Moving is never fun. In fact, whether you upsize, downsize, relocate across the country or move next door, uprooting your home is right up there with death and divorce as one of the most stressful life events, according to HealthStatus. But moving doesn’t just disrupt your routine and life. It’s also expensive; one estimate puts the cost at $1,170 if you’re moving within a state and $5,630 if you’re moving to another state.
There are ways, however, to get organized and save money leading up to your move. Although this may not totally eliminate the stress, it can help you feel in control and more at ease during this unsettling time. I recently downsized from a large house in suburban Boston to a smaller house in the city. To be better prepared and save money, here are my top steps for the six months leading up to your move:
6 months out: Clear out the clutter and sort your stuff. This can be a tedious task and I found it easiest to tackle one room at a time. I organized the contents of each room that I didn’t plan to take with me into three piles: Throw out, donate and sell. Although parting with stuff can be hard, purging can make you feel accomplished and even lift your spirits, according to Moving Insider.
5 months out: Donate your items by scheduling curbside pickups if possible. Keep in mind that scheduling these donations five months ahead of time is a good idea because you may want to schedule several more pickups in the months prior to your move. There are many charitable organizations throughout the country which accept donated clothing, household items and furniture. I donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, The Epilepsy Foundation, and Vietnam Veterans of America. Remember to ask for a tax deduction receipt as, in many cases, you can deduct your donations on your tax return.
4 months out: Have a yard sale. If you don’t have the space or the time for a sale, you can also sell your items on Craigslist or on a Facebook yard sale site in your local area. Another great option is to take pictures, post and sell your stuff on apps like Close5, OfferUp, or LetGo. Although I’ve had yard sales in the past, this time around my time was just too crunched. Instead, I took pictures of everything from furniture to appliances to sporting equipment and posted it all on Craigslist, Facebook and various apps. I managed to raise more than $1,500 which helped defray my moving costs. It also made me feel better about letting go of my stuff; one woman’s trash is another’s treasure.
3 months out: Get boxes and start packing. While this may seem a bit early to start this tedious process, getting a jump on this means you will be less stressed out in the days leading up to your move. Newspapers make good packing material, so grab free local papers or save your own papers if you’re a subscriber. You can also try to track down used boxes at local stores or score them off a friend who recently moved. I posted an "in search of" message on Facebook and someone I know who works at a Verizon store offered to give me almost all of the boxes I needed. As it got closer to move time, I decided to buy some more boxes just in case. I spent $43 on kitchen boxes at CheapMovingBoxes.com. As it turned out, I didn’t need them and turned around and sold them for my purchase price in a Facebook yard sale group.
2 months out: Hire a mover. You may be able to get away with renting a truck and borrowing some good friends for the day, but in my case, this wasn’t an option so I got quotes from a few different movers. The quotes varied from $1,200 to $2,700, but your own quotes will vary wildly depending on how much you have to move and where you live. Luckily for me, the lower priced moving company also came recommended online and from friends. The cheapest moving company won’t always make sense – always read reviews online and research the company. Is the company licensed? Do they have insurance? Cover your bases and make sure they’re not cheap for a reason. Another savings tip: Try to schedule your move on a weekday and not on a weekend or holiday. Movers tend to charge peak prices on busy holiday weekends.
1 month out: Call utility, cable and other service providers to arrange shut-offs at your current home and service at your new address. Remember to take advantage of new customer rates at cable or internet companies in your new area. You can often get a better monthly rate by opening an account in your spouse’s name (or the other way around). In my case, I am saving $80 a month on my Comcast bill in my new house just by setting up service in my husband’s name.
While moving usually isn’t fun, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. By following my timeline and taking advantage of savings tips, you should be able to ensure that your next moving experience isn’t traumatic.