Whether you are moving from Toronto to Vancouver or Calgary to St. John’s, a cross-country move is no small feat. While moving any distance is an exercise in logistics and planning, preparing to move across the country includes plenty of complex challenges.

A long-distance move can be overwhelming. If you have the luxury of time, there are plenty of things you can plan in advance to moving across the country as simple as possible. If you’ve just learned that you or your family are being relocated or need to move, take a breath and keep reading.

We’ve put together a few ideas to help you navigate on moving across the country. We hope this guide on how to move across the country has inspired you to think about some of the details that can make a big move easier.

Step #1: Clean the house before you move.

A great first step in preparing to move across the country is to purge your current belongings. Everyone accumulates possessions over time. You likely have clothes, household items and even furniture that you no longer use or need.

If you have children, you will almost certainly have clothes and toys collecting in a basement or closet. This is a great time to donate or sell the things you no longer need.

Step #2: Pick a date to move across the country.

If you have the luxury of choosing your move date, it’s a good idea to think strategically. To avoid extra rental costs and traffic, avoid moving on long weekends if you can, especially during the summer.

If you have enough lead-time, consider moving mid-week, mid-month for lower costs, less traffic and potentially less hassle.

Step #3: Think about administrative details.

When you move across the country, certain to-do items may occupy your thoughts. You may think about enrolling your children in a new school, for example, or having your mail forwarded. But don’t let other administrative items slip through the cracks.

As a start, you’ll want to speak to your doctor, your dentist and your eye doctor to ask about having your records sent to your new health team. You’ll also want to close out memberships for things like the gym or the library.

Step #4: Hire the movers.

One of the easiest ways  on how to move across the country is to enlist the help of professional movers. Moving specialists can help to pack your belongings, load items safely and transport them to your new home. At the other end, they will unload, unpack and unwrap, leaving you time to organize your new life.

Step #5: Buy packing supplies.

When preparing for a move of any size, there is little more frustrating than running out of supplies, just when you’re on a roll. Make sure you have plenty of sturdy boxes on hand, as well as packing tape and permanent markers so you can keep going, even if you find yourself packing late at night.

Step #6: Keep a moving list.

A move across the country takes time. Chances are, by the time you’ve packed your entire house, tied up administrative ends, said your goodbyes and travelled across the country, you will have forgotten exactly what was packed in each box. Keep a list, organized by room, to know exactly how to find what you need on the other end.

Step #7: Pack strategically for the move.

While it is tempting to pack a box or two in each room and fill them slowly as you go, experts advise that you pack one room at a time. Start with the rooms you use the least—perhaps the guest room or living room—and move on to the next.

As you get close to the rooms you use the most, you will need a few staples in the way of clothing, kitchen items and personal hygiene supplies, but can pack and label the rest.

Step #8: Load the moving truck.

As your belongings are loaded onto a moving truck, whether you are moving yourself or have the help of a moving company, make sure you have a few boxes held back to go on the truck last. These items will be first off on the other end—you can make sure they contain your most urgent needs or the things that bring you comfort.

Step #9: Set up from a distance.

What can you set up ahead of time, to make your life easier when you arrive in your new home? Perhaps you can arrange for a load of groceries to arrive the day after you move in? If you know you need houseware staples, whether kitchen supplies or doormats, think about ordering them online and having them arrive shortly after you land.

Step #10: Find a community.

After you moved across the country, landing in a new town or city can be daunting. Settling into your new home, and perhaps your new job, can take time. Before you move, think about the hobbies and activities you like to do most.

If volleyball is your thing, for example, search for local teams in your new neighbourhood. If curling or chess is your thing, look for places to participate nearby. You will reduce your adjustment time by connecting with like-minded people.

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