If money is no object, moving can be a concierge, full-service experience. You can pay a pro moving team to pack up everything in your house, label it, load it into as many trucks – or as big a truck – as it takes, and reassemble all your stuff in a new house. Of course, if you – like most people – are looking to cut some unnecessary costs from your moving plans, then the opposite approach is your best bet.
The more you can reduce your need for moving services, reduce the weight and mass of your move, and source your own supplies, the more you can save on moving costs. At 4 Degrees, we’re here to help each new home buyer launch an enjoyable new life, which means an affordable and successful move. To that end, let’s take a look at the five best strategies to reduce moving costs by cutting out unnecessary expenses and reducing the total estimate from your movers.
1) Book Ahead, and Choose an Inexpensive Date
Moving is more seasonally priced than most people realize. Most moves happen in the summer months when the weather is clear and kids are out of school. Weekends are, naturally, in higher demand than weekdays, and some specific dates are especially packed. This means booking your move during pretty much any other time is cheaper than competing for peak moving dates.
Moving in the fall and winter is more affordable if a little chillier, than moving in the spring or summer. Moving on a weekday is easier and lower priced to book. Scheduling ahead by one to six months can also help you lock in a good price before the next wave of demand hits, and ensure you get the dates you want. So moving on a cold, clear weekday is likely the best price you can get for whatever moving services you need.
2) Reduce Your Stuff for a Lighter Truck
The total volume of your packed stuff determines how big a truck you will need. The weight can also play a role in your estimated moving costs. Therefore, moving less stuff costs less. This is why so many people hold a garage sale, have a big give-away, and dump old furniture on the curb before a big move. Why haul a heavy, broken-down couch when you’d rather buy a new one on the other side?
In fact, many people will sell any large appliances and non-essential furniture and buy a set for the new house after arrival. There are many ways to reduce moving costs just by reducing what goes into the truck.
- When packing, sort out anything you haven’t used, worn, or thought about in 6+ months
- Sell anything valuable in a garage sale or online
- Give away clothes and toys that are still in good condition
- Throw away anything you wouldn’t want to receive in charity.
- Stage a backyard battle with anything deemed “junk”
- Offer bulky furniture to friends and neighbors
3) Source Your Own Moving Supplies
Buying new boxes and moving supplies is less necessary and more expensive than you might think. But boxes, tape, and padding materials are available in abundance – often for free. Here are our tips on where to source more affordable packing materials from many years of experience.
Where to Find Free Boxes
- First, check to see if you stashed your boxes from the last move – or if any friends have stacks of flattened moving boxes.
- Ask your neighbor who just moved for their flattened boxes
- Make any Amazon orders in the last year, or prepping for the move? These boxes are reasonably sturdy for medium to light packing.
- Buying cheap, lightweight products can be cheaper than buying “moving boxes”
- Pick up boxes from your work
- Ask local big box and retail stores for their spare boxes and flattened crates – or just raid some retail recycling bins.
- Online apps and local programs/networks that share boxes
Packing Tape and Labels
Good packing tape is worth an investment. It dispenses without a huge amount of effort, sticks firmly to the cardboard, strengthens the box, and cuts without splitting. But you can save on packing tape by buying one dispenser (per packing person) and a bunch of refill rolls.
We also advise a pack of colored masking tape and a pack of colorful sharpies. Use these to color-code and clearly label each box. Color-code by room or by type (ex living room vs bathroom or electronics vs dishes) and then write a small list of the box’s contents on the side. Trust us, this will make unpacking so much easier, and it only costs a few dollars for the art supplies.
Free Padding Materials for Packing
Bubble wrap and packing paper are among the biggest rackets in moving supplies. Here’s the secret: Tshirts, towels, and office rolls of bubble wrap. Grab your bubble wrap from the mail room (or order a roll online and get the box for free). Then use your own spare cloth items like t-shirts, towels, and bedding to do most of your padding. If you can safely pack glass Christmas tree ornaments, you can also pack your cups and dishes.
Pro tip: Pack plates upright, not stacked normally, and stuff a sock tightly in each cup.
Pack and Disassemble As Much as You Can
Your moving team can do everything including packing boxes, disassembling and binding furniture, and loading the truck. The most affordable moves, however, are when you do most of this on your own – and off the clock. By packing all your boxes, you save hours of paid service. The same is true if you disassemble, bind, and blanket your own furniture so that it’s compact and safe to move.
Call in the help of friends and family to lighten the load. If you have kids, teach them organizational skills as you pack up the house together. If you have strong and energetic people in your network, pay them in pizza and good company to pack up your largest pieces of furniture that will be making the trip – or haul out furniture to sell or junk. Chill some sodas, play some music, and make a fun weekend out of your moving cost reduction strategy.
Choose Your Moving Company Carefully and Compare Estimates
Last but not least, pay attention to which moving company you choose and the estimates you are given. It’s often smart to shop around, asking for the best dates and estimates that can be offered for the timing and capacity you need. Choose a team that has a fully transparent estimate – no room for surprise costs or hidden service fees – with a fair and a willingness to discuss cost-saving plans with you.
Contact us to learn more about how 4 Degrees can help you through the process of buying and moving into a new home.