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!)