The cheapest move possible is usually done by college students moving out of their dorm rooms for the academic year: buy a box of large, industrial strength trash bags, stuff everything you have in them, and stick them in the back of mom and dad’s car. As we get older, acquire more things, and move on to greater (or longer) destinations, this kind of lock-and-load strategy is no longer possible and, frankly, it can be pretty embarrassing.
Almost everyone hopes to move as cheaply as possible, especially when you, and not your company, are footing the cost. Moving on a budget means more than just surfing the web for the cheapest moving company or shipping pod rates. It might take a little more research, sweat off your back, and willingness to do it yourself, but ultimately, it will save you a lot of money. To help you along the way, we have five easy tips that don’t take too much time or labor on your end. Read on and let us know if you have any suggestions of your own!
Go to your local bookstore or grocery for boxes
I do this every time I move. In every city and neighborhood I’ve lived in, local bookstores usually have an overabundance of boxes that they are happy to pass along to you. A plus is that these stores often have different size boxes. Be prepared to offer a small fee per box just in case. Chances are even if you pay for them, it won’t be nearly the same cost as getting boxes from U-Haul.
Check the post office for media mail rates
You can ship your books, music, and other items for a greatly reduced cost using this service. You can use this link to estimate and compare the cost with other methods. And be sure to double-check ahead of time what counts and what doesn’t.
Clean trash bins, laundry baskets and hampers, and other empty storage containers can be put to use for moving. Put your shoes in plastic garbage bags and use their boxes for other items. And this way, you can bring them with you instead of repurchasing them in your new location.
Include dry pantry goods when possible
A big moving cost is having to rebuy all of the staple items you keep in your kitchen. Spare a few boxes for items that will transport without breaking or spilling. For example, include peanut butter, oatmeal, spices and seasonings. Same goes for your cleaning products and supplies. As we all know from doing the first grocery trip after a move, these things add up!
If you need to hire movers, check with local service organizations. Rehabilitation programs such as Delancey Street in San Francisco often provide moving services at a much more affordable cost than moving companies proper. Check around your local area to see if there are similar organizations and services.
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