Relocation Mistakes During This Crazy Era

First, I had never relocated across a country previously. I had never hired a shipping cube, took a train 3,000 miles, or shipped belongings to myself via US mail, so I will refrain from beating myself up. However, I hope that you won’t make the same mistakes that I did.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Given the current housing market (for renters and buyers), it might take longer than you think to land in a permanent home. Or if you buy a fixer-upper home, the contractors always take longer than you originally agreed upon. Therefore, ship items to yourself than you will need immediately.

I say this because you might not be able to have your shipping container or cube delivered to a permanent address as soon as you would like. Sometimes the container or cube takes longer to arrive when it is traveling across the country. And even if it does arrive at the facility on time, you might not have a permanent residence to deliver the container.

Meanwhile, the items that you need for your daily life are in the container/cube. So, now, you’re forced to buy duplicates of cooking utensils, toilet paper, supplements, towels, flashlights, batteries, cleaning products, laundry detergent, etc…

Since media mail is less expensive to send, I sent books and CDs to myself. Sadly, I had to put those boxes in a storage unit which is another expense. It would have been better to send change-of-season clothing, shoes, cooking utensils, and other daily items. As it is, I have boxes of books I don’t have anywhere to store (because I gave up the storage unit when it’s free 30 days ended). And I had to buy a can opener and other items which are duplicates for me.

I would have been better off storing my books in the shipping container and I would have saved money. At the time, I thought I had too many boxes to fit in the cube. It turned out I only filled half of the cube.

The next tip I’ll give you is to get on waiting lists for property managers one to two months before relocating. Stay away from Craigslist unless you are good at sniffing out scams. Also, everyone looks on Craigslist so if you’re applying for an apartment or house listed on that website, you’re going to compete with other prospective tenants who are showing up to the open houses and applying for those rentals in person.

And it’s easier to get scammed if you aren’t meeting the landlord in person and seeing the rental for yourself. If you have a friend or family member in that area you can ask them to go to the open houses and meet the landlords on your behalf. If you don’t, beware. Anyone can steal a photo of a rental online and then ask you to fill out their application (when they don’t own or manage that property).

Hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes I made. These mistakes costs me, especially sending books and CDs media mail. As it turned out, I was able to live with the clothing I had in my carryon bags for a month. Although I did get tired of wearing the same shoes everyday.

I would have saved money if I had booked my train tickets through Amtrak Reservations and not Amtrak Vacations and booked it two months in advance. I would have saved money if I put 90% of my belongings in the shipping cube instead of mailing books and CDs to myself. And I would have saved money if I had networked with people who allow guests in their homes for a short period. Having said that, everyone, even veterans of relocation make mistakes. Hindsight or retrospect won’t save you.

If you enjoy reading my articles please support this blog. Thank you.