How I moved from the west coast to the east coast

Ryan Weal
Published 2012-04-11

Occasionally I get questions from friends who are planning to move. How should I approach this? My answer is nearly always the same: just do it. My move was planned out for years but I did not have a detailed logistical plan. My partner and I had been planning to move together for a few years but my initial plan to move was even years before that. When I finally made the decision to move none of that really mattered. What you need to bring is minimal, so give yourself enough time and/or a storage locker to get all of your furniture out of your home. Beyond this, the rest is easy.

  • Find a friend in your destination city. Stay with them awhile. If they have an available room, even better! Might also be possible for them to look at places for you.
  • If you have pets, get a carrier for the flight. Check your airline for pet blackout dates.
  • On the pets topic, get a *large* carrier to store up to two pets while in transit.
  • Buy your plane ticket! Be sure to pay any pet cargo fees after you buy.
  • Get a postal redirect to your new/temporary address.
  • Buy "bankers boxes" for things you wish to bring with you. I would suggest 8 of them. On that last point, the "bankers box" format is perfect because you can load it up with books and/or heavy dishes and still meet postal regulations. Yup, you're going to send these by post! It is the cheapest method for few items. Greyhound is ok too, but requires you to drop off and pickup the items. In Canada, you can send things by "expedited mail" (faster than standard, slower than express). By doing so, you can opt for insurance and for a signature on delivery. The boxes will come right to your door if you are home. Each box cost me about $50 on the high end to send (I think probably $35 on the low end). Be sure to check the maximum dimensions for the post and also the maximum weight. I also purchased some 2'x2' cubes (4 square feet) from Budget rent-a-car. They are perfectly postal + airline size compliant however it is very easy to overload them. Send the boxes a day or two before you leave. Pack your angry cats and go! Transport Canada will ask you to remove the pets from the carrier so they can swab it for potential cuteness explosions. An airline attendant helped me hold the cats as they do *not* like being in an airport. Fortunately they were both too scared to run amok at the airport. When you arrive you'll remember everything you forgot. So go buy those things at a local shop. Get ready to replace a lot of stuff. I highly recommend checking the classified sites like Kijiji and Craigslist for those items.
Thanks for Reading!
Ryan Weal (LinkedIn)
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