I’m just going to level with you, moving is going to be a horrible experience. It’s going to cost you more than you thought, you’re going to end up lifting far more boxes than you planned on (even if you hired movers), something is going to get broken, and someone is going to get upset because you forgot to pull out cash to tip the movers.
OK, now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to give you a complete moving checklist so that at least you can tie up all the other loose ends and do some preemptive crisis control.
Moving checklist: three months before your move
1. Check in with yourself once a day
Just lower your standards right now. This is not going to be a perfect experience, but it still can be a successful one. Remember that you’ll have to take packing one step at a time. Allow yourself plenty of indulgences during this time.
2. Plan to make plans
Put the act of planning on your to-do list. Block off 30 minutes to an hour every day to make packing lists and take a look and the next few items on this list and plan ahead.
3. Set a budget
Moving, whether locally or cross-country, will cost more than you think most of the time. Work in some padding to your budget for unexpected things. For example, every single time I move, I make the mistake of packing garbage bags and cleaning supplies (will I ever learn?) and having to buy them the night of move-in. You’ll likely misplace or forget something too, set aside a few hundred dollars for these incidentals.
4. Book a mover
Find a mover and get it on the books sooner than later. Especially if you’re moving in the late spring or in the summer, the best movers get booked. Read reviews, ask friends for recommendations, and ask prospective moving companies as many questions as you please. Some moving companies, for example, will not move any non-furniture item that is not in a box that’s been sealed or taped closed. Make sure you’re clear on their pricing (some charge by weight and mileage while others tack on additional fees for loading and unloading, which is a total racket). You may also have to insure your loading company, your moving van, and your unloading company. Get clear on this before you book.
Also, some states will require moving companies to have a USDOT (US Department of Transportation) number, so check with your state before hiring a company.