7 Tips to Cut the Costs of Moving

Update on

Ideas to reduce your costs when you’ve got to go.

Relocating is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life.  It is up there with the birth or death of a family member, marrying, divorcing, and breaking up.  And, like those other stressful moments in life, it is costly.

Some experts estimate that the average cost if just across town can run into the hundreds if not thousands, even if you move yourself and do not have many possessions.  Multiply such by 10 or more when moving state, and more so, country.

If you need to do such with the least possible dent in your wallet, consider the following:

Let’s look at these ideas each in more detail.


1. Reduce your Possession

Reduce your Possession

Let’s face it, as humans, we have a tendency to horde.  There are few among us that have the zen mentality to avoid such.  Some of what we collect have emotional values, they are mementos.  Other items we figure might have a possible future use or value.  But if it comes down to moving something that is not immediately or highly likely to be used in the future, then why pay to take such to your new digs?

With each item, have that conversation with yourself.  Is this truly valuable?  Is it irreplaceable?  Do I need a memento?  Will I honestly ever use this again?

And there is the alternative.  If you rid yourself of possession you could generate some cash.  Consider having a yard sale, eBay, a Facebook used stuff page in your town, or even craigslist.  You can also donate to friends and/or charity.  Or, worst case you can consign stuff to the dump or simply abandon it at the side of the road.

It goes without saying, perishables, especially those already open, should also not join you on your move.


2. Sell off large items to the person taking over your dwelling

Whether you are selling your place, or simply moving out, many times the new occupants will want to reduce their efforts.  When this happens, you can find a ready buyer for some of your possessions, especially if something is built-in, large and unwieldy, or hard to replace. Consider off-loading: lamps, cabinets, planters, and appliances.


3. Find free storage

Find free storage

For what remains, a separate question arises: where will I put it?  Not everything you want to keep has to move. Instead, you can look to store items.  Storage lockers are a solution, though organizing the transport as well as the rental adds to costs.

However, especially if there are family or friends nearby, somebody could offer you space in perhaps an attic or basement.

Beyond that, there might be space at one’s employer or a local community organization with whom you have ties.


4. Source free boxes and packing materials

While having uniform boxes, virgin boxes are pretty, if you are on a budget then this should be one of the casualties.  Every supermarket and big-box shop is swimming in empty boxes, and department stores and other retailers are great sources for packing materials such as polystyrene peanuts.  And one can also crush up polystyrene from pre-cast forms to also serve the purpose of protecting your delicate items.

Especially if you have time to anticipate the move, you can amass newspapers and boxes, where the newspaper pages can be used to wrap especial fragile items.


5. Rent a van, trailer or engage friends with transport

When it comes time to move, getting your items to and from the vehicle is labor-intensive.  For this sort of work, finding friends to help is one avenue.  However, if you do not engage professional movers, you need to know a bit about the do’s and don’t’s and you will likely need to borrow equipment such as a dolly or cart.

Many buildings have wheeled carts. Or perhaps your employer or a friendly, local shop will lend you the equipment.  You can also be creative, perhaps use a rolling chair.

When it comes to a vehicle, you might consider a car rental, one-way trailer, or local van hire for the day.  If it is international, there are companies that will sell space in containers (like all transit llc).


6. Solicit bids from multiple movers to shop around

Solicit bids from multiple movers to shop around

If though, you need to engage a mover then you should be soliciting bids.  This will give you an idea of what the best price is, the terms, time it will take to move, etc.  You should consider detailed proposals and ask if you can opt-out of items (for example packing where you would do it yourself).  Many moving companies, like Excalibur Van Lines, will itemize their proposals).

Be sure to consider insurance, their scheduling, and if heading overseas, whether they will handle the paperwork.

Consider using a local company as opposed to a state, national, or international firm as they have lower overheads, and if not heading internationally, need less experience with the paperwork involved.


7. Look for a subsidy

If you are relocating because of your job, you should consider asking your employer to cover the costs.  And this should not just be of the actual move, but additional compensation for the work you will go through, what you might choose to dispose of, and the like.

Aside from this, in some circumstances, for example, if you are in the military, you can deduct the cost of your move from your taxes.

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