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Frugal Moving Tips

by Ryan Guina

Moving Made EasyMoving is a stressful and expensive endeavor. One of the most important thins you can do is protect your belongings when moving. The other thing you want to do is save money!

Here are some great ways to save money when moving:

  • Save money on padding. Plastic bubble wrap is expensive! Newspaper is an inexpensive alternative to protect your belongings and recycle at the same time. Save your newspapers for a couple weeks, or if you don’t get the newspaper, go to a local recycling plant. You should be able to get all you need for free. Pillows, blankets, and linens are other great household items you can use for padding, and spend less money on packing materials. Note: newsprint easily transfers to items so wash your dishes before using them and don’t use newspaper to pad anything that might get stained from the ink. An alternative is to buy bulk sheets of newspaper without the print.
  • Get free boxes. Free is the best price! There are several places you can score free boxes. The first place to check is with your workplace. Printer paper boxes are great for moving small items and they stack easily. But be sure to ask before you start taking things or you may have to use those boxes to move the contents of your desk! You can also ask local businesses; many throw out boxes daily. Grocery stores and department stores are great places to look. Another great source for free boxes can be found at local recycling locations.
  • Not everything must go in a box. Soft items like pillows, blankets, clothes, etc. can be transported in large garbage bags, or can be used to protect your fragile items. Other items can be wrapped in padding and strategically placed in your load.
  • Reduce your load. Do you have a lot of stuff just collecting dust? Sure you do, and there is no sense in spending money to move it! Be sure to separate the things you don’t use or need and get rid of them before you move. Consider selling more valuable items on Craigslist, eBay, or by having a yard sale. Whatever doesn’t sell, donate – you’ll get a nice tax deduction. Anything else? Throw it away! You won’t miss it, I promise!
  • Enlist cheap help. Make a party out of moving. Friends, relatives, neighbors, and coworkers are a great source of cheap labor – especially when pizza and beer are involved. Just make sure to keep the beer at your new place, and don’t put it out until after all the large and expensive items have been placed! A couple weeks after you move in, inviting your helpers over for dinner or housewarming party is also a good idea. Don’t forget – if you enlist the help of others, be sure you are willing to return the favor! ;)
  • Hire someone to move large/expensive items. The worst thing you can do is try to move something that is too big or expensive to move on your own. Items like pianos, buffets, curio cabinets, and other large pieces of furniture are better left to professionals. Besides, if they break it, they have to reimburse you. If you break it, you have no recourse! Make sure you research the moving company you hire, get several quotes, and buy proper moving insurance.
  • Get reimbursed. If you are moving for a new job, check with your company for a reimbursement. You may also be able to get a federal tax deduction based on how far you moved or other conditions.

Moving can be very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning, you might be able to save hundreds of dollars by doing it yourself.

Photo credit: ortonesque.


Published or updated October 12, 2009.
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mrs. Micah

We used boxes from the library where I worked. Some libraries run out quickly with their inter-library shipping. But others have way more than they need. So asking there is a good idea.

We also did the garbage bag thing. Then we packed them into one big bag and have been using them for…garbage!

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2 chris

The site I like as of late for used boxes is U-Haul’s Box Exchange as they are moving boxes and you can get them for free or cheap; and unlike a freecycle site you can generally find some in your area.

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3 Ryan

Mrs. Micah & Chris,

Great tips! Thanks for sharing! :)

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4 Bas

Great tips, thanks! I’m having a move here in a couple months.. I hate moving!! =(

Great blog by the way.

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5 dimes

OMG, when our packers boxed our stuff this last time they used SO MUCH PAPER I can’t even tell you. I think Mr. Dimes and I filled up two dumpsters with sacks we’d filled with paper. The volume of the paper probably just about exceeded the volume of our stuff in the boxes.

And I wholeheartedly agree with you to TOSS STUFF OUT. That’s just about all we did when we moved. It made a huge difference though.

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6 shadox

OK. If you are going to enlist me to help you move, we will no longer be friends. I don’t care how much beer or pizza is involved, I am not in the moving business. That’s just me, though.

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7 Ryan

Shadox, there comes a point in a man’s life when enlisting friends and coworkers help to move is no longer the right thing to do. It probably ends a couple years out of college.

I know you’re an MBA and have an established family and career, so I’m guessing you’re probably past that point in life. But, I bet there was a time in your life when you enlisted someone else’s assistance or volunteered your own. Or, you may have been willing to at least consider the option.

You can probably still save some money with the other tips though. ;)

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8 Nellie

We used boxes from Helpineedboxes.com very good value as such good quality. Start collecting old newspapers as ideal packing material.

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9 Nick Walters

Used Helpineedboxes.co.uk, very good quality, ordered online and arrived the next day as promised. Too good to throw away so passed on to friends who were moving to the states.

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