Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tips For Moving Out Of State

Moving from NY to FL
Did you guys know I was a New Yorker for a few years?  Now don't go getting all wild eyed and dreamy about how amazing it must have been to live in Manhattan, we lived in Williamsville, NY, a suburb of Buffalo.  Why is it that anytime you say you lived in NY everyone automatically assumes you're talking about the city, like Manhattan is the only place in the entire state?  Anyways, after being New Yorkers for about three years, we decided to head south, WAY south to Miramar, Florida.  Not my favorite place on earth, in fact, I'm pretty sure Miramar, FL is what hell would be like if I believed in such a place.  Needless to say a year later I was beyond happy to head back home to the great state of California!  We had come full circle.
Whether you're move is something you've wanted for years, or it's a mandated by your job, it's stressful.  Hell, even moving locally is stressful.  Packing your things while trying to work and maintain a semi-normal lifestyle, good luck.  Finding a moving company who won't break all your shit, and if they do, who is properly insured so that you're compensated, good luck.  

Out of state or cross country moves are like stress on top of stress.  Often times you don't have much more than a three day weekend to find a place to live.  How do you get your cars there?  I don't know about you, but I wasn't about to drive from CA to NY.  Let me stop you there, get any ideas of the worlds greatest road trip out of your head, especially if you're traveling with pets.  While we flew from CA to NY (which was it's own nightmare), D and I decided to drive from NY to FL.  Petal to the metal the entire way.  We ate all of our meals at the gas stations we stopped to refuel at.  One night in a crappy hotel (they're aren't a lot of 5 stars along the highway that will accommodate travels with pets) and we were all miserable.  I mean look at these faces, and my arm.

The girls traveling from NY to FL
My arm after getting the girls from NY to FL
So yea, you've arrived.  Now it's time to get a new drivers license.  That's a real fun process when you're legally blind, every state has different requirements you know.  You've got to re-register to vote, register your cars, get new license plates, find new doctors, new dentists, new churches, a new job, new friends.  It's totally and completely life changing.  Lord help those who move to a new country.  I mean on top everything above, having to complete immigration paperwork, learning a new language a new currency, and I'm sure a million other things.

For five years D and I were moving machines.  Selling, buying, selling, renting, renting and buying houses all along the way (that's the actual sequence of things).  The first time around things were exciting and completely frightening all at once.  With each move we gained more experience some of which I'll be sharing with you today.

1. Don't buy clothes until you get to where you're going.  We moved from San Diego to Williamsville in early March, which means full blown winter.  I remember trying to shop for clothes for an east coast winter here at my local mall.  What a joke!  Good golly I was so young and naive.  Me being the planner that I am though, I wanted to be prepared.  Let me tell you, there's no way to prepare for -19 degree temps in a climate where the average temperature is 72.  Bring what you have and wait to shop in your new home state.  True story, when we landed at the Buffalo airport before I had even stepped outside, I started crying because it was so cold.  Day 1 and I was already crying!

This is me in Buffalo after our first night at the crappy Holiday Inn (again, your choices are few and far between when you're traveling with pets).   I'm attempting to wipe the snow off of our rental car so we can go buy a heating blanket.  My advice, save your money and buy a heated mattress pad instead #soworthit.
2. Explore, not just your town or the largest nearby city, but your state and your coast.  Life is full of change and you never know how long you'll be somewhere, so make the most of it.  Trust me it's a lot less expensive to get from FL to SC than it is from CA to SC.  We took full advantage of our east coast locations and made multiple trips to Canada, Philadelphia, and to Penn State to attend football games (D's alma mator).  We spent our weekends and holidays in FL driving from coast to coast spending time D's parents.  My only regret, not making it to Key West.

We Are Penn State!
3. Bring along your favorite food or brands.  Almost everything will be an adjustment and not being able to find your favorite brand of mayo might just put you over the edge.  Hellmanns???  I never did find sourdough bread in NY and D had to continuously order his hair product online because we couldn't find it anywhere in FL.  This may seem like a small things, but every little comfort you can provide yourself helps. 

4. Cheer for the local sports teams.  I'm not saying sell out, I'm just saying join in and cheer for the home team (if they're not playing your team of course).  Little things like this will help you feel a bit more connected to the people in your new state.  Something about drinking beer and cheering for the same outcome does that for you.

D and I at the first Winter Classic cheering on the Buffalo Sabres
5. Have a trip back home planned before you leave for your new state.  I don't care what anyone says, the first time you really truly fly the coupe and go it alone with no family or friends is hard.  And I'm not talking college either because I've been there, done that, this is different.  Believe me when I say, you'll miss being connected to people who know you, connected to the familiar.  Even if it's a year out, have something planned, you'll need it.

6. Embrace the culture.  Buffalo had a huge Polish community.  Florida had lots of Latin influence.  Eat the food, go to a festival or an art show.  I'm now addicted to this fantastic Colombian soup, ajiaco, which I never would have discovered had I not stepped out of my comfort zone and experienced the culture that only living in a new state brought me.

7.  Negotiate your realtor's commission (whether you're buying or selling).  Each state may have different rates, but I believe the average is 3%.  Always negotiate that, even if it's just by half a percent.  Every time you sell a home you're losing your hard earned money to realtor commissions, Fight to keep as much of it as possible.  There are lots of fish in the sea so if one realtor doesn't agree, find another.

8.  Make a list of all your vendor contacts (the car carrier, the moving company, your real estate agent, hotels you'll be staying in, your pets veterinarian etc.).  Scrambling to find a number while you're on the road is not always easy, so take some of the stress off yourself and be prepared.

