I’ve moved three times since 2016; the biggest one was from New York to Colorado in 2018. Moving is not my favorite way to spend my time, although my now-husband and I made our cross-country move as fun as we could by taking an epic road trip and passing through 11 U.S. states and one Canadian province over the span of three weeks. We got to see friends and family in Ohio, Chicago, and Minneapolis; and amazing places like Niagara Falls, the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, and Badlands National Park in South Dakota.
I have a list of things to do to help me settle in every time I move, including getting a new library card (a high priority for me, always), driver’s license, and making sure all my mail gets to me. Everything on this list starts with updating my address; to get a library card you need to show proof of a local address, and to get that proof you need to make sure your address is accurate with the post office and Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), at the very least. I also had to go through the process of updating my address when I was forced to get a P.O. Box for about a year (it’s a long story but let’s just say my mail was not safe at an apartment I once lived at).
Whether you have moved or have just changed your mailing address, the first step to update your address is to get it on file with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). You can do this online for a $1.10 fee, or go to your local post office and ask for a Mover’s Guide packet. It’s faster to do it online, but the Mover’s Guide is free and it comes with some coupons, so if you are able to go to the post office, I would recommend that option. At some post offices, you can find the Mover’s Guide packet on your own, but at others, like my local one, you’ll have to ask for it at the counter – apparently people were abusing them and changing the addresses of random people without their permission!
Some things, like newsletters, magazines, and certain packages will be forwarded to your new address for free, but not all of your mail will be automatically forwarded to you, and the free forwarding service will end eventually, so it’s important to make sure your address is updated with any person or company that sends you mail, like your family, friends, health insurance, workplace, and subscriptions you get in the mail (magazines, book clubs, newspapers, coffee of the month club or any other fun subscription services you’re part of, etc.). This is a tedious process and is something I also had to go through when I recently changed my name after getting married (an even less fun process, believe it or not), but to me, it’s worth it to make sure I get all my letters, cards, and packages, and even my junk mail that ends up going straight into the recycling bin.