When you're just moving from the city out to the suburbs or from one small town to the next, moving is hard enough. But when you're moving across the state or across the country, things can get really complicated unless you're prepared.

​If you’ve never moved a long distance — and going off to college or basic training right out of high school doesn’t count — then you need to know what to expect. Don’t let your excitement to arrive at your new place cause you to fail to plan. Here’s what you really need to know.

Don’t Be Afraid To Purge

Most of us collect a lot of junk over the years. It is never more evident than when it’s time to move. All of the extra disposable food containers and clothes you never wear start flying out of the cabinets and closets like they have a mind of their own. And it’s time to really think about what you want to take with you. Not only will extra weight possibly cost you a little more, but you can’t very well make several trips if it doesn’t all fit in the van. So do the responsible thing:

  • Recycle
  • Throw away
  • Donate
  • Or have a yard sale and then donate the rest


Don’t be tempted bring yard sale stuff back in and put it in a box marked “new home” after you already decided to get rid of it. 

Think about where you're going. Are you moving to Alaska? Then you really don’t need that surfboard. But you might want to hang onto those ski pants you bought on a whim last year even though winters where you live never drop below 40. Send everything you don’t need to its proper home and lighten your load for the move. It means a faster unpacking and enjoying your home sooner.

Develop A Plan

Most of us know to put the room name on the box, so the wok and rice cooker don’t end up in the bathroom, but also think about what you will need first. When you get to your new location, you’ll likely be exhausted and maybe even jet lagged. The last thing you are going to want to do is unpack everything that night just to find out which box has the clean socks or your toothbrush. You don’t want to wear the same clothes or not brush your teeth for the days it may take you to unpack after a big move. Pack a suitcase with everything you’ll need to be comfortable for at least a few days and you’ll be much happier when you get there.

Don’t Try To Do It On Your Own

It’s one thing when you’re moving across town and you may be able to bribe some friends with a nice dinner or pizza — depending on your friends. It is quite another when you’re moving somewhere completely new. Don’t undervalue the time it will take you to pack and unpack. Are you better off paying someone to help you, especially with securing breakables and heirlooms? If you have to take time off work, would it be better to work that extra day and then get some help?

Stay Calm; It Will Be Worth It

The best thing to do during a long-distance move is to try to relax. Your head will be clearer and the process will go so much smoother.

Archie C. White, III, is the CEO of A.C. White Relocations, a full-service Alpharetta, Ga., moving company.  They get people where they need to be in the least stressful way. To learn more about A.C. White Relocations, visit ACWhite.com.

4 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW WHEN PLANNING A LONG-DISTANCE MOVE