Last Updated on June 1, 2023 by Vlad Stoikovich
Australians are on the move. Over just three months in 2021, 104,100 people switched states despite (or perhaps because of) Covid-19 considerations. The biggest moves were from the large cities such as Melbourne and Sydney to regional areas. No need to pay big city prices, when you can work from home.
Moving within the same state or even city is stressful enough, and moving interstate is a whole new level. Whether you’re moving for work, more sunshine, or better housing prices, you’re about to join the hundreds of thousands of Aussies who jump states each year.
So how do you pull off a smooth interstate move without losing all your hair or your mind?
Planning is key. Putting together a moving checklist at the very beginning of the process can help you stay focused and organised — and ensure nothing gets left behind.
While each move is different, here are your top five, pre-move to-dos that can help make the interstate move as stress-free as possible:
Declutter and sort your belongings
Go full Marie Kondo style
If you’re not familiar with the tidying machine Marie Kondo’s KonMari method, it’s basically about going through all of your belongings (in category order) and getting rid of everything that doesn’t “spark joy.”
In other words, if it’s taking up space in your house or feels like a burden to look at — even if it’s sentimental — it needs to go. The more you can get rid of before the move, the better!
Make three piles (be they physical or mental)
Your three piles are: keep, throw away, and sell online or donate to charity. This seems simple enough but it can be overwhelming when you’re faced with sorting through everything at once.
To make things easier on yourself during this process, start with selling and donating items. You can begin this process many months before the move. Once you’ve decluttered a bit, you’ll be able to see tangible results that will help keep you focused.
You can make physical piles of stuff, or you can mentally note which items are in which pile. Stickers can also be used to denote items’ eventual destination.
Consider the cost of moving items versus buying new
While your dog may be quite attached to that floral 1970s sofa in the garage, you should ask yourself whether it’s going to work out cheaper to leave it behind and replace it once you arrive.
The same holds true for larger items that aren’t for pets. For example, a large dining room table and six chairs can take up a lot of space in your moving truck, and may even mean the difference between a 4-tonne truck and a 6-tonne truck.
If you can replace it in your new state, do so and save some tonnage and some money. Not sure which size truck you need? Use a moving truck calculator for a decent estimation based on your home’s contents.
Choose your removalists and book in advance
When you’re moving states, the last thing you want to do is stress about the safety of your belongings. Knowing what you’re getting into can help save you a lot of time and effort — and money! Here’s how to choose a removalist:
Look at reviews
Reviews are your best friend when it comes to choosing a removalist. You’ll find out what other people are saying about them, and how their experience was with that particular company. This can give you a good idea of what kind of service you’ll receive.
Check their credentials
Remember to ask the companies you’re considering how long they’ve been in business. You want to avoid any fly-by-night operations. In Australia, there are no formal licencing requirements for removalists, which means anyone can start up a moving company, whether they know what they’re doing or not…
There is a professional body, though. Look for an Australian Furniture Removers Association (AFRA) listed company.
Top tip: Cheap does not mean best when it comes to movers. Choosing the cheapest possible option may mean your stuff won’t safe during transit or handled properly after arrival at its destination. It’s not something worth risking when there are so many good companies around!
Book your removalists in advance
Try and book your removalists well in advance, around four months’ notice is ideal. Doing so is important for several reasons, not least because good moving companies are busy. You want your preferred removalists to be available for your move, with the right sized truck.
Of course, sometimes people have to move interstate in a hurry, in which case, look for removalists who have a large fleet so that you don’t end up paying over the odds for an oversized truck.
Utilities, services, and insurance
You’ll want to check with your current utility providers, insurance providers, and any other services you may use regularly to see if you can transfer them over to the new state. This means talking to your internet provider, electricity company, phone company (if applicable), and all the rest about transferring services across state lines.
Cars in Australia also need to be reregistered when they permanently change state, so put this on your post-move to-do list, along with your pets’ registrations. And get the car serviced. Australia is big. Your move might take you over your service distance and nullify your warranty.
