Moving Out of State Checklist – Everything You Need to Know

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Originally published April 5, 2021 and updated June 26, 2023.

This free printable moving out of state checklist is created by a professional organizer and reduces much of the stress of moving to a different state. Learn all the 50+ tips and resources you’ll need to make moving easier and less stressful.

hand holding black marker and checking off list of items in moving box.

I’ve personally moved more than 25 times. I grew up as a military child. I was a military active duty member and I’m now married to an active duty service member.

I’ve personally experienced just about every moving option available:

  • I’ve moved to a new home across town.
  • I’ve moved to a new city in the same state. I’ve moved to 25 different towns.
  • I’ve moved to a different state, for a total of 12 different states.
  • I’ve moved to different countries 3 continents.
  • I’ve moved myself across town with a DIY move, and I’ve had long-distance moves performed by professional movers.
  • I’ve moved by myself.
  • I’ve moved with a dog.
  • I’ve moved with children.
  • I’ve moved with children, a dog and a leopard gecko.

I’ve really experienced almost everything when it comes to moving to a new address.

No matter how far you move, every move is a big move for you. But there are certainly more factors to consider when you have a cross-country move.

What do I need to do when moving out of state?

There are many decisions to be made to prepare for your move.

Determine your moving date or departure date. This date is critical because everything else is planned and scheduled based on that date.

Determine how you will handle packing.

  • You’ll do the packing
    • I highly recommend that you use new moving boxes and moving supplies. Using previously used materials exposes you to the risk of pest infestation and dirt or grease being transferred to your belongins.
  • Hire a professional organizer to do the packing
  • Hire professional movers from a reputable moving company.
    • When hiring a moving company, be sure to determine whether they can handle the packing and moving, or will just do the moving portion.
      • When you’re moving to another state, you may need to hire a local moving company to do the packing and then a separate 
      • In some state-to-state moves you can also hire the interstate moving company to do the packing

Determine whether you will move yourself or use moving services.

Loading, driving and unloading your belongings to your new neighborhood can help reduce your moving expenses, but seriously consider whether you can physically handle these grueling tasks if you have a large household.

Determine your moving budget.

Determine cost of your move and budget saving options.

  • Be sure to include the cost of moving insurance in your budget.
  • It is common practice in many areas to tip the packers and the movers on both ends of your move.
  • These tips for packing clothes for college work well when you are packing yourself for your move.
  • These packing, moving and storing shoes tips are particularly helpful if you’re moving yourself.

Select an interstate moving company.

Carefully research companies – It’s worth spending the time to find a good moving company.

  • Check licensing and insurance
  • Check online reviews
  • Interview potential moving companies

Complete all the packing and other personal tasks.

Because this is such a complex, and often overwhelming process, it’s important to have a methodical, step-by-step plan. It’s also critical to accomplish tasks as early as possible and not leave everything until the last minute.

This is where a checklist for moving is a lifesaver. You can get your free printable moving-out-of-state checklist below.

If you’d like to get organized well ahead of time, be sure to check out my 90-page comprehensive moving checklist planner. It contains detailed planning checklists with critical tasks listed by number of days before the move and weeks before the move.

stack of white document boxes next to clear tub with lid packed with clothes

What items will moving companies not move?

There are specific federal restrictions on the items that movers will not accept for shipment on a moving truck, especially when you’re moving across state lines. Many of the restrictions are for safety reasons. Knowing the items that cannot be moved across the country is important and will save you money and stress.

  • Flammable items
  • Filled propane tanks
  • Corrosive items
  • Poisons
  • Perishable Food
  • Plants
  • Animals
  • Ammunition
  • You can read more specific details about items movers cannot accept.

Some moving companies also limit or have special requirements for moving items such as:

  • Candles
  • Light Bulbs
  • Large mirrors
  • Batteries
  • Motorcycles and other vehicles

Be sure to check with your moving company to determine the exact restrictions.

Moving Out of State Checklist

Leaving your current home requires detailed planning. A long-distance move necessitates more planning and knowledge for you to have a smooth move.

It is possible when you know what to expect, have a plan and know when important tasks must be accomplished by. Having a prepared checklist provides you a map for moving.

Closeup of 2 red, white and blue moving checklists.

To get your free Moving Out of State Checklist, simply sign up for our free exclusive content below. You’ll receive immediate access to printable moving checklist pdf and will have access to all exclusive content on Organized 31, which includes hundreds of printable resources.

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Here is your printable Moving Out of State Checklist pdf.

