Just a few short months ago, we rang in 2020 - the start of a whole new decade. It's crazy to think that was only 2.5 - 3 months ago! On New Years Eve I was home getting over a terrible cold, and healing from a few downward spirals pertaining to my dating life. On top of that, I remember feeling on edge financially and preoccupied about my next "career move" so to speak. During all of this, leaving NJ again was always in the back of my mind. But I never anticipated that I would make the hasty decision to do so as quickly as I did.
Looking back, I'm so grateful that I did. Timing was undoubtedly on my side. On top of moving and landing an exciting new job, I (without really knowing it then) managed to avoid the chaos stemming from COVID-19 that would've dramatically impacted my travel arrangements, and quite possibly the ability to move.
And when it came to moving, I wanted to make sure that if I left NJ again that it was, in fact, for good. Moving is agreeably an exhausting effort. Over the last ten years, I moved out of NJ twice, lived in and out of dorms for almost 6 years, downsized and lived on my own in a 400 sq. ft. studio apartment for almost 2 years, all to move back home to NJ again. As many of you know, these were not small town moves. These were big moves that involved thousands of miles and countless Craigslist listings (do we even use Craigslist anymore?).
My quick but committed decision to move the beginning of this year was one that was both exhilarating and scary. There were so many times when I doubted myself in the process and questioned if all this trouble was even worth it. Like, is this the right time? Did I think this through enough? Am I acting on impulse again? Am I underestimating the work that needs to be done here? A lot of times, these feelings of uncertainty made me feel really insecure. But to the core, I knew I wanted this. So I reminded myself that my happiness mattered and that I was doing this so that I could build a new foundation for myself. Everyone deserves that.
To be honest, the fact that I have moved so many times before definitely worked to my advantage. The packing itself was a breeze. It was more of the "deciding what to bring and not bring" part of the process that made it tough - for me personally - being where I was moving out from.
Where I moved from is where I lived and called home for almost 30 years. It's the house I was raised in. As you can imagine, there were so many things to go through; thirty years worth of things from furniture, photo albums, knick knacks, clothes, china etc. It was one of the most time-consuming projects for me and probably what I stressed out about the most. Particularly because I would spend so much time sorting through everything room by room, making piles of "keep", "sell", and "toss" and by the day's end, it didn't even look like I did anything! Like, ugh what did I do all day?! Slowly but surely though, with the help of family members, progress was made. If I had to compare this to anything, it's like peeling an onion. There are many layers of tears and laughs to endure before you start seeing the change you want.
Ultimately, going through this cross-country move reminded me of the things that have to be done, as well as the things that also can be done to help ease the process. In the event you might be reading this and thinking of moving or know of someone who plans to move, I hope by sharing what has helped me will positively impact you. Here are 5 things that undoubtedly eased my cross country move. I'm incredibly relieved I considered these things this time around.
1. A Savings - Because moving costs money!! A whole lot of money. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it's really hard to get anything done if you don't have some financial backing. In my case, I had to anticipate all costs for moving. Everything from moving supplies, my own travel arrangements to downpayment costs for an apartment. This may be overwhelming to come to terms with at first, but by setting realistic expectations you will have a much clearer path ahead of you.
2. Color Coding - Is a game changer. Sounds a bit obsessive but if you're a visual person like me, it really helps compartmentalize everything. I color coded boxes using different colored post-it notes and even went as far as color coding my agenda with different colored highlighters. Because I was working under a tight deadline, every day, every minute, every hour mattered.
3. Professional Movers - I was pretty close to settling for the U-Haul option but came to realize there was no way I could physically carry everything and load everything into a pod by myself. It might have been the cheaper option initially, but I knew it would have cost me physically and then probably end up being a big (expensive) waste of time. We decided to partner with White Glove Moving. When they quoted us, they came into our home, walked with us room by room and wrote everything down that we wanted to take. After that, the representative sat down with us and did the calculation right then and there - so no room for surprises! Even better, we didn't have to worry about additional labor costs, delivery costs, or costs for more moving supplies. On the day of, they packed everything up for us. It took all day, of course, but working with them gave me so much peace of mind.
4. Got pets? Register them as ESA - This step totally saved my life and gave my pets the best experience possible. My dogs have never been on a plane, and never anywhere else but NJ. Registering them as ESA has allowed me to bring them along with me on the plane at no additional charge. The best part, though, is the housing benefit. By having your pets registered as ESA, all pet down payments and monthly fees are waived. You may need to include a letter from a doctor or a therapist, but by law they cannot deny that right. I've never been happier :D
5. Document All Moving Expenses - Anything pertaining to the move, you can claim next year when you file for taxes if the move relates to school or a job. So hang onto those receipts!