Last year my family, including grown children and grandchildren, all moved from Denver to Seattle area. My husband and I moved to be closer to his extended family and to stay close to our daughter’s family. Such a large cross-country move required several thousand dollars and good organizational skills. Even with the best planning, not everything went smoothly. I learned that moving our pets and most of our stuff was worth it, adjusting takes longer than I previously thought, and finally that you need to plan for unforeseen expenses.
1. Moving all of our furniture and most of our household items. We realized early on in our move planning that we were unwilling to get rid of our clothes, pets, and many personal items. We needed to rent a truck. Renting a small truck was only slightly less than the approximately $1300 that it cost to rent the largest Penske truck and car carrier. We still needed to sell two vehicles and seriously pare down our stuff, but we correctly chose to spend slightly more and move most of our things to Washington. This proved to be beneficial since the $1,300 in rental and over $900 in gas was much less than the cost of replacing all of our things.
2. Moving our pets. Moving is all about change and rehoming our pets was emotionally more than any of us could handle. Even though it was difficult to find housing, transport them and cost more for pet deposits, appropriate transporting crates, and pre-trip physicals, it became important to me and my daughter as well as our husbands that we not lose our pets. Moving is stressful; keeping our pets helped all of us to feel better.
3. Adjusting after the move. I believed that moving would only cause a couple of months of stress. However, we have learned that such a large move takes several months to recover financially and emotionally. Change takes time and accepting that it can take several months or longer to fully adjust is important.
4. Budgeting for the move. Every step of the way, we ended up going over our budget. It cost more to add on a car carrier, for gas, for food, for utilities, for new driver’s licenses, for travel and finally for purchasing a vehicle for me that would pass emissions. Our original budget was $5,000 and we ended up spending over $7,500. Without the help of family, we would have struggled immensely during the first few months in Washington. As it is, we have lived here for six months, still owe people money and are not completely caught up.
My overall advice when making a large move is to expect things to cost more than you planned, take care of yourself in the transition, and accept that change can be hard.