As a special opportunity for Organized 31 Exclusive subscribers, if you have an upcoming move, you definitely want to check out this limited time low price offer on my Comprehensive Moving Checklists Planner. This 90-page in-depth resource features checklists and tips for everything from choosing where to live to moving with children or pets to unpacking in your new home. It will keep you organized and focused on a smooth move whether you’re moving across town or across the country.

red, white and blue moving checklists with image of cover

Moving Folder

Before you do anything, it’s a good idea to create a moving folder or binder. I actually create three:

  • A physical folder for paper documents and receipts
  • An email folder for the move-related emails
  • A folder on my phone or computer for all documents related to the move

These folders make it easier to find the important things and information you need during what is a chaotic time. Even when you’re incredibly organized, there is some level of chaos.

The best time to get organized is at the very start (don’t wait until the last minute!). This helps reduce the amount of stress and chaos you’ll experience.

Your moving folder is where you keep a list of all important tasks and essential things to decide and accomplish. I create spreadsheets and lists for everything. There are so many moving parts that it’s easy to forget what needs to be done or the right time to accomplish it. Having all the tasks listed and located in one place really is critical.

I’ve created a Comprehensive Moving Checklist Planner that is chockful of everything I use for my own moves. It’s 90 pages of support, tips and hacks.

Resources for Creating and Using Your Printables

How to Find Where to Live

When you’re moving to a new place the first step is to research the place you’re moving and decide where to live, in what new area, and then which home to choose, whether it’s temporary housing, renting or purchasing.

I’ve created free checklists to help walk you through that decision making process:

How to Decide Where to Live – A checklist to help you in determining which factors are important to you and your family and then weighing those factors in choosing a new location, town or area.

Red brick house with tree and text overlay

How to Find the Best Place to Live – Once you’ve decided which area you want to target, this checklist helps you find the right home for you and your unique priorities.

Red brick house with white trim and text overlay

Family Members

While you’ll do all the planning and work of moving, an out-of-state move impacts everyone in your family.

Be honest and up front with children about the upcoming move. Validate their emotions and share age-appropriate information about the move and new location.


One of the biggest concerns when it comes to moving out-of-state with children is finding a new school. I recommend doing research to find the best school for your children. In my research for our moves, I use:

  • Great Schools
  • The state and school district websites
  • Talking to other parents who live in the area
  • Talking to the real estate agent
  • Facebook groups for parents in the new area

Having moved many times myself as a child and moving with my three children many more times, I’ve shared my best tips for moving with children:

Make Move-In Day Easier for Kids – Practical tips to make move-in day easier for kids & parents from a professional organizer with 25 moves as a military child and military spouse.

smiling young child sitting in wood moving crate.

Military Family Moving Tips Everyone Can Use – 10 Military Family Moving Tips Everyone Can Use -Whether You’re moving into your first place or across the country, it can go smoothly.

stack of brown moving boxes and white smaller boxes with text overlay

Moving Themed Kids’ Activity Sheets – Keep children entertained and learning while in moving with these moving and travel themed games and activities.

colorful moving themed kids activity sheets


It’s important to do your research early to determine the requirements for your particular pet. Things to consider are:

  • Veterinarian clearance and vaccination requirements for the new state
  • Method of transportation and requirements
  • Reservations for kennels or hotels that allow pets
  • Special considerations

I shared my tips for moving with your dog and a free printable checklist. I’ve moved overseas twice and out-of-state six times with my dog by car and by plane, so I’ve learned quite a bit about relocating with a dog.

Important Documents

Gathering the important documents you need for a move fall into two main categories:

  • Ones concerning the move
    • Cost Estimates
    • Contracts with packers and interstate movers
    • Contracts for truck rental
    • All receipts for tax deduction purposes
    • Insurance forms and necessary documents from insurance companies
    • Appraisals
    • Inventory Lists
    • Contracts or forms with the real estate agent
    • House purchase and sale documents
    • Home rental documents
  • Important documents you need to protect and move with you.
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage License
  • School records
  • Vehicle registration
  • Investment documents
  • Tax documents
  • Divorce certificate
  • Medical records
  • Driver’s License
  • At least one statement for all bank accounts and credit cards
  • Business documents


Knowing your move out and move in dates are critical when contacting utility companies for your old home and at the new location.

Create a spreadsheet to track each utility, the requirements and the important dates.

I always add any other service providers and additional services I use to this spreadsheet so I can keep track of all the important steps in one place.

