Moving is expensive, so my husband and I looked for ways to cut costs during our ten moves in eleven years. My fail-proof strategy was to marry into a big family with hard-working helpers. It worked beautifully . . . until we moved across the country. For those times when bribing family and friends doesn’t work, here are some other ways to save money on moving.
Start preparing for your move as soon as possible
The earlier you start preparing for your move, the cheaper it will be. You won’t move unnecessary items and you’ll get the best deals on moving trucks, moving supplies, and travel fares. In a recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research, 26% of people surveyed said their moving style was to wait until the last minute. Please do not be in the 26%. You’ll save money on moving and you’ll reduce your stress if you start planning now. Here’s a moving checklist to help keep you on track.
Declutter as much as you can, starting with the heaviest items first
The more stuff you have, the more expensive your move will be. Plus, weight matters in a move, so start with your heaviest items first. I recommend starting with books and magazines because those are easy items to declutter and to pack. Then, move onto bulkier items like furniture. If you’re moving with kids, this is how we declutter at our house using the Toy Store method.
Sell large furniture pieces that won’t fit in your new place
Before you move to your new place, ask for a floor plan from your landlord or Realtor. Then, write down the dimensions of your large furniture pieces. Consider space limitations in elevators, doorways, or hallways that may make it difficult to move in those bulkier items. If your current dining room table is too big for your new space, it’s time to sell it. The Wakefield Research survey found that 44% of movers faced a situation where their furniture didn’t fit through doorways. That’s not a hassle you want to deal with on moving day, and you don’t want to spend the time and money moving items that won’t fit.
Save money on moving with free moving supplies
After a move, it feels amazing to get rid of the moving boxes and bubble wrap. There’s that moment when you look around your beautiful home, no longer surrounded by boxes, and you smile and think, “I did it. I’m awesome.”
Don’t worry, you’ll be there soon.
In the meantime, take advantage of that fresh-start feeling movers get and go pick up their boxes and moving supplies. Type in “moving boxes” or “moving supplies” on craiglist, neighborhood Facebook groups, or on NextDoor. Then, collect your free supplies. Start early (see tip #1) and you’ll save a ton of money on boxes.
Recycle newspaper instead of purchasing packing paper
Moving companies and some individuals may disagree with me on this one. In a world where money is no object, yes, use packing paper and bubble wrap. In our world, though, Dan and I used newspaper to pack our fragile items. Some argue that newspaper leaves a black residue on glassware or plates. However, we’ve used our local newspaper for years and it hasn’t been an issue. To avoid smudging, try to find free packing paper online (see prior tip). Otherwise, newspaper works great and it’s free.
Invest in clear, plastic storage containers
The average American moves 11.7 times in her lifetime. So, chances are, you’ll be moving again. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.) Therefore, spend a little extra money now to save money on moving in the long run.
When we moved I purchased clear, plastic storage containers for our kids to pack their toys. First, this allowed for easy access if the kids needed something during the moving process. Second, the containers doubled as storage when we arrived in our new home. Finally, when we moved again, we could reuse the plastic container instead of buying another box.
Negotiate moving quotes
Everything is negotiable. Whether you are using professional movers or renting a truck for a DIY move, get multiple estimates. With estimates in hand, negotiate to get the best price. You don’t need to go with the company that offers the cheapest estimate, but you can use the cheapest estimate to negotiate a lower price.
Schedule your move during off-peak times to save money on moving
The busy season for moving is during the summer and on weekends (especially holiday weekends). If you are able to book your movers or moving truck during less busy times, you can get better rates. Also, you have more bargaining power (see previous tip).
Splurge on more expensive packing tape
There is nothing more frustrating than cheap packing tape. Just trust me on this one. Either you will suffer and grit your teeth as you use the cheap packing tape you bought or you’ll throw it out and realize the investment in solid packing tape is worth it. Save yourself money and headaches by starting with quality packing tape from day one.
How did you save money on moving? I’d love to hear your tips!