how we moved across the country: some tips

09 September 2013

great moving tips!Moving is expensive. Let’s just get that out front. It’s not just the obvious things like the truck, gas, boxes, tape, bubble wrap, but the hotels, eating out, eating off paper plates, getting rid of everything in your fridge and freezer and then that killer first grocery trip when you have NOTHING to eat and have to buy everything like ketchup and creamer and dish soap and toilet paper. And then you gain 20 pounds from all of the eating out and moving stress eating and have to pay money to join a gym! :)

Here are a few tips that helped us save some money. We are not affiliated with any of these companies, just our experience:

* watch out for moving scams! There are hundreds of moving scams out there. It will look like they have great ratings, prices, feedback, happy customers. Sure, they will come load up your stuff on time, but then the nightmare begins. Once they have your stuff and you have signed their papers, somewhere in the fine print it can say it will charge you for being over a certain weight, loading took longer than they thought, you took more sq footage, etc. and they will hold your stuff until you pay WAY more than you originally agreed to. This just happened to some of our friends~they were quoted $5,000 to pack them up and move them across the country (awesome, right?) but in the end, having to pay over $15,000 to get their stuff out of the truck and fight legal battles. Please, please check out and before you sign up with a moving company.

abf trailer

* call around to reputable companies to get the best price. Talk to friends, neighbors, anyone you know that has moved in the last year. We have always had great customer service and prices from ABF and were going to use them again. Well, some of our friends at church said that they got a better price at Old Dominion because they started with the same “you pack, we haul” concept as ABF, so we called them. They were $1,000 cheaper – wahoo! I called ABF back to cancel and they said, “what if we beat their price by $300 and give you 2 weeks of free storage? Done. Competition is a good thing.

*start the minute you know you are going to move. It takes way longer than you think, I promise. Make a packing schedule of rooms that leads up to moving day. Start packing up that punch bowl, Christmas lights –things you know you won’t be using before you move.

*consider packing your own stuff.  It is a pain in the rear. It seems to takes forever. BUT, you go through every single little thing in your house and have to reckon with yourself: “do I really want to take the energy to pack this across the country? Will it fit in our new house? Is it worth it? You also can pack it yourself and be sure that it is handled correctly. If you have time, have a yard sale or Craiglist to get rid of everything you don’t want to bring or that will be hard to pack.

chairs at yard sale

*buy boxes that are uniform. They will stack in the truck/trailer so much better than the hodge podge of boxes you collected from Craigslist and the grocery store. It is worth the cost, and every square inch of space you save will make a difference. Home Depot and Lowes have the best prices on moving boxes, by far. And we preferred Lowes because they were closer to us and they had these nice little handles on uniform moving boxes

*before you go buy a bunch of packing material, use what you already have. Towels, sheets, pillowcases, socks for glasses, sleeping bags, blankets, sweaters, snow pants – you have to pack them anyway, so use them to wrap things up! For large picture frames and mirrors, we put 2 or 3 similar-sized items together and wrapped them in several layers of sleeping bags/pads and blankets and then wrapped packing tape or shrink wrap around them.

packing dishes
packing large pictures

*develop a moving system. I talked about mine here, but I’ve heard of others using colored duct tape or dots on boxes. Especially if you don’t unpack everything all at once, it’s so helpful to be able to find out what box the basketball pump is in!

moving system

* how to pack the ABF trailer: First, bring everything out to the driveway/yard so you can see what you have to work with. When loading the trailer,  put furniture, appliances and heavy items on the bottom and protect them with blankets, pads, etc.Then stack the uniform boxes on top of them all the way to the ceiling. You can put lighter, odd shaped things things like rakes and skiis on top.

stacking boxes abf trailer
They packed in layers, using mattresses and box springs to hold each layer together with ratchet straps like these - worth every penny! It held everything together nice and tight and things had not shifted much at all when we opened the trailer after the move. Remember that the inside of the trailer gets dusty and dirty, so we put a long piece of plastic down and covered everything we could with sheets and blankets that could be washed.
loading an abf trailer

There we go.  I hope these helped! Do you have any great moving tips or things you wish you had known? Questions for us since we’re like experts now? Please share in the comments below…


30 days september

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