A long distance move is not for the faint of heart. It’s kind of like a marathon where you have to pace yourself and mentally prepare for things to be hard for a while. This summer we moved from Kansas to Hawaii (with a toddler while I was also in my third trimester of pregnancy) and we lived out of suitcases for two months. By the time we got our household goods delivered we were more than ready to get settled and start living normally again. Here are some things that we did on the front end to prepare for such a dramatic move:
Research your new location before the movers come
We are a military family and have lived in Hawaii before, so I knew that many stores that are easy to come by in the continental U.S. do not exist in Hawaii. I made a few trips to the stores I knew were not on the island so that I could buy what we needed/wanted and have it packed up by our movers. As for online companies, do some research to find out if shipping is more expensive in your new location, or if it is even possible. Many big online stores that tout free shipping have exclusions for remote areas. For example, I had been eyeing a rug for our baby girl’s nursery for months and months, and a week before the movers came to pack us up I learned that that company that sold the rug did not ship to Hawaii at all. I quickly ordered the rug and it arrived just in time to be packed up with our belongings.
Pack your suitcase strategically
You’re going to be wearing the same clothes over and over again for the next couple of months, so you’ve got to pack smartly. Choose basics that you can mix and match, rather than pieces that limit you (i.e., that colorful top that can only be worn with 1 certain skirt). Versatility is your friend and the more you switch things up the less likely you are to get sick of the clothes you packed.
Have your household goods packed early
This may seem counterintuitive, but consider having your home packed up early. Often times, you end up waiting for your belongings to arrive at your new home, and because you’re in a new location you probably don’t have friends or family that can lend you things that will make the wait more bearable. If you get packed up early on the front end you can stay with someone in your support system until you depart your present home, or you can borrow an air mattress and basic kitchen items until it’s time for you to move.
Finish up lingering projects
I enjoy making over vintage furniture that I find at thrift stores and flea markets. I had a large dresser that I had put off painting for a few years because it seemed really daunting, but I knew I wanted to use it in the new nursery. I had a feeling that painting it once we moved to Hawaii would be a challenge because we didn’t know if we would have a yard, movers will not transport paint (so the paint I had already bought would go to waste if we didn’t use it), and we would probably not want another thing on our to-do list once we moved. We decided to paint the dresser in Kansas, where we had the work space and more flexibility, and I’m so glad we did because we were able to quickly move it into the proper place as soon as it was delivered to our new home. And as it turns out, we now live in a neighborhood with very strict rules and we would not have been able to paint it here anyway.
All in all, when you have a long distance move in your future be prepared to be flexible. Shipping delays will happen, frustrations with new internet and electric companies are inevitable, and sleeping in a hotel or someone else’s home will get old. Moving is always an adventure so do what you can to prepare before hand and then go with the flow!