9.  Plan on things not working out according to plan.  We had to move hotels after we arrived in Buffalo because the house we purchased ended up closing a day late and the hotel we booked for the previous two nights was sold out.  Not fun no, but when you're making a big move these things are bound to happen.  Prepare yourself mentally for a few bumps in the road.

10.  Like number 8, make a list of things you need to do post move.  All of the things I mentioned above, plus about a million others.  You don't want to wait until you have an emergency situation to find a doctor.  Getting yourself established in your new state as quickly as possible is key.  If you guys want, I can put together a checklist for you?  Let me know.

Sounds pretty overwhelming right, well it is, but the above will definitely help ease the transition a bit.  Would I do it again, in a heartbeat.  Will I do it again, never say never.  Have you guys made an out of state move?  What are some moving tips you have to share?


  1. I like the one on bringing along favorite foods and brands. When we moved from St. Louis to Phoenix in 2012 it was pretty stressful but I was handling it ok- but I remember having a little mini-breakdown in the grocery store and calling my mom because they didn't carry the type of salad dressing I liked! I know it was a little thing and I never could have predicted that such a basic item wouldn't be available in my new town. When you are in a totally new place it's nice to have some common comforts of home ready at hand. The good news is that I did find a new salad dressing I like- a sign that I could eventually settle into my new home and establish a bit of normalcy. I will definitely be whipping out these tips for our next move-- which hopefully won't be for a quite a bit ;-)

  2. My family made several big moves over the years--to several different states before we moved overseas, and then two different places overseas. There's so much that goes into it! And I'm sure it's even harder when you have to travel with pets. Also, on your point of exploring the place where you live--my family totally lived by that ideal. We often knew we wouldn't live somewhere for long, so we'd do everything. We lived in Dallas, TX for only 4 months, about 10 years ago, and I was recently chatting with my inlaws who have lived in Dallas for about 8 years, and telling them everything we'd seen and done in our 4 months way back when...and they were shocked because they hadn't done most of it. I think my family might be a little overly energetic...

  3. I agree knowing when you will be back home to visit helps so much!

  4. i have only moved between cities that were maybe 1hr away at most and that was so stressful; i could not even imagine moving between provinces! but i do agree - planning is so important!

    -kathy | Vodka and Soda

  5. You guys have made some major moves :) Glad your stay in FL was relatively short, since it was not your favorite. Moving is an ordeal but I can imagine it takes a lot of planning! Our friends are getting ready to move from NC to CO and they are purging all kinds of stuff...I'm getting a punch bowl and a few other items out of it :) Moving a lot certainly helps you get rid of junk at least that has been my experience.

  6. These are great tips! I've only made one major move as an adult (because moving away for college doesn't count!) and I was not prepared for a lot - mostly just the cultural differences. I also moved from Kansas to Houston, Texas which is a huge change! haha But I will say that moving helps so make you learn so much more about yourself because you're really getting outside your comfort zone!

  7. I've moved states um, let me count, FIVE times. SUCH a hassle, especially once you get old and have appliances/furniture to haul along with you. But I like how you point out in #2 that moving means you get to see lots of new stuff and explore new places. I hated living in Philly but we got to visit NYC and Washington D.C and Jersey Beach which was a blast. =)

  8. Great post Shannon! Bringing brands seriously makes all the difference even though it seems like something small, all of the little things are what makes us happy. You have no idea how happy Glenn and I were to find hellmans mayo in Coles and bisto gravy in Woolworths - a little taste of home!

    I'm super guilty of being like 'OMG you lived in NY (in my head Manhattan) how amazing was that???' I just google mapped Buffalo to Manhattan - god that's far away! lol. I also have this idea in my head that I'll go to Canada at some stage (we want to do Canada too) and fly to NY every few weeks lol. Half an hr flight, no problemo! And totally agree to take advantage of where you are to go places. We've been in Mount Isa for almost a year now and have road-tripped to Townsville, Alice Springs and Airlie - Airlie was amazing we took a boat trip out to the Whitsunday Islands and the silica beach - absolutely breathtaking.

    Also, about booking a trip home - YES. So important. And about experiencing the local culture but I'm not into camping and particularly not in the outback where snakes and deadly spiders/insects lurk hells no! lol

    It sounds like you were very open to everything and despite the ups and downs, had an awesome time! And like you keep saying to me, we learn so much from these experiences!

    Hugs XO

  9. I HATE moving! I pretty much never ever want to do it again. EVER!!!

  10. Great post! My husband & I first moved from Baton Rouge, LA, to Fort Lauderdale, FL, and we used a Budget moving truck & drove 2 cars. Absolute worst thing to do in my opinion! The truck tops out at 60 mph and when you hit I-95 traffic in that thing is like out of a horror movie. Now we are moving from Fort Lauderdale to Houston, TX and we are doing things completely different. We are using a portable storage unit, loading it, and having them ship it. Also shipping my car. My husband & I are going to drive one of the cars, so I think it'll be better that way.

    If anyone decides to move using a portable storage unit or a moving company, negotiate, negotiate, negotiate! What is unspoken is those people work on commission, so don't take the first number they give you. With my husband working in sales, he always tells me prices are negotiable, even if someone says they're not.

    Good luck to everyone out there with an out of state move!

  11. I'm moving from Colorado to California in a few months and I'm honestly so overwhelmed, I don't even know where to start. There's so much to think about and plan that I don't know where to begin. What is a good starting point?