BIG List of Moving Tips and Tricks!

Moving Tips Budget

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I received the following question from frugal friend Lena…

“I am moving on March 1st, and would love some frugal ideas and tips for moving on a budget.  Any suggestions??”

Check out this BIG List of Moving Tips and Tricks in the comments below!

Do you have any tips or tricks for moving??  Leave a comment and share!

See Also:
Safe Way to Move Plates

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  1. Emily says

    You can get free boxes from stores like Wal-Mart, Fry’s ect. Just go up to the customer service center and let them know. They will ask for more info and tell you what time to come back and pick them up. Most of the time it’s the next morning.
    I hope this helps!

  2. MissLady says

    When I had to move on a budget I went to local stores and asked them if I could have any boxes. I suggest going to a store like k-mart because they get shipments daily and usually have a lot of good sturdy boxes compared to the type of box that you would get from a grocery store.
    I also had family help me with moving so that cut costs. If there is anything that you could sell and buy later I suggest doing thatand also getting rid of any clutter so that you will have les to pack since you won’t need it. Donating anything that may be of use to the local salvation army or chairty and some of them will come to your home and pick it up for you.
    If you have need a moving company, moving during the week is also cheaper because most of them have a weekend premium rate they charge so shop around for a good price if you will be hiring a company.
    Lastly, I suggest you start packing things early and label your boxes so that you won’t have stress along the way and when you move things will be organised.

    Well wishes!

  3. Emily says

    Also hold onto newspapers, plastic & paper bags to wrap glass and valuables in.
    These are some of the things I did to prepare for our recent move.
    If you live in the Northern MS area I will give you alot of the paper and boxes I have left.

  4. Myra says

    Along with getting free boxes, make sure to get change of address forms from the Post Office. There are often coupons for local businesses in there that may be of use for you. Also, I suggest taking a carload of stuff prior to the big move. This will help the hired movers or truck to be done more quickly. Also, I suggest packing clothes into garbage bags as opposed to bulky expensive wardrobe boxes. They are more maleable that way and can be stuffed in between things as padding instead of being its own large box.

  5. MP says

    In addition to bags and newspapers to wrap breakables in, fliers and pages from old magazines you don’t want anymore are good, too.

    Fabric eco-shopping bags can also take the place of boxes – they’re easy to carry and you can carry multiple in each hand at one time. Lighter things can also be thrown into garbage bags, luggage, bread baskets, and containers that are usually used in the home – You’re going to be taking them with you anyway, they might as well be full.

    Sell unwanted books at used book stores.

    • Lola says

      I have found I enjoy wrapping breakable kitchen items with my kitchen towels. Bathroom items with small bath towels, etc. Since the items were clean I just refolded and put away in the proper place.

      I also have found packing a small breakable item or more inside a plastic pitcher helps to keep breakable items well cushioned.

      My sister in law packs many bags and keeps them well cushioned with the items inside and these fill gaps in the uhaul trailer.

  6. Ying says

    I collected boxes from work – or do like the previous suggestions and ask around at grocery stores. I also saved newspapers to wrap fragile items.

    The last time we moved, I made it about a 3-4 week long process. I started packing the things I knew we wouldn’t need or could do without in the next few weeks (starting with decorative things). Everyday, I packed additional items until the week before we moved, finally packing the last of the things – it came down to the kitchen as the last room to pack (food and the few last dishes we need to use to eat). Label the boxes clearly as to what room in the new house they should go to.

    When we moved, we rented a U-haul and invited friends over to help. By that time, the house was already packed in boxes (thanks to me) so all they boys had to do was pack the truck. We bought them beer and burgers as a thank-you and were done in half a day.

    It took a lot of work on my part to pack everything myself, but we only ended up spending money on the rental truck and food for our help!

  7. Emily says

    We bought the different patterns of duck tape, designated a color per room, and put a square of that color on the side of the box for the room it was to go to. It cost a few $ more than just markers, but made our move go a whole lot smoother.

    • Lynn Marie Caissie says

      That’s what I do, but with coloured dots. The green dots go in the kitchen, the blue dots are for the living/dining rooms, the yellow dots are for the bedrooms, etc. It’s easy to put dots on 3 or 4 sides of the boxes for easy identification.

  8. Melanie says

    I grew up in a military family and moved a lot! Here’s what I learned:
    * Put the items that you will need right away in one box that is clerarly labeled – things like a set of bed sheets, a few towels, stuff you’ll need the first night.
    * Label all the boxes with the room that the contents will end up in. That way, the movers (or friends) can put the box in the correct room without having to ask you for each one.

  9. Laura says

    We moved 2,500 miles last year and rented our own moving truck. There are usually deals out there for the truck if you call around. I also used blankets and clothes to keep breakables safe. I think everyone else has covered the rest!

  10. says

    I’m part of a military family and move quite a bit. The thing I recommend to my friends the most is WhiteFence is a site where you can order and compare phone, cable, satellite, electricity, high-speed Internet. You can also change your address through the USPS.

