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Try These Thrifty Packing And Moving Tips To Save Money

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Inside: Try these thrifty packing and moving tips for your next move! These tricks will keep your stuff protected and your wallet full.

I entered my information into the computer, just for fun.

I wanted to get a quote to have a professional mover come out, box up all of our things, and move them to our new house.

“Whoa!” I said when I saw the final numbers.

It was going to cost thousands of dollars to have professional movers pack up our house!

That was a definite no go.

If you’ve just purchased a new home, you’re probably trying to limit your spending, like we were, so here are several thrifty packing and moving tips that will help you get the job done for less! 

RELATED: Steps to Building a Home: The First Time Buyers Guide

Money Saving Packing and Moving Tips

Moving boxes ready to go using the best packing and moving tips.1. Ask friends and family for their extra boxes

Most people associate moving with lots and lots of boxes, which is accurate! (I think at last count, we loaded 30+ boxes up for our move.)

Since large cardboard boxes cost about $1.30 from a moving company or hardware stores you can save a ton of money by asking friends and family for their extra boxes.

We got more than half of the boxes we used from our awesome friends!

2. Check online classified ads for boxes

If none of your friends or family have any extra boxes, check places like Facebook Marketplace or your local online classifieds.

People often sell their extra boxes for a few bucks or even give them away for free!

3. Invest in quality moving supplies

The first time we moved, I tried to do things as cheaply as possible, which actually cost us more money in the long run because some of our belongings got damaged.

It’s worth it to invest in some quality moving supplies to save you from having to replace your belongings after the move.

Things like packing tape, moving totes, moving blankets, and stretch wrap.

4. Tape the bottom of the boxes instead of folding them in

We definitely broke some items when the bottom fell open on a box that had been folded in. Oops!

I think we ended up going through 5 rolls of packing tape, but it’s worth it to protect your items.

5. Use towels and clean rags to protect fragile items

This time, I decided to buy a roll of bubble wrap to help protect our fragile items. It cost about $12 and was worth every penny!

If you don’t want to buy bubble wrap or if you run out like I did, you can use towels and clean rags to protect fragile items.

The towels have to get packed anyway so might as well put them to good use.

And if you know a few months in advance that you’re moving, you can also save the packing materials that you get from online orders to protect your fragile items.

6. Use ads to wrap kitchenware

I saw lots of packing paper for sale at the hardware stores, but I decided not to splurge on the paper this time.

Instead, I saved newspapers, ads, and magazines we got FOR FREE in the mail to wrap our plates, cups, and bowls in.

7. Utilize moving blankets (or make your own)

I do HIGHLY recommend that you invest in moving blankets.

So much of our furniture got scratched when we moved into our first house.

This time, one of our friends offered to let us use their moving blankets and I was so grateful! It helped protect all of our bigger furniture during the move.

So don’t forget to check with your family and friends to see if they have moving blankets they wouldn’t mind letting you use.

You could also use any blankets you have around the house.

8. Wrap bookshelves, nightstands, and desks

My husband talked me into getting the big roll of stretch wrap for this move.

I didn’t think we’d need that huge roll since we were using moving blankets, but it actually came in handy to wrap our bookcase so we didn’t have to pack up all of the books!

We also used it to keep our nightstand drawers closed and our desk cabinets closed. I even ended up wrapping our big bedroom mirror with the stretch wrap around a moving blanket for extra protection.

You could also use the stretch wrap to wrap utensil organizers, to cover toiletries so they don’t spill, or to wrap food to keep it organized.

9. Use plastic garbage bags for soft items 

Instead of putting all of our soft items in moving boxes, we decided to use plastic garbage bags.

The whole box of bags cost me $5 and we used it for pillows, to cover chairs, clothing, bedding, etc. It saved us from paying for lots of boxes.

When the bag is still empty, be sure to write what’s going in it with a black marker, to save you from having to write on a squishy pillow.

10. Use those same plastic bags to cover your clothes while they are hanging in the closet

This is one of the best packing tips for moving clothes!