You’ll want to set up a mail redirection or mail hold early so that your post is automatically sent to your new home or held by Australia Post for a period of time. More info on post options for your move can be found here.
Start packing early
Avoid procrastination! Get busy! We’re not saying you should start packing the second you know you’re moving interstate, but we are saying that it’s never too early to start putting non-essentials and rarely-used items in boxes.
You’ll want to pack these as early as possible so that once all of your furniture and other big items are in place, there’s less stress about trying to finish up everything at once.
You’ll also want to take advantage of any time off work (including weekends) so that when you’re a week out from moving day itself, you’re not in a mad rush to finish everything.
First, make sure you have enough boxes, tape, and padding (paper or bubble wrap)
Start packing in the rooms and areas you don’t use as often first: spare bedrooms, garages and sheds, the bottom of wardrobes and so on.
Pack the rooms and areas you use most often last.
Don’t pack items you may need. It sounds obvious, but far too many of us have fallen into the trap of packing something we then need a week later and digging through boxes isn’t much fun.
Get the kids involved and let them ‘pack’ a box each from their rooms, this can help stop them from ‘packing’ (or indeed, unpacking) in other areas.
Make a moving day plan of attack
In the days before moving interstate, you should prepare your plan of attack. Here are some tips:
You’ll be so busy with the move itself that you don’t need the headache of trying to remember what needs to be done, or which car the cat is travelling in. Make sure you have a car manual, if you can’t find the original, you can likely download one from oneline
Make a list that details how the day will run. Your list might include things like buying lunch for the car trip, being picked up by friends for your flight, where the pets will be, packing any final items, et cetera.
There are probably lots more tasks than those listed here but these are just examples — make sure your list is comprehensive enough.
Have some contingency plans
Your plan for the day should include a few contingencies, such as a second option if your childcare plans for the morning fall through, or what you’ll do if it starts raining during moving day.
Planning for the absolute worst means less stress if it occurs. If you’re flying, for example, can you book a flexible ticket so if there are any inconvenient delays you can jump on the next available flight?
We know moving interstate can seem like a daunting task, but we hope that these tips help make it a little easier. You’re totally capable of doing this, you just need the right team by your side.
Your Top 5 To-Dos Before Moving Interstate FAQs
Yes, Australian states require you to register your vehicle in your new state after a move. Check the specific regulations for the state you’re moving to as the time allowed to make this change can vary.
Research and compare several moving companies, read customer reviews, and get at least three quotes before making a decision. Look for a company that specializes in interstate moves and confirm that they have appropriate insurance coverage.
Discuss the move with your vet to address any concerns and ensure your pets are up-to-date with vaccinations. Consider pet relocation services for the actual move. Remember to update your pets’ microchip information once you’ve moved.
You’ll need to update your address with several entities, including your bank, insurance providers, employer, and the Australian Electoral Commission. Also, don’t forget to inform friends and family of your new address.
If possible, visit your new home before the move to perform a deep clean and take measurements. You can then plan where your furniture will go, making the move-in process smoother.
Yes, it can be beneficial to declutter before moving, especially for an interstate move where costs are often based on the weight of your items. Sell, donate, or discard items you no longer need to make your move easier and potentially cheaper.
Yes, it’s a good idea to have insurance coverage for your move. Check what insurance your moving company provides and consider taking out additional coverage if necessary to protect your belongings.
The first thing you should do is to create a detailed moving plan. This should include your moving budget, timeline, packing strategy, and the process for finding new housing. Research your new location, including local customs, climate, cost of living, and amenities.
Start by gathering packing supplies like boxes, tape, and bubble wrap. Pack non-essential items first and label all boxes clearly. Consider hiring professional packers for valuable or fragile items.
You’ll need to arrange for your utilities to be disconnected at your current residence and connected at your new one. This includes gas, electricity, water, and internet services. Make sure to plan this in advance so you aren’t without essential services when you arrive at your new home.
Vlad Stoikovich is the General Manager of HomeMove, with more than twenty years in the Melbourne removalist industry, you won’t find anyone with more experience or greater integrity.