I Dare You to Move

I just finished moving for the fifth time in five years. Not only is moving not fun, it’s expensive!

I have moved for various reasons over this time frame, divorce, a brief second marriage and a crazy landlord. People move for many other reasons, a change in jobs, to be closer to family, the list goes on and on.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 17 percent of the U.S. population moves each year. The reality is moving is just part of life’s adventures and whether you do it once in your life or twenty times there are ways you can save on your move.

Since this was my fifth recent move I have some experience under my belt and put it to good use this time around.

Here are just a few ways you can prepare for those “miscellaneous” expenses that crop up and maybe even make some money.

Downsize your life

We all accumulate “stuff” over the years and parting with some of it will definitely make your move easier. This time around I took a collective look at my “stuff” and realized that there was too much of it, a lot of it was not being used, and hey I could make some money by selling some of it.

  • Craigslist. My boyfriend has dubbed me the “Craigslist Killer” not because I am dangerous or a stalker but because I “killed it” with my Craigslist sales. Prior to the move I gathered all of the items I thought might sell, set up a staging area in my basement, photographed everything and listed the items for sale. Total haul: $2675.00!!
  • Donate. There was some stuff that didn’t sell (mostly clothing) that I no longer need or wanted. I gathered it all up and dropped it off at my local Salvation Army. Not only does it feel good knowing that I didn’t just throw it away, I was given a receipt to write the donation off on my taxes.
  • Trash. Some of the “stuff” did not sell and well I didn’t feel it was donate-able either. I had five large lawn and leaf bags full of trash (can you say hoarder?) sitting on my curb after the move.

Packing Uggh…

This go around I was lucky enough to have a friend that owns a box company and boyfriend that owns a box truck for his business! Most people will not be this lucky but there are a few ways you can score free or inexpensive moving supplies.

  • Your first stop should be your local grocery or liquor stores, which usually have piles of boxes out back.
  • You can also put the word out on any social networking sites you belong to. A simple status update on Facebook (“Moving and need boxes! I can pick them up”).
  • Craigslist.org is another fantastic resource for moving materials. You can find bubble wrap and boxes for free or very cheap.

Another way to lower costs on packing materials is to multitask with what you already have. Instead of devoting an entire box to towels, linens, blankets, etc., use them to wrap your fragile items instead.

Feeding the Help

This move was courtesy of family and friends and their willingness to help me move, again. My father swore the last time I moved he was never helping me again, but somehow he was there with bells on when the moving truck was ready to be loaded (thanks dad )

The least I could do for my “free” help was feed them. In preparation for the big day I made a crock-pot full of chili, purchased burgers and dogs and yes a few cases of beer (the workers get thirsty).

During the move I was several days without a working kitchen. In preparation I purchased microwaveable items (Chef Boyardee and Kraft EasyMac) and saved up fast food coupons for unhealthy yet quick meals.

Change your address ASAP

I learned this lesson the hard way on my last move when I was socked with late charges because I didn’t receive a bill. To avoid my mistake be sure to submit a change-of-address form to the post office and any company that sends you bills; credit cards, doctor’s offices, utilities, subscription services, etc. Most companies let you easily edit your address on their websites.

This is GOING to be the last time I move (at least until my son graduates high school in eight years). I hate moving but consider myself a pro at this point, so if you have any questions or want more tips feel free to ask!

What is your favorite moving tip or trick?

Photo Credit

About Suzanne Cramer

10 Responses to “I Dare You to Move”

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  1. Hate moves.

    Hate friends moving, too! Everyone looks at you and sizes you up for moving help. “Yeah, I think that big fat guy ought to be good for two dressers, a fridge and the washer and dryer, what do you think? Oh, and about ten loads of boxes. What? He has a truck!? Oh my gosh, sign him right now before he gets away! Offer him pizza with whatever toppings he likes!”

    My wife and I have moved more than fifty times, of which only a handful were for ourselves. It’s amazing how many friends crawl out of the woodwork when they need to move.

    My favorite move was for a single mom who had everything boxed up – absolutely everything. All we did was load and unload. We still talk about that move. I’d help her move again any day. Organization is 75% of the move. If you want help moving, you’ll find way more takers if you

    (a) get many helpers (many hands make light work) and
    (b) be REALLY organized – everything ready to load.

    If you’re going to use a U-Haul or something similar, have it there before the first person arrives. And take the dolly option if there is one. Have a path so the big things can get loaded first. Get the most organized person to direct the loading inside the truck. Half the time loading is spent figuring out where things go.

    And take pictures. Put them on the fridge. It will help you resist the temptation to buy marginal things. Because, let’s be honest: you WILL move again. We all do. Might as well prepare.

    And be nice to big guys with trucks! 🙂

    • @William I’m with you I hate them too!! I am the organized person, ready and waiting with all of my boxes neatly packed and a plan for where everything goes. I really appreciate the help with things I just can’t move myself; believe me if I could I would 🙂

      It’s funny people think those big guys are the best movers, this is just a myth! Some of my best moving help were just little guys with big hearts.

  2. JMK says:

    Growing up we moved nearly every year. The hazards of having a mom who sold real estate I suppose. All our moves where within the same area so all my knowledge is based on short moves which are very different from cross country relocations.

    Let stores/services do your moving for you – if you intend to have any area rugs cleaned or furniture reupholstered, have them pick it up at the old address and returned to the new one. If you are changing appliances, sell the old ones where they are and have the new ones delivered to the new house. If you have any yard equipment due for servicing (lawnmower, snowblower, chainsaw etc) drop it off days before the move and pick it up after. If the service shop will pick up and drop off even better. The fewer smelly gasoline items to be packed with your household goods the better (and safer).

    Arrange bridge financing with your mortgage company so you have at least a few days overlap between getting your new place and giving up the old one. Painting, carpet cleaning and general cleaning at the new place are much easier (and possibly cheaper if you hire it out) if the place is empty.

    General tips to make a move easier:

    1. the morning you move, strip your bed and pack it all in ONE garbage bag with a big label on it. Put it in your car immediately so it isn’t mistaken for garbage. It goes to the closet of the new bedroom when you arrive. Once the bed is set up you have everything you need to fall into bed exhaused without digging through boxes.
    2. pack a carry on type suitcase for each person. The luggage has to go anyway, but fill it with your bathroom essentials, medications, alarm clock, pjs and a couple of days of clothing. This can also be a good way to keep track of each person’s cables/chargers etc which they may need the first night in the new place. If your landline isn’t installed yet, a charged cell phone will be vital. This bag also goes directly to the closet of the new bedroom. Basically pack to be selfsufficient for a couple of days without needing what’s taped up in boxes. This can also be a good spot to tuck takeout flyers you may want at dinner tonight.
    (I recommend the suitcase and bag of bedding go to the closet simple because the people lugging your dressers in and setting up the bed don’t need to be tripping over your stuff. That’s how furniture ends up damaged and walls dinged.)
    3. If you have a chest freezer or even a large one in your refrigerator, start eating everything in it weeks/months before the move. The less you have to deal with the better. Yes buying in bulk during sales is great, but moving frozen foods in July is an extra headache you don’t need. In fact, eat everything in your pantry in the weeks leading up to your move. Not only will it save you a ton on groceries, but who really wants to carry boxes of canned goods (or pay movers to do it)?
    4. If you have children too young to be helpful send them to stay with a friend or relative at least for the night before the move, move day and again that night. Better yet move during a school break and send them away to camp for the whole week! Have them pack one box of their favourite items, so even if you don’t have time to completely unpack their room before they arrive back, you can have their most prized or comforting items waiting for them.
    5. if you have moveable storage shelves for your garage/basement make sure they are last on the truck and first off. They’ll need to be set up in their new location before the place is full of boxes so they can be loaded with stuff as it comes off the truck.

  3. In our 10-year marriage, we only moved thrice — we moved out of my mom’s house three months after I gave birth, we moved to a bigger house, and the landlady sold the house we were renting. From those moves, we had the most number of boxes when we moved in to this apartment — from clothes, toys, books, and DVD collection, name it i guess we have it! And we are planning another move to a bigger house next year but I am expecting less boxes this time as I have donated some of the clothes that the kids have outgrown as well as the educational CDs/DVDs, toys and books they are no longer using.

  4. Martin says:

    “The least I could do for my “free” help was feed them. In preparation for the big day I made a crock-pot full of chili, purchased burgers and dogs and yes a few cases of beer (the workers get thirsty).”

    Although I can’t really imagine having to move 5 times in as many years, this tip is golden and works every time I’ve moved. It seems food is the universal language…

  5. Thanks for your tips. My wife and I have been considering a cross country move next year and I dread the thoughts of the actual moving process. I totally agree with your tips on selling items before you move. Moving is a great time to clean out and lighten the load, if you will. It’s scary how much stuff we all accumulate over the years!

  6. Jerry says:

    Moving sucks and we just did it ourselves. I would also suggest to get insurance to cover the move. We went with a moving company and they still managed to lose some items. I’m glad we’re covered. It leads to peace of mind and you need it with all the stress of a move!

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