Moving Cross Country Tips


Welcome to Mariah on the east coast! If you’ve followed along with life lately then you know I have packed up everything and moved from the west coast to east coast for the first time. This was my first experience ever with a big move. I’ve moved down the street or across town, but never out of state before let alone across the country. Being that I was new to the moving process I thought I’d go ahead and share our experience, and what I learned a long the way.

Moving Companies

Moving out of state is a big chore. When I’ve moved across town we’ve loaded up a few cars, my dads truck, and maybe a rented trailer. That’s definitely not an option when moving out of state! You absolutely need a UHaul or a moving company. The best place to start is pricing out your options. We got quotes from UHaul, PODS, and UPack. They were all pretty close in price, but we also made sure to factor in gas cost when considering UHaul.

The other factor we had to consider was dates that PODS and UPack could deliver and pick up. Since we were moving during the lovely time of having a shipping container shortage, and when a lot of people were moving out of California the dates and availability of containers were limited. Because of this we ended up using UPack, but instead of the big long containers they delivered 3 of there Cubes. We ended up being able to fit everything in only 2 Cubes which saved us a couple thousand dollars. When doing your quote you tell them how big your house is so they can help suggest what size container they think you need. Ideally you need to stuff a container completely full with no extra space so things do not have space to move around when being transported.

Packing Supplies

Use everything you can! Obviously you need tons of cardboard boxes. We got some from our work, and some from Home Depot. I’ve found that you can look up moving boxes on places like Facebook Marketplace too. The other thing is don’t focus on the size of the box. I kept every Amazon or Target box and just found things that would fit in them.

We bought rolls of bubble wrap off Facebook Marketplace and that was very handy for dishes and anything breakable. I also wrapped all mirrors. When keeping boxes from your mail, I also kept all the plastic stuffing to use to pack boxes full.

Use suitcases to pack clothes. You can even wrap breakable items in the clothes and pack them in the suitcases.

If you have Rubbermaid boxes this is great for anything breakable as well. I didn’t have extra of these, but my Christmas/Fall décor is packed in them and I just left them in it.

Lots of people use moving blankets, but I didn’t want to rent or purchase these separate. Any blankets or towels that I was okay with getting dirty I used to lay on top of the furniture when packing the Cubes.

Saran wrap – I know you’re like WHATTTT? But seriously this was so helpful! I wish I had used it more. This is great for keeping drawers from sliding out, or for keeping blankets or bubble wrap attached to furniture. I also used it for our utensil drawer to keep everything together.

Paper/post its or some sort of labeling system. I simply wrote on top of every box in sharpie what was inside. I was very descriptive about the contents of each box. The one thing I didn’t do though was put what room the box went to. If you are hiring movers to do the unloading for you this is super important. I’d suggest taping a paper to the top of each box with a title of the room it should be delivered to, and then list the content of the box for your own sake.

Packing Boxes Tips

  • Make sure the boxes are completely full! You don’t want to pack a box and then go to tape it shut and have the top be able to be pushed in. When you go to stack it in your shipping container stuff like that will be crushed unless the box is full.
  • Clothing was by far the most difficult thing for me to figure out how to pack. I ended up leaving everything on the hanger and just folder the clothes in sections into boxes. This made unpacking easier too. The one thing is these boxes did get crushed in the transport process since they weren’t tightly packed. So I wouldn’t put anything breakable in between the clothes.
  • Instead of packing all linens (towels, sheets, bedding, etc.) I used it to stuff around awkward shaped items to fill boxes more. An example of this is a big glass jar I have or I wrapped our glass cake stand in towels, then bubble wrap to make sure it didn’t break.
  • Do not pack anything flammable, or that will melt in boxes that are going in your shipping container. I made sure to put all flammable cleaning supplies, my candle collection, and aerosol bottles in the boxes that were going in my car.
  • Keep your fragile boxes separate from everything else. This will help once you start packing your container to know what to go on the bottom and what to go on top.

Packing Your Shipping Container Tips

  • Check with the moving company that you use for a list of what cannot go into the containers. There were things I didn’t even realize I packed that needed to be moved to our car.
  • Your moving company should also have tips on how to pack their containers. For a big long shipping container its better to pack the mattress in the back, then create a wall of boxes. However, since we used Cubes instead of a long container the suggestions they gave were different. We packed the mattresses on one side and stacked furniture from the bottom and then the boxes.
  • Always stack heavy to light. Put your heaviest most sturdy boxes on the bottom. Things with books or clothes in them. NO breakables! Make sure anything breakable or fragile goes up top.
  • While I didn’t use moving blankets (as mentioned above) I will say I wish I had bubble wrapped the edges of my furniture, or saran wrapped the blankets to the furniture so it wouldn’t have moved. We found a few of our dressers were dinged up because the blankets slid off of some edges.

Where To Start

Start by purging anything! I got rid of anything I felt I didn’t want or need. It was also a great opportunity to get rid of any furniture my husband brought into marriage that I didn’t want anymore LOL! Also things I knew I’d like an upgrade on. We sold the grill and upgraded to a new one when we got here. If you don’t want to pay to move it across the country then don’t pack it!

I had about a month to pack the whole house up. I started with the things we didn’t use. My books, any pictures of décor on the walls. I packed up all my sweaters (since we moved in summer). My husband moved earlier than I did so all of his clothes I packed into his car.

Packing the kitchen was done in phases. I packed the things I didn’t use regularly early on, and then about two weeks before the containers arrived I started packing up the every day items. The last week we basically ate out, or at my parents every night. Paper plates are a lifesaver!

I also designated spots for boxes once they were packed. Anything heavy was moved outside to the garage and anything fragile was put in an empty room in the house. This helped me when we were packing the Cubes to know the order of how things should go in.

Have you ever moved out of state? What are your tips?


  1. Reply

    Great tips! I moved cross country when I was a kid and even moved internationally a few times and it’s so stressful each time!

    • Tara
    • October 6, 2021

    Moves are always stressful in one way or another. It’s definitely about the little things that make it any less stressful and easy!

  2. Reply

    Oh, man! I just finished my big move and I definitely agree with EVERYTHING you’ve written about here! I didn’t move out-of-state, but I did move an hour away from where I previously lived for 3 years, so there was a LOT to take with me. Thankfully, even though it was an obnoxious hour to-and-from, I spent about a month just taking boxes out to the new house from my apartment, so it made things a lot simpler on our “big move day.” That day, we just rented a 15′ Uhaul and loaded it up with all our biggest furniture items. Great tips here!! And congratulations on the move!

  3. Reply

    I moved across the country just once, and couldn’t wish more to have such list of tips in front of me. Oh well, I guess I will save it for the next time 🙂

  4. Reply

    We just moved from Illinois to Georgia with our infant son, and it was no walk in the park. I love these tips!

    • Neely Moldovan
    • September 20, 2021

    My husband has done this twice and it looks so stressful! These are awesome tips!

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Mariah Cooke
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