5 Tips for an Easy (and Cheap) Move

The average American moves 11.4 times per lifetime, according to a report authored by the statistics gurus at fivethirtyeight.

This is a shock for a number of reasons. First, people despise moving for the most part. When was the last time your friend was excited about the actual moving process? Sure, you might be thrilled with your new place or the home you just purchased, but moving the actual stuff is a huge pain.

Second, moving is expensive. The cost of movers, boxes, your time, paying your friends to help, renting a truck — all of these expenses will add up quick.

Third, it’s never easy. Clearly, millions of Americans have experienced the moving process and not a single one has uncovered an “easy” way to do it. It’s simple, moving from one house to another, or one apartment to the next is tough.

That said, here are a few ways you can save money and work your way toward a more efficient move.

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Do NOT Use the Packing Peanuts

Listen, it’s fun to play around with the packing peanuts when you’re a child (or even when you’re an adult). But do you actually need those things? Why are they so popular? Instead of creating a huge mess every step of your move, use your own clothes, towels, and bedding for your move. It’s cheaper, easier to clean up, and your items won’t be littered with packing peanuts when you arrive at your new place. You can roll your shirts and sheets and help protect items that way. It’s more practical, useful and cheap.

Get Those Free Boxes

Boxes aren’t cheap when you buy in bulk. But what if you don’t buy them at all? Sure, we know, you need boxes. We aren’t saying don’t use them at all — that’s impossible. But we are saying you should be saving more money than you think when it comes to boxes.

Free cardboard boxes exist. Walk to your local liquor store, grocery store, restaurant, coffee shop and other places of business and ask them if they have extra boxes laying around. You’ll likely find that many places are just throwing these useful boxes away at the end of unloading into their location. You might even find boxes with handles, perfect for books or heavier items like electronics and cookware. Just ask at the business owners if there are any you can take off their hands. You might be surprised.

Friend & Family Discounts?

Hiring movers can and will take so much off of your plate. But what’s the cost? It’s expensive. There is no way around it. If you want to pay people to make your moving experience more efficient, that’s definitely a good idea. But what if you cannot afford it?

Think about providing a moving party for your family and friends. Ask them if they can help out with the move, and you’ll provide the pizza, beer and snacks for a night at your new place. You can make this event into a new housewarming party and it’ll be a great way to thank everyone for their help. Let’s be honest, none of your family and friends really enjoy helping you move, but if you thank them with some of their favorite local pizza and beer, you might be saving a fistful of money and getting the help you need with your move.

Get Organized Very Early

You likely have a great idea of the exact day you need to move. So, get started early! Put together a packing kit full of all the materials you’ll need to get started. After that, plan a few hours each day to get organized. Take a day to label boxes. Take another day to filter through old junk and throw away what you don’t need. Take the next day to put the materials into boxes and create a spreadsheet of inventory (this is important if you’re hiring movers). Put together an itinerary for the moving company so they know exactly where to put the stuff at your new place. You can also find out the moving rules and policies of your new place well in advance — you do NOT need to wait until the last minute to get started.

Make Friends with Your New Neighbors

Start off on the right foot in your new area of town. Let your neighbors know when you’ll be moving in and what kind of vehicles you’ll be using, just in case you take up too much space and block a driveway or parking spot. You don’t want to annoy your new neighbors on the first day.

You have plenty of time to plan once you’ve finalized your move date, so make sure you reach out to the people you’ll be living near to make them aware. It can do no harm. And maybe consider inviting them to the housewarming party — you never know if they’ll be the friends helping you with your next move!

Sam Radbil is an author at ABODO Apartments, an apartment marketplace website that makes apartment hunting easier for people all across the country. Check out their available apartments in Chicago, IL and follow along on Twitter at @ABODOapts.