Moving and Storage on the Cheap

movers moving furniture
Think cheap moving involve bribery with pizza and beer? You're not alone. Amy Stafford used this formula for several apartment moves off-campus during college and early in her working career. Only when Amy's inexpensive "freelance" movers "accidentally" kept several boxes of her stuff -- and disappeared -- did Amy realize she didn't know the first thing about moving safely on the cheap.

We've talked with experts to find out the best tips for moving safely -- and cheaply. If only Amy had known.

Cheap Moving: Plan Ahead

A last-minute move will cost you in more ways than one. Start your planning as early as possible to reduce costs and headaches. With advance notice, you'll have a better chance of enlisting the free-to-cheap assistance of family and friends, as well as time to source free moving items (such as boxes) from your local store. Planning your move in advance also gives you time to sell unnecessary items. Selling items can raise additional funds to cover moving costs.

Reduce, Reduce, Reduce

Before any move, carefully evaluate all of your possessions to determine which items must go with you and which items can be put in storage, sold or, even better, donated to others. This task may seem monumental until you consider the fiscal benefits of reducing the items that you're moving. Keep in mind that fewer items means less to box (saving you time), less to transport (saving you fuel), and less to manage (saving your sanity). Donate excess items to civic or charitable organizations, or friends and family. Don't fill the landfill with usable items.


Move Yourself or Pay Wisely

The cheapest way to move anywhere is to move yourself. Hands down it is the most cost-effective if you aren't moving large furniture. Moving yourself is not less expensive if you'll spend more time than necessary carting things up and down stairs (especially if you'll miss work to do it). If you value your time, hire help.

Hiring movers or Man With a Van-type hired brawn can be cost effective. While friends and family might accept beer and pizza as payment, most movers -- even independent ones -- will request cold, hard cash. But get recommendations to avoid movers who help themselves to your possessions with a five-finger discount. Determine costs up-front, but pay after your items are moved. Tip generously.


Moving and Storage

"Self-moving, or 'container moving' is a growing trend," reports John Hall, president of Hall Lane Moving and Storage in New York. "You rent a container and either fill it yourself or hire labor to fill it. Then, we move the container for you. You can unload it yourself or hire help on the other end."

A container move can happen locally or interstate. According to Hall, "This method of moving can save between 30 to 40 percent" compared to the cost of traditional moving vans and movers. It may also be the best of both worlds when it comes to economy versus hired movers.


Rent the Smallest Moving Van

Aren't ready to use a container? Reserve the smallest moving van early because the smaller, and cheaper, moving vans tend to be booked first. If you are unsure about the size you'll need, estimate it by the number of rooms (kitchen, living room, bedrooms) of stuff that you'll be moving. Moving companies have size estimates that are quite helpful.

Again, it's good to reduce possessions. If you can fit all your belongings in your vehicle, this is even better when it comes to moving on the cheap. Do not underestimate the cost savings by reducing possessions first.


Trade Services

If you need help moving, another way to reduce costs is to trade skills or services. If you have a friend or family member willing to help you move, you can trade your professional know-how or other skill in return. Write up a simple agreement that outlines what you'll offer in exchange for moving help. Be sure to include the time frame for delivery and what constitutes a finished project -- to ensure that both parties are happy with the arrangement and consider it a fair trade. You may find that the skills you use every day might also help you pay for your move.

When it comes to moving on the cheap, weigh your options carefully. A complete do-it-yourself move can save money but cost valuable time. Movers can be extremely helpful, or, as Amy discovered the hard way, thieves in disguise. If you hire movers, pay for professionals and get references. Consider "container moving" as a method that gives you the best budget-friendly options while also using the services of professionals.


Interested in more moving tips? AOL Real Estate has other great guides that might help: ************************************************

Want to learn more about home buying and home finance? If so, you won't want to miss
our online discussion with industry experts,
"What Works Now: Smart Moves When Buying a Home,"
created by AOL Real Estate in participation with Bank of America Home Loans.

Watch it now on AOL Real Estate.

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Simon Slater

These are good points. As a guy who has used Man with a van services. The key is to get a an that is pre screened. That is why I suggest using a man with a van site like vanstand.com.

April 09 2011 at 3:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lee

We are in the process of selling our home up north, we presently have a home in Florida, fully furnished, so we don't need all the furniture and all the nic-nacs that we have aquired over the years plus a shed loaded with wood working machines and many tools.Children have their own homes so they don't need much.What can I do ?????????????

January 22 2011 at 7:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aaron

having my girlfriend move to washington from southern california i learned alot about different moving scams having almost been involved in one. originally we were quoted $1100 to move 2300 pounds. a day before delivery i received a phone call and was told the price had gone up by 400 for being over weight. i consulted my brother who works for a freight brokage firm and he told me it was most likely a scam. i requested that the drivers meet me at a CAT scale so i could weight the truck. then when we unloaded it we were right on weight and recieved a refund on the spot

January 22 2011 at 3:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Audrey, CA

Last time I moved, I shipped everything that could possible go into a box by UPS. Only things on the moving truck were large furniture items. I hired a car carrier to ship my car and I filled my car with possessions that I hadn't shipped by UPS. It was quite cost effective doing it this way. The stuff in the car was mainly breakable stuff and some valuables, but the driver was with it at all times and was insured and bonded.

January 21 2011 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Audrey, CA

Last time I moved, I shipped everything that could possible go into a box by UPS. Only things on the moving truck were large furniture items. I hired a car carrier to ship my car and I filled my car with possessions that I hadn't shipped by UPS. It was quite cost effective doing it this way. The stuff in the car was mainly breakable stuff and some valuables, but the driver was with it at all times and was insured and bonded.

January 21 2011 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JACK

if you are moving overseas, check with at least 3 different carriers, found container shipping prices to differ considerbly, from $1950 to $3500 for same size container, Jack

January 21 2011 at 9:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
zmrc7

The cheapest way to move anywhere is to move yourself. Hands down it is the most cost-effective if you aren't moving large furniture. Moving yourself is not less expensive if you'll spend more time than necessary carting things up and down stairs (especially if you'll miss work to do it). If you value your time, hire help.I am an Air Force and single at present .I need a woman who can love me back ..I also uploaded my hot photos on Uniformedmingle .c om under the name of hoho212..It's the largest and best club for seeking Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Police Force, and the admirers of those who wear the uniform.I just hope you don't mind me being a soldier ...Please Check it out!I'm serious.

January 21 2011 at 9:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to zmrc7's comment
lcvlgfh

A complete do-it-yourself move can save money but cost valuable time. Movers can be extremely helpful, or, as Amy discovered the hard way, thieves in disguise. If you hire movers, pay for professionals and get references. Consider "container moving" as a method that gives you the best budget-friendly options while also using the services of professionals.btw,I'm a doctor,30 ,rich but still single.It's hard to get a girlfriend in my town ,most of them like my money more than like me.I just want to find my true love.so i uploaded my hot photos on millionairesocial .c om under the name of hotlove2.u dont have to be a millionaire,but u can meet one there. ..if you girls see this comment,i hope you will check my photos out there.maybe you are the one whom i'm looking for!!!

January 21 2011 at 11:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
setgrehrvc

stuff -- and disappeared -- did Amy realize she didn't know the first thing about moving safely on the cheap.I am an Air Force and seek ing someone .I need a woman who can love me back ...I also uploaded my hot photos on kissmilitary.com nder the name of jay55..It's the largest and best club for seek ing Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Police Force, and the admirers of those who wear the uniform.I just hope you don't mind me being a soldier ...Please Check it out!I'm serious

January 22 2011 at 3:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply