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Moving to a new city can be both thrilling and scary. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start, new experiences, and personal growth. However, the process can also be overwhelming, with countless details to consider before, during, and after moving day. Plus, there’s the prospect of facing what may be a great unknown. That’s why we put together this checklist for moving to a new city. Here you’ll find many tips for moving cross country or across town.

To ensure a smooth transition on your moving date, it’s essential to have a well-organized checklist in place. In this blog, we’ll provide you with a moving-to-a-new-city checklist that covers all the crucial aspects of your move, from planning to settling in, to making travel arrangements — and making new friends and family.

But first: Take the time to congratulate yourself! Moving to a new city isn’t always easy. It takes courage, planning, commitment, money, and energy.

And now you’ve made the decision. Good for you!

Settling in means getting your new home in order, locating community support, and establishing new connections.

Whether you’ve moved across the country or across the state — in fact, even if you’ve moved to another neighborhood or section of your current city — these tips will still apply to you. (Think about how different it is in one part of your city compared with another!)

Long story short: Even if you’ve moved long-distance (across the country) or a short distance (across town), you’ll want to review our Moving to a New City Checklist.

Let’s get started!

Before the Move

Prior to the big day, leave yourself plenty of time to get your moving and packing supplies together. These include packing supplies such as moving boxes and other packing materials (even towels and packing paper).

Start collecting packing supplies, such as boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper, tape, and markers. You can purchase these items or look for free boxes at local stores or online marketplaces. Having all your packing supplies ready will make the process more efficient.

You’ll also want to secure important documents and medical records and take those with you by hand. It’s also a good idea to stay in touch with your real estate agent.

Be sure to also leave your contact information with your old landlord (if you’ve been renting) so they can send you your security deposit if you have one coming back to you.

Speaking of that, before you even start packing, make sure you fill out a change of address form at the post office. Double-check that the new address is correct.

Consider holding a garage sale to reduce your moving load and help you get rid of unwanted items, such as books, furniture, and seasonal items.

Now, on with the checklist for moving to a new city!

Checklist for Moving to a New City

  • Research Your New City Thoroughly

Before you even think about packing a single cardboard box, invest time in researching your new city. Understand its neighborhoods, schools, healthcare facilities, public transportation, and job opportunities. Look into the local culture, climate, and any specific regulations or laws that might affect your daily life.

  • Create a Budget

Moving to a new city can be costly, so it’s essential to create a budget that includes moving expenses, housing costs, and any other related expenses. Be sure to set some money aside for unexpected costs, if possible. Having a clear financial plan will help you stay on track during the entire relocation process.

  • Hire a Reliable Moving Company

Choosing a reputable moving company is crucial to ensure a smooth transition. Research moving companies in your current location and destination, get quotes, and read reviews. Make sure the company you select has the necessary licenses and insurance.

  • Declutter and Downsize

Moving is the perfect opportunity to declutter and downsize your belongings. Go through your items room by room, and decide what to keep, donate, or sell. This will not only reduce your moving costs but also make your new space feel more organized and less cluttered.

  • Create an Inventory

Make a detailed inventory of all your belongings. This will not only help you keep track of your items but also serve as a reference point if anything goes missing during the move. Consider taking photos or videos of valuable items for insurance purposes.

  • Notify Important Parties

Inform relevant parties of your impending move. This includes your current and future utility company, the post office, your employer, and any subscription services you use.

Local utility providers will include water, gas, electricity, internet, and cable services in your new home. Make sure these are active before you move in to avoid any inconveniences.

And don’t forget to update your address with banks, credit card companies, insurance providers, and relevant government agencies.

  • Pack Strategically

Start packing well in advance, focusing on items you use less frequently. Label boxes clearly with their contents and the room they belong to. Pack essential items separately and keep them easily accessible, such as toiletries, clothes, and important documents.

  • Plan for Transportation

If you’re driving to your new city, make sure your vehicle is in good condition and serviced before the trip. If you’re flying, book your flights and accommodations in advance. Consider how you’ll get from the airport to your new home.

  • Hire Professional Movers or Rent a Truck

If you’re not using a moving company for the entire move, you might need to rent a truck or hire movers for the day of the move. Make these arrangements well in advance to ensure availability.

  • Prepare Your New Home

Before you arrive in your new city, make sure your new home is ready for you. This includes cleaning, painting if necessary, and any maintenance work that needs to be done. Ensure that utilities are set up and functioning before your arrival.

  • Pack an Essentials Box

Pack a box with essential items you’ll need immediately upon arrival in your new city. This can include toiletries, clothes, important documents, and basic kitchen supplies. Having this box readily available will make your first few days in your new home more comfortable.

  • Stay Organized

Finally, as we’ve suggested above, try to stay organized throughout the entire moving process. Keep important documents, receipts, and records in a safe and easily accessible place. Maintain a list of emergency contacts in your new city, and don’t hesitate to reach out to them if needed.

