The following is a list of 72 easy ways to save money on your next interstate move. Of course many of these tips are also helpful when moving to locally to places such as Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, or Austin. This is also available as a PDF download here.
Relocating is hard. Saving money is easy.
Wheaton World Wide Moving and Olympia Moving and Storage make it easy to move your life.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re moving into a five-story mansion or an apartment on the fifth floor, relocation
comes with more than its share of expense. Extra costs are the last thing you need — on top of the stress and
anxiety caused by moving. Wheaton wants to help ease the burden a bit by offering you tried and true suggestions for minimizing your moving costs.
The bottom line is simple: The more stuff you move, the more it’ll cost you. On long distance moves, the
main cost factors are weight and distance, while local moves are calculated by handling time and added services,
Creative Approaches to Reduce Moving Costs
If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, you can also browse www.wheatonworldwide.com for more tips
on packing, what not to pack, a move calendar as well as video vignettes that will give you a better idea of what
to do and how to do it when preparing for a move.
Eliminate Rather Than Relocate
1. The floor plan. If possible, get a floor plan of your future residence, or make one to scale on graph paper. Try to fit your furniture in the mock up. If it won’t fit on paper, it won’t fit when you arrive. That means you’ll have to make other arrangements.
2. Color-coordinate your move. If the sofa just won’t match, don’t move it. Often you can replace appliances or furniture more cost effectively than you can move or reupholster them.
3. Ignore the “I might need it someday” syndrome. Don’t move the riding mower to an apartment. Part with tools you won’t use. And remember, junk is junk — you don’t need a furnished attic.
4. Book learning. Condense your library as much as possible and then investigate the cost of mailing treasured volumes compared to the cost of moving them. The special postage rate for books might save you money.
5. Plan for plants. Check with your mover. It’s illegal to bring plants into many states. And, even if it is possible, it may not be sensible.
6. It’s not dirt cheap. If you’re determined to take your huge outdoor planters, fill them with miscellaneous items instead of dirt. Same goes for the sandbox. There will be dirt and sand where you’re going.
7. The shirt off your back. While one dress or one suit doesn’t weigh much, the average full wardrobe carton weighs 75 pounds. So, if you’re never going to wear it, don’t move it. Contact your local Goodwill agency and make a donation — there may be tax benefits.
8. The sound of money. Hundreds of CDs and DVDs can make for a heavy box. Go through your collection and eliminate DVDs that you’ll no longer use. Sell the rest for cash.
9. The kids’ toys. Now’s the time to clean out the toy box. If the kids are old enough, give them incentive. Let them stage their own garage sale and keep the profits to buy something special — after you’ve moved.
10. Your toys. If your treadmill hasn’t gone a mile in months, moving it won’t help. Considerselling weight-lifting equipment and replacing it at your destination. Remember, weight equals cost. Sell any hobby equipment you no longer enjoy.
11. Food for thought. Frozen foods cannot be shipped, so eat up. Consume canned goods and food staples, and don’t replenish them. Plan menus to make the most of what you have. Be sure to empty your refrigerator completely and clean thoroughly to prevent odor problems.
12. Handyman heavies. The workshop is a storehouse of bulky, heavy items. Evaluate them carefully — from the workbench to the tools. It might be advantageous to replace them when you get to your new home.
13. Rugs. Unless they’re valuable, or you’re sure they’ll fit and flatter your new residence,get them out from underfoot.
14. The swing set. You’ll probably come out ahead if you replace it rather than move it.
15. Firewood. Burn your firewood prior to your move. Sell or give remaining wood to friends or neighbors. Don’t move it, especially if your new home doesn’t have a fireplace.
16. Cue clues. A pool table requires extra costs and special handling. To save money, your best shot might be to sell it and then replace it at your new destination.
17. Musical notes. Pianos and organs also require special handling and should be tuned after a move. If they’re an enjoyable part of your lifestyle, move them. If your furniture is just impressive trimming, you might want to trim your moving cost.
18. Bah humbug. Be Scrooge when it comes to special holiday decorations. Don’t move what you can’t or won’t use.
19. Don’t be fuelish. Do not — under any conditions — move flammable items; it’s illegal. Empty fuel from the lawnmower, power tools or kerosene lamps. You can’t take paints, bleach, cleaning fluids, lighter fluids, matches, ammunition or any other type of combustible. Check the kids’ chemistry set. Propane tanks cannot be loaded into a moving van. If you have doubts, don’t take it. Better safe than sorry. For a complete list of moving “violations,” take a look at our What Not To Pack brochure.
20. Can your aerosol cans. A seemingly innocent can of aerosol hairspray can explode and endanger your whole
shipment. Eliminate all aerosol cans — hairsprays, shaving creams, deodorants, household cleaners, insecticides, tarnish removers, car cleaners and others. For a complete list of moving “violations,” take a look at our What Not To Pack brochure.
Liquidate or Donate
Once you decide what to part with, decide how. If you’re selling a home, the buyer may be your best customer. In fact, there are all kinds of ways to get rid of unwanted items and make a good profit in the process.