    • Sandy Morgan says

      Awesome ! Thanks! As a military wife getting ready to move , this is helpful and I will pass this information to other wives here as well !

  11. Lolly Friend says

    Never buy packing materials. Stop by your favorite Chick-fil-A and ask them to save you all their boxes. The fry boxes are especially perfect for stacking, and they are big enough to be useful but small enough to pack heavy things in. Cup and napkin boxes are also great if you want something a bit larger.
    Also, invite some strong friends to help you load/ unload. Feed them pizza for their trouble; its way cheaper than hiring movers.

  12. Donna Gates says

    Liquour stores have the best boxes cause they have handles in the sides on most boxes. Get rid of stuff you know longer want/need on freecycle before the move. Pack stuff you don’t need first. When you get to your new place set up the things you packed last which was stuff you use on a daily basis, clothes, dishes, beds, kids stuff and set up right away especially beds for kids. Like the others said mark your boxes for which rooms to go to so you only move them once.

    • Jennifer says

      Liquor store boxes also come with cardbord inserts for bottles that are amazing for packing things like glasses or vases. I love Spec’s. You can pull up to the unloading dock and they will fill your car up with boxes.

  13. says

    Call a local newspaper or printing company and ask for “End Rolls”. Most usually give them away for FREE. Use this “ink free” paper to wrap things that need to be wrapped. You can ask for a couple of them and it will work.

    For wrapping breakable plates and such:
    Get some cheap foam plates at a Dollar Store or somewhere. Stack the plates by alternating regular plate, foam plate, regular plate, foam plate. Do as many as you feel safe wrapping together. It helps prevent them for “clanking” together and breaking. Wrap each stack in a towel for ‘bumper” protection.

    For silverware: Band all the forks together and rubber band them. Do the same for the rest of the silverware and put it right back in the tray. Slip the tray into a plastic bag and pack with kitchen stuff. Everything stays together for easy unpacking.

    For clothes that are hangers: Take 13 gallon kitchen bags. Cut a small slit in the bottom of the bag(the sealed end) wide enough to fit 8-10 hangers. Bunch some of the clothes together and slip the bag over the clothes and the hangers through the small slit. Tie the bag at the open using the “handles” of the bag. The hangers will be sticking out for easy carrying, but the clothes will be protected in case of “Dropping”. When you get to the new house, place clothes in your new closet, rip the bags off and your closet is almost organized already!

    Hope you have a smooth and easy move!

    • Tara says

      Good tip & not just for when moving. I use foam plates in between my Teflon coated pots & pans to protect the non-stick surface & in between my glass casserole dishes.

    • Janelle says

      The comment above, if you don’t want to put a hole in your garbage bag just put your clothes in the bag and tie it around your hangers. Plus the force flex bags work wonders. you pay a little more but you can STUFF them full! They also stretch around the hangers!

  14. LL says

    We have moved many times. Here are suggestions to help with the cost. 1. Hire loaders and unloaders on each end, but rent the moving truck and do the driving yourself. This will save you LOTS of money, particularly if you can move during the week or are moving across state lines. 2. While you’re packing and shredding, save the shredding for packing. It will help your breakables make the trip safely. 3. Look for online coupons, call for pricing, compare, compare, compare. The loaders we used cost $250 less because we used a pair NOT from the U-Haul site we rented our truck from. However, they were U-Haul site owners, so they knew exactly what the specials were, when to rent, were efficient packers, and worked like dogs to get it done. Cannot say enough about them AND they were inexpensive (we were able to tip generously, based on what they saved us). 4. BEFORE you move in, walk through the house and make simple repairs, paint and clean. It isn’t cheap if you spill on your furniture and it isn’t nice to move into someplace that’s not as clean as you’d like it. 5. See if you can’t overlap your move; have at least a week when you have the ability to “live” both places. This allows you to have a tag/estate sale at the old place for the things you can’t move, but also allows you to see what does and doesn’t fit in the new place. Plus you get some cash for the move. A professional should be able to help you with this for 20-30% of the take. Or, get some friends together, pay them a percentage to help you with the sale, and advertise in the paper, on Craigslist and on estate websites. Take pictures of the big/good stuff and post those to get the most traffic. Then have a charity pick-up available a day or two before you have to be out of the old place and take your tax deduction. 6) When you get to the new house, there will be stuff that you can’t believe you moved. If you have enough, have a garage sale, otherwise, find a place to donate it in your new town. Schedule the pick-up for 2 weeks after your move. It will make you motivated to go through and unpack. Another fun idea is to invite your new neighbors for a free “garage sale” gift and a cup of coffee or lemonade. It’s a good way to make new friends, eye the babysitters in the neighborhood, or get your teenagers hired to mow the grass, shovel snow or babysit.

  15. Amy T says

    Get the free boxes, then do this!

