5 Tips to Make Moving Easy and Cheap


Congratulations! You worked hard, had great numbers, and you put yourself in position for a great promotion. Your company noticed and offered you a great situation with increased pay and more benefits down the road. The only problem is that you have to move from your comfortable beach-side apartment in San Diego to a frigid Chicago apartment in a booming metropolis where rent prices are on the rise.

While you make decent money now and should do well in the future, you still want to spend as little as possible on this major move, and you want to do it efficiently with as little hassle as possible. Can you have the best of all moving worlds? You can with a little advance planning.  Here’s where to begin:

#1 Get Rid of It

moving tips

The first thing to do is look at all of your stuff. We all have stuff, and it’s many times stuff we don’t need. 10 scraggly Ethernet cords, old smartphones, short HDMI cables, iffy phone charging cords, and a variety of branded charging cubes you picked up at trade shows “that you can use in your car or at work” are all just some examples of the smaller techy junk you should dispose of.

Now let’s move on to the larger things like that 42” TV with a little crack on the edge of the screen, or that old monitor that you think you might need in case your dog knocks your monitor to the floor again like he did last Thanksgiving. That unmatched set of 12.5 and 15-pound dumbbells might be useful if you want two different sized arms, but you get the idea—get rid of unneeded stuff.

#2 What to do With It

garage sale, yard sale, donate, free

You have three options for stuff removal. Sell it, throw it away or donate it. A yard or garage sale is a good place to start. Since you absolutely need to rid yourself of as much clutter as possible, price things appropriately. If you really have some extra time, go to a few similar sales before you do yours and note prices charged. You’ll then have a good idea of what you can charge.

After the sale, you will inevitably have some stuff leftover. Anything that is “good,” like usable clothing or working electronics could be donated. Homeless shelters have a great need for simple items, and believe it or not, socks are their most requested clothing item. Schools might like your electronics—just don’t try and donate your parent’s Commodore 64. (You may have to look that one up.)

Now you are left with un-salable and un-donatable stuff. If you did your homework, you’ll know where the unmonitored neighborhood dumpsters are, and you’ll make a stealth trip at 2:00 a.m. to unload your unwanted belongings. If not, you’ll have to call your municipality to find out where the city dump is, or you will need to contact a hauler—this is a Craigslist thing—and have them load up your stuff and take it away.

#3 Organize and Pack – Systematically!

Packing is key. The quick move where everything is dumped into boxes at the last moment is to be avoided at all costs. As soon as you know you have to go, start with one room at a time and carefully box items that you are taking. Then label the boxes explicitly. When you have finished one room, move to the next. Don’t do this randomly as that will increase stress and moving anxiety. Your goal will be to sleep on the floor the night before the move surrounded by neat stacks of all of your stuff ready to be loaded in the morning.

#4 How Is It Going to Get There?

Round one has been completed and now you have to figure out how the things you are moving are going to get to your new apartment. Traditional van line-type movers are an option, but historically people have had problems with some of these companies. National moving van companies have been known to hold belongings hostage for more dollars.

One popular method is moving cubes. A company drops a cube onto your driveway. You fill it up, and then they pick it up and drop it off at your new location. While you can load, and unload, these cubes by yourself, a better idea may be to hire helpers to do it. Some cube companies provide names and contact information, and you can also look on Craigslist.

A variation of the cube move is to use a trucking service. These aren’t traditional movers because all these companies do is drop off a semi-trailer at your residence. You will have pre-authorized payment for a portion or all of the trailer space, and you may have to put up a partition after you have loaded your things. If you use more space than originally thought, you’ll have to pay, but all of this will have been agreed to beforehand. Then, this works the same as the cube—the trailer is picked up and then dropped off at your new location.

#5 Pack It Properly

hire a moving company, hiring moving companies

Items shift during moves, and if not loaded and packed correctly, you may find that your nice four-chair dining room set in pieces when you start to unpack. Therefore, make sure anyone that helps you knows what they are doing, and talk to the trucking and/or cube company about available insurance to cover any moving losses.

Moving is a pain, and we feel for you. That said, by following our tips and ideas above, you can make the experience a lot less stressful. Organization, planning and careful vendor selection will help keep costs down also. Keep those costs down and you might work your way toward overcoming a previous mortgage rejection or fixing your credit score. You never know!

Information Courtesy of Money Pit – Sam Radbil

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