One thing I have never heard anyone say is “that was a lovely move – it was just so easy.” Moving apartments or homes is something I hear others grumble about over and over (and with good reason!) so when Justin and I were planning the move to our new place a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the moving process (to say the least). While the move to a new place is really exciting, the move itself is often tedious, exhausting and really expensive! As the eternal optimist, I thought there had to be some things we could do to make the move more enjoyable and efficient. We succeeded on some levels and learned some good lessons. If you have an upcoming move, here are 17 steps we either took or wish we took to make our move as easy and frugal as possible.
– Only move what you want to keep. Before you move is a great time to do some cleaning out. Is there any furniture you want to sell, gift or donate? Why pay to move things that you don’t want to have in your new place. A deep clean (Marie Kondo style) of what you have is a great exercise to do BEFORE you move. It makes it a lot easier and more pleasurable to unpack PLUS you aren’t paying to pack and move things that you aren’t going to keep anyway
– Do some organizing in advance to save yourself time. While we had the luxury of someone packing us up (more on this below), I wanted to do a bit of organizing so that things were easier to unpack when we arrived at our new place. For example, I put all of our picture frames in one place because I didn’t think they necessarily needed to be moved with their current rooms. I wanted a fresh start in deciding where to put them.
– Pack an overnight bag. While you might be sleeping in your new place that very night, it might be hard to find your toiletries or pajamas depending on where you are in the unpacking process. If you pack an overnight bag in advance, it makes the first night a lot more comfortable and less stressful. No need to scramble to find your toothbrush or soap.
– Envision your new place. One of the most difficult parts of having someone else unpack for you, is having to tell them where to put things in your new home. I wish I did a bit more thinking through where I wanted things to go before they arrived during the move. The furniture is important but I’d even think through what will go in each room and even each drawer. This planning becomes really helpful when the movers are asking you which room to put a moving box in.
– Pack your valuables separately. Anything you want to move yourself can be packed up in advance and kept by your side during the moving process. This includes, cash, jewelry, family heirlooms, and luckily, a lot of this stuff isn’t that big or cumbersome.
– Get free packing materials. If you are going to pack the boxes yourself, there are some great options to get free boxes and packing materials but you will want to ask in advance. Nearby grocery and liquor stores are probably throwing away boxes from shipments that come in each week. Ask them if they would be willing to give you their old boxes instead of throwing them out. You can even use old clothes/socks to save on padding like bubble wrap. If you’re packing laundry baskets and the like, you can use them to pack as well. This is also much more green!
– Organize parking. Depending on where you are moving to and from, you might need to get a parking permit for your moving van or U-Haul to stay in the street. Make sure to this in advance to avoid costly tickets!
– Cheapest might cost you more money in the long run. Cheaper is not always better. If you pay someone hourly and they end up taking much longer than expected, break things or even damage your new (or old) home during the move, you can lose your security deposit as a renter or incur repair charges to your new home as a homeowner. That being said, you don’t want to overpay for services either. This is why I put a lot of weight on reviews — what were other people’s experience with these movers?
– Due your diligence. We used a site called Unpackt that allowed us to say exactly what we were moving and provided quotes from multiple movers. We didn’t just go with the cheapest one, we know how important it is to have someone do it well so we also factored in the ratings and reviews.
– Flat-rate eased my mind. I prefer paying a flat rate for a move than paying by the hour. I remember in a previous move we had 3 movers and they were moving really slowly. I don’t blame them but as I watched the time pass by, all I could think about is how much more expensive this would be than the quote! It stressed me out!
– Move yourself. Depending on how much stuff you’re moving and how much your friends love you (just kidding!), you might be able to pull off a move all on your own.
– Having someone pack and unpack might be worth it. Time is money and at 7 months pregnant, I wasn’t going to be that helpful in the moving process anyway. We were able to pay a few extra hundred dollars to have the movers pack and unpack us. Not one thing was broken because professional movers packed it up! They also provided the boxes and packaging materials. Imagine, we woke up that morning in a completely unpacked house and were moved to a new place by that evening. It was quite the luxury but was worth every penny!
– If you have children (or pets), sitters may be worth it, too. If you’re moving in the same city and have small children, it may be less stressful for everyone involved to invest in a sitter the day of the move. Family and friends may be willing to help out free of charge!
– Keep them happy. I thought it was a small price to pay (included in our moving budget) to get our movers lunch. They really appreciated the gesture and we were getting hungry too so it was a win-win. Nothing fancy is necessary. Order some pizza or get some sandwiches.
– Know your rights. Read the fine print of the moving contract. If something were to break, how do they handle it? Do they charge extra for stairs or if they have to use additional boxes? These are things that are helpful to know BEFORE you move. During a previous move, my roommate and I had a lot of furniture break and the repairs were not done in a way that we found satisfactory so we took the moving company to small claims court and were able to get reimbursed for the new furniture.
– Don’t forget tip! If you don’t include this in your moving budget, it can throw things off.
– Check if you are eligible for a tax deduction. If you are moving for work, you may be able to write off the move. If this is the case, keep all receipts and expense records handy for easy reference.