A little comparison shopping, a little DIY

How One Woman Moved from a Three Story Home for $452

by Debra Karplus


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Getting Rid of Stuff When You Move to a Smaller House

DIY Moving Tips

According to LandlordStation.com, in a 2013 report, one in six people will move to a new home every year. They say that the average American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. Perhaps you will be moving soon to a bigger or smaller place, a better neighborhood, or out of town because of a job or to be near family. How will you move all your precious belongings from your current home to your new dwelling?

Your employer might pay for your move.

If you are moving to a new geographic area because of a job change, check to see if your new employer will pick up some or the entire tab for moving expenses. Very often they will. Additionally, there are some federal tax benefits on your IRS 1040 Schedule A form for your out-of-pocket moving expenses if they are job-related.

Getting rid of your stuff is a crucial first step.

But whether you are moving for work or for a personal reason, moving across the country or across town, or moving to a different sized house, you should be ruthless about getting rid of your stuff. No matter how you do the move, it costs money to move your belongings. If you open a closet and discover things you have that you didn't realize you had, then you don't need those items. Preparing for a move is no time to get sentimental about baby toys that your eight year old used to play with!

Anything you can do yourself will save money on a move.

If you are moving within town, you can do much of the move yourself, using your own car, truck, or minivan. Start collecting free boxes from your local supermarket or other store that will be good for moving, since moving companies charge approximately $2 per box that you buy from them. If you will be moving these boxes yourself, they do not necessarily need to have tops or be labelled, but be sure they have a sturdy bottom.

Renting a moving vehicle will be cheaper than using professional movers, but someone needs to load and drive the truck and then unload it at your destination. There are several companies that rent moving vehicles round trip for in-town moves and one-way for long distance moves. Check websites for companies U-Haul.com , EnterpriseTrucks.com, PenskeTruckRental.com and BudgetTruck.com. Most have a FAQ section that is extremely helpful when making decisions about an upcoming move.


To rent a truck for moving, you must be 18 years old and have a valid driver's license. Additional drivers of the rental truck can be added for a small fee. In-town rental is typically charged a flat fee plus mileage. For a one-way long distance move, you will probably be charged by the day and additionally by the mile. Most truck rental companies take major credit cards. Many may have a promo code, so you can get a discount. Some companies will require you to pay a deposit in advance.

Truck size may also be a factor in price. The truck rental company can provide guidance on size of truck you will need. Typically, a rental pickup truck or cargo van is appropriate for a very small move and a ten-foot truck for a small apartment. These vehicles seat three people.

Larger rental trucks seat three people. A 15-foot truck may be appropriate for a two-bedroom apartment, 17-foot truck for a two-bedroom house, 20-foot truck for a three-bedroom house, and a 26-foot rental truck for a larger home with four or more bedrooms.

A full service moving company will cost more but will take care of all the heavy lifting.

Mayflower and Two Men and a Truck are popular companies that will do all the back-breaking parts of a move. Two Men and a Truck charges a minimum of approximately $400 for an in-town move. They charge about $12 for each mattress they need to move as they pack them in special mattress boxes. They will move furniture like dressers intact, but wrap them, so drawers do not fall out during the move. But, they ask that you empty file cabinets as they tend to be too heavy for two men to move. Some of the larger moving companies will pack and unpack all of your belongings, but this can become pricey.

calculator iconCalculator: How Much House Can I Afford?

One woman in her mid-60s, after 38 years living in her three-story, 1582-square-foot home built in 1907, decided it might be time to "age in place" in some place smaller and newer. She found a 12-year-old, one-story condo with no homeowner's association dues. She bought it and immediately started getting rid of stuff in her old house.

On the day of the closing, she used a friend's pickup truck to transport desks, file cabinets, shelves, and a tall ladder to the new condo. This enabled her to use her Honda Civic sedan with the backseat folded down to transport most everything else, room by room, to her new place. Then for $452, she hired Two Men and a Truck to haul the remaining ten items that included two beds, three dressers, a sofa, and some tables. She highly recommends this very affordable method of moving.

Do read customer testimonials and shop around before your next move.


Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on Amazon.com (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for freelancewriting.com. Learn more about her at DebraKarplus.blogspot.com.

Take the Next Step:

  • Whether you are getting a new mortgage or simply refinancing, you need to consider whether you want to find the lender yourself or whether you'd prefer to have a professional walk you through the process. If you want to do it yourself, use the mortgage rate table here from our friends at Bankrate.com. You'll be asked for some basic information. Then you'll see different lenders and their rates.
  • Visit the TDS library for more moving tips.
  • Could spending 5 minutes reading a newsletter twice a week save you time and money every day? Dollar Stretcher Tips readers think so. Subscribe and find out how many ideas stretch your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

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