    ALL boxes with kitchen items, color a RED square with a marker in one corner, then using a black Sharpie write 1. Then, get a 3×5 card and color a top corner RED and write “Kitchen – box 1″, then write all the contents of that box. This will make it easier when you unpack OR if you need to find something you have already packed! :-)

  16. Bertrice says

    Be cautious about using garbage bags. There are many horror stories out there about things being trashed that were not trash.

    If you have real china (dinnerware) do not wrap in newspaper. It will make permanent stains.

    Use towels and sheets to wrap wall art.

    Use GIANT marker to write GLASS or UP [with an arrow] on boxes that have delicate items.

    Back up all your computer data ahead of time.

    Use a garage sale, Freecycle or Craigslist to get rid of stuff beforehand.

    Have a NEED IT FIRST box or two. Toiletries, change of clothes, towels…

  17. says

    friends, beer, pizza and free boxes! I also recommend getting a larger-size uhaul than you may think you need. if you don’t use all the space, the $20 increased charge would certainly be wasted, but in my experience i always under-estimate the amount of stuff i have, and end up driving the u-haul on two trips or leading a caravan of friends’ cars carrying the rest of my boxes. when i choose to go up a truck size I can make one trip, no extra cars, no extra gas! and filling a u-haul tank for a second trip costs a lot more than the difference in the rates for the next-size truck.

  18. says

    friends, beer, pizza and free boxes! I recommend getting a larger-size uhaul than you may think you need. if you don’t use all the space, the $20 increased charge would certainly be wasted, but in my experience i always under-estimate the amount of stuff i have, and end up driving the u-haul on two trips or leading a caravan of friends’ cars carrying the rest of my boxes. when i choose to go up a truck size I can make one trip, no extra cars, no extra gas! and filling a u-haul tank for a second trip costs a lot more than the difference in the rates for the next-size truck.

  19. Melony says

    I am a interior decorator in Northeast MS and I have moved a lot during the course of my life. I have found that it is always helpful to have a moving sale before moving to your new home. Not only will there be less to pack, but you will also have a few extra bucks to help with the moving expenses. Getting rid of old decor that you are not going to use in your new place or clothing that no longer fits means less packing=)
    You could also use the extra money for new decor! Hope this helps….

  20. Rosalind says

    Use your blankets as cushions for breakables like mirrors I use quilts. glass tables and such. I use everything I have that can do two jobs. The less you have to rent when moving the more you save. bubble wrap also comes in handy if you can keep it stored
    when you receive boxes in the mail don’t throw it away. Good for small breakables.

  21. Cara says

    Kendra, those are some great tips! We’ve moved about 10 times now (military family), but I got some new ideas today.

    I like to use my linens to line fragile boxes and pack around things that need a little padding. This saves on excess packing paper, and it cuts down on separate boxes for sheets, blankets & towels.

    We check the “Free” section of for boxes. Besides being a great source for cheap boxes, some people will just give them away.

  22. Christine says

    Face it, Lena. You come from a family of packrats. Fight the urge and purge!!!! Really weed your stuff – anything you don’t use, get rid of it. Sell that stuff on craigslist or donate to Goodwill. If you donate, get your receipt for taxes. Weed your bookshelves!!! Take books you don’t need to a used bookstore. No more “but I might need that some day.” Get rid of it!! Also, you can usually buy the end of the roll of newsprint from the local newspaper for less than a couple bucks a roll. Buy several rolls for wrapping up your dishes and other breakables. Since it is unused newsprint, it’ll save you from having to wash dishes when you get there like you would with newspaper. If you can, put a set of sheets, blankets, towels, etc in one drawer of your dresser where it will be easily found for that first night in the new place. Or put them in a box that goes with you and can be easily found. If you don’t have to wear them, use your winter coats to pack the tv or computer monitors. Don’t pack any blankets, use those to cover all wood furniture when you load the truck. Check craigslist for free boxes from others who have recently moved or get from WalMart, Kmart, etc. Clearly label the boxes as to where they go (and in smaller print – identify what type of stuff is in each box). When you’re dying for a homecooked meal and haven’t gotten everything unboxed yet – that box labeled POTS will be a godsend.

  23. Holly says

    THE BEST BOXES ARE AT SUPER 1 if you have one close by. They are the milk boxes that hold 4 gallons of milk and you DO NOT HAVE TO TAPE… saves time and $$$$. They hold quite a bit of weight, you can get tons at a time usually, and they stack nicely since they are all the same size. You can get more in the truck that way… again saves time and $$$$. That way you only need boxes of a different size for really large items.
    Wrap fragile items and your dishes with sheets, blankets, pillow cases, tshirts, socks are a great glass filler, your fabris scraps work too! Then yoo can use your drawers for pictures and special items and just slide the drawers into the dresser after it has already been put on the truck. LABEL… just a black marker… but oh man that is something you will thank yourself for later. Garbage bags are a great way to pack stuffed animals, pillows, etc.
    Pack a suitcase for each of you in case you can’t get to your belongings in time or in case of an accident.
    Pack a ziploc sandwich bag full of dog food for the pooch for each meal and add a couple extra just in case.
    Pack in order… meaning pack within a month of your move date starting with decorative, out of season wardrobes (hint: these can be used to wrap the fragile items at the same time) and “non-necessity” items as far as a month in advance, and dwindle down each week to the bare necessities just the days before the move. This also frees up the walls in case you have to paint before you leave.
    Hope this helps! Happy Packing!

