Ace of Space: Guide to Simple, Low-Cost Moving


tips on movingIn a perfect world I'd love to move by bike. But I don't think my kittens would enjoy the ride. Prior to our move to Portland, Ore., my partner and I had a lot of discussions about our stuff, what we wanted to take with us and what our best options were for moving day.

Moving to a new apartment can be stressful and expensive. To minimize those issues we focused on five strategies:

1. Plan in advance.

Before you make your big move start planning ahead. It's easy to wait until the last minute to search for apartments and start your packing.

Consider:
  • Taking a trip to your new city to scope out apartments.
  • Making a list of items you want to take with you. Making a list of stuff you really want to take will help you determine whether or not you need a moving truck.
  • Picking up used boxes at your grocery store and start packing early.

2. Do a cost-benefit analysis.

Moving is expensive. It's essential to do a cost-benefit analysis before you run out and rent a U-Haul. For instance, after the cost of the U-Haul rental, insurance and gasoline, we would have spent between $400 and $500. For a fleeting moment I considered keeping our household stuff and taking on those moving costs. But we decided that the best way to save money and reduce stress meant selling most of our stuff and only keeping items we truly loved.

3. Sell or donate your stuff to a local charity.
One can furnish a room very luxuriously by taking out furniture rather than putting it in. – Francis Jourdain
We decided to donate and sell a majority of our household items. Moving with minimal stuff is cost-effective and a lot less stressful. It seems crazy, but once you arrive in your new city you can find beautiful and low-cost items from places like Craigslist and Freecycle. For example, we furnished our small studio apartment for under $100 and it looks fantastic!

4. Reduce, reduce, reduce.

Once you start selling and donating your stuff, reduce your possessions even further. I made the mistake of waiting til the last minute to reduce, reduce and reduce. As a result, we made a number of last-minute trips to the local Goodwill. Remember to plan in advance and set aside the time to sort through your stuff. Doing so will save you a lot of worry.

5. Accept help from friends and family.

If friends or family offer to help you move, say yes! Sometimes it's hard to accept help. However, having the support of friends and family members during such a big transition can make a huge difference.

When my parents offered to help us move to Portland, I was a little hesitant. I didn't want to take up their time. But in the end, I'm glad I said yes. We put all of our stuff in the back of their truck and drove to Portland. Our trip turned out to be a great adventure and a perfect way to spend quality time with my folks.

The Ace of Space is a biweekly column that will provide you with the tips and tools to live lightly and creatively in a small space.

Tammy Strobel blogs at RowdyKittens about simple living and is the author of Simply Car-free: How to Pedal Toward Financial Freedom and a Healthier Life.

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