Though you may find yourself paying other costs along the way, prepare for the typical moving expenses that you will always have to spend money on. While it's possible to cut corners by asking friends for help on moving day, renting your own moving truck, or using old boxes, some moving necessities will cost money no matter what you do. Always budget for these expenses when planning a relocation.
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.
1. Transportation costs
Though you can probably avoid hiring a full-service mover, you simply can't 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.
- 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.
2. 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.
There are four types of packing materials that prove extremely helpful in local and long distance moves.
- Snag any empty paper boxes you see in the copy room at work. Since they are usually packed tightly with extremely heavy materials, these boxes are strong and secure. The only drawback is they tend to be quite small. These boxes are ideal for dishes, glasses and knickknacks.
- 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. Keep this in mind before you add them to your cart.
- Invest in a roll of 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. 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.
- 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. Blankets will 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.
TIP: Read Movers.com packing guides for specific tips about how to pack individual items -- especially difficult pieces like stemware, plants, and antiques.
3. Packing and labeling
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.
Use markers effectively.
- Purchase a high-quality thick black marker to label each individual box
- Clearly mark the room where each box should be delivered to, what it contains, which end is up and whether it is fragile
- If fragile, draw an up-facing arrow on at least three sides of the box (including at least two sides and the top flap)
- You may want to color code your move
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.
TIP: When labeling boxes, consider labeling them by room instead of listing the items on the side of the box. By doing this, you'll still know which items go to which rooms, but movers won't know exactly what's in those boxes reducing the chances of your boxes being stolen.
4. Gratitude for friends and helpers
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 a few simple ways to achieve this display of gratitude.
Pick up the lunch tab on the day(s) your friends and hired hands help you move. Whether you take them out or hand them a menu, let them get what they want (or give them a few options to choose from). You don't want to put yourself out, but you should still show that you appreciate the work they did for you.
- Pizza and sandwiches are pretty common but are still always welcome
- Order everyone's favorite 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
- Consider having a barbecue or cook food that doesn't cost a lot
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.
5. Preliminary cleaning supplies
Once the unpacking party is over, 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. Spend the money on cleaning supplies. It's one of the best moving investments you will make!
Make sure you have basic cleaning supplies with you when you move in.
- An ammonia-based cleaner and paper towels for windows, ledges, counter tops, and other areas
- Anti-bacterial wipes for kitchen and bathroom surfaces, cleaning solutions for floors, and polishes for wood surfaces
- A carpet steamer (can be rented 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.