Every time you move things are a little bit different. When you left home for college, everything you needed probably fit in the back of a station wagon. When you rented your first apartment you probably received a bunch of hand me down furniture and got everything else you needed from yard sales and Craigslist. But by the time you’ve got a home and a family, the scope and complication of your move is exponentially increased. If you’re about to embark on a long distance relocation, that complexity is even more striking. How do you effectively pack everything and get your entire family and your belongings to your new home in one piece, when that new home is hundreds or even thousands of miles away? Most people get through it simply by throwing money at the problem, but money isn’t exactly flowing these days. So here are five ways you can save on long distance relocation.
When you work with a moving company on a long distance move, you are getting involved with subcontractors. They bring in outside drivers who specialize in long distance hauling, and those folks bring their own team in to handle the move. So consider cutting out the middle man and hiring that long distance driver and team on your own. You’ll have to take care of your own moving insurance and customer service issues, but if you’re willing to put in the time you can save a ton of money this way.
Another alternative along these lines is to handle the drive yourself. This will obviously depend on the size of your family and whether you have someone who can drive your vehicles, but if you’re game for it you’ll save a lot of money. Look for a truck company that will rent you their vehicle for a one-way move. Remember that you’re losing some amount of earning time, as you won’t be able to work while you’re driving. But if it works out with your job, this can really help with your expenses.
One of the largest moving expenses you’ll face in the process is packing supplies. Boxes and tape aren’t cheap, which is disappointing since you’re basically using them once and then discarding them. But reach out to your moving company and ask about used boxes. You can pick and choose so you only take boxes that are still in good shape, but in most cases the moving company will give them to you completely for free. You might also want to post a request for boxes on Craigslist or Freecycle. You’ll probably find people in your area that are done with their move and more than happy to give you their recycling.
Although this will take a bit of work, consider paring down the stuff you are moving before simply packing everything up. Long distance moving companies charge you by weight, which means anything you can get rid of prior to packing will immediately save you cash. Take a long, hard look at all of your stuff. If you haven’t used something in six months to a year, does it really need to come with you? Consider donating unnecessary clothes and household items to thrift stores, which will save you money twice over thanks to the tax write-off you’ll receive.
Many moving companies will offer to pack the entire house for you for an additional fee. It’s incredibly convenient, and you’ll know that things are being done right the first time. But it’s also incredibly expensive. If you don’t have the time to pack everything yourself, look for friends and family who might be willing to help. Perhaps a group of folks will jump in for you with the promise of a nice dinner after the work is done. You might not be able to count on military specification packaging, but for most of your boxes this won’t be necessary. Just handle the breakables yourself, and let those who care about you pitch in on everything else.