  24. Laurie Brown says

    I used my clothes and towels to wrap breakables in rather than newspaper since they need to be packed anyway. For some breakables I used paper towels which I saved to clean with later. Check to see if you get a lot of furniture blankets with the rental truck for free. If not you may want to stock up on really cheap ones from the salvation army or goodwill. For some reason some of our blankets got used and they never came clean. I put the stuff I’d need right away in our luggage in the car along with my houseplants. I preferred the boxes from the liquor store but also got some from Walmart and other friends that had moved recently. There is no doubt that starting early, being organized and labeling well really help in the long run. I couldn’t talk my husband into selling anything before we moved. It may save work but will in some cases cost more in the long run. Moving is a great excuse to declutter but he figured it isn’t cheap to sell something for pennies and then pay more to replace it. Though in our case it may have been cheaper since we ended up having to rent an extra truck at the last minute and I would have loved to replace some of our old worn out furniture. I just suggest you keep that in mind when you plan your garage sale. The 3 times we’ve moved, the biggest expense for us was having more rooms to furnish. (our first apartment was one small room) If you are moving because of a job, you can check to see if they pay for any part of moving. Ours covered the gas for all vehicles used for the move. We would have hired movers if the company had paid for them but we are too cheap to hire them otherwise and luckily we have friends and family willing to help us move 10 hrs away (twice). The first time in below zero weather. The second time with me taking care of a 3 week old and recovering from a c section unable to help. My family became old pros at it by the last time especially since all 3 of my siblings had also moved that year.

  25. Shelly :) says

    As far as insuring a smooth move the best thing we did when we moved from our townhouse/condo to our house now was I labeled EVERY box. For example Master Bedroom or Kitchen (and what was in the box). I then put labels on where I wanted things for example the plates/cups in the kitchen or the bed set up in the master bedroom. It was great because our friends were able to unpack our stuff (I know that was sneaky of me) hehe :) It was so nice to not feel like we were overwhelmed with boxes.

    Also in the experience of helping others moved, PLEASE be as packed as you can be. Numerous times, we have shown up to help them PACK and then move. They end up spending more on the truck because they weren’t prepared.

  26. Katie says

    For packing up that LCD TV, we bought U-Haul mirror/art boxes. Our 42″ TV fit in the largest mirror/art box with two layers of big bubble wrap. We also padded the box with beach towels to fill any gaps. It made it perfectly fine in the semi from Florida to Illinois!

  27. Lizzy says

    We move (long distance moves) every year. Here are some thing I’ve learned to do:
    1) Get caught up on laundry asap. Even if you don’t get it all folded, trash bags full of clean clothes are better than dirty ones!
    2) Start packing up the toy room/guest room now. This keeps your house cleaner during the next few weeks (and free’s up your daily straightening time for packing). Plus, you can use that room to store packed boxes. And, the kids are SUPER excited to unpack all of their toys once the move is done!
    3) Boxes: Seem to be covered. If you live in/near a larger city, check out craigslist. We’ve had GREAT luck there. If you’re using a moving company, ask if they have any used ones they could give you. If they know you’re getting quotes from others, they may try to win you over.
    4) Leave out 5-7 outfits per person and pack the rest.
    5) Tape: get it in bulk at Costco. It’s WAY cheaper than Walmart.
    6) If you have multiple bathrooms, clean one and lock everyone out.
    7) Clean out your fridge a few days before the move. Sure, you might live on cereal and sandwiches for a couple of days. But, it beats cramming the entire contents of your refrigerator & freezer into overstuffed trashcans and scrubbing old spills at the last minute. Also, start eating what you have. It’ll help out this month’s grocery bill & less to move or throw out :)
    8) Do all sorting ahead of time. Try to throw things away in the weeks before the move so that you don’t have to pay extra trash fees later.
    9) If you’re paying movers, get rid of any furniture that you don’t like or won’t fit in the new house.
    10) If renting a truck, book it early!
    11) If possible, store packed boxes in the garage. It keeps you from having to get through the maze and makes it easier for the movers.
    12) Label, label, label…not just “Kitchen”. More like, “Kitchen-toaster, place mats, dishtowels”
    Good Luck!!

