There are times when hiring a moving company is just not going to work; either you’re moving across the country with a small houseful of treasures or you just don’t have any extra money to hire someone. Your only other option is a DIY move. How can you make this move without killing yourself or your friends/family? If your budget is tight, there are things you can do to save money on the move as well. Today, we’re going to look at organizing and packing.
The age-old way of getting boxes to pack your home into is to troll grocery and liquor stores. These days, though, it’s hard to find cardboard boxes unless you ask the manager directly; in some areas, businesses are required to take part in city’s recycling program and in others, they’re taking advantage of rebates for recycling.
Have you ever wondered what moving companies do with the boxes they get when they finish unloading someone else’s home? Call a few local moving and storage companies and see if you can’t take those boxes off their hands for free. The boxes may have writing on them, but you can use that as a guide for what to put in each box. You can still ask your local stores but moving companies are often your best bet.
As soon as you decide you’re going to move, start getting things organized and packed. Moving is a great time to take inventory of what you have and get rid of anything you haven’t used in the last year. When organizing your stuff, as yourself: Do you need it? Do you want it? Do you love it? If it doesn’t fit into one of those three categories, get rid of it. It’s easy to keep things “just in case,” but chances are those “just in case” things won’t ever see the light of day; even if you need that thing the next day, it’s better to get rid of it when you’re packing than to take up room just in case.
When doing your inventory, keep in mind you can always hold a garage sale or put things up on Craigslist. Some apartment complexes and subdivisions don’t allow spur-of-the-moment garage sales, so why not organize a community garage sale? You may have friends living in areas where garage sales are allowed and you could work together to get rid of extra stuff. And remember you can always donate your things to charity.
The earlier you start organizing and packing, the less stressful your move will be as the day approaches. You’ll find stuff you never knew you still had and you’ll be surprised at how many little things there are to pack; just open your junk drawer to find the truth of that.
Stop buying groceries a week or two before the move, except for essentials like milk, bread and toilet paper. Use what’s in your refrigerator and pantry; if you won’t use it, donate it to a food pantry or toss it, if it’s close to the expiration date.
Here are more tips for organizing and packing your home:
- Don’t move paper. Any files you have or papers you need should be scanned into your computer and stored in the cloud. If you’re worried about it getting hacked or lost, burn the documents to a CD and email the files to yourself.
- Don’t move broken or unusable things you “might” have time to fix. Keep using your favorite soap dispenser or broken trash can up until your move and then trash it on your way out.
- Simplify, simplify, simplify. There are always ways to downsize. Matt, a contractor from South Dakota, said his family held a garage sale and got rid of a ton of stuff before they moved from Denver to Rapid City; they thought there was no way they had anything that wasn’t absolutely needed. When they moved a year later into a new home, they found boxes and boxes they’d never opened from the first move. Clearly, they had more they could get rid of. “Every time we moved, we got rid of more stuff we didn’t use until our last move, when we just got rid of everything that couldn’t fit into my work van. Then we knew we were down to the basics,” he said.
- Set up a packing schedule. This may sound like overkill, but it really helps save you from added stress. Make a list of the areas and items you don’t use every day; those get packed first. Think about, for instance, your books. If you don’t plan on reading all your books, pack them or, if they’re not books you love, sell them at a local used bookstore. Schedule a room a day and get as much packed as possible in that room, saving those things you’ll use before you leave. Keep out cleaning supplies, toiletries you use on a daily basis and medications you’ll definitely use before the move.
- Use the right packing materials. Use boxes that are stable; if the bottoms are in danger of dropping out or the tops aren’t close to being sealed, opt for another box. Use towels and washcloths as buffer when packing your breakables.
It may feel like the move is taking forever because you’ve been organizing and packing since the idea formed in your mind, but the time you spend on the front end in planning, organizing and packing will save money and stress when moving day comes. Next, we’re going to look at the big day.