21. Have a garage sale. Organize it, advertise it and manage it. You’ll be amazed to see how profitably your trash can become someone else’s treasure.
22. Advertise in the classifieds or online. For more valuable items, post a classified ad in your local paper or online. Many Web sites offer free or low-cost listings that can reach hundreds or thousands of people. Including a photo of the item can enhance its value and exposure.
23. Donate to your favorite charity. Itemize each donation and keep a receipt. It may help you qualify for a tax deduction.
Sell It Like It Is
Before you put your residence up for sale, carefully consider extras that can be included to increase the appeal and the value of your home — and cut moving costs in the process. Discriminating buyers will probably want everything but your family portrait. Many extras add more value to the house than they actually cost in the first place. This is even true for apartment dwellers, who may find the future tenant a ready and willing buyer.
24. From chandeliers to ceiling fans. Most buyers assume that such fixtures are included with the home. Unless there’s a special sentimental reason, they probably should be. Bulky, fragile ceiling fixtures require special packing and handling that will cost money.
25. Appliances. Consider the age, size and color of your appliances. These are very heavy items and usually require professional servicing before the move and special installation after the move. So, if your stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer or freezer won’t fit or match in your new home, perhaps it’s time to start anew.
26. Verify type of power. You can prevent wiring damage caused by temperature changes when you unplug all electronic items 24 hours before loading. Then, wait 24 hours at your new residence before plugging them into an outlet. Check to be sure you have the proper power connections and sources for your appliances in your future residence. Don’t move a gas stove or dryer to an all-electric house.
27. Hearth and home. They go together. Special fireplace screens and tools are hard to move and may not fit where you’re going. Consider selling them with your home.
28. Shelving systems. If you have a built-in shelving system, leave it that way. No new owner will appreciate holes in the wall where the shelves used to be.
29. Satellite dishes. Check to see if the same company services your new city before you move your satellite dish.
30. From flag poles to basketball goals. Sell them with the house and save yourself time, trouble and money.
31. Arrange for the transfer of valuables. Start with the contents of your safe deposit box. You should carry with you small valuables such as jewelry, insurance policies, legal documents, stocks and bonds, etc. Or send them by insured or registered mail. Items of such unusual value should not be included in your shipment. The same is true for important computer CDs that can warp and become unreadable.
Miscellaneous Money, Time and Headache Savers
Once you’ve organized your belongings, it’s time to organize your move. The things you don’t do can cost you both money and time. Here’s a listing of small details that can save you dollars and headaches.
32. Coordinate your move. Give your mover plenty of notice and, if possible, arrange occupancy dates in your new residence to avoid an end-of-month or peak season move. This will cut down storage costs or delays.
33. Notify telephone, electric, gas and water companies. Set a specific date for service discontinuation. Request a final meter reading. Don’t forget to connect utilities in your destination city prior to your arrival. Otherwise, you might have to stay at a hotel until they are connected. Use Wheaton’s helpful Utility Connection Center to disconnect and reconnect many of your utilities. Visit www.wheatonworldwide.com.
34. Notify your cable company and local newspapers to discontinue service. You can use Wheaton’s Utility Connection Center to do these tasks as well.
35. Change your magazine subscriptions. Make sure to change the address on your magazine subscriptions in advance to ensure you don’t miss any issues.
36. Cancel security company, lawn service or any other type of regular service.
37. Check your bank and savings accounts. Arrange to transfer deposits so you don’t lose interest. Use your bank as a credit reference.
38. Advise your post office of your new address change in advance. This will prevent a delay in service.
39. Contact former employers and the Social Security Administration. This will simplify obtaining future information for income tax purposes.
40. Collect any deposits. Whether it’s a landlord or a utility company, it’seasier to get deposits back in person than via long distance.
41. Check with orthodontist, obstetrician, etc. If any members of your family require ongoing medical or dental treatment for which
you have paid, arrange with the practitioner to pro-rate payments with a professional in your destination city.
42. Check your homeowners insurance. It may be possible to have it applied to your future residence, or reassigned to the future owners and pro-rate payments. If not, you may qualify for a partial refund. Be sure to coordinate insurance so that you’re covered in your new residence immediately.
43. If you sold it, don’t move it. Be available on moving day to make sure that anything that was supposed to stay with the home doesn’t go on the van. If these items are shipped, it’s going to cost time and money to send them back.
44. Membership fees. Depending on the clubs or organizations to which you belong, you may be able to sell memberships or get a partial refund on dues.
45. Lockers and cleaners. Be sure to collect all your belongings in club or school lockers as well as your suits, shirts and blouses at the cleaners.
46. User names and passwords. Keep user names and passwords for important accounts in a safe place.
47. Check on car or installment loans. You may be required to notify the lending company
of your move.
48. Transfer all insurance records. Verify that your car insurance is adequate, as rates vary from city to city and state to state.