  28. Sarah says

    The free boxes and wrapping is key! Craigslist is a good one for moving supplies. It is also easier if you use the same size boxes for the majority of your things. Makes loading the truck way easier. If you are moving close to your current home, get the cheap moving truck with unlimited miles. Its a pain to have to go back and forth but is a lot less expensive than the larger trucks. If you are moving across states like I did recently… Penske trucks tend to be cheaper than U-haul for those kind of moves. Start packing at least a week before you think you need to… It’s amazing how much “stuff” we actually have. The more organized you are, the smoother the move. If you have friends or family to help…use them! And trust me, they will be appreciative if you are ready for them to just load and go on the day of versus waiting for you to pack more boxes. Good luck!

  29. Bridget Soyars says

    We moved just before Thanksgiving, so I hope I can offer you a few tips.

    *Use (virtually every area has one) and reqest boxes and packing papers. Craigslist is another free resource. Walmart 1st thing in the a.m. is a great time to get free boxes too.

    * Keep clothes on their hangers and just load them into your car.

    *Declutter NOW! Donate items you aren’t TRULY using. Freecycle, Goodwill etc… they would all love your extra things.

    * Try to get occupancy rights at least 1 day early (before you have to vacate your current residence). This allows you to get in there and clean, move breakables, etc.

    * Pack 3 tote bags for your car – 1 for quick snack foods & drinks(to sustain you during the move). 1 for Toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning products. 1 for toothpaste/brushes, medications and 1 pair of pj’s for each person ~ you will not want to dig for these things after a hard day of unpacking. Best wishes!

  30. Emily says

    Purge Purge Purge! My husband and I once did a move in 24 hours start to finish (we knew the move was coming at some point but didn’t know when exactly) and I had gotten rid of a ton of stuff the month or so prior and that was an enormous help. And yes – no need to pay for packing boxes/material.

  31. Anne says

    Definately can get boxes off of Craigslist. Most of the time for free.

    You can also purcsase used boxes from big moving companies like United Vanlines. They don’t always have them, but they might.

    Packing paper – Contact your local newspaper. They will sell you rolls of unprinted news print. It can be a pain to tear apart, but definately cheaper than buying packing paper from Uhaul or the like. I never like using regular newspaper because the ink gets on everything.

  32. Kristie says

    Boxes from the liquor store are awesome – free and usually in abundance. Last move we made, I took daily trips to several “ABC” stores (here in NC, the state owns all hard liquor stores) to load up on boxes. Also – look to Kinkos/FedEx Office for paper boxes. They have handles and usually they toss them out in the dumpster (or you might even be able to talk them into holding some boxes for you).

    One thing to remember – when you pack heavy things (like books), use small boxes. The tendency to pack books in a big box will just make it impossible to move.

  33. Laura T says

    Have a folder with all your important documents travel only with you. Birth certificates, emergency numbers, connecting utility information and close-out utility information, orders, etc. As a retired military spouse, one of my jobs was to keep up with that and know where it was at all times.

  34. Jill says

    LABEL, LABEL, LABEL. I am retired military and last time I moved I had no problem sorting into the correct rooms when we unloaded because of big Sharpie labels on at least the top and one side of each box. BR-1=Master bedroom, BR-2=next bedroom down the hall, KT=kitchen, DR=dining room, BA-1, first bathroom, CL=closet, ST=storage, etc…A sign on the front door with a hand-drawn floor plan and I never had to explain to anyone where the boxes belonged. We had close to 250 boxes (six kids)and it went like clockwork. Only the large furniture had to be sorted and that was mostly obvious. Good luck.

  35. [email protected] says

    If you have a college nearby and need man power; contact the fraternities. They have to do something philanthropic and are use to moving in and out of the dorms. I’ve feed them lunch and gave a donation to the fraternity. They aren’t insured if they damage furniture so be carefully of your fine stuff, but can really make the boxes move fast.

  36. CC says

    I got all of my boxes on craigslist–someone paid movers and gave us ALL of his boxes (incl. wardrobe boxes!). As others said, ask businesses as well. Ask friends to save newspapers for packing.

    Purge your files by shredding old docs and using them for packing material.

    Labeling is a good idea, too. I numbered my boxes, added a brief description, then put a detailed inventory in a spreadsheet. That way I could find my skillet when I needed it.

    Moving yourself (with help of friends) is indeed the best way.

    As others said, have a garage sale to make a little cash for the move (it will pay to feed the friends who move you, at the least). Donate the rest. What can’t be donated, put out on a free table. I had a goodbye party so that friends could help us finish the beer and wine we didn’t want to have to move. Each guest was invited to take whatever they liked from the ‘free stuff’ area. It was silly but fun. Friends made use of all the opened stuff in the kitchen: cereal, various pickles, soy sauce, fish sauce, and other condiments.

  37. Rhonda says

    I always go to the liquor store and get boxes. They are usually free and they have lids on them. They also have dividers that are great for packing dishes and glasses. They are also not too heavy when they are full. Also, try the newspaper and get some unprinted new paper. It is in sheets so you don’t have to tear it off of a roll. Hope this helps, I have moved at least 20+ times in my adult life.

