographic - Moving Out of State Checklist
Infographic – Moving Out of State Checklist

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1. Visiting And Finalizing Your New Home

It’s highly recommended that you pay your new state and city a visit before the move. This way, you can get acquainted with the neighborhood and the people around. Sure, you could always use the Internet to research and perhaps even use Google Street View to have a virtual walk through the city. However, actually being in the city would help you get a feel of the place. In addition to this, you also want to check out the following factors before finalizing on your move: 

Cost Of Living

Of course, you need to know if you can afford living in the city you’re planning to move to. You’ll end up shelling out more money for stuff like food, healthcare, insurance and recreational activities in Los Angeles than in Oklahoma City. Find out about the cost of living to see if you can live comfortably or from paycheck to paycheck.

Employment Opportunities

Make sure that your new city has enough employment opportunities – especially in the industry that you’re in. If it does, start applying. A good idea would be to save at least 3 months of your salary if you’re already moving out (Do figure out the cost of living beforehand).

On the other hand, if you’re moving because you got a new job here, check if your company provides a job relocation package.

Of course, this doesn’t particularly affect you if you work remotely.

Educational Institutions

If you have kids or plan to have them in the future, you want to check if your new city has quality educational institutions that are reputable – from kindergarten to universities. A good idea would be to ask parents in the area to get credible information. At the same time, if you’re a student who’s considering a move for greener academic pastures, there’s all the more reason for you to check if the state’s institutions enable you to pursue all that interests you. It would also help to find out what is the job placement rate in those universities.

Crime Rate

You don’t want to move to a city that’s unsafe to live in. While every place has its good and bad neighborhoods, check the city’s overall crime rate. The crime statistics of the city would be available online, and you can check what measures are taken here to make the place safer.


Check out how the transport in your new place is like. Certain cities are more public transport-oriented while in others, people use their own vehicles to get around. Depending on what is your preference, you can decide if this city is for you. A lot would depend on your lifestyle and how much travel it involves. So be sure to factor that in when making your decision.


If you’re from someplace hot, would you be able to move to a place where the weather is drastically different? More importantly, would you be willing to? Consider that before making your move.

If all the above factors work in your favor, you can finalize on an apartment or a house. This is because you don’t want to move to the state and not have a place to stay.

2. Documents and Records

This would be the most tedious yet important task that needs to be done, no two ways about it. But a checklist would help you in sorting through the heaps of paperwork. Here are the things you need to update and collect before moving:

Vehicle License And Registration

You may need to notify the DMV of your current home state about your move. For most states, you’ll need to get your license and registration of your new address within 30-90 days of your move. But in Arizona, you’ll have to get it done immediately. Some states only permit a maximum of 10 days, so don’t forget to do a bit of digging regarding the DMV guidelines of the state you’re planning to move to.

If you’re planning to move to a new state with your registered vehicle, do contact your current DMV to find out if the plates need to be returned or if there are any other formalities you need to take care of.

Voter Registration

You don’t want to skip on your civic duty because you’re moving, right? So make sure that you update your voter registration address. Or if you haven’t registered to vote ever, do it now!

You can choose to register the good old-fashioned way by mailing your filled National Mail Voter Registration Form to the concerned office in your new state. Most states now offer online registration, so you can opt for that as well.

Just remember to unregister yourself from the place you’re moving from as your previous registration isn’t canceled automatically.

Recurring Bills

For your credit cards, banking transactions and other recurring bills, you have to update your address as well. You can do that easily by calling up customer service, updating the details online or contacting USPS. Make sure that you update your address for all such services so that you don’t miss out on any bill payments.

Similarly, you need to find out whether your Utility Services (Water, Electricity, Gas & Internet) can be transferred to the state you’re moving to or would you have to discontinue your services. If it’s the latter, we would recommend arranging for these Utility Services much before you move to your new state.

See also: Utility Bills 101

Forwarding Your Mail

Once you’ve moved out of state, you don’t want all your mails dropped off at your old address. So you need to update your mailing address with USPS. It’s easy enough to do it: go to the USPS website to change your address online for a nominal fee of $1.05. If not, you can fill your new address in PS Form 3575 available at your local post office.

See also: How to Change Your Address and Forward Your Mail When You Move | How Long Does USPS Forward Mail

Social Security

Update all the required details on the My Social Security portal (create an account, if you haven’t already).


For updating your address with the IRS, you can either provide your details on the phone. Alternatively, you can fill out the Form 8822 or mail a written statement of your address change to the place where you filed your previous tax return.

The following are the documents that you should carry while moving out of state:

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Medical records
  • Vehicle title and registration records
  • Lease/homeowners insurance

Also Read: Make Home Inventory for Moving

3. Budgeting Your Move

By now you’ve realized that moving out isn’t a piece of cake, and it isn’t exactly cheap either. You might end up burning a hole in your pocket and even inefficiently at that. So a detailed budget would help you decide how much you can spend and where you can save money.

THE SMART WAY TO BUDGETHow much will my out of state move cost?

Get instant free moving quotes for your upcoming relocation with our moving cost calculator!