49. Close any revolving charge accounts with department stores or specialty shops without locations in your destination city.
50. Notify national credit or charge card companies to change the address on your account.
51. Try to complete closing and any other legal matters before you move. It’s costly to make a return trip to take care of details.
52. Arrange for payment of your mover at destination. Unless charges are to be billed to your employer, payment by cash, certified check or money order is required at your destination.
The Better the Packing, The Better the Move
Professional packing is an added expense, but it often pays for itself in convenience and safety. Your mover has the expertise and materials to protect your possessions. Even if you have the time and energy to pack, consider leaving your delicate or fragile items (china, glassware, silver, clocks, etc.) for the professionals. If you’re a determined do-it-yourselfer, do it right. Ask your Wheaton agent about specially designed containers and materials. You can buy them at minimum cost to assure maximum protection of your belongings. For more information, request Wheaton’s What Not To Pack pamphlet.
53. Don’t use newspaper for packing. Newsprint fades, and the ink runs easily, possibly ruining the items it was supposed to protect. Instead, use newsprint, which is unprinted newspaper. It’s available at reasonable prices from your Wheaton agent.
54. Pack toiletries separately in small containers. Be sure corks and caps are secure.
55. Don’t pack too compactly. Give fragile items “breathing room” to avoid breakage. You can leave clothing in drawers — overstuffing can cause drawers to warp.
56. Arrange for proper servicing of your appliances. Contact a professional or ask your Wheaton agent to arrange service for you.
57. Leave fitted sheets on mattresses to protect them.
58. Spread your linens around. Instead of putting them all in one carton, use your linens as fillers to cushion other items.
59. Put heavy items on the bottom and then fill up with lighter items. Use smaller cartons for books, cast-iron cookware, etc.
60. Package stereo equipment and plasma televisions in original packaging, if possible, or have them serviced by professionals.
61. Indicate contents on the outside of the carton. If possible, designate which room the carton should go in — it’ll simplify things at your destination. Be sure to indicate on the outside of the carton if the contents are fragile.
62. In one box, combine items you’ll need immediately upon arrival. Designate it “Unload First.” Include necessities like toilet paper, paper towels, cups, a can opener, soap, etc.
Save on Taxes
There are many small things that could save you big money on your taxes at the end of the year. Be sure to keep track of each of these items.
63. When you donate items to charity, request and keep an itemized receipt. It might help you qualify for a tax deduction.
64. Keep a detailed record and receipts of your moving expenses. Include transportation, lodging, meals, etc. If you are moving because of a change in your principal place of employment, such reasonable expenses are deductible. Check with the Internal Revenue Service or your accountant for specifics.
65. Keep a record of home improvement costs. That includes improvements made to your home through the years and any expenses associated with the sale of your home, including realtor fees or classified costs.
66. Inventory. Your possessions are worth as much in transit as they are in your home. Make sure you know what you are moving. Your Wheaton agent will be glad to give you a complete inventory form. It can save you money moving — and afterward. The ideal time to prepare your inventory list is while you organize for your move. List your possessions and their approximate value. Photograph or videotape your items room by room.
67. Valuation. You’ll be amazed what your possessions are really worth. Keep your completed inventory in a safe place. If you have extensive household damage in the future, you can establish accurate, comprehensive insurance claims. Also, request a copy of Wheaton’s Carrier Liability Options brochure for more information.
68. Pick your mover like you picked your possessions. Very carefully. Because it’s not just anybody’s trinkets, treasures, furniture or heirlooms — they’re yours. Your possessions are a part of your personality and lifestyle. They’re what will make your new home uniquely you. A proven, professional mover is your best assurance of a good move.
69. Don’t be sold by a low estimate. Estimates are exactly that. The actual cost of your move will be determined primarily by weight and distance, plus the cost of any extra services you require. So, if one estimate is significantly lower, be suspicious. That way you won’t be surprised on moving day.
70. An estimate is only as accurate as you are. Be precise and thorough when you show your Wheaton agent what is to be moved, and what, if anything, is not to be moved. Canvass everything from the attic to the basement. The more thorough you are, the more accurate your estimate will be.
71. Check the record. Although movers are no longer required by the government to furnish customers with information about their performance, it’s a good idea to compare movers. You’ll find that Wheaton World Wide Moving has one of the best records in the moving industry for estimating accuracy, as well as on-time pickup and delivery.
72. Ask someone who knows. At Wheaton World Wide Moving, most of our moves come to us through referrals. We’re proud of that fact and strive to perform at a high level all the time, giving our customers the confidence to recommend us to their friends and colleagues.
Revolving Around Your Needs
Wheaton World Wide Moving has hundreds of agents nationwide so you can be assured of finding a relocation solution that fits your needs— and your budget. From packing and loading at your point of origin to unloading at your destination, we’ll manage the entire process.
We move your life® is a registered trademark of Wheaton Van Lines, Inc. © 2008 Wheaton Van Lines, Inc. USDOT 70719 MC 87113 5.08