And, of course, don’t forget to change your mailing address with the United States Postal Service (or your country’s postal service).

More Moving Tips

FAQs about Moving

How do I prepare myself to move to another state?

1. Research the new city or state: Learn about its climate, cost of living, job market, housing options, schools in your new area and local amenities. Understanding the new environment will help you plan effectively.
2. Create a moving timeline: There are a lot of moving parts, so establish a clear timeline for your move so you can prepare ahead of time. This will enable you to organize tasks such as notifying your current landlord or selling your property (if applicable), finding a new place to live, and arranging for utilities and services.
3. Budget wisely: Moving expenses can quickly add up so it’s important to plan to cover your moving expenses. Set a budget that includes costs such as hiring movers, transportation, packing supplies, and initial living expenses in the new state. Account for any changes in taxes or financial obligations that may differ from your current state.
4. Organize and declutter: Take inventory of your belongings and decide what you want to take with you, sell, donate, or discard. Downsizing before the move can save time and money. Get rid of things you don’t need or want before the move so you don’t pay to move them.
5. Notify important parties: Inform relevant parties about your impending move. This includes updating your address with the post office, notifying banks, insurance companies, medical professionals if necessary, schools/universities (for yourself or children), and transferring memberships/subscriptions.
6. Plan for logistics: Research reputable moving companies if needed and hire a professional moving company or plan how you will transport your belongings yourself if going for a DIY move. If driving to the new state, familiarize yourself with the route and any potential stops along the way.
7. Pack strategically: The time to start packing is as early as possible to avoid last-minute stress. Label boxes clearly by room or category to make unpacking easier later on.
8. Transfer utilities and services: Arrange for utility transfers at both ends of the move well in advance so that essential services like electricity, gas, internet providers are ready upon arrival.
9. Update necessary documentation: Obtain or update important documents like driver’s license, vehicle registration, and voter registration to reflect your new address.
10. Connect with the community: Before moving, reach out to local groups, online forums, or social media platforms related to your interests in the new state. This can help you establish connections and find a sense of community in your new surroundings.

What to consider when moving to another state?

1. Cost of living: Research the prices in your new area of housing, utilities, groceries, and taxes. Make sure it aligns with your budget and financial goals.
2. Job market: Explore the job opportunities in the new state. Are there industries or companies that align with your career goals? Consider the unemployment rate and average salaries in your field.
3. Quality of life: Think about the lifestyle you desire and whether the new state can offer it. Consider factors such as climate, outdoor activities, cultural scene, healthcare facilities, and schools (if you have children).
4. Housing options: Look into the availability and affordability of housing in different areas within the state. Consider rental prices or home prices if you plan to buy property.
5. Transportation: Research transportation options in the new state. Are there reliable public transportation systems? What is the commute like? If you own a car, consider factors like registration fees and insurance costs.
6. Social support network: Evaluate your existing social connections in your current state versus what you might have in the new state. Will you have access to friends, family, or a community that can provide support?
7. State laws and regulations: Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations specific to that state regarding taxes, healthcare, education, employment rights, vehicle registration requirements, etc.
8. Taxes: Understand how taxes may differ from your current state—both income taxes and sales taxes—since this can impact your overall financial situation.

How do you start a moving process?

1. Create a checklist: Make a comprehensive checklist of all the tasks you need to complete before, during, and after the move. This will help you stay organized and ensure nothing gets overlooked.
2. Set a timeline: Determine your moving date and work backward from there. Assign deadlines for each task on your checklist to keep yourself on track.
3. Declutter: Take inventory of your belongings and decide what to keep, donate, sell, or discard. This will help reduce the overall volume of items to be moved and save time and effort.
4. Find a reputable moving company: If you plan to hire professional movers, do thorough research to find a reliable company within your budget. Get multiple quotes and read reviews from previous customers before making a final decision.
5. Gather packing supplies if you will be doing your own packing: Collect all the necessary packing materials such as boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape, markers, etc. You can often find these supplies at local stores or even ask friends or family who have recently moved.
6. Pack strategically if you’re handling the packing: Start packing early by tackling one room at a time so you’re completed before the move. Label each box with its contents and destination room to make unpacking easier later on.
7. Notify important parties: Update your address with relevant organizations such as banks, credit card companies, utilities, insurance providers, and any subscriptions you may have.
8. Arrange for utilities at your new home: Contact utility companies in your new location to set up electricity, gas, water, internet services well in advance of the move-in date. 

For my top moving and travel tips, hacks and printables check out the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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