We're quite budget conscious, and didn't want to spend more on the move than necessary. I figured there are probably other families in similar situations, and and it might be helpful to them to highlight some of the ways we tried to save, and where we decided to spend the money.
- Helpers - Don't be afraid to ask for help! Most people, even if they don't think to offer, will be happy to lend a hand when asked. Especially if you are part of a church community, here is a great opportunity - some people want to help within the local church body, but with our culture being so self-sufficient, it can seem hard to even find ways to do it!
- Boxes - I made it a point in the week before we were going to pack to fill up our car with empty boxes once a day, mainly from grocery stores and liquor stores. Some of our "cheaper" grocery stores leave their boxes at the front, and at others we were able to get a really great number of banana, apple, and pear boxes (which are good because they are strong and have nice fitting lids) by going to the back and asking. The liquor stores provide smaller boxes but they are really sturdy and so perfect for books. (A great tip here is to standardize the box size(s) you pick up, making it easier for packing the boxes in a van.)
- Packing Materials - A friend of ours works for a moving company and was able to get us a whole lot of packing paper for free. See who you know who might have other materials you can use. Our parents both lent us their packing tape dispensers, which are also a really useful tool. We bought packing tape, but instead of getting the 4-pack that cost $20, we got the 4-pack that costs $4, and it worked just fine!
- Moving Truck - We considered trying to do without one, but in the end it would have meant a lot of trips. We rented a 17' truck (which was the same price as the 14' truck), and were able to do the whole move in one trip, along with a second vehicle for people and some fragile, awkward things. An important thing for making this work is learning how to pack it most efficiently. Our moving friend gave us some tips of what they always do, which we wouldn't have thought of ourselves:
- Put the couches upright in the two back corners, facing the middle of the truck. You can put mats under them, and then stack boxes on the arms.
- Then try and find a dresser, bookshelf, night table etc that will fit snugly against the back of the truck between the two couches. Put boxes on this too.
- If your truck has a ledge above the cab, put light boxes or items there (we used kitchen chairs & couch cushions) which won't break if they fall.
- Pack the rest of your furniture and boxes next.
- Leave your dresser drawers packed, carry them out separately, and put them back in when the dresser gets in the truck.
- Pack your mattress and box springs using a tie-down ot hold them against everything already packed, holding it all forwards. (You can pack a big mirror between the mattress and box spring.
- Use the remaining space at the back to pack very awkward things (like bicycles).
- Packing the Truck - We were blessed to have many friends who volunteered to help us pack and move. I had a "packing party" the week before with six friends, and we had four or so guys help load and unload the truck, as well as family who stayed to help assemble furniture and start unpacking. We labeled all our boxes with a piece of masking tape and the room they belong in, so that it was clear and easy for the movers to know where it should go. As well we put tarps down so people could walk through the carpeted areas without having to take off their shoes.
- Attitude - Above all, no matter what happens, have a good attitude! It rained the whole day of our big move and yet everyone stayed in sunny spirits. The men worked hard all day, we had a big pizza lunch which helped keep everyone's energy levels high, and we all still had smiles on our face when it was done - feeling the accomplishment of a successful day's work! If others are starting to wane, find a way to help them feel better - you can set the tone!
I know we haven't get everything, and this certainly isn't going to be our last move! Please share YOUR tips for on moving on a budget (or just moving tips in general)!