Moving is often an exciting prospect. Unfortunately, moving can be stressful too, and a large part of this is often financial stress. Moving to a new home brings many costs, from hiring movers to renting a moving truck, finalizing closing costs, purchasing furniture, taking time off work, and much more. To help you out, we’re sharing our top 10 moving hacks to save money and make the moving process more stress-free.

Declutter Your Belongings

Before doing anything else, lighten your load by decluttering your belongings. Remember, the fewer items you need to move, the less time and money you’ll need to spend moving your stuff. On top of this, you can actually make money by selling your belongings during this process.

We recommend starting early and going through your belongings with a rigorous eye and determining if you still need them. For example, you might not need to keep five black blouses or four pans that are the same size.

Sort your belongings into these categories as you go:

  • Keep: Place items you’re keeping in like piles so it’s easier to pack them. For example, as you go through your kitchen, place delicate items together in one pile and soft objects, like kitchen towels, in another.
  • Give away: If the item is still in good condition, consider giving it to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. You may also have heirlooms or things that your loved ones would benefit from now.
  • Trash: If the item isn’t usable, throw it away or recycle it.
  • Sell: Place items you plan on listing on eBay or Craigslist or selling during a garage sale in one pile. Later, go through these and list them online, or label them with a price for your estate sale.

Pack Smartly

Moving can become even more expensive if your belongings break in transit. One way you can save money is by carefully packing your items so you don’t have to repair or replace them later on.

Take special care with these items:

  • Artwork
  • Plates
  • Breakables and fragile items, such as decorations
  • Electronics
  • Furniture — use protectors on the corners to prevent damage
  • Liquids — remove the cap and cover with cling film and secure with a rubber band, then replace the lid to avoid leaks during your move. For extra protection, place liquids in a plastic bag.

In addition to packing items carefully, use items you already have to save money on moving supplies. You’ll likely still need to purchase some packing materials, like bubble wrap, packing paper, or moving boxes. However, you can save a bundle by using items around your house to pack.

Try these moving hacks:

  • Use blankets, quilts, thick clothing, towels, and linens instead of packing paper or bubble wrap.
  • Pack items inside large containers, like storage bins, luggage, baskets, laundry hampers, and other boxes.
  • Keep your clothing on its hangers and place it inside a large garbage bag with the hangers sticking out of the top instead of purchasing wardrobe boxes.
  • Place small items inside of socks. Wrap glassware inside of long socks.
  • Ask your local UPS store, family members, or retail stores for free moving boxes to cut costs.
  • Save shipping boxes from Amazon or subscription boxes in the months leading up to your move.

Choose Your Moving Day Wisely

Moving during off-peak season can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Choose to move during spring, fall, or winter to avoid the summertime moving crowds. If you must move during the summer, make a reservation with the moving company months in advance to save money.

You can save money by choosing to move during the middle of the month. Many renters’ leases are up at the end or beginning of the month, so moving during the middle of the month can get you a better deal. You can also save money by moving during the middle of the week, rather than a Friday or weekend.

Shop Around

Whatever you do, don’t call just one moving company and decide to take it up on its offer. Always gather at least three quotes from any moving services you’re considering, whether that’s a moving truck rental company or full-service movers. We’ve put together a top list of movers for you to get your quote process started.

Once you’ve gathered several quotes, call your preferred company and ask it to price-match the lowest quote you received.

Don’t be afraid to ask about discounts or ways you can save money. Your movers may be willing to give you a discount for moving on a less busy day or moving earlier in the morning. Some companies also provide discounts to military members, teachers, public service employees, first responders, seniors, and more. You never know what you may receive if you don’t ask.

Ask for Relocation Assistance

If you’re moving for a new or current job, don’t hesitate to ask for relocation assistance. Many companies are willing to help with moving costs or offer extra compensation for relocation.

The key is asking before you accept the new job or position. The more experienced you are and the more unique your position is, the better your chances are to receive assistance and even benefits, like the company putting you up in a hotel until your new home is ready.

If your company doesn’t offer relocation assistance, ask your accountant if some of these expenses are tax write-offs. Specific jobs, like individuals in the military, can write off relocation expenses, which can save a lot of money come tax season.

Assess Bulky Items

Some of the most expensive items to move will be bulky items like your bedroom set or couch. Before dragging your bed set to your new house, take time to measure the access points in your home.

Will the bed set even fit through the door of your new bedroom? Do you like how the couch will look in your new apartment? Is it worth bringing your old college furniture with you on a cross-country move?

Moving is a great excuse to donate old items that may not look good in your new place or even fit. Don’t let bulky items take up space in your rental truck, effectively costing you more money and effort if you won’t even like them once you’re there.

Pack Your Belongings

Some professional movers offer full-service moves, which include packing your belongings in cardboard boxes, loading them, transporting them, and unpacking them in your new house. While this can save you a lot of time, it will most certainly cost you more money.

Choose to pack your belongings in boxes before the movers arrive to save yourself money.

Remember, this doesn’t have to be an overwhelming project. Make a moving plan and schedule time to pack up a few boxes each day. Enlist the help of your family and friends if possible to help this task go even faster.

Prevent Losses During Moving

Losing your belongings during the move can quickly get pricey. Avoid this by clearly labeling every box.

We recommend labeling your packed boxes by room and indicating what is in each box. Once you’ve finished packing up an entire room, create a tally of the number of boxes and label each one with a number.

For example, you may label a box “Kitchen, Yellow Dish Set, Box 1 of 12.”

When you arrive at your home, double-check that you have every box counted for before your movers leave or you return the U-Haul. You don’t want to find out later that your expensive computer equipment or dishes went missing during the move.

Create a Moving Bag

Often, we get to our new home and realize that we have no idea where our toothpaste, pillow, or pajamas are, which can lead to unplanned trips to the store to replace items that you already have.

Don’t spend extra money on items you already have. Pack a moving bag with everything you’ll need for several days, including:

  • Prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Pajamas
  • Clothing for a few days
  • Night-light
  • Toiletries
  • Your moving checklist, notes, and paperwork

Packing yourself an overnight bag will prevent late-night panic as you search for things you need immediately upon arriving.

Hire Reputable Movers

Moving scams are abundant and can cost you a lot of money, whether it’s paying the company more than anticipated, handing over extra money to get your belongings back, or saving money on storage fees.

Do your research and hire a reputable moving company with a clean record and strong customer reviews. This will save you money and the frustration of dealing with a sleazy company.

While a reputable moving company may cost a little bit more, you can save hundreds or thousands in the long run by avoiding fees, delays, and scams.

Closing Thoughts

Moving can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right planning and help from friends and family, you can cut down on many costs.

Choose your moving date as early as possible and start preparing for the move by collecting free boxes and packing supplies where you can. Eat your perishables and use up or give away other items, like toilet paper, to reduce how many things you’re bringing with you. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your big move — the earlier you start, the smoother and cheaper your move will be.

Editorial Contributors
Lora Novak

Lora Novak

Senior Editor

Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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Andrew Dunn

Senior Editor

Andrew Dunn is a veteran journalist with more than 15 years of experience reporting and editing for local and national publications, including The Charlotte Observer and Business North Carolina magazine. His work has been recognized numerous times by the N.C. Press Association and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. He is also a former general contractor with experience with cabinetry, finish carpentry and general home improvement and repair. Andrew earned a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a certificate in business journalism. He lives in Charlotte, N.C.

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