5 Important Tips When Moving to San Diego

Moving to a new city is an exciting adventure. New food to try, new sites to see, and new people to meet. But a big move also often comes with a long to-do list of things to wrap up in your old city and things to set up in your new one.

In San Diego, there are several online resources to make this transition easier for new residents. Here’s a quick reference guide to keep you on task and organized for your move to San Diego. 

Important San Diego Moving Tips

Set-up Gas and Electricity

Setting up utilities ahead of your move date is always a smart idea. This prevents you from having an interruption in service once you arrive at your new residence.

In San Diego, you can contact San Diego Gas and Electric (SDGE) ahead of your move and let them know which date you’ll be taking over the utility payments. This will make sure that service continues from one residence to another without an interruption to service or having an overlap on payments.

When you contact SDGE, be sure to inquire about their service option plans. San Diego residents are able to pick from various plan structures that may be able to help save on your gas and electricity costs. 

Trash and Recycling Services

When you move to San Diego, it will be important to sign up for waste management services, including both trash and recycling. Trash collection has been offered by the City of San Diego for over 100 years. It is handled by the City’s Environmental Services department.

As of 1986, the City of San Diego has provided pick up of residential refuse without charging a special fee, which means this is an expense you don’t have to factor into your regular living costs. (Apartment and condo buildings and gated communities may be subject to additional fees depending on the City’s parameters for that area.) 

Setting Up Waste Services

If you are moving to a residence that does not already have service from the previous tenants or owners, you may submit a new service request on the City’s website. You will need to have your property’s Assessor Parcel Number (APN) handy to sign up for collection. (What is an APN?)

If your new home already has service set up, the City will continue to pick up on your area’s regular schedule. In general, collection takes place one day per week per area, Monday through Friday from 6 AM to 5:30 PM. Click here to find your home’s scheduled pickup.  

Missing Waste Bins

Often incoming San Diego residents will find that their new home already has waste management services set up, but that the property is missing recycling and/or trash bins or they may require additional bins to meet their refuse and recycling needs.

Both new recycling and trash bins can easily be requested through the City. Trash bins cost $70 per bin (not including delivery) and blue recycling bins are free (up to 2 bins). Additionally, you may request to have new bins delivered to your property for $25/bin or pick them up at the local Miramar center.

For additional information about waste management costs, pickup, and sign up, click here


Download the City of San Diego’s “Get It Done” App 

The City of San Diego offers residences a very handy resource called the “Get It Done” app. The app is a one-stop-shop for local updates on important city news, reporting illegal dumping, potholes, and street light issues, checking parking ticket statuses, alerting the city to storm drain concerns, and so much more

The app is free to download on both iPhone and Android. Residents often find this app to be the fastest way to contact the City and receive timely responses and updates. 


Update Address with the DMV

Updating your new address with the DMV is a commonly forgotten, but important, to-do task during big moves. In general, DMV mail is not forwarded. This means not updating your new address with the DMV can result in missing important mail, which sometimes ends in late fees for missed deadlines. Additionally, there may be potential fines if you are pulled over with a license showing an address other than your current one. 

When you move to your new home in San Diego, you can easily update your address (referred to as submitting a Change of Address aka COA) on California’s DMV website.  The update usually takes 24-72 hours to be reflected and the DMV recommends checking back regularly to make sure your request has been processed. 

If you prefer to make the update in person, you can visit your local DMV or AAA (membership required). 


Set Up a USPS Change of Address and Mail Forwarding

Whether you’re moving to San Diego temporarily or permanently, it’s important to tell the United States Postal Service (USPS) your new mailing address to set up mail forwarding. Setting up a formal change of address with the USPS is the fastest and easiest way to ensure that you never miss an important piece of mail.

Although mail forwarding may begin as quickly as 3 business days of your submitted request, the USPS recommends allowing up to 2 weeks for the request to be processed and forwarded mail service to begin. 

The change of address and mail forwarding services are offered by USPS free of charge. However, only certain types of mail are forwarded for free. 

What items will you receive free of charge? 

  • First-Class mail and periodicals (newsletters and magazines)
  • Premium shipping services such as Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and First-Class Packages

What items will not be forwarded or forwarded for a fee? 

  • Media Mail and USPS Retail Ground are forwarded but there may be a cost for forwarding to your temporary address (if applicable). 
  • USPS Marketing Mail is not forwarded

Please be advised that setting up a change of address and mail forwarding, does not automatically update your address with government agencies, banks, credit cards, etc. It is important to manually update your address with those services directly.


Whether you are currently in the process of moving or planning a relocation, San Diego is a great city to settle in. Following the quick tips above will help streamline the moving experience.

For questions about moving to San Diego or more resources on finding the best areas to buy and rent in, contact us directly.  

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