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How to Keep Your Moving Costs Low

Posted on Friday, February 10, 2017


Do some of your own moving work to save on your move.


Buying a house can be expensive, but it's the cost of the move that often surprises homeowners. You may be juggling multiple changes in your life such as the addition of a new family member or a new job. How can you reduce your moving expenses amidst the chaos of finding a new home?

1. Get Creative With Your Packing

You can buy boxes from the store, but why would you? Liquor stores and fruit and vegetable stores have plenty of free boxes. Wrap items in clothes, rags, or towels instead of buying bubble wrap. If you can, keep items in the containers they come in, such as a chest of drawers. Saran wrap and Ziploc bags are wonderful for protecting valuables and storing smaller items.

2. Do It Yourself

Moving can be a pain, and it's important to ensure that it's not a pain in the back. When you're working on your own move, decide what tasks you can do yourself and which ones you should outsource to someone else. Moving has a number of steps, and if you decide to do one or more of them yourself, your costs will decrease. You can also throw a packing party and invite your friends along to assist. Just make sure that they're covered by household insurance in case they trip and fall on the stairs.

What can you do yourself?
  • Sort your household goods

  • Donate, store, or sell household goods

  • Pack unbreakable items

  • Pack breakables

  • Pack the truck

  • Drive the truck

  • Unload the truck

  • Place everything in its new home


Make sure that you insure your belongings and label your boxes correctly.


3. Simplify Your Stuff

What do you really need to take with you to your new home? If you're making a longer move, simplifying is especially important. Choose what items are essential to your life, and sell or give away the rest. Movers often charge by the pound, so if you have a collection of cast iron frying pans, it may be time to reduce your stash.

If you have enough notice of a move, you can:
  • Give away clothes to charity and keep those pieces that you truly love.

  • Digitize photos.

  • Give family members family heirlooms that you no longer use or want.

  • Give old furniture to friends or to charity, or post it on Craigslist.

Have a garage sale or sell items online, and you may even be able to recoup the costs of your move.

4. Stay Organized

It's easy to start throwing everything into boxes in the last few moments of your move. Start early and label everything. That will prevent you from spending hours of your time searching for a precious object that's missing. You'll also save on take out costs when you can get your kitchen running as soon as possible, and you won't need to buy those missing items again because you'll know exactly where they are. If you're moving a long way away, you can also take advantage of having some extra time to ship some of your items instead of adding them to the moving truck: price out this option before you decide.

5. Spend Money to Save Money

Sometimes it's worthwhile to spend some money to save a lot more.
  • Make sure that you have insurance for your items you're moving and for the friends who help you move. That way, if an important item gets broken or one of your friends slips and falls, you'll be covered.

  • If you don't have a lot of experience packing and you don't have a small group of friends who can help, it can be less expensive to hire movers than to rent a truck weekend after weekend or replace an important item that gets broken in the move. Choose your moving strategy wisely.

  • Save your receipts when you do spend money on your move. If you're making a move for work, some of those expenses could be tax deductible.

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