NJM Blog

Checklist for Moving to Pennsylvania or New Jersey

Checklist for Moving to Pennsylvania or New Jersey

Moving from one residence to another is stressful. You’ve already spent months researching mortgage brokers and neighborhoods; you’re in the process of withdrawing your kids from school and cancelling your subscriptions; and you’ve never realized how much stuff you owned until you had to pack it all up and ship it off. As if you didn’t have enough to worry about, now you need to consider the differences between your old home and your new one.

Moving between states might take a lot of logistics and paperwork, but NJM is here to help.

Before your move

Do your research on moving companies. Elicit quotes from at least three moving companies before you settle on one. It’ll help you save money and know that your items will be secure. If you’re moving far and you’re not comfortable putting miles on your car, then arrange for transportation services to ship your car to your new address. To save money on movers, consider renting a moving truck and doing the loading and unloading yourself.

Call your credit card company, subscription providers, insurance company, and any other billing or subscription agencies to change your address in their systems. Make sure they know when the new address comes into effect. Give them a buffer period so that your old address won’t still receive your mail after you’ve left it for good. Contact USPS to schedule your change of address. It’ll cost you $1, but it’ll help make sure any straggling communications find their way to you at your new address.

You’ll also need to contact your utilities providers to arrange the cancellation or transfer of services. Think along the lines of electricity, gas, water, cable, phone, and internet.

Plan your moving date for the right time of year. You can’t predict whether it’ll rain on your moving day or not, but you can avoid seasonal hazards. For example, if you’re moving to the New Jersey coast during the summer, consider the heat and humidity, as well as beachgoer traffic, that might impede your work on moving day. Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey can experience extreme weather, especially in the winter. Reduce the risk of a moving-day accident by scheduling your move-in day for a balmier season. If you have to move in the middle of winter, refresh on winter driving tips and consider creating a winter driving kit to head off any potential problems.

Immediately before your move, you should check parking restrictions in your new town. In Pennsylvania, some cities might require you to get a moving permit before the moving company can do their job. In New Jersey, you won’t need a moving permit, but you will need to check into parking restrictions around your building, so that you won’t end up with a parking ticket.


Several months before your move, start gathering boxes and packing materials in preparation. Try to keep your boxes all the same size; it’ll make packing the moving truck much easier. If you’re trying to keep your move cheap, keep an eye out for discarded boxes at local stores. Ask your neighbors or coworkers for leftover boxes. Aim for recyclable boxes. If you’re planning on purchasing plastic bins or boxes, choose them with an eye for how you can reuse them. Maybe you’ll pack all of your blankets in one container, which you can just slide into the closet at your new place until they’re needed. The same applies for seasonal clothing like sweaters and winter coats.

Start packing early. While you pack, create a checklist of every item that you’re putting away, and where you’re putting it. Label your boxes with numbers or another name that’s easily recognizable. Connect the labels to the parts of the house where the contents belong. If you create this list digitally, you’ll be able to search for an item and easily locate its box number and location. This could help after you move, if it takes a while to unpack, but you need that popcorn maker right now. It’ll also help to have the list if you need to move again or if your insurance company asks for in inventory of your insurable possessions.

To make unpacking easier, consider packing the clothes on their hangers. This won’t save much space, but it’ll speed up the move-in process. To save more space, carefully roll your clothing and line each item up in rows in the boxes.

The day of your move

Know what you’re going to do with the kids and pets on the day of your move. Are the kids old enough to help, or would they be safer spending the day with a friend? Will your pets react well to the movers’ new faces, to the new house, or to the long drive? Think about what will make the day the most efficient and make arrangements early.

Don’t pack your money away on the day of your move. If you plan on taking the Pennsylvania Turnpike, New Jersey Turnpike, New Jersey Parkway, or any of the bridges going in and out of the states, you’ll be hitting tolls. You might even consider purchasing an EZPass before the day of your move so you don’t have to worry about it.

Remember that in New Jersey, it’s illegal to pump your own gas. If you’re driving across the state, it’s likely you’ll need to stop for gas at some point. Save your energy for unpacking and let the attendants do their job. It might also help to look into New Jersey driving norms; if you don’t understand how a jughandle works, you could find yourself lost and frustrated while navigating to your new house.

After your move

If you’re staying with the same employer, you’ll have to contact them about updating your tax information. You’ll also have to do other administrative tasks to finalize your move, like purchasing a new pet license and registering to vote. The United States government provides in-depth information on how to register to vote in each state.

In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you’ll need to obtain a state-issued driver’s license or Photo Identification (ID) card within 60 days of establishing residency. You can do this by visiting a local branch of the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. In Pennsylvania, you’ll want to visit a PennDOT Driver's License Center. In New Jersey, you’ll need to visit the Motor Vehicle Commission. In order to get your new license, you’ll need to surrender your out-of-state driver’s license and provide documentation. You can find a list of the states’ documentation requirements on their respective websites.

You should also title and register your vehicle in your new state. Pennsylvania requires you to register your car within 20 days of establishing residency; New Jersey requires it within 60 days. In order to complete your registration, you’ll need a state-issued ID, a valid title, proof of insurance, and other documents, applications, and fees which depend on your situation. You might have to pay an excise tax on your car if you haven’t paid sales tax on it yet. To determine how much you’ll need to pay for car insurance in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, request a quote.

Even before you finish unpacking, you should take a moment to breathe and appreciate your new place. Explore everything your new state has to offer! New Jersey has a robust public transportation system that’ll bring you almost anywhere in the state. Pennsylvania doesn’t tax for amusements parks and recreational centers, of which they have plenty. Consider taking a chocolate tour or going diner hopping. Soon enough, you’ll see your new house as “home.”