Hey everyone! So, if you follow me on Instagram you may be aware that I am moving to Los Angeles in less than a month at the time of writing this blog post. I’m super excited about this move (prompted by my choice to chase my dreams and pursue acting in film and TV) and I have learned a lot as I prepped for what is admittedly a unique process. Besides the fact that I am willingly moving in the middle of a pandemic, my situation in L.A. is such that I won’t be bringing that much with me on the cross-country drive.
Thus, I wanted to share some tips based on what I’ve learned throughout this process. Below you will find various aspects that I’ve found helpful to keeping everything organized while still juggling work and life in general. I may add more to this post if other tips come to mind, so I recommend bookmarking it for easy access later!
Well, let’s get into it. Here are my tips for making your first big move:
Table of Contents
- 1 Spreadsheets and checklists can be your best friend
- 2 Understand your lease agreement
- 3 If you’re self-employed, meet with your accountant
- 4 Be sure to cancel any utilities
- 5 Figure out what you’re bringing vs. keeping
- 6 Explore your storage options
- 7 Don’t pay for boxes
- 8 Understand any new laws or requirements in your new location
- 9 If you’re driving, map it out strategically
- 10 Build your network
Spreadsheets and checklists can be your best friend
This might sound like an odd suggestion coming from a self-proclaimed right-brained/artsy person, but spreadsheets and checklists are the absolute best way that I keep my head on straight!
These spreadsheets don’t have to be anything fancy, by the way. I have one that I used for my last 4 big trips, and now I’ve repurposed it to organize what I plan to bring to L.A.
P.S. If you want to download the Excel template of that aforementioned spreadsheet, sign up for my new newsletter (coming soon!) to get access to my resource library.
Understand your lease agreement
And if you’re breaking it early, be sure to plan for that financial burden. In my case, I lucked out with a 6 month and subsequent month-to-month lease – which I strategically chose just in case I ended up relocating as I am now!
Another thing I’ll mention is for when you first move into a place, in case this big move is your first time. Go through the move-in checklist meticulously and take pictures of ANY damage that you see. This will come in handy when you’re trying to get your security deposit back. Also, do your best to be there during the final walkthrough.
If you’re self-employed, meet with your accountant
It’s important to meet with your accountant (and if you don’t have one, you should get one!) to determine if your business needs to foreign qualify. Since my case is unique – marketing, talent work, blogging, and WanderWith – I made sure to meet with my accountant to understand exactly what my financial-reporting situation would look like after I moved.
Be sure to cancel any utilities
Whether it’s electric, internet, or other, you’ll want to make sure that you aren’t paying unnecessarily for services that you no longer need. You can typically choose the exact date that your service stops, so be sure to clearly state your desired date when you make the cancellation request.
Figure out what you’re bringing vs. keeping
Oh man, this one is a doozy and I am admittedly still struggling with because my moving situation is a bit unique and also cross-country.
I originally tried to do another spreadsheet tab for this task, but I realized it wasn’t quite as helpful as visually sizing up my belongings. So, what I recommend doing is breaking down each area of your home, understanding what is NOT coming with you in your move, and then putting aside everything you 100% want to keep first.
Then, if you have some items that you’re unsure about, set them to the side and come back to them once you’ve had a moment to clear your mind. It’s okay to move onto another room or area. You’ll find that as you instinctively pack certain items that you’re sure about, you’ll be more able to identify what you should consider giving away.
By the way, if you’re trying to pack with as little waste as possible, I highly recommend checking out this Instagram post by The Plantiful Yogi!
Explore your storage options
Storage unit, friends, family? These can all be options for storage if you’re able to get creative. If you go the storage unit route, I recommend climate-controlled if it’s in your budget. Certain materials and items can be badly affected by hot and cold weather, and don’t even get me started on the pests that might come out in hot weather…ew.
If you have a trusted friend or loved one who can store some things for you, or perhaps even just temporarily hold onto items until you can come back for them, I recommend exploring this option! It’s also possible to ship out boxes to yourself if you’re willing to undertake the cost.
Don’t pay for boxes
You guys, there are too many ways to get free boxes – even during COVID. The key is that you must be patient, persistent, and also ready with disinfectant just in case. I purposely started sourcing for boxes about 6 weeks before my move, and had to go to about 4 different stores near me before receiving a huge supply from Fresh Market.
Don’t be afraid to go into a store and ask employees (or even better, managers if you see them) about what they do with their leftover boxes. You might be surprised by what you obtain.
Understand any new laws or requirements in your new location
For example, California has a much stricter timeline for getting your CA license and registering your car in the state (10 days and 20 days, respectively). Registration in California is also super expensive, so be sure to research the costs of becoming a resident of your new state or country beforehand. You do NOT want to be blindsided by a huge hidden cost.
If you’re driving, map it out strategically
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but having the flexibility to drive to your new home can be a great time to sightsee a bit. In my case, we’re taking the more northern route to California, which involves a stop in Denver (my hometown) as well as an apparently highly scenic drive through Utah.
Since I chose this route – instead of the southern one that hits Oklahoma and Arizona – I get the pleasure of stopping in a nostalgic place and getting to see a nice change of scenery through Utah.
Build your network
You never know who knows someone! If you don’t have a network in the place you’re moving to, there are plenty of ways to start prepping before you actually arrive.
First and foremost, tap into your current network. Ever since I announced my move to L.A., I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many of my friends and acquaintances happen to know someone in the city. You will never know who might be a great connection until you ask!
I also am a firm believer in using social apps to expand your reach with meeting people. Personally speaking, I made the majority of my good friends here via BumbleBFF and Meetup. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, and DON’T get discouraged if everything doesn’t fall into place right away. It took me nearly 2 of my 4 years in Cincinnati to really hit my stride and find a core group of girlfriends.
I hope that these tips are helpful for you as you prep for your own big move! I will update this post as more things come to mind, so be sure to bookmark it to read later. Also, feel free to Pin this post if you found it helpful using the image below! Just hover over the top left-hand corner of the image on desktop to Pin.