When you finally make the decision to move, the process can seem overwhelming. Packing up an entire household with furniture, clothes, toys and everything that goes with it is daunting, but turning the job over to the professionals is painfully expensive. There are some relatively simple ways to cut costs and still get the job done right, so let me list them out below.
Know where you are going
This sounds simple, right? Yet, not many people take the time to measure out your new floor plan and make sure they know exactly where everything is going. The sofa that fit in this home may not fit in the next, so why move it? Get your floor plan, figure out what fits and what doesn't, and sell, give away or donate anything you won't need in the new house.
Once you know where everything is going, put a big numbered sign in each room in the new house. Label all your boxes and furniture with the same number and you won't have to haul things around the house when the movers leave.
Get Rid of It
I admit I'm a bad wife. Before my family moved cross-country, I started a surreptitious plan to get rid of my pack-rat husband's collection of “we might need it someday” junk. We got rid of anything we hadn't touched for more than a year and donated or sold about a third of our stuff. The cash paid for moving the big items we didn't want to handle.
Books, toys, exercise equipment, planters and clothes all add weight very quickly. If you are paying movers, the less you move, the cheaper it is. Even if you pack yourself and just pay for the shipping, every box adds to your cost.
There are things you need to get rid of because moving them costs more than buying new. Toiletries, swing sets, pianos, rugs, pantry staples and plants are expensive to move and are just as available in your new home. If you are moving locally they may be worth moving, but with a long distance move everything should be considered with an eye to replacement.
The Nitty Gritty
Many moving companies will sell you used boxes for a lot less than new ones, so call around first. Don't use liquor store boxes and grocery store boxes if you can avoid them. They come in odd sizes that don't pack well into a truck. Purchase some newssheets from the moving company since regular newspaper is dirty, and some bubble wrap from your local office supply warehouse for fragile items.
Use your linens and towels to wrap fragile items, that way you don't have to pack them on their own, and you provide additional protection to special things. Pack heavy items like books in small boxes and light items in larger ones. Label every box.
Take out the trash!
Friends of mine moved from New Jersey to California and took 3 weeks to travel during the move. Imagine their surprise when they started opening boxes and found month old trash inside. The moving company was told to move everything and they did.
If you are renting a truck make sure you reserve it for enough time to pack up, move and unpack. Shop around for deals on one-way fees and mileage, but always check out the company with the Better Business Bureau before you sign a contract.
If you are hiring movers, packing on your own saves a lot of money. Only work with reliable companies and insist upon a weigh in before and after they load your stuff. That way you only pay for what you put on, not an estimate.
Hit the Road
Nothing is left to do once everything is packed up but hit the road. Make sure you arrive first and are there to let the movers in. In a long distance move they will just leave after a certain amount of time and store your stuff, as yours is not the only house packed on that truck and they have a schedule to keep. You don't want the extra fees anyway. Make sure you have an old phone book with you in case you need those numbers, and drive safely.
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