When to Start Packing For A Move

As a part of their marketing, some realtors tell you, “Call me and then start packing.”  That advice could be too little, too late. 

A household move is a strategic endeavor that requires equal parts decisions, logistics, and pre-planning. Using a professional mover can be an asset, but knowing in advance how to pack, store and transfer will create an event with fewer hassles during a stressful moment. 

Got a Clue? Get a Plan!

The best time to think about moving is when you have the first inkling that you are going to be moving. Why you are moving can help determine parts of your strategy. A young couple growing their family may be looking for a spacious place with lots of room to spread their wings. A senior couple may want to have a place featuring less maintenance, less clutter, and unused rooms. Once you determine your objective, this is when the mental process and emotional energy starts.

Take and project ahead 90 to 120 days on the calendar. What season will it be? What items will you need as a result? 

This idea can determine the mixture of items you will need up to the last moment. Summer sunshine and warmth mean different clothes than winter wind and cold.  What tools and household items do you need?  Mowing the lawn in July versus snow blowing come December can determine many of the items you can pre-pack.  Moving in July means keeping your garden and lawn tools handy so the grounds look tip-top, while it also means less call for snow throwers and leaf blowers. In terms of your wardrobe, this also means you may want to organize and pack clothes such as winter boots, sweaters, and coats early in the process.  Over in the kitchen, baking tools, fine dining, and entertaining sets, and turkey roasters can be packed first during a summer move. Many people enjoy decorating lavishly their homes for holidays such as Christmas and Halloween. A warm-weather move means that those items can be inventoried, sorted in advance, and then secured to find them quickly in when you want them during the fall and winter months.  

A late-season move means the opposite. Chances are that the seasons may be in flux while you move, so you could need a just warm sweatshirt one day, rain gear the second day, shorts on the third day, and even a parka on the morning of the fourth. Plan accordingly, but don’t let the idea of this bog you down into not making a decision.  You will know the conditions in the area where you will be living, and how to pack to be ready for them. 

Staging Your Home for Maximum Value

Another concept important to how you will be packing is the process for staging your house for viewing by prospective buyers. Many realtors offer the assistance of a professional home stager or have experience in preparing your home to fetch the best offering price. They offer object ideas on what buyers want to see and how to put the best face on your place. Put your ego to the side and listen to them. When preparing your house, professional staging consultants try to strike the equilibrium between content and clutter. Too many household knick-knacks, tchotchkes, family heirlooms, and other items can obscure the vision of a potential buyer. Just because you appreciate Grandpa John’s rocking chair or Aunt Jerri’s china, a prospective purchaser may not. Too few items in an empty house will suggest that it’s been on the market for a long time, even if you just listed it. Once you identify what items will be used in home staging, then take that moment to pack the excess items for storage and moving. 

Know Before You Go

Create a simple inventory system for what you are packing that you can understand and stick with. Take a pad or notebook and make several lists while you prepare and pack. Items you designate as ones are objects that you will need up through your last night in your current location. These can be things such as phone chargers, pillows, toothbrushes, personal grooming items, and your favorite coffee mug. Twos are things you may need but should be organized and ready 72 hours before moving days. These can include clothes for work, basic kitchen items, entertainment and technology, and items that are your individual creature comforts. Threes are in-season items that you will want to unpack first. Fours can be the off-season items that you only use once a year. Fives are the items to throw out, donate out, and won’t be needed at your new location and/or return if borrowed to their rightful owner. Make these lists as a way to cross-reference for how you pack. Put the number and a brief content description multiple times and angles on every possible box, bag, and container you move. This way, you can find a #2 box that contains someone’s blow dryer and curling wand on that first morning you want it. 

Talk to A Pro

Consult with your mover in advance. His job is to have the right amount of space on a truck combined with the right number of team members to get the job done quickly and efficiently. No matter how many times you have changed addresses in your lifetime; you will still never have as much experience, both good and bad, as the foreman of your moving crew. Don’t let price alone sway your good judgment.  Work with a moving consultant in advance so you know what pieces they can handle with ease and other items that you will want to move yourself. Whether your move is across town or across the country, having someone to delegate tasks to and knowing what tasks they handle can let you focus your energy on the other parts of the move.  They can’t help you with transferring utilities and selecting paint colors, but they know how to pack items safely and securely so they won’t be lost to a sharp left turn.

highway move

What Is The Cheapest Way To Move Long Distance

Looking for a less expensive way to move long distance? We get it. The average cost to hire a professional mover for an interstate move is almost $5,000, (based on an average weight of 7,500 pounds and an average distance of 1,000 miles).

