Moving by yourself might seem like a hassle. A household move is often ranked as highly as losing a loved one in life’s most stressful events. But it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools and a clear plan, moving by yourself can be a way to sort through the clutter and start life in your new home on your own terms. Read on for the best strategies to prepare for a low-stress move, without hiring movers.
Is moving by yourself a good idea?
Moving by yourself is doable and can even be fun. It gives you the chance to sort through things and get rid of items you no longer use or need. You’ll need to allow more time to pack everything carefully, but you have total control over your move. It allows you to make a timeline that fits your schedule, and the costs are minimal compared to hiring movers or a company to pack your belongings. Read on for moving strategies.
How much does it cost to move by yourself?
How much it costs to move by yourself depends on the load size, distance between locations, travel time, and whether you need a moving rental truck. Average do-it-yourself (DIY) moving costs in the U.S. range from $150 to $2,500.
A moving truck rental will add substantially to moving costs, as will long distances. It will cost more to move from New York to California than it will cost to move to a new house in the same town. Likewise, if you were living in a small apartment or don’t own your own furniture, moving costs will typically be lower than moving from a large house.
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Do-it-yourself (DIY) moving vs. hiring a professional mover
DIY moving simply means you organize, sort, pack your home, and prepare for the move. Then on moving day, you can rent a moving truck or simply move things with your car or a borrowed van. With a DIY move, costs are minimal, and the time it takes depends on how much you have to pack and how far you’re moving.
On the other hand, hiring a professional mover means someone comes in with a truck and collects all your belongings, leaving you free to go to the new location. In some cases, they will also pack everything beforehand. This saves time and is convenient, but it also costs significantly more, and you lose control of the moving process. If you have delicate items like heirlooms, artwork, or items of personal importance, the company’s movers might not pack them as well as you would.
For most people, DIY moves win out over hiring a professional, not only for cost savings but also for control over the move.
11 tips on how to move by yourself
With these 11 tips, you can make a plan for moving by yourself that will take the stress out of planning and moving day.
1. Develop a DIY moving plan
Your moving plan will include an ideal moving budget and whether you’ll need to hire a rental moving truck. Consider how to source the moving materials and how to hire moving services or help on the day of the move if necessary. You might be able to enlist help from family and friends. If you’re moving cross-country, you’ll also need to consider whether you need car shipping companies.
Once you have an overall plan that includes how long you need to pack, when you’ll do it, what materials you need, and who can help, you’re ready to implement the plan.
2. Declutter your home
Before packing, it’s a good idea to declutter your home of items you no longer use. For the average American, this list is long. Generally, if you haven’t used the item in over a year and have no immediate plans to start using it, consider selling or donating it. Areas to consider decluttering include:
- Kitchen: Dishes, pots and pans, and specialized appliances you no longer use.
- Clothing: Free T-shirts from events and clothes that no longer fit or are worn out can be sold, donated, or recycled.
- Garage: Sports equipment no longer in use, extra decorations, tools, or gardening supplies are worth decluttering if they’re no longer needed.
- Miscellaneous: Look around your home at old magazines, duplicate decor items, and anything else that doesn’t serve a purpose or bring joy. If it is no longer useful or doesn’t have a clear place or purpose, consider selling or donating it.
3. Sell or donate unwanted items
Once you’ve gone through everything, it’s time to sell items that can be sold and donate the rest. Consider selling items online at sites like eBay or Craigslist. You could also have a garage sale. Then, donate the rest to any local store accepting donations or donation boxes at grocery stores or malls.
4. Determine your moving day assistants
If you have large, bulky, heavy, or unusual items, you may need help on moving day. This can be family members or friends willing to help for a couple of hours. Reward them with food, drinks, and thanks, and be sure to return the favor or pay it forward.
5. Rent your moving truck
You can also ask friends and family to use their cars to help you move. If you have more than can easily fit in your car or those of your family or friends, shop around for the best service for a rental truck..
6. Source for moving boxes
Moving boxes are essential to protect your items. You can either buy moving boxes from stores or ask family and friends whether they have extra. Grocery stores are often a good source of moving boxes. You can ask local stores to save produce and wine boxes for you.
7. Gather packing supplies and equipment
Once you have boxes, it’s time to gather your other supplies. At a minimum, you’ll need packing tape to seal boxes. You might also need a permanent marker or labels to mark boxes and bubble wrap or blankets to protect delicate or large items.
8. Pack your items well
Once you’re ready to pack, be strategic. Be sure to leave plenty of time so you don’t have to pack in a rush. As part of packing, save items you need in your current home for last, and make a box of essential items you’ll need right away after the move. This can include basics like soap and shampoo, along with a cooking pot, basic bedding, medications, and scissors to open boxes.
9. Consider renting a moving Container
A moving container or storage container is a type of shipping container that is delivered to your home. You can then pack it before it’s moved to the new location. The company will take the storage unit away when you’re finished with it.
This simplifies the moving process because you can move boxes into the container as you pack them. It also makes it easier to unpack as you can unload items gradually. Whether a moving container will work for you depends on your location — they’re not practical for an apartment in a city — and your total moving budget.
10. Starting packing as early as possible
To make moving easier, start early to maximize your time. It’s also kind to the people who are going to help so they’re not left waiting around on moving day. Having everything ready ahead of time can also take some of the stress out of moving day.
11. Move your items strategically
Plan your packing around items you use daily, weekly, or only occasionally. Pack the latter category first. Likewise, you should prioritize moving out non essential items first. Then, bring essential items into the new home first to ensure you have what you need.
It’s also common to get injured from lifting too many heavy objects. Exercise caution when handling large objects during transportation. And make sure they are secured for transport so they don’t damage other items.
Final tips to simplify moving by yourself
Moving by yourself doesn’t have to be stressful if you create a clear plan and allow enough time. You could spend an hour a day packing for several weeks before moving day so that all but the essentials are already packed. You can also consider organizing and packing by area.
To reduce the stress of moving, plan ahead, gather supplies, put on some music you enjoy, and make it a time to celebrate the life you’ve created — and the opportunities at your new home.
How long does moving take?
How long moving takes depends on how many items you have and the moving distance. On average, it can take six to seven weeks, from the day you reserve a moving truck until you’re unpacked in your new home. Interstate or cross-country moves can add to that time.
How can you save money on your move?
You can save money on a move by moving yourself and enlisting the help of family and friends on moving day.
How can you prepare your pets for moving?
To prepare pets for a move, get them used to moving boxes and materials. Then, try to maintain their routine. If you need to transport them in a crate, make sure they’re comfortable in the crate, and speak to your vet for any additional considerations for your pet.