Standard Moving Costs That You Cannot Avoid

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Standard Moving Costs

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While it's possible to save money by asking friends and family for help on moving day, renting your own truck, and using old boxes borrowed from local supermarkets, some moving necessities will cost money no matter what you do. Always budget for these items when planning a relocation.

Transportation costs

Though you can probably avoid hiring a full-service mover, you simply cannot dodge all transportation costs during a move.

Unless you know a friend who owns a large truck or van, you will need to rent a moving truck for the relocation. Costs vary from company to company, especially when performing long distance moves. Additionally, you will need to reserve the vehicle in advance and make sure that all of the paperwork is lined up. On the day of the move, you will need to drive to the truck's location to pick it up.

Unless you want to leave your own vehicle unattended, you will want to have a second person drive it home for you. Rental truck companies generally charge a flat fee to use the truck, which includes a pre-determined amount of allotted mileage. Additional mileage charges are assessed when you drop the truck off, and these can be quite expensive if you are not anticipating them.

TIP: Most companies require the truck's gas tank to be filled to a certain point before returning the truck to the rental center. Most companies request the tank be half-filled; others request %-filled.

If you rent additional equipment (including trailers, hand trucks, moving blankets, or dollies), these charges will also be reflected in the final bill. You must also clean the truck to avoid accruing an additional charge.

Boxes and wraps

Most supermarkets will allow you to take old produce cartons and other cardboard boxes after the day's deliveries arrive. However, these free boxes are often flimsy and may be unsuitable for moving your precious belongings.

A great alternative to these boxes are copy paper boxes. Stake out the copy room at your office four or five weeks before your move and snag any empty paper boxes you see. Since they are usually packed tightly with extremely heavy materials, these boxes tend to be strong and secure for most belongings. The only drawback: they tend to be somewhat small. Still, for dishes, glasses, and knickknacks, these boxes are ideal and free.

If you must purchase boxes, do so from a moving supply store, hardware store, or other appropriate venue. Boxes purchased at discount shops and supermarkets might not be up to the rigors of moving, and you should keep this in mind before you add them to your cart. While you can use rags and old scraps of clothing to wrap your delicate items, chances are that you'll never have enough to complete the job. Invest in a roll of high-quality bubble wrap and packing paper as you place items into boxes. These two materials will keep all of your items secure and safe during your entire relocation.

TIP: Read packing guides for specific tips about how to pack individual items, difficult pieces like stemware, plants, and antiques.

For larger items and furniture, you will want to rent high-quality moving blankets. These prevent goods from becoming damaged if jostled or improperly moved. Simple rags and coverings will not properly conform to the objects, and they may not amply cushion your belongings from blunt force or scratches. Rather than purchasing these special blankets, you can simply rent them from a moving supply store, rental truck chain, or a local moving company.

Labels and markers

Packing boxes is only one part of the moving process. Loading, unloading, and unpacking all require knowledge of what is inside. Without proper labels and markings, you might wind up unpacking your entire kitchen in a downstairs bedroom.

To use markers effectively:
  • Purchase a high-quality thick black marker to label each individual box. For larger moves, you may want to invest in two or three of them.
  • Clearly mark the room where each box should be delivered to, what it contains, which end is up, and whether it is fragile.
  • You should include the room name, fragile status, and up-facing arrow on at least three sides of the box (including at least two sides and the top flap).
You can also print the labels instead of using a black marker. Be sure to use water-proof laser toner for this job, and be aware that labels might peel off or become lost in the moving process. They might also be more expensive than a simple black marker.

Thank-you presents

Even if you avoided paying movers to professionally take care of your belongings, you still need to show your gratitude toward your friends and helpers. There are two simple ways to achieve this display of gratitude.

First, you can throw a thank-you party for all of your helpers.
  • Order everyone's favorite takeout and eat picnic style on the floor of your new dining room.
  • Take everyone out to a diner or other eatery with the cash you saved on other moving supplies.
  • Consider having a barbecue or some other easy party that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
If a party isn't your style, you can instead give each helper a small token of appreciation. Little gifts like customized journals, ornaments, or framed photos are both sentimental and decorative. CDs, movies, and other media gifts are fun and functional.

TIP: Avoid spending too little, which can make your help feel unappreciated or undervalued. It is a good idea to spend at least $20 on each person, perhaps even more.

Regardless of which route you choose, make sure to hand each guest a thank-you card with your new address featured prominently. This will show gratitude and will help to keep your friend's address books updated.

Preliminary cleaning supplies

Once the moving party is over and you're ready to start putting things away, you'll want to scrub your new home really well. After all, you don't know what was happening there before you arrived-and you certainly shouldn't have to worry about strange smells or sticky surfaces. Cleaning supplies should never be skipped.

Make sure you have basic cleaning supplies with you when you move in. This includes an ammonia-based cleaner and paper towels for windows, ledges, counter tops, and other areas.

You should also purchase anti-bacterial wipes for kitchen and bathroom surfaces, cleaning solutions for floors, and polishes for wood surfaces. If you have carpets in your new home, rent a carpet steamer for the day to remove any grime or invisible pests.

Even though a new home may seem clean and fresh, you should always give it a thorough cleaning before you settle in. Spend the money on cleaning supplies-it is one of the best moving investments you will make!

Though you may find yourself paying other costs along the way, these are the primary moving necessities that you will always have to spend money on. Always keep an eye on your budget, and as long as you remain responsible, you should have no trouble cutting other corners to save some cash.

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on August 27, 2009 - Moving Expert
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