Frugal Moving Tips

Moving is expensive, but there are ways to cut some of the costs.

I’ve moved a lot of times in my life. Not too long ago my kids asked me how many houses I’ve lived in, and I was stunned when I counted them up. I’ve lived in 22 different houses, not counting the month we spent at my dad’s house recently.

Obviously I don’t remember all of those moves, as a few occurred when I was very young. But I remember my family making some very frugal moves growing up, and I have continued the frugal moving tradition in my adult years. Hopefully I won’t be moving again, though. Ever.

But, for those of you who will be moving in the future, here are some tips on cutting expenses.

Check Craigslist for free boxes. I have never paid for a moving box. Ever. I posted ads on Craigslist and Freecycle asking for boxes and got a few that way. Then I saw an ad on Craigslist by someone looking to unload boxes from his move. He gave me all of them at no charge. When we’re unpacked, I’ll post an ad on Craigslist, so someone else can have free boxes for their move.

Ask friends for newspaper to use for packing. I always use newspaper for packing breakables. I’m very generous with the paper, so nothing breaks en route. So far I haven’t broken anything.

Do you know someone with a trailer? Instead of renting a truck for this move, we borrowed my dad’s trailer and also a trailer from my husband’s boss. A couple of our volunteers also had pickups, and that was enough to move all of our belongings. In the past, we’ve also rented trucks (our best experience was with Budget).

Speaking of volunteers…don’t be afraid to ask for help. We had several volunteers from our church to help us move. Our pastor’s wife even came over to help me unpack my kitchen. Make sure you offer plenty of pizza after the work is done, though.

Plan in advance. Make sure your refrigerator is hooked up and cooled down before you arrive. Make some freezer meals that you can heat and eat, when you’re too tired to cook. And make sure you pack a few “essentials” boxes with the bare necessities you’ll need to survive, while you’re trying to find everything else in your boxes. That will prevent the need to run out and buy toothpaste, when you know you have 5 tubes…somewhere.

These tips won’t work in every situation. If you’re moving across country, it might be well worth it to hire a moving company. But for a move across town, these tips saved us a lot of money!

Do you have any frugal moving tips? Please share!

10 thoughts on “Frugal Moving Tips”

  1. Thanks for some good tips. My family and I have had only 4 moves in six years and I agree you can do it cheaply.

    We try to get rid of stuff each time we move, you can sometimes even make a little money on the stuff you will no longer need, perhaps on ebay or in a garage sale.

  2. very informative blog. I have also moved many many time (almost ten times) and i know the difficulties that can during move but with better planing we can make it less stressful.You can find some good packing tips on Box site. One more thing do not forget to label your box containing Coffee Pot.

  3. Pack bedding you’ll use that night, some of your children’s favorite toys, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, paper towels, whatever other necessities you’ll need that night in a box(es) marked “Load Last, Unload First.” Then, it will be the first off the truck and you will have everything you need in it (just don’t misplace it, lol!).

    I agree with setting up your beds early. We asked some friends to set and make all the beds for us, and they graciously did so. So nice after a long day. We also made setting up the kid’s rooms a priority, putting some of their toys around and trying to make things look as familiar and “home” to them as possible.

    Leave your clothes in the dresser drawers and just carry them out. Saves time and boxes.

  4. Cattle hauling trailers (5th wheel type)work well – if it’s not raining… I hate to tell you how many times I’ve moved my stuff in a cow trailer! I moved with a small two horse trailer once also… Just hose them down well etc before use :)

    For those who don’t know – I live in Moo-Town, USA :) Just say Cheese – Tillamook Cheese, that is!

  5. Good advice on securing boxes (typically one of the most expensive parts of a move!). We are looking to downgrade houses here soon, so I’ll keep this post bookmarked for referencing later. Thanks!

  6. I labeled our boxes as I packed them, as many people do. But I also put an extra label on the kitchen boxes for which cabinets the dishes and kitchen equipment would go into, since I had an idea from our walk through how the items would fit. I originally put our food into a bottom cabinet, but we purchased an inexpensive wooden cabinet after we moved that we use for a pantry since we do not have a built in pantry. We keep an extra stockpile of non perishables and less frequently used foods in the bottom cabinet.

    Also, we bought magnetic curtain rods for the front and back doors, which are steel, and we used fabric shower curtains to cover the doors and windows. I like the fabric shower curtains for several reasons:

    –they are inexpensive yet attractive
    –they are easy to keep clean (toss them in the washer, and rehang them on the windows to dry.)
    –they are easy to hang
    –can be used singly or in pairs (my preference is pairs, except for the one on the front door).

    I used a light floral pattern for my office, to allow a lot of light during the day without having to open the curtains and allow heat to enter. The back door has a pair of white curtains on it, and I hung the liner for extra heat shielding. The master bedroom curtains are dark blue, to keep morning light to a minimum until they are opened. The guest room curtains are a darker floral pattern.

  7. Great tips! Being organized also helps you reduce the time you use movers, if you use them. And if your friends are helping, they’ll be thankful they don’t have to waste any more time.

    Home Depot (and perhaps other big stores) also offer cargo van or truck rentals for a small price. I know people who have used these vans to move their entire apartment. It’s a good deal if you move quickly.

    I just moved over the weekend. This was the ninth time in four years. I’m still unpacking :(

  8. If you like packing with newspaper, try going by your local paper and asking for “end rolls.” Paper on most printing presses has to be replaced before the roll is completely finished, so quite often newspapers have rolls of blank newsprint sitting around their back shops. The blank paper from end rolls makes great packing paper, and can also be used to wrap boxes for mailing, or as doodle paper for the kids.

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