You can create neatly organized bags of clothes this way that will be easier to lay flat in a storage unit.

11. Use large plastic totes for small kitchen appliances, food, and fragile items

It’s a little bit of an investment upfront to buy totes, but they can hold a lot of items and don’t break like cardboard boxes. And it’s worth it to have them on hand if you move a lot.

Plus if you’re putting your items into storage, the totes will protect your belongings from potential water damage or pests.

We borrowed the totes from friends as well (we have awesome friends!) so you can always ask around before buying.

12. Set aside decor and appliances to sell

While you’re decluttering, set aside decor and appliances you aren’t using anymore that are still in great condition.

You can easily list these items on social media marketplaces to get some extra cash to pay for your moving expenses.

We got almost $400 from selling our old decor and appliances!

Several Extra Space Storage doors near me.

13. Use Extra Space Storage

We looked up moving pods and other moving services and it was so expensive!

Since we only needed to store our belongings for a little over a month, we didn’t want to spend a lot on a storage method, but we still wanted our items to be protected.

In the end, we decided to use Extra Space Storage for a storage unit.

It was a lot cheaper than getting a pod. The rates for our Extra Space Storage unit were very affordable.

The first month at our local unit was free and they prorate your stay so you’re not paying for days you don’t need.

All of the other storage methods we looked into charged you for a full month of storage even if you were only using a few days.

The unit we got was so spacious!

I put my husband in charge of reserving the rental unit, so I was kind of worried it wouldn’t be big enough to hold all of our stuff.

Thanks to the great sizing videos Extra Space Storage has online, he picked a unit that was a great fit for all of our belongings. Plus it has lots of “extra space,” so we’ve could add in a few random items that didn’t make it in the moving truck.

The day we moved all of our items into the unit at Extra Space Storage, I was so impressed with how clean it was!

And not only that but, the grounds at the facility were really clean as well. As someone who is pretty obsessive about keeping things clean, I really appreciated that.

We also loved that they have their own insurance policy.

While our homeowner’s policy would have covered our belongings, we did the math and it was much cheaper for us to have Extra Space Storage ensure our items.

It was great knowing if anything happened to our belongings, we’d be protected.

A gated Extra Space Storage location.

Speaking of protection, Extra Space Storage has great security.

When you get a storage unit you set up a personalized key code to get into their facilities. You can’t get through the gate without a code, so I feel safe knowing no one could randomly drive up and try to get into our unit.

One of the best things about Extra Space Storage is they have locations nationwide.

Plus if you have items that need special attention, Extra Space Storage offers indoor units with climate control. Since they have 24/7 access to their facilities, you can visit your storage unit on your schedule and not only during a certain time.

Related: Want To Sell Your House Yourself? Use Homie!

Mom and kids in front of extra space storage think of the best moving tips

Want More?

Now that you’ve read my best packing and moving tips, check out these 9 easy tasks that should be on every new homeowner checklist.

Your Turn

Which DIY moving tips are your favorites? Are there any moving questions you have that I didn’t answer with this list? Let me know in the comments!

And for more great moving and packing tips, visit the Extra Space Storage blog.

These are the best moving tips and tricks whether you're packing up an apartment or downsizing to move out of state.

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Charlotte Crandall

Thursday 10th of September 2020

We moved ourselves 8 different times. We learned that labeling the boxes as to where it went was helpful ie B1 - MB2. When that box was full, label it for the next number ie B-2 On separate index cards we labeled it B-1 say bathroom 1 and then listed what was in that box. MB for Master Bedroom and so forth. Put that packet of cards in your purse or somewhere you can grab on to easily after you get to your new residence. Later looking for something was helpful since we had everything on an index card. Before using your cards put them on a ring with cards attached so that it will keep them together.

Jessica Ashcroft

Friday 11th of September 2020

That is a great idea Charlotte! I just used some duck tape and a marker this last time but we did lose some things in a few boxes. I like the index cards!