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Long Distance Moving on the Cheap

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

We're considering moving from one coast to the other. We would be driving cross country in our 12 passenger van. I'm thinking of hitching a U-Haul trailer onto the back and taking what we can fit into that.

 

My questions are:

 

- What are your tips for making a long distance move on the cheap?

 

- What are the essentials to pack, things we shouldn't get rid of before we move? In other words, what we do absolutely have to take with us?

post #2 of 9

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I'm interested too.

post #3 of 9

So, here's what we are doing... DH has gone ahead and is setting up 'home' on that end.  The kids and I stayed put while he does that.  

 

Some things are being shipped ahead (lighter things- stuffed animals that DD is super attached to, some clothes (winter gear that fits, out of season clothes we are really attached to) that sort of thing.

 

Other things are traveling with us (heavy wooden toys that would be REALLY expensive to ship,  musical instruments, jewelry, computers.)  Some baby stuff will go with us as well.   

 

Furniture isn't invited- the cost of taking it is prohibitive.  We've hit up craigslist and  other free/cheap options for the immediate. I totally have a FUCHSIA sleeper sofa in perfect condition- hmm- wonder why that was never used... that DH found in a furniture store backroom super cheap. We'll use it for now, then it is going into DD's room for friends to use when they are over.  It's her favorite color. :) 

 

When I get there, I will invest in new kitchen stuff- I don't love what I have, so I've saved money just to do that there.  Furniture will be upgraded from the cheap stuff to the things we really love over a period of time. 

 

For us, it's a purge and start over approach, but it allows a lot of stability for the kids because they simply move into a new- and already furnished- home. 

 

 

post #4 of 9

A year ago we moved from southern California to western Oregon.  We did it by renting a u-haul, packing it to the gills and trailering DH's truck behind it and packing that to the gills.  I drove up my car separately with DS and the pets.  We collected our moving boxes from book stores as they are usually compact and very strong and also used our sheets and towels for packing.

 

For us, it turned out to be cheaper to bring our furniture that it was to buy new stuff once we settled into our new place.  Our entire move cost us about $2,000.  Not cheap, but we saved a ton of money by not hiring movers.

 

A friend recently moved and hired movers and they have pulled the ultimate scam on her- once they arrived at their destination, they said that it cost more to move than they thought and demanded more money.  She couldn't pay, so they put everything in storage and won't let her have it until she pays up.  Awful.  This is why I'd rather just save money, put in some extra effort, and do it myself.

post #5 of 9

We moved from about 10 minutes south of you to NC last year. We got rid of all of the back yard toys. (My kids were bummed to see stuff like the playhouse, the Little Tykes car, etc go, but we knew we wouldn't have the room to store or take those.) We filled the largest storage unit with our stuff. (We emptied our house before we sold it to make it look bigger.) We rented the biggest U-haul so that we'd have extra room, just in case.

 

I got boxes from various liquor stores in the area. The liquor store in the Kmart plaza was much more generous than the liquor store near Target and WalMart near you. (The 1st store let me load my car up with boxes, while the 2nd store let me take 3. Uhhh... 3? Its not even worth my gas or time to drive there for 3 small boxes!) The free artsy newspaper is good for wrapping valuables. (Don't they change it on Thursdays? So maybe Wednesday evenings would be good to grab a whole bunch cause the untaken ones would just get picked up and recycled.) Big Lots will save their boxes for you, if you call in the morning and ask them to do so. The small grocery store in the regional market also has tons of empty boxes.

 

It is cheaper to rent a truck on a weekday vs on Saturday or Sunday. We also had a 10% off coupon for Budget trucks, which Uhaul price matched Budget's price for the truck one size down. (Budget doesn't have a truck the size of U-Haul's largest.) We paid about $1300 for the truck rental. (That included 4 days of use and about 750 miles.) Oh, and we towed our car, so the $100 for the tow dolly rental was in that price too. Gas didn't cost as much as we thought it would. Maybe $200 for the whole trip down? (Gas was also less expensive a year ago.) uhaul.com and budget.com should be able to give you an idea of rental pricing.

 

There's also those huge crates (Pods?) you can pack and they ship the whole thing for you to your new destination, but I think those are pretty expensive. The cost of our Uhaul plus gas and the tow dolly cost significantly less than what a family member paid for a POD a few years before, and they still got a moving truck for stuff that didn't fit in the POD.

 

We boxed everything ourselves, and we and some friends helped us pack the truck (and unload it when we got down here). 

 

We kept practically all of our furniture. Everything was 5 years old or newer and good quality stuff that's in excellent shape. We knew that if we sold it on Craigslist, we'd never be able to get nearly out of it what we paid, and who knows what we'd be able to get for the same money after moving. Not to mention, I didn't want to deal with the hassles of selling it and then the hassle of trying to get stuff in the new city from Craigslist, freecycle, thrift stores, etc. I wanted to unpack the truck and set up our beds and put the dressers in the rooms so that we could just settle down.

 

I highly recommend renting for at least a year before buying a house so that you can get used to the area and can figure out where you want to settle. So glad that we did not buy a house in the town where we originally stayed because I love the town we live in now so much better. (And we'll hopefully be getting a house here soon!)

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmysticprincessx View Post


There's also those huge crates (Pods?) you can pack and they ship the whole thing for you to your new destination, but I think those are pretty expensive. The cost of our Uhaul plus gas and the tow dolly cost significantly less than what a family member paid for a POD a few years before, and they still got a moving truck for stuff that didn't fit in the POD.

 


When we were preparing for our move, I got a quote for a POD and while it was initially far, far more expensive than U-Haul, they ended up coming down in price to match U-Haul.  If someone wanted to go this route, all you have to do is tell them your budget and they will probably match it.  In the end, we chose U-Haul becuase it allowed us a bit more storage space than a POD.

 

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
I highly recommend renting for at least a year before buying a house so that you can get used to the area and can figure out where you want to settle.

 

That's what we're planning to do.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

So, I think we've gotten to the point where we've decided not to take any furniture with us (maybe two mattresses, if they fit in the trailer), but dh and I are having trouble agreeing on how much other stuff to take.

post #9 of 9

We've moved over 1000 miles twice.  Both times, we took hardly anything. One time, we just took what we could fit into our 2 cars.  The second time, my dad drove down with us in a 12 passenger van (minus the seats) and we just took what we could fit in our van and his van (stuffed to the gills).

 

The first time, we sold almost all our furniture, shipped books media mail and kept clothes and a few toys.  All our furniture was old, 2nd hand anyway, so it wasn't much to replace.

 

The 2nd time, we took bunk beds, several mattresses, clothes, toys, and kitchen stuf, computer, tv.  We shipped books.  Once we got down, we slowly acquired couches, dining room table, chairs, ete for free or very cheap.

 

My advice is to take things that 1) you will need right away (like clothes), 2) think that can't be replaced cheaply (like maybe matresses that you can't get used)

 

Anything you can imagine yourself living without for a couple weeks or months (before replacing) get rid of.  As long as you aren't in a hurry to replace anything and are willing to wait until you can get it free (or cheaply) you're good.  The send time, we went several months with only 4 dining room chairs for 5 people and the youngest had  to share.

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