Budgeting in a Move

After recently helping a family member move, I realized just how costly some moving products are. I want to share my personal checklist of basic, but necessary, moving products. Spoiler alert: I recommend hitting your dollar store in the post! You probably are moving infrequently, so spend accordingly.

Boxes – I go for cheap, small boxes. Here’s why: you (or your moving help) has to lift every box. Smaller boxes inherently limit the weight they can contain, thus making for lighter boxes. Yes, there are more of them, but they will be much easier to shuffle around up and down stairs and trucks. Cardboard bankers’ boxes can be bought 10 for $17 at OfficeMax, but right now they are actually having a sell of 10 for $10. I typically ratio 10 bankers boxes per small room, but that’s just a ballpark figure I use personally. Ask friends/family and check Craig’s List for larger boxes, which are much more costly, for larger items. You may also consider wrapping larger items in sheets or blankets with tape if boxing seems too expensive.

In years past I’ve also been able to get smaller boxes from liquor stores’ dumpsters.  They usually break them down and throw them away, but sometimes they are recycling them so be sure to ask.  Another option is to ask at your local grocery store in the produce section. Those boxes are usually bigger, but concentrate on placing lighter objects or large objects which need to be cushioned.

Packing Tape – Dollar store! Buy a few rolls so that if you have help, everyone has their own roll, which will save time. At a dollar each, tape isn’t the biggest ticket item but sure is useful.

Scissors/knife – Again, I suggest the dollar store. My house frequently eats scissors, and I never find them, so I don’t spend much on scissors.

Paper towels, rags, and wet wipes – When eliminating some of the wardrobe, I rip up old shirts and pants and use the rippings as rags in the move. You can re-use them if you want/can, but if the rippings get too dirty, you can toss them guilt-free too. I also recommend stocking up on paper towels and wet wipes at a dollar store or even grocery to make cleaning speedier.

Measuring tape – This is handy when figuring out if furniture fits thru doors, in cars, in elevators, etc. My local dollar store didn’t have a tape measure, so I would recommend a hardware store, craft store or grocery store, if you don’t already have a tape measure.

Backpacks, purses, suitcases – I always use my backpacks and suitcases as miscellaneous storage during moves. There are always random items that don’t seem to make it into a moving box, so I leave backpacks and suitcases empty until the very end and load them up with the randoms. Purses are good for carrying delicate items, as they tend to have extra padding built in.

Markers – Keep markers from your residence unpacked until the end for marking boxes. Always mark your boxes too – even if it’s a one bedroom move, it might take a few days to unpack all the boxes, so it’s good to know what’s where.  Be sure to wear a pair of pants that have pockets so you can carry the marker with you as you work.

Binder – Organize your move by keeping all moving receipts, closeouts, lastly delivered mail, forwarding information, moving day info, a map to the new place, etc. in one binder! Moving is already hectic enough, so having all your paperwork in one place is really useful. If you are moving to a new apartment, make sure to have your lease, renter’s insurance, and proof of utility swap in the binder so that you provide that to get your keys on move-in day.

What’s on your must-have moving product list? From where did you get your boxes on your last move?

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8 thoughts on “Budgeting in a Move

  1. I mooched a bunch of boxes from a neighbor who had just moved in. Incredibly, she left them out on the curb for the trash guys to pick up! They’d made a long-distance move into AZ, actually, & I think they hired the company to unpack at least some of their stuff…so it may have been the movers who dumped the stuff. But either way, I asked her permission. She didn’t even seem aware they were worth money.

    You used to be able to get boxes from some grocery stores. Now I think they just toss them all in a crusher, so unless you know someone and ask if they’ll save a few for you, you’re kinda out of luck there. Home Depot carries them…I sure do hate having to pay for cardboard boxes that you’re just going to give away or throw out!

    A scrap of rug or old bathtowel is good to have, to place on floors or pavement for scooting heavy stuff around.
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