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How To Move Out Of State

April 30th, 2007 by Shaun Boyd

In February ’07, I left home to seek a better life for myself.

My plan was to leave New Jersey where I had been born and raised, so that I could start a new life in Michigan with my girlfriend Cassie. At the time, it was hands down the most difficult thing I had ever planned to do, but with love as my motivator I simply could not be stopped.

When I began preparing to move, I did some research online. I was surprised that I was unable to find a decent guide explaining how to move out of state.

I went ahead with my move, learning each step of the way on my own, making a point to keep track of all the steps I took. In this article, I’ve compiled the list of steps to create a “How To Move Out Of State” checklist.

Pick your moving date, and then tell someone about it.

Before doing anything, I suggest you pick a moving date. When you plan your moving date in advance, you create a goal for yourself and begin to take action towards it. Telling someone about your goal helps to further solidify your plan, because you make your goal accountable to someone else.

When I made the decision to move, it was August ’06. I set my moving date six months in the future, at a time when Cassie would be finished college and in a position to live with me. Six months turned out to be a perfect amount of time — it was more than enough for making the moving preparations, plus it allowed me plenty of opportunity to save some money for the move.

Trash, sell, or donate your excessive belongings.

Pruning your life of unnecessary possessions is a great way to put gears in motion. The objective is to limit the amount of things to take with you on moving day by getting rid of things you can live without.

My strategy for relieving myself from the things in my apartment that I no longer needed was:

  1. Designate specific rooms for storing items with similar fates. In my case, my two-story apartment had a loft area with two opposing attics. I emptied one attic, and designated it as the place for storing items I wanted to save. The other attic was deemed an area for all things still needing to be sorted. The loft area between the two attics was where I did my sorting.
  2. Create categorized storage bins for the items you’re keeping. As I made my selections of what I planned to keep, I was simultaneously organizing the items into four different storage bins:
    1. Computer & Electronics
    2. Hobbies & Music
    3. Sentimental & Pictures
    4. Kitchen & Bath
    With exception of the last storage bin, I was able to have the boxes completely packed and ready well before my moving date.
  3. As you come across things that you don’t intend to save, remove such items from your sorting area. For instance, whenever I came across something worthy of being sold, I brought it to the “sell table” I had set up in my kitchen. Whenever I came across clothes I didn’t wear anymore, I added them to the plastic bags in my bedroom intended for Good Will. Trash that needed to be shredded met the paper shredder I had readily available in the sorting area, and other trash immediately met the garbage can.
  4. Limit yourself to sorting a certain amount of boxes each day. If

    you’re like me, then you have boxes of clutter that has accumulated from living in one spot for a few years. It’s much too overwhelming to try and sort through all your possessions at once — easing through it gradually means that you will beat it over time without getting stressed out. Conquering only three boxes a day allowed me to feel accomplished every time I completed my “three box goal,” and made the amount of trash I was unloading each week manageable.

Establish your new living arrangements.

Online resources like and will give you an idea of the costs involved in inhabiting a new home at your planned location. It will be necessary, of course, to visit the area you’ll be relocating to.

Since I was leaving an apartment, there was no need for me to sell my home. I was also fortunate enough to have Cassie already living in Michigan, where she was willing to look at apartments within our price range. After locating an affordable apartment, Cassie called me excitedly to share the details of where we’d be starting our new life together.

Inform all appropriate parties about your moving plans.

Once you know what your new address will be, you should:

  1. Contact a moving company, if you plan to use one.
  2. Inform your current landlord of your planned moving date.
  3. Plan on putting in your two weeks with your current employer.
  4. Schedule a change of address with the United States Postal Service .
  5. Submit Form 8822, Address Change Request. with the IRS.
  6. Schedule service disconnects for your utilities.
  7. Contact your current insurance providers to discuss the best method of transferring your insurance policies to your new state.
  8. Meet with a financial representative at your bank to discuss the best method of transferring your finances to your new state.

Before the day of the move…

  1. Mark your packed boxes with the name of the room they belong in at your new home.
  2. Consider vacuum-packing your clothes if you’re desperate for space.
  3. Plan your travel method and route.
  4. Prepare an “essentials box” for last-on and first-off the moving truck. This might include essentials from your kitchen and bathroom, a change of clothes, first aid supplies, medications, and some basic tools (hammer, screwdrivers, pliers).
  5. Arrange to leave your keys with the new tenants, your landlord, or a trusted neighbor.

On the day of the move…

Don’t panic. You’ve scheduled your move far enough in advance that things should go smoothly — but be sure to:

  1. Search every room before the moving truck leaves.
  2. Turn off your water heater and set down your thermostat.

After moving…

  1. Visit a Secretary of State, where you can get help obtaining your new driver’s license, registration, and vehicle tags.
  2. Send your vehicle’s former tags back to the Secretary of State or Motor Vehicle Commission of your former state. Include a note that you’re retiring the tags and want a receipt sent to your new address.
  3. Begin new insurance policies for any that were non-transferable. Cancel your corresponding policies once the new policies have begun.
  4. Locate your nearest hospital and police station.

Remember, this guide was created as a result of the exact steps that I needed to take for my own move in February ’07. Consequently, the guide will not contain steps for all people in all circumstances. It can, however, give anyone looking to move out of state some idea of the steps involved.

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