You may be a little concerned about the costs involved with moving. Fortunately, there are cheaper ways to handle an out-of-state or a cross-country move.

You can hire labor-only movers or downsize your stuff, it’s possible to move long-distance without going broke. The best way to move across the country depends on your situation and move needs. Still, we have several ways you can save money on your next long-distance move.

Sell It!

If you are like many people, you have accumulated a lot of things that you really don’t need. When you sell things before you move, you can earn extra money to help pay for the cost of moving. It also reduces the amount of items you need to pack. The big benefit is you can reduce costs for shipping or moving by being able to rent a smaller truck or needing fewer movers.

Of course, you may want to keep the essentials and sentimental items. If you have the time and desire, you could throw a garage or yard sale or even rent a spot at a local area flea market.

You can go online to sell your belongings through sites like eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. There are also stores that will buy your old clothes if they are in good condition, and specialty stores which will buy things like electronics or books. 

Pick a strategic moving date

Believe it or not, the date and time you move can make an impact on the cost of your long distance move. Try to Avoid peak moving days and times. This can potentially save you money on truck rentals, moving company costs, and supplies. The following are peak moving dates to avoid which include weekends, the summer months, and the first and last weeks of the month. Try to schedule your move for a mid-day, mid-month date between the months of October to April. 

Ship your stuff

Ship your belongings. It can be a great way to move cross country and could be one of the most convenient moving options you may not have considered. This is especially true if you don’t have many big household belongings. In addition to shipping items via USPS or carriers like UPS or FedEx, you can also ship larger objects through various service providers online.

Company Relocations Funds

New job in your life? If you’re moving for work be sure to check out your new company’s relocation option. Many companies pay for all or part of the move, so it’s worth asking the HR department. They also might have recommendations or their own preferred company of home or business cross-country movers. If your company does offer relocations assistance, be sure to save all moving receipts (even your receipts for yoour moving supplies), so you can document your expenses and get properly reimbursed for the move.

Hire Moving Labor

Look for someone to help you pack, load, and unload your truck rental! Fortunately, there are plenty of moving companies that offer a la carte services which include labor options. These labor-only services can include junk cleanup and removal services, donation pickups, and packing help. By hiring labor only instead of a full-service moving company, you’ll be saving thousands of dollars.

Friends and Family

Everyone likes beer and pizza! Besides hiring moving labor, you can always consider friends and family to help. If you’re trying to find the cheapest way to move cross country, this is probably the way. However, you will have to work around schedules and be sure to have enough help for heavy or difficult to move items. 


Before your move, do thorough research on moving companies, moving containers, truck rentals and moving supply retailers that offer deals, coupons, and discounts. Some of these discounts may be so big that it can make a previously expensive moving company the most cost-effective and cheapest solution. For those who serve or have served in the military, you can typically find various military discounts offered at both local and national moving companies. Those looking for moving supplies can also find deals and discounts through moving companies and big-box retailers.  

Additional Tips to Cut Costs on a Long-Distance Move

  • Donate or sell large items like furniture or appliances that will cost more to ship. Many long distance movers charge by weight so it can be worth getting rid of these heavy things before moving. Large items also take up a lot of space and might require an upgrade to a larger, more expensive truck.
  • Ask about the deductibles. Some movers have a deducible, for example $600, before they pay an insurance claim. If they break something worth less than $600, you might be out of pocket to fix it.
  • Get a few moving quotes and give yourself enough time to wait for the best one. Moving companies are usually booked 6-8 weeks out, so try to plan your move out even further than that. You’ll get the best offers the further out you are able to plan. 
  • If you’re shipping expensive items, be sure to get insurance. There are some upfront costs to buying insurance, but canwill save a lot of money if something very expensive gets damaged or broken. 

You May Still Want To hire a professional mover

There are few good options which beat the ease and convenience of full-service movers when it comes to moving across country. Moving is stressful and time-consuming enough, hiring a moving company can give you peace of mind that everything will be packed and moved safely. Full-service moving companies typically offer a range of services to fit your budget. 