After the Move

Organize Your New Home

A top priority is making sure all your belongings arrive damage-free. After that, you’ll need to ensure your house is functioning to provide you and your family with a safe place to live, work, and play.

  • Check electronics and appliances (if you moved them on the moving truck). Movers and insurance companies will take reports and process any damage claims.
  • Inventory your furniture and boxes. Here, too, if you have any missing or damaged items, contact your residential mover and homeowner’s insurance company for reimbursement.
  • Confirm utility accounts (gas, electric, cable/satellite, water/sewer) are in your name, that your mail has been forwarded correctly, and any extra services such as trash pick-up (including trash/recycling containers) or home security systems are set up.
  • Do a thorough walk-through of your house to learn its setup. Locate and check the labels on the fuse box to confirm how the house is wired. Find the main water shutoff. Check for unexpected leaks, infestations, or damage, especially if your house has been vacant.
  • Update your security by changing the locks on exterior doors, checking window closures, and installing smoke detectors on each floor. Consider adding a carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguishers to your house and garage.

Find Your Community Resources

As we mentioned above, these tips apply whether you’ve moved across the country or across town. Finding community resources is the next step to take after you’ve unpacked essential items in the most-used areas.

What are those essential items and where are the most-used areas? Things like bed sheets, pillows, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, toilet paper, food, plates, and silverware, to name a few. As you’ve probably already figured out, three of the most-used areas are your bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen.

Get You and Your Things Registered

  • If you’ve made a long-distance move, you’ll need a new driver’s license and will need to register your vehicle.
  • Stop by your local city or township hall to register to vote. Local governments often have welcome packets with useful information for newcomers, such as the location of the library, parks and recreation services, and community events.
  • Families with children will need to register with the school district. If you’ve moved during the summer, talk with the school administrator about scheduling a tour for your child(ren) and meeting teacher(s) prior to the fall start.
  • Take a walk or drive around your neighborhood to find other useful resources: grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, post offices, and police and fire departments. Look for personal essentials, including coffee shops, gas stations, dry cleaners, and shopping areas.
  • Explore some more! After the move is complete and you’ve settled in, take some time to explore your new city. Visit local attractions, restaurants, and parks to get a feel for your new surroundings. This will help you acclimate and start building connections in your new community.


In the first few weeks after your move, begin building relationships. Most people like to help newcomers become part of the community, so don’t be reluctant to ask questions.

  • Neighbors and work colleagues will have suggestions for physicians, dentists, veterinarians, and even hairstylists. They’ll be resources for learning about the local culture including museums, restaurants, and sports teams. And you’ll get tips on the best routes to use when traveling to work, school, and area attractions.
  • Begin to establish new routines. Find local grocery stores, gyms, and other essential services in your area. Join clubs or organizations that align with your interests to meet new people and build a social network. Local philanthropic organizations like churches, the YMCA, or the United Way, can also help you become connected to others in your community.
  • Local schools or universities will have websites with calendars of activities, clubs to join, and special events.

Smooth Move People: Reliable, Professional, and Here For You

If you need a professional Portland mover for short or long-distance moves, contact our team at Smooth Move People. We’ll take the worry out of your move, so you can focus on settling in.

Smooth Move People is a family-owned, reliable, affordable, Portland-based moving company. We offer the lowest rates in the state. In fact, we charge as low as ODOT will allow — and offer exceptional, turnkey services.


In this piece, we mentioned moving insurance. Let’s take a few minutes here to talk about some of the moving insurance options you’ll have when you partner with Smooth Move People.

Please keep in mind that this information is not intended to cover all aspects of moving insurance. For that, you’ll need to speak with your insurance agent. They can fill you in on the details of the different types of coverage, including liability coverage, basic coverage options, and more.

But it may be helpful to know that Smooth Move People includes a few options for you as part of our moving services in Portland and beyond.

For example, we provide what’s called Released Value Protection. This is provided free of charge. Generally, this protection values your goods at $.60 per pound per item.

Another option, which costs $85, is known as Replacement Cost Insurance. With this option, any item damaged during a move is covered for repair.

If it is determined to be damaged or broken beyond repair due to the fault of the moving company, the item will be replaced with a similar item. As mentioned above, this insurance costs $85 and covers your goods up to $10,000.

Final Thoughts

If you are planning a move, let our licensed and experienced team at Smooth Move People help! Our affordable rates and reputation for quality and efficient moving services are some things you can count on. Contact us today to get your move scheduled.

We can pack, move, unload, provide supplies for your upcoming home move, or even move your office or business. Get in touch with us today to get started.

Moving to a new city is an exciting adventure that can be made more manageable with careful planning and organization. By following this checklist, you can help ensure a smooth transition and start your new chapter on the right foot.

Remember, preparation is key, and a well-executed move can set the stage for a successful and fulfilling life in your new city.

Good luck with your move. May your new city bring you endless opportunities and happiness!

This post was updated on 9/18/23.

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