  38. says

    One thing that was super space saving in regards to packing when we moved were the large and Xlarge Ziploc bags (I’m talking the big ones similar to the size of the space bags. You’d be amazed at what you can put in these. When you have all you can in the bag…lay down on it to get all the air out and zip it up while still lying on it. I realize these cost money but they can be reused over and over again for storing items such as blankets, comforters, clothing etc. in your closet or storage area. Plus, a huge benefit to these…you can see what’s inside! Like others have said grocery store boxes…I LOVED banana boxes in particular. They had handles and were small enough yet, big enough, to fit a lot in. They are easy to stack and where they aren’t too big…they aren’t wicked heavy to carry.

  39. Wenonah says

    U-Pack is a semi-move it yourself truck company. We’ve used them because we found that they were cost effective, and then it seemed just all around effective and have highly recommended it.
    How it works is they’ll send you an ABF trailer and you get it parked at your house for 3 days. You load it yourself. (Load it tight and high! loose things rattle around.) They then pick it up and drive it to your destination and you have 3 days to unpack it. You dont have to drive it or pay for the gas (or spend the time on the road) just the truck rental and if you’re fine with packing and loading yourself, you’re good to go.

    An ABF truck is higher and wider than U-Haul & the like, so a foot by foot comparison may seem high but we moved an entire house in 24 ft (out of 26 ft available on the truck ha)

  40. Wenonah says

    People mention craigs list and stores and etc for free boxes. May I add

    Freecycle is something that every frugalista should know about! 😉 Go to and sign up for your city and offer whatever you have that is still usable but not needed in your home and whoever wants it comes to get it! Likewise for whatever you need but don’t want to go buy and someone else is giving up/throwing out. LIKE MOVING BOXES! I see that posted as an offer and as a want/need ALL THE TIME.

  41. Joan says

    I color coded with a felt marker all my boxes that I packed myself. My husband and brother packed the 50 foot Penske truck. Heavy boxes with nothing breakable was coded with a BLACK X, to be loaded on the bottom of the truck. Boxes to be loaded in the middle of the truck were coded with a GREEN X. All boxes with fragile items were coded with a RED X and were to be loaded on top. When all the boxes were hauled out on moving day, they knew quickly to grab the BLACK X’d boxes first. And as everyone else said, label what is in very box. Very important when trying to unpack.

  42. Aurelia says

    When I used to move often I discovered that you really don’t need to pack everything. I used to take the dresser drawers out of the dressers with all the clothes in it. Carry the dresser to the truck then reload the full drawers. When we reached our destination I just did the reverse, take out the drawers carry them in then the dressers then pop the full drawers back in. Saved a ton of boxes and time, less packing and unpacking. I also used towels and sheets in between dishes and breakable.

  43. Vickie says

    Sounds like all the bases are covered for moving tips but here’s a couple I didn’t see.

    If you have a bakery nearby, see if they have any extra 5 gallon buckets with lids, some bakeries give them away, some sell them.

    These buckets are perfect for packing plates and dishes in.
    Use dish towels, dish cloths, etc to place between dishes and to wrap cups, saucers, glasses, etc. Later they can be used for storing dog food, birdseed, snow melt pellets, craft items, seasonal items such as Christmas lights or even be used as trash cans. They have handles, stack nicely, the lids seal tightly, so they keep unwanted critters and pests out.

    The buckets are sturdy enough to use as a seat or stack a couple and make a small work surface or stack 4 sets of 2 each, add a piece of plywood to make a table.

    If you have enough towels, you can also wrap any other breakables in dish towels, dish clothes, bath towels, wash cloths, etc. then you won’t have newspaper print all over everything and a bunch of crumpled paper to get rid of.

  44. Becky Dunfee says

    When I moved four years ago after living the same house for 22 years I decided I was going to do it right. I got the free boxes from the local stores (I found egg boxes to be the best), I bought some plastic tubs and I rented a POD. The price of the POD is as follows, they charge to deliver, move and pick up plus 30 day rental. You pay the entire 30 days and as long as you are done in that length of time you will not have to pay for another 30 days. I started with closets and drawers. I sorted it all. Things I wanted to move I boxed and marked and put the box(s) in the POD that day. I made a thrift store pile and donated all the items that were useless to me but something someone might be able to use. I threw away all the junk. I worked on this project daily for about three weeks. I had the POD moved to the new house, piled the marked boxes in the garage and then brought them in and unpacked them one at a time. This was a real efficient way to move. I used the newly purchased plastic tubs to organize items I wanted to keep, but store. The way I saw it was that I had to move every item out of the house but I did not have to carry it into the new house. Doing it the way I did saved my sanity. I did a little each day during the week and really dug in on the weekends. By the end of the three weeks my house was cleared out of everything that was not used daily and furniture. I simply packed up what was needed for daily survival and had someone move the furniture. Since my boxes were all in the garage the guys I hired to move my furniture were able to put it where it belonged. I moved without all the clutter and managed to stay motivated and with the program as I could see my house slowly but surely becoming empty. I did not give up and toss things in a box figuring I would deal with it in the new home. Who does that?? It is an excuse. I can honestly say that four and a half years later this house is still fairly organized. I got a fresh start and took advantage of it.

