Move Cross-Country without Losing Your Sanity – or Your Savings


You just learned that you got the job you’ve been coveting and you need to start fairly quickly. But here’s the thing: you live in New York and the job is in Canada.

This means that you need to pack up your apartment, fit your belongings (or your entire life) in boxes, and get them across thousands of miles, without going broke or insane.

Here are some things you need to know before making the big cross-country schlep and keeping your sanity and savings while at it:

Gather moving estimates, but don’t jump at the lowest you get

Begin contacting every moving company you could find, specifically cross country movers. Doing so will give you an idea of how much money you need to shell out for the move.

But be wary of companies that give you figures that are way below what you have budgeted. Some moving companies use bait-and-switch tactics – they give you an irresistibly low estimate, and after your things have been loaded into a truck, tell you that the actual cost is several thousands more than the estimate.

Before committing to a moving company, do due research. Visit Yelp and other sites for reviews. Demand total clarity at every step of the moving process. Find a company that lets you examine and approve every service before they start with the work. Or, find one that at least sends a staff member to your apartment to look at your stuff before sending you a definite number.

Be prepared to let go of most of your stuff

You love that old chair and the comfort it brings, but as much as you’d like to hang on to every item of personal worth, the truth is, a majority of your belongings is replaceable. And it’s likely that moving your old comfort chair from New York to Canada is going to be more expensive than buying a cozier (and better) chair later.

Ask your friends if they would be happy to take some items off your hands. And then, donate everything else. Remember that most charities can be pretty particular about the donations they accept. So call or check the website of the charity you’re looking to donate to, to see if what you intend to give can be of practical use to them.

Put your biggest stuff up for sale

You will be getting rid of old furniture, and buying new ones. How do you make up for the price difference?

List your stuff on websites like Craigslist. To get maximum value, post the items a few weeks before you move. This way, buyers have time to find it. If your goal is to just get your stuff out of the way and make a little money, lowball your items and be prepared to receive a dozen inquiries in an hour.

Ship everything else you do want

Movers holding boxes

Finally, have a trusted mover ship everything else you actually decide to keep. A reliable mover (not the type we warned you about earlier) will save you a great deal of time and from passing out from exhaustion from packing and hauling your stuff.

You will be spending a couple of weeks waiting nervously for your stuff to arrive in your new home. To keep your mind off things, use that time to get to know your new city – look around, check out other neighborhoods, learn as much as you can about the commute and transportation systems. Learning your new city and knowing how to find your way around lets you become more comfortable in your new neighborhood.

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