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<p>I moved from Los Angeles to New York City and my head was swimming with endless to-do lists. While I didn’t realize how crucial changing my address was at that time, I hope this post will be helpful in reiterating how vital it is to change your address in a timely manner.</p>

How Not Updating My Address On Time Caused A Major Headache

I personally understand how hectic moving to a new city can be – a new job, new apartment and a million of tasks in between. I moved from Los Angeles to New York City and my head was swimming with to-do lists. While I didn’t realize how crucial changing my address was at that time, I hope this post will be helpful in reiterating how vital it is to change your address in a timely manner.

New Address, No Big Deal

When I first moved into my extremely cozy (read: closet-sized) apartment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I spent the first couple of weeks unpacking, redecorating and assimilating to my new surroundings. Then came the task of exploring the neighborhood for a grocery store, laundry mat and post office so that my transition would go as smoothly as possible. The funny thing is that locating the nearest post office still didn’t trigger the urgency to update my mailing address. I continued to put it off as a task that would eventually get done but wasn’t vital to my move overall. 

When Jury Duty Calls

It had been a few weeks since I moved when I received a call from my old roommate advising that I received a jury duty notice in the mail at my old apartment. My first inclination was that it was ironic timing but no big deal – I would call them, explain that I had moved and that would be the end of it. I wish it had been that simple. When I called the courts to notify them that I will not be serving, the representative requested me to mail documented proof of my move via an official change of address form from USPS. When I mentioned to her that I had not got around to changing my address yet, she was rather surprised. “Your date to serve is coming up and you would need to provide your proof in less than two weeks or fly to Los Angeles to serve.” When I told her that I would make the change right away, she explained that the entire process would take at least 3-4 weeks. I was very taken-back, why does something as simple as changing your address take that long? “You’re not the only one in the country that’s changing their address, ma’am” she added wryly. Then she asked me why I would move to another city and not change my address in advance. I was starting to ask myself the same thing.

It’s Super Easy So Don’t Wait

I would like to tell you that my change of address mishap was an easy fix but I’d be lying. I had to contact USPS and pay extra fees to expedite my official change of address notification and then call the courts to beg them for an extension. Fortunately, I was ultimately able to complete both tasks in time so that I didn’t have to fly to Los Angeles to serve or even worse, have a warrant out for my arrest for being a no-show. However, it took many hours of paperwork, phone calls and time away from settling into my new city for this to be accomplished. In an effort to help you avoid a similar struggle, here is an easy checklist on when and how to change your address for an upcoming move. 

Make the change before you move

USPS allows address changes up to 90 days before you move and allows you to select a future date for when it will take effect.

Contact your government and financial agencies separately 

In addition to changing your address with USPS, make sure to contact the companies that frequently sends you mail such as your bank and other government agencies.

Don’t waste your money on a third-party service

It’s extremely affordable and easy to complete on the USPS website, so utilize it.

Check out good deals for cable and internet in your new neighborhood

You don’t want to miss out on your favorite shows when you're in need of a break from unpacking.

As you see, moving doesn’t have to be a huge hassle or a nightmare. Being proactive about every task will save you major headaches in the long-run or from getting in trouble with your local courthouse for missing jury duty, like I did.