The Countdown Schedule for Moving to a New City

movers carrying boxes

You finally landed the job you have been working toward for a long time. But there’s a catch: it’s farther from your current home than you’d like.

If you have moved to a new city before, you might already know how stressful it can be; or if this is your first time, it is going to get pretty stressful if done the last minute. Start early and do not procrastinate. Follow this countdown schedule to your target moving day.

Three months before

Cut moving costs by picking a time outside of the spring and summer months. These are the busiest seasons for movers. Families will be relocating to new school districts, and fresh graduates are heading home after college, you better skip the headache.

Start scoping out housing options in the new city. Peruse tried-and-tested sites for rentals, and cross-reference the location and the view using Google Street View. Once you have narrowed down your options, call a friend in the new city to let you crash in their place or book a hotel over the weekend. Continue your search in town with a good amount of cash in your account. Ideally, your rent should be below 30% of your monthly income.

Once you have an idea on what your new home would be like, think about how you are going to move. Will you hire movers or do the good old DIY approach? Consider the stuff you’re bringing with you and make a packing list. Heavy furniture is better off sold or given away, since they can be very expensive to move.

Two months before

Hoard all the moving supplies, including packing tape, bubble wrap, tools, measuring tape, old newspapers, and boxes. According to Apartment Therapy, you can get boxes for free by asking from businesses that regularly receive lots of shipments, like liquor stores and dollar stores.

Prepare the stuff you are bringing by KonMari-ing your life. Employ Marie Kondo’s famous method of choosing only the items that “spark joy” to pack. Be honest about the things you really use and actually make you happy, and you will be shedding boxes’ worth of stuff to leave behind. Instead of sending them to the landfill, sell the unwanted stuff online, at a garage sale, or donate them to charity.

If you are not DIY-ing the move, book a moving company during this time. Choose one according to where you are moving — within the state, out of state, or cross-country. If you are moving to Atlanta from Marietta, for example, research reputable local movers in Marietta, GA; if you are moving out of state or cross-country, choose among long-distance movers or van lines.

One month before

packaging box being taped with fragile warning

Spend this time packing and labeling your stuff. Take photos of how gritty setups, especially wire and electronic connections to avoid the headache when reconnecting later on. Optimize your space by packing smaller items and clothes in heavy-duty plastic bags instead of bulky suitcases. Put plastic wrap under the bottle caps of your toiletry to avoid spills.

Week and day of move

Dedicate the week for tasks, like changing your address, canceling cable and service providers, returning keys to the landlord, and cleaning up the place.

If you are moving on your own, properly distribute the weight when loading the car. Spread out heavy stuff on each side to help you drive smoothly. Do not overpack, but do not leave empty spaces, as well.

Once you have unpacked, make test runs before your first day at work. Test out how long commute will be around the time you head in, so you would not be late for your first day.

Moving is something you would never want to procrastinate. By sticking to your moving schedule, you’re well on the way to making a bright beginning in your new city life.