Decide On Your Budget

It’ll be a good idea to keep aside around $5,000 exclusively for your moving needs and try to fit everything within it. But once you reach your new home, don’t go splurging. You’re sure to have more expenses. Also, each state has its own cost of living. The budget which worked out in your previous state may not be feasible here.

Also Read: How To Move On A Budget?

Get Rid Of Unnecessary Stuff

The more stuff you’ve to move out, the greater your packing and moving expenses will be. You’re sure to have stuff around the house that you no longer use. Now that you’re moving out, the smart and economical thing to do will be to get rid of them – even if you’re emotionally attached to them.

Host a garage sale, donate it to someone who’ll have better use for your stuff or just give them away to your neighbors. This way, you’ll have a lot less clutter to carry. You could even consider putting a few things up on eBay and other such sites to make a quick buck.

See also: Charities that offer Free Donation Pick Up

Job Relocation Package

If you’re moving out of state because of your new job, you may have a job relocation package in place. Make sure that you know exactly what costs your employer may cover and if possible, negotiate for a better deal. This can help you cut down on your expenses and leave more money in your budget.

See also: List of 4 Top-Rated Cheap Movers

Being Creative And Asking For Help

For all your packing needs, you could ask for friends and family to help you out. It’ll make work faster and cheaper for you. Also, using creative ideas for packing can really work wonders for reducing your costs. Ask around to give you packing boxes, use newspapers as packing paper and towels as bubble wrap – the possibilities are endless!

Timing Your Move

The rates of the moving companies are subject to seasonal demand. Typically, people choose to move in the summer. If you have the liberty to choose when to leave for your new home and cutting costs is your priority, schedule a move during the off season. Winters are the time when the moving companies’ businesses are down. Capitalize on it to get the best services at the cheapest rates possible. It’s a buyer’s market out there then!

But at the same time, take care to not hire any unscrupulous moving companies just because they’re cheap. You’ll be in for a bad time.

4. Hiring A Moving Company

Now that you’re otherwise all set up, you may need to hire a moving company to make that journey to your new house. But how to best go about it? Depending on your requirements and your budget, there are few options on moving companies that you can consider:

Full Service Moving

As the name suggests, this service would take all the burden of moving away from your shoulders. All the disassembly, packing and loading of your belongings into the truck will be undertaken by professionals. The only responsibility you have is to choose the moving date and that’s it. For an extra charge, full service movers will also unload, unpack and reassemble your belongings at your new address. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

You’ve probably guessed it by now that full service moving is very expensive. You want to avail of this service only if you’ve got a lot of stuff (particularly expensive and fragile) to move across a long distance, or if you simply don’t want to stress out on moving.

Allied Van Lines
  • Best for Customized Moves
  • Favorable Cancellation Policy
  • Auto Transport Services
North American Van Lines
  • Best for Complicated Moves
  • Highly Customized Services
  • Live GPS Tracking
International Van Lines
  • Best for State to State Moves
  • Nationwide Coverage
  • Estimate Breakdowns

Partial Services Moving

This is comparatively cheaper than full service moving, so if you opt for this, you have quite a bit of work cut out for you. There’s a variety of options here, so choose what works best for you:

If all you need help with is packing of your belongings, you can hire professionals to do it for you. Once everything is packed, you can either load and transport it by yourself or hire a vehicle to do it for you.

For those who like to do the packing themselves but can’t or don’t want to load them onto the truck, loading and unloading services come to their rescue.

Those who prefer packing themselves but don’t want to drive the truck can hire a delivery service. Alternatively, you can have a mobile container brought to your doorstep so you can load it at your own convenience. Once that’s done, the driver would bring it to the new location.

Truck Rental

This is the ultimate DIY for moving out of state. You hire a truck. You do the packing and loading. You do the driving to your destination. And you unload the truck. All by yourself.

Granted, this is the most cost efficient way for moving out of state. And it’s perfect for those who want to go on a long ride even as they’re moving out. But since there’s no professional assistance, consider this option only if you’re sure about your driving and moving skills. Unlike the above moving options, only you’ll be liable for any damages.

Also Read: How Much Does it Cost to Move? | Moving Your Office – A Complete Guide

5. Arrangements For Pets

If you’re moving out with a furry or a feathered companion, there are added regulations. Make sure that you’re up to speed on the laws of the state you’re moving to so that you can avoid unnecessary legal complications.

Some states have practically no restrictions while others will bog you down with them. In any case, make sure that your pets have been administered all the necessary vaccinations and carry all the documentation as mandated by the state’s laws.

See also: Moving with Pets – A Detailed Guide

6. Bidding Farewell And Starting Over

Whether you’re moving for a job or for a change of location, it may get overwhelming as the D-Day arrives. It’s a nice idea to meet up with your family and neighbors before moving out. After all, they’ve been around you for quite some time. Perhaps you didn’t like some of them, and that’s quite okay, but now would be a good time to leave that bitterness in the past, no? Before you move out, clean out your now-previous house whether you owned it or not. It’s a nice thing to do, and you never know, you might even find something you’d lost a long while ago!

Once you’ve reached your new house, make sure to socialize with your new neighbors and make new friends. You could even use the internet to bond with like-minded people in your city. With people to have your back and someone to talk to, making yourself at home in a new place can be much easier.

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