Moving is a stressful project. It’s also quite expensive.
In many cases, costs pile up unnoticed while you’re struggling to juggle a million tasks. Between managing the sale of your current home and folding your entire life away into cardboard boxes, small expenses can accumulate big time.
Luckily, there are a few straightforward tips you can follow to save time and money – no matter if you’re staying in the same area, or moving internationally.
1 – Magpie Packing Materials
To start with, don’t pay for any packing materials that you can get for free.
Costs for boxes, packing peanuts, bubble wrap and the like can quickly add up to painful sums.
Instead, spend a few weeks before your move scrounging for materials. Look for free cardboard boxes in mail rooms, at stores, or around the office. Save newspapers and magazines, blankets, and clothing for wrapping and cushioning fragile items.
If you still have the original packaging from any electronic appliances, like your TV or computer monitors, use it.
If you can’t find enough moving boxes, look for free or cheap ones on Craigslist, Container Exchange, or Box Cycle. Similarly, you can sell your own lightly used boxes online afterwards.
2 – Pick the Right Timeline
Carefully plan when you’re going to move.
If possible, aim for the off-season. Moving frequencies are highest in late spring, summer and early fall, as well as on weekends and the end of the month. Consequently, that’s when the prices of moving companies are highest.
If you can, aim to move in winter, and the middle of the week.
Also be sure to carefully choose your shut-down dates. Cancelling subscriptions in time to avoid paying an extra month can save you hundreds.
3 – Declutter in Advance
To prepare for your move, go full Marie Kondo on your current home. Get rid of anything that you won’t absolutely need.
Not only will this reduce the chaos when you arrive in your new home. It also minimizes the volume of things you have to move – and thus the cost of moving it.
Take a good look at your appliances and any heavy furniture. Consider their age, size, and style. Then decide carefully if you really want to pay to have them moved to your new home.
Bin, sell or donate anything you’re not taking with you. You can either hold a yard sale, sell things online, or donate them and then claim a tax deduction.
4 – Hire a Van and Recruit Help
Instead of hiring moving labour, round up friends and family as volunteers. Many people will be happy to help, especially if you return the favour sometime.
Even those who can’t help with dragging boxes might be able to lend a hand. For instance, they might watch your kids or your pets during the move.
If you don’t have large volumes of things, speciality items, or heavy furniture to move, you might also be able to manage without professional movers. Hire a van, but carefully compare local offers first. Watch out for hidden costs like extra fees for long-distance moves.
5 – Compare Offers from Moving Companies and Negotiate Hard
Finally, spend some time and energy on finding the perfect moving company.
If you’re flexible with your moving date, ring up different companies and ask if they’ve had any cancellations.
Compare offers from at least three different places, and ask for fixed prices rather than estimates. Also be sure to confirm that there aren’t any hidden costs, such as premiums for carrying things up stairs.