  45. Laurel says

    Every time I’ve moved, and that’s been at least four times, I’ve been on a budget. I”ve always saved the boxes that small appliances and dishes came in, so that’s how I packed them for moving.

    First I suggest collecting as many boxes as possible from groceries, stores, liquor stores (divided liquor/wine boxes are great for glasses and mugs) and work (copy paper boxes). My favorite is a copy paper box as it is a uniform size and won’t hold so much that it is too heavy for me to carry. (I keep seasonal items stored in copy paper boxes.) Larger boxes are good for lighterweight items like blankets. For a packing example: a lamp can be packed in a large box with pillows or cushions around it to hopefully prevent breakage.

    Second, start by packing things now that you don’t need on a daily basis. Take pictures off the walls and knick-knacks off shelves. Wrap fragile things in the extra towels or linens. Pack books in smaller boxes so that the box isn’t too heavy.

    Third, number the box and label it with the room where it will go. Be sure to identify the box as fragile when required. Keep a small journal of the numbered boxes and include a little more detail of the box contents.

    If your budget will allow it, for the month before you move rent a storage unit near either where you live now or near where you’ll be moving or near your work so you can get the packed boxes out of your way. Also great to get patio furniture, yard toys, and other not critical for daily living items out of the way, too. If a storage unit is out of the question, then pick a corner of each room to stack the boxes for that room.

    Pack a picnic basket or box with disposable plates, bowls, tableware, napkins, paper towels, wet wipes, toilet paper, tissues, light bulbs, and whatever else you need to have handy after the kitchen and bathroom(s) have been packed. Also keep your tool box handy.

    When packing the moving truck, remove drawers from desks and chests, move the shell onto the truck (it’s much lighter that way) and then put the drawers pack in. No need to pack the contents of the drawers in boxes. Upon arriving at the new place, repeat the process: move out the drawers first and then the shell. Once the shell is situated, put the drawers back in.

    Put the beds, their linens, and your personal hygiene items last on the truck because you will want to set set your beds up first to have a comfy place to sleep after moving all day, and you’ll want to freshen up a little before you call it a day.

    Hope this helps!

  46. Elle says

    I rented a truck, packed my own apartment, and hired “loaders” who carried all the heavy boxes and furniture down two flights of stairs and then loaded it all into the truck. Then, I had the same loaders unload when I arrived at my new place. Moving day was a breeze–all I had to do was stay out of the way! Oh, and it only cost me about $200 for three guys!

  47. JJ says

    If you must buy packaging material, don’t buy the traditionl brown paper meant for moving, go to costco and buy a giant package of paper towels – it’s much cheaper and does the same job! Also, Costco sometimes sells moving packages with really high quality, sturdy boxes. When I moved I used as many free boxes as I could, but I did have to buy some and I got the costco package – it was really nice!

  48. Christine says

    Avoid injuries (and medical bills) by lifting boxes and furniture close to your body; the skeloton is a solid frame. Also, lift with the knees and not your back.

    Be sure to keep your prescriptions handy as well as current bills and paperwork. These are things you will need immediately.

    Also, plants that you plan to bring along (ideally this should be kept to a minimum) can be placed on the car floorboard with towels around them to make sure they don’t toppel. This allows them to get sunlight through the car windows. Try to give away most of these if you can though.

    Check out the book: Clutters Last Stand (for tips on de-cluttering). The author really helps you see the futility and costlienss of some of the junk we try to keep. It will motivate you to let things go. One tip in the book is to take a picture of an object rather than actually keeping the object. This could be for stuff like trophies, awards, even gifts that others gave you that you really don’t use. Take a picture and let it go. It’s easier to pack a photo than the stuff.

  49. Christine says

    Be sure to remove lamp shades and bulbs from lamps before loading them. Lamp shades tear and bend easily and can be very expensive to replace. Instead, lay them upside down in a box stuffed with soft material around and inside them.

  50. Christine says

    To help you get motivated for the move and all the packing, look at the venture as a two week vacation. Pack a suitcase and your minimal toiletries that will get you, get some paper plates and plastic cutlery, to sustain you. Then pack everything else. I often start with knick-knacks art on the walls, and draperies. This makes the house look bare right away and helps you feel like you’ve got a good grip on the move, keeping you motivated to keep going.

  51. Lorrie says

    I saved $700 on my moving truck when I moved 1800 miles. How most truck rentals hire drivers to get the rental trucks to a certain location. So instead of dropping the truck off close to home I had to drive 30 miles to a different location and county. Driving the 30 miles was worth the $700.
    I also hired the man power to loan the truck to come on a week day and got a break in price.

  52. Verlenia Hall says

    Thanks Everyone for all the great help! We are ETS’sing (leaving) the military so JPPSO is moving us home and we are just moving us, some other items and the cats. Thanks again and all yoru ideas have helped me stay stress-free!