Cost Of Hiring A Moving Company

Moving company - Cat in boxes

Whether local or cross country, the idea of moving can be equal parts exciting and stressful. Knowing how your mover determines the cost can help to alleviate tension and uncertainty with this new chapter. 

Average Cost of a Local Move

If you are moving across town, it’s important to know how the moving price is determined.  Local moving costs vary greatly depending on your exact location. Finding a moving company you’re in sync with is a key to fewer hassles when you move.

Local movers generally charge per hour regardless what they are doing. You cost per hour stays the same whether they are packing, carrying and staging your items outside your home, loading these items into the van, driving to your destination, or unloading your furniture, appliances and the various boxes.

Travel Fees. These fees cover the expenses of fuel and time for your local moving company to arrive at your pick up location and then return back from your drop off location. Generally, your Travel Fee will be equal to one hour of standard move related work.

Costs of a Local Move 

The national average for a local move is $25 per hour per mover. This price can be higher depending on your location in the country and the complexity of the move. 

  • A studio apartment or single room entails two professional movers working between 3 to 5 hours. Your cost averages $250 for completing the entire moving job.
  • A two-bedroom apartment will be three local movers working between 5 and 7 hours. The total should top out between $375-$525 to get the job done.
  • A three bedroom house requires four professional local movers working for a between 7 and 10 hours or more. Plan to pay $700-$1000 to complete the task.
  • Larger homes, those 5,000 square feet and up, rise sharply and can reach values around $1500-$2000, and even more.

On top of your moving cost, most moving companies don’t include packing.  If you are willing to self pack, your moving bill will be much lower versus hiring professionals to do it.  Costs of packing correspond to the cost of moving. Packing and/or unpacking services will cost you $25-$35 per hour, with packing materials such as bubble wrap and boxes included. Excessive flight of stairs, extended distances between where the moving vehicle is parked and the residence, a surplus of bulky and heavy items will also increase your costs. As part of your estimate, discuss in advance these additional items with your local moving company so you are clear in advance.

To Insure Promptness – Tipping Your Movers

Tipping local movers is not mandatory but shows your satisfaction to the crew you’ve hired.  Your acknowledgement of a job well done is always appreciated by every hard working crew member.  It’s considered best practice for you to have cash on hand for a gratuity. Hand the money to the foreman of the crew and let him disburse it. The act of tipping is an increase for the average moving between 10-15% of your total cost

Costs of a Long Distance Move 

Understand how long distance moving costs are figured and you will be able to save on your move. The price of long distance relocation is calculated entirely differently than a local move. You shouldn’t expect to be charged per hour for using the services of a long distance mover. Instead, the final price will be determined by three major factors:

  • Distance:. The longer the distance is between your current home and your new residence, the higher the relocation cost will be. In the age of GPS, this is non-negotiable. Since you won’t be able to change the mileage between the two homes, look at the next two price items to better manage your costs.
  • Shipment weight: The greater the number household items you to move, the more your entire shipment will weigh. The end result is the greater overall expense. Be brave and smart by paring down the amount of your belongings to their absolute minimum. By doing this, you will save hundreds of dollars in moving expense. 
  • Additional services: An estimate from long distance movers will include all the standard move parameters, plus any additional moving services you have requested. These can include packing and unpacking, furniture disassembly and re-assembly. Know which items are considered extra in advance of the move date.  

Examples of costs when moving across country

Like so many things in life, no two moving experiences are exactly the same. Precise costs for long distance moves are impossible to generalize, since all final moving prices are calculated on per case basis.  Your final price will determined by various factors including what items they haul and the specific company you use. 

If you base your move to a new city with a distance of 1000 miles, then you can use these examples as a guideline:

  • A studio apartment or single room.  Generally, the contents weigh about 2000 pounds.  You can expect to pay $1500 or more including any extra services.
  • A one bedroom apartment. The items found in a one bedroom apartment weigh around 3000 pounds or more. You can expect to pay in the range of $1800-$2500 for a cross country move without any accessorial moving services.
  • A two bedroom home. The combined weight will traditionally be between 5000 and 6000 pounds. With your move of 1000 miles, expect to pay around $3500 to$4200 as a starting point. Extra professional relocation services can move this cost significantly higher. 

Whether you are moving just down the street or making a major relocation three states over, knowing how the costs of your move are figured can take some of the stress out of the whole moving process.