How to Save Money When You’re Moving

Moving boxes and supplies scattered around an apartment in Minneapolis

Moving can be a challenging and stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve been moving people throughout Minnesota and beyond for over 15 years, so we thought we’d share our best tips to help you prepare for your move. Whether you plan to move yourself or hire professional movers, these tips are designed to make your move easier and save you money.

1.  Get Rid of Things You Don’t Need

Moving is the perfect time to purge your home of unwanted items. There’s no sense in spending the time or energy to move things you don’t need to your new home. Closets, basements, and garages often contain items we may not want to clutter up our new space. Pack up clothes you no longer wear and books you’re no longer interested in and bring them to a donation center like Goodwill. If you’re considering buying new furniture, don’t spend the additional cost of having your movers transport it. Try listing it for free or a reasonable price on Facebook Marketplace. If you’re unable to find another home for your unwanted furniture, we offer furniture disposal services that can easily be added to your move.

2.  Pack All Items Securely Into Boxes

Not all boxes are created equally. Or, more accurately, it’s important to use the right boxes for different items. There are many ways to get free moving boxes, but make sure you’re not trading the price of a box for higher risk of item damage. We recommend using a variety of box sizes and types, depending on your belongings.

When it comes to cardboard, small boxes are best for books and other heavy items. Medium is the most versatile size, good for a variety of items. Large boxes work well for lighter objects like folded clothes and linens.

Don’t forget about specialty boxes, which can really make your life easier. Dish pack boxes are specifically designed to protect dishes and fragile glassware. Wardrobe boxes make it easy to move your closet clothes without taking them off the hanger and keep them wrinkle-free.

And last but definitely not least, the best way to keep your TV safe is to move it in a TV box. It’s a small price to pay to avoid risking one of your most expensive items. You can order moving boxes and supplies right on our website, available for pickup or delivery.

3.  Disassemble Your Furniture

While this can be a tedious task, you can save yourself a lot of money by doing it yourself. The alternative is having your movers do it on the clock when they could be busy carrying the heavy stuff to the truck, which is what you are really paying them to do.

If the furniture breaks down into boards or slats, you can make it even easier on your movers by wrapping them together with plastic shrink wrap. Make sure to keep the hardware in a plastic bag labeled with the item.

4.  Plan to Move Certain Items Yourself

The reality is that certain items either can’t (for legal or safety reasons) or shouldn’t (because they don’t do well in a full truck) be transported by your movers. Plan to move the following items in your personal vehicle

  • Plants
  • Perishable food
  • Valuable electronics
  • Medicine
  • Firearms
  • Propane tanks

5.  Stage Boxes and Loose Items

This is another time-saver that can cut down on your moving bill. If possible, stack your boxes neatly near your front door so that your movers have a shorter path. Even staging them near the door of each room can make a difference. Do the same for vacuums, fans, and dining chairs. Having to retrieve boxes and loose items from every corner of your home can really make your move take longer and cost more.

6.  Pad and Wrap Your Furniture

When we handle your items, we always pad and wrap your furniture before loading it into the truck. Padding and wrapping is the best way to prevent damage. If you plan to move on your own or are looking to save money, we highly recommend making sure you take this step. Otherwise your furniture is liable to end up highly scratched, nicked, and dinged.

To do this, you will need furniture pads and a roll of plastic shrink wrap. It also works best with two people. First, fully cover the item with pads. Then have one person hold the end of the shrink wrap against a corner of the furniture item while the other walks around, sealing it. The plastic wrap should be tight and also fully cover the item to ensure the pads stay in place throughout your whole move.

7.  Reserve Elevators (if Necessary) and a Space to Park the Truck

If you live in an apartment with an elevator, reach out to your building management to reserve it during your move. Many buildings have a dedicated freight elevator that they will reserve for you. Ask your building manager where moving trucks are authorized to park – loading dock, parking lot, or street. On streets with parking meters, you may need to contact the city to reserve one or two parking spaces. Although there is a fee to do this, the worst case scenario is that the moving truck has to park farther from your building, which results in a longer, costlier move.

If you are moving into or out of a house, you may still need to make a plan for parking. If you have a driveway, be aware that steep driveways may not be accessible to a truck, in which case it will have to be parked at the bottom. If there is street parking, we recommend saving a convenient spot with your personal vehicle until the moving truck arrives. Moving trucks can also often park in alleys, barring any obstructions like low tree branches or telephone poles.

8.  Understand What Happens in the Case of Damage

No matter how many precautions you take, there is always a risk of damage to your items when moving. Being well prepared, padding and wrapping your items, and hiring professional movers help lower that risk, but it’s important to know what your moving company’s policies are in case any damages occur.

In Minnesota, state law requires all licensed moving companies to offer a minimum compensation of $0.60/lb for each damaged item. For many items, this amount of compensation does not approach the actual value. For instance, most electronics cost hundreds of dollars, but the weight-based required compensation would typically amount to $20 or less. Even a damaged sofa weighing 100 lbs would only be compensated at $60 – hardly the value of a nice couch.

At College Muscle Movers, we offer additional coverage plans ranging in cost from $15 to $150 that significantly increase the payout in the event of damages. Make sure you talk to your moving company about their policies for damaged items so that you can make an informed decision. The worst outcome is to feel like you got taken advantage of due to a low payout for a valuable item.

9.  Leave Time to Clean and Repair Your Home

Don’t forget about those pesky inspections and security deposits. In addition to moving, you’ll need to make sure your old home is move-in ready for the next person. That means deep cleaning and repairing any minor damages, such as wall patching.

There’s a lot do to in a short amount of time when your move is in these final stages. Things will feel a lot more stressful if you haven’t left an adequate amount of time to take care of these last steps.

These tips are meant to help make your move easy and hassle-free, whether you plan to do it on your own or hire professionals. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about any parts of the process, know that help is available. Our partners in the Dwell Home Services network can help lighten your load. Contact Keepsake PCO for packing and cleaning help, or Fixie Home Improvement for any home repairs.