How to Seriously Cut the Cost of Moving

By Jonathan Deesing


Moving can be deceptively expensive. By the time you’ve purchased moving supplies, rented a truck, and/or hired movers, you’re looking at a pricey venture to your new destination. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for ways to cut costs for your move, we’ve got three strategies to help you.

1. Get Rid of Everything

We’ll begin with the most outlandish option on the list, courtesy of the “Frugal” subreddit: Move as few things as possible. As in, don’t take more than the clothes on your back.

Instead of packing all your belongings, hauling them from one city to another, and then unpacking all of them, just get rid of everything. Sell what you can and donate the rest. The only things you really need to carry with you are irreplaceable keepsakes, and you can simply ship those to your new location. The actual move will amount to little more than hopping a plane with a carry-on. Use the proceeds from your everything-must-go garage sale to curb the expense of buying new stuff when you land.

Image by Mike Mozart/Flickr

Granted, this suggestion sounds like something said in jest at first blush, but as one reddit user pointed out, it actually has the potential to be both the cheapest and easiest option. In fact, if you’re committed to living minimally, this approach might fit like a glove.

2. Do it All Yourself

If you’re not ready to sell it all and start over, there are less extreme options. One of these is to do the move on your own, sans professional help.

Moving without hiring the pros does not mean moving without any kind of help. To lighten your work load, enlist the help of a few friends, especially for big jobs like loading the moving truck. Be sure you’re well organized, ready to go when they arrive, and prepared to reward them for their efforts. (Pizza and soda/beer typically suffice).

Image by Keegan Berry/Flickr

If your move isn’t local, consider a service like ABF’s U-Pack instead of renting a truck. With U-Pack, ABF will deliver a moving container directly to your home and give you up to three days to pack it. Then they’ll take care of hauling it to your destination. Once your stuff has arrived, you’ll have another three days to unload. You get plenty of time to load and unload the container, and you don’t have to worry about driving a big truck cross-country.

The key with a DIY move is to plan ahead and be prepared to work. Don’t go with this option if you’re averse to breaking a sweat. But if you don’t mind applying some elbow grease, you can reduce costs by doing it yourself.

3. Blend DIY Moving with Professional Movers

Another strategy is a balance between doing some of the work yourself, and hiring others to handle the big stuff. This hybrid approach can help lower the overall cost without saddling you with all the heavy lifting. And we are talking about the literal heavy lifting. Hire moving labor to help load and unload the truck or storage container, taking one of the biggest tasks completely off your to-do list.

There are several reasons to consider hiring movers. The first is purely pragmatic. In all likelihood, you own things you simply cannot lift on your own. Beyond that, moving is a big job. Even if you could do it entirely on your own, who wants to tackle something so big completely alone? Finally, moving labor will significantly reduce the amount of time your move takes. Loading a truck or container isn’t quick, but experienced pros can do it with impressive efficiency.

Image by Jeremy Rempel/Flickr

Just be sure to hire reputable, experienced movers. Look for moving company reviews on Google, find moving companies that offer free quotes, and go with a company that offers a fair price, and clearly outlines all of their services, and sets your expectations.

Choosing the best option is a matter of weighing the amount of work you’re willing to do against the amount of money you’d like to save. And if you don’t feel a particularly strong attachment to your stuff, the Anti-Move might be the way to go, even though it sounds a bit extreme.

Whichever you choose, make it a point to think through all the logistics well before the big day. Moving is one of those things that requires a strong game-plan. Preparation will almost certainly make the entire experience less stressful.