Moving is usually expensive and always stressful. I’ve done more than my share over the years, but doing it so often has taught me some helpful lessons for efficient moving. So before you pack, consider these four ways to make your next move less painful.
1) Rent a truck but hire muscle.
If you own very little, bribing friends with pizza and beer and borrowing a pickup will work fine. Beyond that, consider renting a moving truck and then hiring professional movers to load and unload. Services like emove.com list providers in your area, complete with customer reviews. And if your move isn’t local, you can hire one set of burly guys to load and a different set to unload. And it tends to only cost a few hundred dollars.
Important tip: When you reserve movers, describe your situation well so they send the right people. When I moved out of a three-story townhouse, the company sent one man suited for the job and one that was undersized. It took forever.
2) If you need storage, go portable.
Those portable storage units (like PODS, though there are several comparable companies) you see outside people’s homes are a great idea if your move out and move in do not coincide. They deliver the container, you load it and lock it, and then they store it until you need it delivered to your new location. The biggest benefit is this saves you from having to load and unload the truck twice using a traditional storage locker.
Important tip: For the time your stuff is in the container, you don’t have easy access to it so pack carefully and make sure you have all the necessities with you.
3) If time is short, hire it out.
The last time I moved we had to do it quickly so we hired a moving company to do it all. We got three in-home estimates and checked out online reviews to make our choice. A team of five guys came and packed our entire house, wrapped everything carefully, loaded the truck, drove forty miles, and unloaded it all in the same day. They brought all the boxes and materials they needed as well. It was the most painless move ever, although it did cost us $3,000.
Important tip: Move the expensive electronics yourself. The standard insurance you get from the company normally only covers items for pennies on the dollar so you want to make sure to handle the most valuable stuff personally.
4) Keep the boxes!
Unless this is your last move, find a way to keep your boxes. You spent a lot of time collecting them (or money buying them) so break them down and store them flat and you can generally find room in a closet, attic, shed, or garage. Next time you move, you’ll already have all the boxes you need.
Important tip: If you can’t store your boxes, don’t just toss them. Consider selling them at a garage sale or online marketplace. Boxes aren’t cheap and someone out there will pay good money for what seems like trash to you.