There is no doubt that moving is expensive. This is true in both the financial sense as well as the emotional and time commitment sense. Everybody knows this and accepts it going in. But what if it didn’t have to be? Sure, there is no such thing as a stress-free, cost-free move, but what if you could reduce your costs?
Okay, this metaphor is getting us nowhere. Let’s try this: what if there were a bunch of ways to save money (and stress) when you are moving from one home to another. Would you take advantage of them? Of course you would! Here are our favorite tips and tricks for cutting down on the costs of moving (both in the financial as well as the emotional sense).
#1: Expect to Spend at Least Some Money
We already told you there is no such thing as a totally free move. The sooner you accept that the easier your moving process will become. What matters is that you choose where to spend your money wisely. For instance: hiring movers will cost more than what you’d spend on a truck rental but think of all of the stress and exhaustion you’ll save by having someone else do the heavy lifting. That alone makes the price worth it, right? That means that the cost of hiring pros is a worthwhile expense. Some movers also provide extra services to help smooth out your move. For example, North American Van Lines gives you a free estimate and helps you put together checklists so that you won’t forget to do anything (like transferring your cable and internet) during the moving process.
A good example of a non-worthwhile expense is moving boxes. It is incredibly easy to get moving boxes for free. Check out the recycling bin at your local department store, ask if your grocer can spare any boxes. Spend five minutes on Craigslist or Freecycle or Rooster and you’ll turn up plenty of offers of free moving boxes–all you have to do is go pick them up!
#2: Lists Lists Lists
Trust us: lists are your best friends during a move. Sit down now, while you’re still clear headed and write down all of the things you have to do to move your life from your current location to another. And we mean all. Go through your house and make notes about anything that needs special care. Make a list of “chores” like canceling or transferring utilities, packing a “camping” bag (to help the actual transition from point A to B simpler), etc.
#3: Start Sorting Early
One of the biggest sources of stress during a move is sorting through all of your stuff and deciding what will go with you and what you will leave behind. Even the same stuff you’d been thinking of dropping at Goodwill for months already will suddenly feel precious.
Enlist the help of a good but tough friend who can help you sort through your belongings objectively. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used it in the last year and it doesn’t hold tremendous sentimental value (like family heirloom level of sentimental value), it doesn’t get packed.
Paring way down will save you time and stress when you’re ready to start packing. It will also reduce what you’ll spend when you hire professional movers because most of them will charge you for the time it takes to move and how much space your stuff takes up. If you are doing a long distance move you might be able to save money by sharing space in the truck with another relocator.
Another good reason to pare down as much as possible is that you can sell whatever isn’t moving with you to help offset the costs of the move. Set up a yard sale, sell things on Craigslist or eBay, take items in good condition to consignment shops, etc. Whatever is left you can donate–but make sure to get a receipt as that donation will likely be tax deductible!
Start packing as early as possible–after you’ve pared down, of course. The earlier you start packing, the calmer the process will be. You’ll have time to organize and label things properly and you’ll be able to make sure that things that go together get packed together. If you wait until the last minute, you’re likely to just start throwing stuff into boxes however it will fit and that could cause a lot of problems during the move.
Hopefully following these steps will help reduce both the financial as well as the mental and emotional costs that come with moving. Did we miss anything? Let us know your best tips for low-stress moves!