  53. says

    Order boxes from You can order as many as you want, they are FREE and they deliver the boxes to your door. All you need is packing tape. Great for kitchen items, office items, etc…

  54. Emmie says

  55. Rocky says

    I have always moved & packed everything by myself and usually have very minimal damage. Most damage occurred from whomever packed and unloaded the trucks by rough handling. With that said, I generally recycle all packing material I get from others and find that one of the best things to use especially for breakables are padded mailer envelopes. Best ones to use are the bubble mailers. Also it’s best when there is no wiggle room in between stuff within the box and for that I use my towels, clothes etc.. This takes care of multiple things at once.
    Good luck.

  56. says

    We found leaving clothes in dresser drawers and loading the drawers separately and back into the dresser during shipping. Then carry out each drawer separately at it’s destination. No looking for clothes, they are where they belong.

  57. Nancy W says

    For hanging clothes, I pull a large garbage up, starting at the bottom, closed end at bottom of clothes. That way if anything falls off the hanger, it’s still in the bag. I use the twist ties to hold the clothes hangers together, using several twist ties for one bag,tying just a few hangers together.

  58. Zelia says

    Great suggestions! We are in the midst of a double move (into one place temp for one month and then again to our new home) and I will def be using some new ideas.
    I thought I would mention that fry boxes from places like Mcdonalds are intact sturdy, but they have a lingering smell. I wouldn’t recommend them as they leave all the contents smelling like fries…
    Happy moving everyone!

  59. annie says

    We moved on a very tight budget and we spread it out over 2 days. The first day, hubs and I rented a U-Haul and moved all of the boxes and small stuff. The second day we hired a moving company to do all of the big things- beds, couches, tables.. all that kind of stuff. There was no way we could carry all of that stuff down 3 flights of apartment stairs! The moving company sent 3 big guys and for about $400, they saved us a whole lot of trouble! We didn’t have anyone to help us, so this was well worth the cost. Check with local moving companies, they weren’t nearly as expensive as I was imagining!

  60. Jessica says

    I’ve moved almost every year for the last 10 years, and finally have down a good system!

    *Put your quilt and clean sheets and a towel in your laundry basket, and let your bed set-up be the first thing that you do! That way when you are exhausted after travel and unloading, your bed is ready for you to fall into!

    *Use index cards or “Hello, my name is..” stickers for labeling. I use neon ones for all of my fragile things so that anyone helping recognizes fragile from across the room.

    *Put cleaning supplies in a shower caddy or Rubbermaid. Won’t leak and they will be handy for cleaning when you get to your new home.

    *Invite your church to come and help you! We love fellowshipping while the guys jockey for carrying the biggest boxes.

    *If you know someone who is moving in/out, and you don’t have time to help, take over some popsicles or fresh-baked cookies! They and all their helpers will thank you!

  61. Thomas says

    I think everyone has great ideas! One of the best was the styro plates between your good china plates then rap with towels! And everyone with packing boxes , labeling items , middle of the week rates , friends , family or pro’s discounts and food and drink! But not how to load the truck if your doing it yourself! And in 15 yrs I move about 20 times from east to west and north to south and everything in between and I learned the heavy stuff on the bottom and to the front of the truck and lighter stuff on the top and plants and other living things like mother- inlaws in the back seat trunk or flat- bed of the car or truck with a blanket to protect your valuables ! Tnx! And happy trails to all and be safe and don’t be in a rush , take in a breath or two!

  62. Kate H says

    I love the idea of paper bags to put cups and bowls in and wrap!

    I also use up my stash of plastic grocery bags to recycle… a good bunch is great for wrapping breakables or filling in gaps around fragile items!

  63. Alana says

    One of my best tips is a two day move.
    Day 1: friends and family move all of the boxes in rented vehicle. Put as many boxes as you can in corners or closets. This way everyone sees your new home and gets to contribute without killing themselves. Extra bonus: no one stops by while your house is in shambles and covered in packing materials. You can unpack anything that gets put away in closets, cabinets and built in shelves. I use those boxes to pack any last minute items like the cat toys from under the dresser, the shower curtain, the drawer I forgot to empty, and my coffee mug!
    Day 2: Hire movers for the big stuff. They are usually paid by hour and space so having all of those boxes out of the way saves you a ton. You

  64. Heather says

    Like previous comments, use trash bags for packing clothes on hangers.. Then for the last two weeks pick out a weeks worth of clothes and wash the weekend before the move – use your suitcases as boxes.. If you have multiples of the same cleaning supplies, you can make two boxes of cleaning supplies – if you have a group of people leaving early with the uhaul send a box of cleaning supplies with them for the new place, then keep the second box out to clean the old place before turning in keys or doing a walk through at the apartment…

  65. Dawn says

    Girl Scout cookie case boxes are a great size for small, fragile items. Not only are they small and sturdy, but they have handles. These are also great for little movers!

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