By: Alyssa Kapaona
Moving between states can be a tricky minefield that requires the agility and footwork of a pro athlete. This isn’t just your average pack up the house and move to the next town kind of move; this is next level moving. To get you the best information, I interviewed three savvy ladies: Sarah, a 23 year old graduate student who recently moved from Indiana to Arizona; Kelly, a thirty something who has moved to 4 different states over the past 10 years; and Meghan, a thirty something who has moved to 5 different states over the past 12 years. And yours truly, another thirty something who has moved from Hawai’i to Nevada back to Hawai’i in the past 10 years. Here are 5 things to consider as you make your move to another state:
Before you start the physical process of moving (i.e. calling moving companies and or packing up your belongings), take a second to pause and reflect. Ask yourself, what kind of move are you making and why? Are you moving for a job? Moving to be closer to your significant other? Are you coming packed with plenty of baggage (a family or a partner)? Or is this an “Under the Tuscan Sun” moment where you need a fresh start and a new lease on life? Whatever the reason, just take a moment to be at peace and aware of your decision so you can move forward accordingly with your best interests at heart.
Budget and Plan Ahead
All the ladies I spoke with shared that moving can be expensive. To make sure you are not living outside of your means, begin with the amount that you want to spend on this move and work backwards from there. It will help you to decide things like if you need to hire movers or whether to ship furniture vs. buy new. After she compared shipping cost with buying new, Sarah decided to start fresh since it would have been more expensive to ship her stuff. Kelly also shares, “Keep in mind any storage costs that might come up. I was in a situation where my house wasn’t ready when I moved. I not only had to ship furniture, I had to store it for a longer period of time than I thought I would. When all was said and done, it would have been more economical to buy all new furniture than the route I took.”
In your budget, do not forget to add in expenses for after your move. Sarah was surprised to find out how much it would be to restock a new home with all the essentials: cleaning supplies, toiletries, pantry items, etc. Most people are used to buying these items gradually, so buying them all at once can be a bit of a shock.
Finally, plan ahead for all those nitty gritty logistics. If you are a professional who has a state license (doctor, nurse, teacher, cosmetologist, etc.) make sure you know how to transfer your license from state to state. Have a car? Make sure you are correctly registering your car in your new state and that you’re knowledgeable about getting a driver’s license as well. True story, when I came back home to Hawai’i, I had to retake a written permit test like a damn teenager. I passed, but if I didn’t know the test going in, it might have been a more nerve wracking experience.
KonMari that Sh*t
KonMari is the trendy Japanese practice of paring down your belongings to only own the things that spark joy in your life. While you might not have time to get cozy with the KonMari method (although it’s highly recommended), all the ladies I spoke with did wistfully wish they decluttered and donated more before their moves. “Hanging on to things just makes the move harder. I wish I ripped off the Band-Aid and got rid of things I didn’t really care about a long time ago,” Sarah said.
One easy method of decluttering is ask yourself: “Have I used this in the past year?” If the answer is no, it is probably OK to go in the donation bin. Also ask yourself if you really love the item. Sometimes we hold onto things because of guilt or nostalgia, but at the end of the day, we’d really be fine without said item.
After you have gotten rid of the excess, let the packing commence! If you can, make it fun. Promise some helpful friends pizza and wine in exchange for their moving muscles. However, this is not recommended if you are packing on a strict timeline; sometimes it is just easier to get things done solo. Also, only invite friends over after you have decluttered. Friends are most efficient when instructions are simple (i.e. “Please put these items in this box and tape it shut.”). It will get too complicated if they are helping you to decide which clothes to keep and which to ditch ala Carrie and the girls in the Sex and the City movie.
I can be a little overly-organized (fresh school supplies and neat rows definitely get me excited), but I found my system where I labeled boxes and their contents to be extremely helpful. Use a note app or Google Drive, that way you can have your list with you at all times on your phone or tablet. Label all your boxes (I used letters) and briefly write the contents of the boxes (i.e. Box A- textbooks and towels). The inventory definitely helped me when I was looking for something after the move and also ensured that I did not forget to pack anything. Pro tip: Write your label on all sides of your box so no matter how it gets to your new location, you can see it clearly without having to move tons of boxes to get see which box is which.
Meghan also shared a genius packing hack: “I used clothes in my boxes with breakables. Instead of paying for bubble wrap and extra paper, I would pad everything with towels, clothes, blankets. It made everything way easier and took up less boxes.”
I’m here, now what?
Now that you are in your new state of residence, it’s time to transition. All of the ladies recommended spending some initial time exploring. Sarah found it best exploring her new city with her boyfriend and her parents who helped her settle in. Their support during an uncertain time helped things go smoothly. Kelly enjoyed taking walks and jogs in her new neighborhood to get a lay of the land. Everyone recommended going out to eat at new places (you might want to add that into your budget if you’re used to cooking at home). Pro tip: talk it up with your waiters/waitresses. Kelly said, “When I would go out to eat in my new state, if the wait staff was willing to share, I would always keep my ears open to their insider knowledge about things to do in the area.”
Part of the transition is dealing with nitty gritty logistics. For example, who is going to be your new dentist, doctor, OB, salon, etc.? To get started, Yelp and the good old fashioned internet search are always great tools. Don’t be afraid to shop around. For a more personal touch, ask people you admire and don’t be shy! Does your new officemate have a killer smile? Ask him for a dentist referral. Does that fellow mom at the school pick up line always have beautiful, bouncy hair? See if she will let you in on her secret. Most people are flattered and open to sharing their contacts.
Finally, be ready for the mixed emotions that come with big change. Kelly was excited and wanted to move from Hawai’i to Austin, Texas, but she shared, “I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of missing my friends and family so much in a new place. While I eventually adjusted, I did feel the absence of my social group from back home.”
And while you might need to take time to get used to your new normal, don’t forget to take some risks with the new move. When I moved to Las Vegas from Honolulu, I let a friend from back home introduce me to her friend. We met up on a “blind date” and there was an instant connection. She quickly became the core of my social group in my new city and is still one of my closest friends 6 years after I moved back home. You already had the guts to move, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and live large in your new home town.