How to Save Big on Moving Expenses

posted by Andrea | 08/2/2011
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Last week, I talked about how we sold our house on Criaglist in just 3 days — and I got SO many emails asking more questions about selling a house and moving!

Unfortunately, I don’t know a ton about real estate and selling homes, but I DO know a little bit about moving {here are some of the posts from our move this past year}. I know, first hand, that moving can be stressful, so I’m really excited to share the following guest post from Transit Systems, Inc. (TSI).

And believe me, they know what they’er talking about!

Millions of people move every year. All of those people, although excited for where they are going, are instantly stressed out by the process of moving — and one main factor of stress is the expense.

However, there are several SIMPLE and easy remedies to help trim some of the costs involved with moving. Here are five tips on how to save during your move:

1. Ban Buying Boxes

Rather than buying cardboard boxes from U-Haul or UPS, why not check out your local recycling center? Some other places that you may not think of as a source for boxes are restaurants, hospitals, and shoe stores.

Why these of all places? Well, they’ve got a ton of boxes because their supplies are shipped in boxes. Second, most use double walled boxes ensuring sturdy and reliable boxes for safe shipping or moving of your items!

2. Eliminate Excess

What about all those old bins and boxes in the storage room? You know, the stuff you’ve kept all these years but you’re not really sure why.  Since you don’t want to be packing things that you will just throw away after the move, take some time to sort through those boxes before you begin packing.

This way you will only pack the things that you need to.  You’ll not only lessen your packing workload, but you’ll also remove the frustration of packing unnecessary things that will just be thrown out anyway.

3. Pad with Paper

Packing material expenses can add up. You can trim costs by not having to buy bubble wrap, and instead, find substitutes within your own home.

Why not use old newspapers to wrap the fragile dishes in the kitchen? Why not use bed linens, sweatshirts, or towels as padding for other fragile items that need to be boxed? Since boxes that you hand-pack are not usually insured, at least you can add enough fluff until you’re confident your items won’t break!

4. Tear Down the Tables

Some moving companies charge extra to take apart furniture items like tables, cribs, play sets, or bunk beds. You can save some money by disassembling the items yourself. The same thing goes if you’re shipping furniture to a new destination.

5. Ask for Assistance

Asking your friends and family for help can save on labor costs. Some ground shipping companies will charge you less if you carry your items to the curbside so that all they have to do is scoop it up. Luckily, the most your friends will cost you is some pizza and wine.

So dig a little less deep into your wallet by embracing these five costs-trimming tips!

Have you recently moved…or are you in the process of moving? If so, what are YOUR best money-saving moving tips?

This guest post comes from Transit Systems, Inc. (TSI), a professional moving company providing nationwide moving and shipping services for over 20 years. TSI specializes in small moves, furniture shipping, and much more. For more information about TSI or to request a free quote, visit their website or follow TSI on Twitter @TransitSystems.

Filed under: LifeFrugal Living


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  1. Melissa


    I have moved more times then I wanted to, so I have learned a few ways to cut corners while moving. Your site is very informative, thanks a bunch.

    1. Leave clothes in the dressers, just wrap the dresser with an old sheet or blanket that you have purged from your linen closet, or with cardboard that you can get from furniture stores(display models come wrapped in cardboard, that they just throw out) and some packing tape. When you get to your new destination, donate the sheets and/or blankets to your local thrift store. You were going to get rid of them anyways. By doing this you don’t have to pack the clothes in boxes, and it takes up less space in the truck.

    2. With the exception of seasonal items (eg christmas decorations, seasonal clothing items, etc) if you don’t unpack a box in the first three months of moving, get rid of it, because you didn’t need this stuff any way.

    3. Purge your clothes before you pack. (and you have to be brutally honest with yourself) If you haven’t worn an item in the last 12 months, you aren’t going to. Donate the clothes to a shelter or thrift store.

