Changing Addresses

With the chores of packing, organizing, and having a moving company ship your possessions to a new home, some of the finer details can easily get forgotten—or remembered too late.

Changing the address might seem like one of the last duties on the moving list, but changes take some time to go into effect. If possible, filing your new address early may be wiser than latter, especially if you will no longer have access to your previous home.

When preparing to change your address, where should you start?

Double-check your new address

This might seem obvious, but if even one digit is wrong in your future zip code, your mail can take much longer to get to you—or possibly returned to sender altogether. This can be quite the headache when it comes to time-sensitive materials such as bills.

Make a checklist of where your address needs to be changed

All of your utilities and services, such as electricity, gas, trash, cell and home phone, insurance, banks, and even your attorneys or doctors. Compile your list and check off each change as you make them.

Be sure to prepare your utilities before you move in as well, especially if you’re renting, because you may need to provide proof via a rental agreement or a notary.

Also, don’t forget to make sure that everyone in your house who receives mail also changes their addresses. They might need their own separate checklists as well.

Change your forwarding address with the USPS

You can do this online, by phone, or by a form located both on the USPS website and at your local post office. If you decide to do it by form, make sure to do so at least two weeks in advance before the movers arrive to give time for processing.

Mail forwarding varies for different types of mail. All of your standard first-class and priority mail will be forwarded to your new address for 12 months as long as the mail does not list a “do not forward” endorsement. During the following five months, mail sent to your old address will be returned to sender with your new address. After those final five months, all mail sent to your old address will simply be returned to sender.
Don’t forget government agencies.

Depending on whether or not you’re moving to a new city, state, or country, make sure to look up your new local department of transportation for a new driver’s license and voter registration, possibly even a new license plate altogether. Certain states will have laws about how soon changing your vehicle’s registration must take, and you may also have to look into getting your car inspected first.

Other government agencies to keep in mind are the IRS if you’re expecting your tax return, the Social Security Administration if you’re currently receiving benefits, Veteran Affairs, Pension Benefits, so on and so forth.
Remember that changing your address in advance can prevent a series of headaches if you find yourself hustling to do it later. If you’re currently renting and might possibly have tenants move in soon after you leave to your new home, also keep in mind that these new tenants will have access to any mail that isn’t forwarded to your new address. Be safe with your personal information!