Moving Cross Country? Here’s Some Help

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Moving is a bitch, especially a cross-country move, but with these helpful hints, you'll not only be ready, you'll get there in one, unstressed piece.
Moving is a bitch, especially a cross-country move, but with these helpful hints, you’ll not only be ready, you’ll get there in one, unstressed piece.

Do you have stars in your eyes and want to move to Los Angeles or New York? Want to give up the hustle and bustle of city life and become a vegan chef in Portland or Seattle? Have you always wondered about a life in rural Delaware?

No matter how you slice it, moving is a bitch. Moving across the country can be difficult with coordinating moving boxes, crates and, basically, your entire life. But, as someone who recently relocated from New York to L.A., I’ve come up with some really great tips for getting yourself in a great position to move — and get there in one piece.

Packing

packingWhen looking at all of your stuff, you start to question your life choices. Did you really need the deluxe series set of “Designing Women?” How did you manage to accumulate so many old magazines? Are you a hoarder? That being said, the pre-move purge is a great way to simplify your life, make some extra cash and prepare yourself to move.

Quickly — and without abandon — put stuff in “keep,” “sell” and “donate” piles or boxes. The keep stuff should be essentials, irreplaceable items and things you can’t live without.

The sell pile should be anything quirky, in good condition or even new that someone would pay for. It should include any big-ticket items like furniture, jewelry or designer clothes. You can even make a couple of bucks selling DVDs/Blu-rays and books.

The donate pile should be anything leftover after selling and anything you think people might need like clean towels, bed linens, old glasses, phones, etc. It’s worth getting rid of as much as possible because it helps you de-clutter your life and stay open for new opportunities. Donating your items is also a great way to save on taxes since you may inevitably file your federal taxes in two states.

Selling

Garage Sale Ads (shallow depth of field)Most people don’t think of selling their stuff, but it’s a great way to grow your “New Life” fund. Your best bet is to make an inventory of what you have to sell and share it online with friends; this way, you can get something a little closer to a fair price. After you’ve sold your stuff, consignment and used-clothing stores are great, however, they usually only give a small percentage of the already-low price they charge. Amazon and eBay are a good resource, too, but you will have to start months before you move because people will need to buy your items, you’ll need to ship and then the money will need to get settled. If your apartment is completely empty, you may want to consider a yard sale. You could even have it in your place, if it’s safe in your neighborhood to do so. This lets people ogle all the stuff you’re getting rid of and for you to turn it to cash.

Getting there

flyingA cross-country road trip can be great, but it is also an exhausting hassle if you’re going to start hustling around town looking for a job and apartment. Why not fly? It will not only provide a smooth, relaxing trip, but force you to really prioritize your possessions. Plus, you don’t get the luxury of hoarding things in your car.

Finding a place

rentIt’s easy to freak yourself out about finding a place, but it’s better to keep a level head. No one wants to live with or rent to someone who seems desperate. Rather than risk renting scams or living in a crappy neighborhood, try some proactive measures that aren’t much of a commitment. You can find a sublet through friends or even Craigslist. Airbnb offers a great alternative to staying at a hotel. You also get the added bonus of being with locals who can potentially give you good leads on what you may need.

When you arrive and are ready to look, sites like RadPad and CrashDwell offer a user-friendly way to meet people who are looking for roommates or affordable rentals. Another good option is to just walk around and look for “For Rent” signs, which can help you avoid getting stuck with agent fees. To avoid scammers, be weary of anyone who asks for money upfront without a key in hand, and also be very careful about what information you give with applications. Landlords will need your social security number for a background check, but they shouldn’t have access to your bank account info, mother’s maiden name or any information they can use to open a credit card. When providing proof of income, be sure to block out any tax, financial or identity data.

Getting your stuff there

mailUSPS media mail is a great way to get your books of movie collection to your place. UPS Ground is also affordable for general shipping of your items.

Job hunting

job huntIt’s even better to move with a job, so try and secure a freelance or telecommuting job based in your city, and then bring it with you on your move. Or pitch your current job the prospect of a new location or a new set of hours. It can be tough to apply to jobs without an address, so see about using a friend’s address on your resume until you arrive. If you get called for an interview, you can then tell them you arrive in a week or two.

Apply remotely with a fake address. It’s also a good idea to sign up with temp and hiring agencies before you arrive. That way, you have the in-person interviews scheduled.

These are just a few helpful tips for you to make the move of a lifetime. Do you have any tips you want to share? Put them in the comments below.

Christian Cintron is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine

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