    4. if you have to move appliances, pack pots and pans inside the oven and tie or tape the oven door shut. The pots and pans are not going to break and neither will the oven. Also pack cleaning supplies, shampoos, conditioners, soaps etc in the drum of the washing machine. If any thing does break open or fall over it will be easier to clean because you just need to run an empty load thru the washing machine, once you get to your new home. Dryers can be loaded with dry goods such as boxes of klenex, TP, cleaning clothes and sponges, etc.

    5. When packing glassware, get boxes from your local liquor store. You can get boxes with the bottle partitions in them, and place glasses in the bottle slots. Easier then wrapping each individual glass. And if you need to stack glasses, before packing, take partitions out of the box, cut them in half so you have a top and bottom partition, load bottom half of box in the partitions, place flat piece of cardboard between the layers of glasses, then put top partition on top and continue packing.

    6. Bundle silverware with elastic bands. Takes up less space.


  2. Carmen


    I hate using newspaper for dishes. By the time you’re done your fingers are coated in black ink – and so are the dishes. Which just means more work (to wash them) when you arrive at your destination. Instead, I go to our local newspaper office and purchase an end roll of paper. Around here it costs only $5 and is plenty to pack all we have. Same concept, just no black ink!

    I also pick up different colored index cards. I then label different colors with different rooms (pink-kitchen, blue-living room, yellow-master bedroom, etc). Not only are the boxes labeled, but it’s easier to spot which boxes go together!


    Andrea Reply:

    Great tip Carmen — I did not know you could buy end rolls from newspaper companies, and I agree with the black mess — hate it!
    Hopefully I won’t be moving any time soon, but I will definitely tuck this tip away for later!


  3. DawnW


    I tried leaving a comment earlier but it didn’t show,so I’ll try again.You can try Freecycle for free boxes.I’ve seen a lot of people offering boxes lately,and people jump on it.I have a closet full of boxes and packing materials that I’ll be offering on Freecycle soon (I do a lot of online shopping).This time of year,many people are moving and then giving away the boxes on Freecycle.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for mentioning Freecycle Dawn, that IS a great source for moving supplies!


  4. Laurel


    I love banana boxes from the grocery store. They are sturdy and have lids. They are not too big and unwieldy. They can be packed full, even with books, and not be too heavy. They are free. The one not awesome thing about them is a hole at the bottom of the box that has to be covered, if little things are going in the box, with an extra piece of cardboard, a baking pan, a calendar, or anything really.
    I also like to wrap kitchen breakables in dish cloths and dish towels.


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, we used TONS of banana boxes when we moved in December! They are the prefect size! We just asked our grocery store if we could have a few and they loaded us up, no questions asked!


  5. Maria


    My family and my husband and I have moved many times in my 29 years. I use anything made of fabric–curtains, out-of-season clothes, extra clothes, my fabric stash, towels, wash cloths, tea towels, cloth napkins, blankets–to pack breakables.

    Several times we have moved into storage, gone out of state for my husband’s short-term teaching jobs, then come back and moved into a different house. For those moves, I number each box and list the contents with the number in my moving notebook. I write the box number on all four sides and the top. Sometimes on the box I write the room where it belongs or a word or two of the contents. Please note–Label BEFORE filling the box. I keep forgetting that little tip.

    When you’re doing a lot of packing at a stretch, clip the marker onto you and keep the tape dispenser close by.

    If you have to move things into storage, think ahead if the storage isn’t climate controlled. If it’s cold, liquids may freeze and burst. If it’s hot, candles will melt. I put most of my things into my dad’s big, unheated, uncooled shed, but cleaning supplies and the boxes and boxes of candles left from our wedding I stored in a friend’s basement.

    Above all, pray for lots of grace. Moving is just a big pain and upheaval no matter how carefully you organize and plan. Pray over each detail of the packing, moving, unpacking and reorienting in a new home. God will give you grace and wisdom and orchestrate it better than you can.


  6. Tammy


    Along with your other recent posts, Craigslist is a GREAT resource for moving boxes, especially if you live near a military base. The movers will often only take the boxes if they unpack everything at delivery. Since this would overwhelm most families, many people slowly unpack and get rid of their boxes through Craigslist.