Here's What It Takes to Move Across the Country—and What to Buy First

As someone who never imagined moving out of my lifelong hometown, Los Angeles, it was quite a shock when about two years ago, I found myself preparing to do just that. The things we do for love, right?

Nonetheless, a move across the country (to New York, ICYWW) would prove to be as exciting as it was nerve-racking, and it also came with its fair share of lessons and learnings. And that’s good for you, actually, because today I’ll be sharing some of them, including the game-changing buys that helped me along the way.

From little things like bedside trinkets and sneakers to bigger purchases (both physically and financially), there are certain items that’ll make your new residence and new city feel more and more like home with every day. Keep on reading to see and shop my picks…

1. The Big Investment

One of the many things I learned upon moving into an NYC apartment is that having a washer and dryer in your unit is quite the rarity. Luckily I’ve been blessed in that department, although the credit really goes to my husband, who renovated the space before we even met. That means I can do anything from washing my workout clothes to reshrinking my jeans (one of my most-used life hacks). It’s probably why I use the LG SideKick attachment so much; it allows you to wash smaller loads with less water in less time. Being able to take care of small tasks like this = never having to lug a heavy load to a laundromat, making adjusting to life on the East Coast that much easier.

2. The Walking Buddies

Among the first fashion items I started stocking up on once I arrived in NYC? Comfortable footwear. Luckily sneakers have been in the spotlight for some time, so I’ve been able to wear them almost everywhere I go. It’s so important to wear shoes you can walk around in when you’re exploring a new place; who wants to let foot pain hold them back from trying a new restaurant or visiting a landmark? I’ve also added a number of sportier pairs to my workout wardrobe: I’ve been making an effort to get more into a routine since moving, and having items I’m excited about wearing should definitely help inspire more frequent trips to the gym.

3. The Perfect Topper

Now that I own a polished black blazer, I truly wonder how I got along for so many years without it. Sure, I’d owned a few blazers in my day, but I’d never found The One, and thus they never lasted in my rotation for long. Now I make sure my new favorite staple is always dry-cleaned; that way any time I have a last-minute event come up, I can throw it on and feel ready to go. This might seem silly, but it’s been especially helpful since moving… After all, in NYC, the last thing you want to do is have to run home from work to change when you have somewhere to be in the opposite direction.

4. The Keepsake Keeper

For me, jewelry isn’t just an accessory you throw on to enhance an outfit; it’s highly sentimental. By stacking rings and bracelets, layering necklaces, and always keeping one pair of earrings on, I wear up to 15 pieces at a time, and every item in my arsenal is special to me. For that reason, I like to keep anything I’m not wearing at the moment in a jewelry box on my bedside so that it’s close to me. It also happens to add a chic decorative touch to my bedroom.

5. The Carry-All

After years of randomly throwing things into one of many promotional tote bags crammed in the back my closet, I finally invested in a leather style that’s work-appropriate, polished, and classic. The investment has made such a difference in my everyday style, and it’s also made lugging my laptop and workout clothes so much more comfortable. Having grown-up versions of your go-to accessories really does make a difference, and it can make commuting, exploring, and accepting last-minute opportunities that much easier.

6. The Travel Partner

One unexpected perk that comes with moving across the country? Regular trips back home to visit friends and family, in addition to getting to explore a new part of the country. Having sleek, functional luggage not only makes packing easier, but it also adds some polish to your airport—or road-trip—look. (I love my Arlo Skye carry-on for that very reason.) The constant travel has also helped me become a lighter, more efficient packer. My tips? Avoid bringing extra clothes and shoes, always keep a cosmetics bag packed with toiletries ready to go, and definitely get on board with packing cubes.

7. The Lounge Look

When it actually came time to pack my things, I figured a wardrobe cleanse was in order; after all, I’d be transitioning into a smaller space (and a smaller closet). It was time to let go of old items I really didn’t need and make room for new ones. For that reason, in lieu of lugging my (sizeable) collection of old pajama tees across the country, I decided to leave them behind and invest in a few new luxe pajama sets. Not only do they take up less space than a giant stack of tees, but they’ve also helped me feel a lot more comfortable in my new place.