Moving Tips: 3 States, 1 Year

I know what you’re thinking…what sane person would agree to not only moving two times in 6 months, but moving to an entirely different state each time? Apparently, this girl.

Let me start off with some background; Justin moved to NYC to pursue his career aspirations with BuzzFeed in March 2017. The only move I had planned for 2018 was from ATL > MIA for a job opportunity. It was a decision we struggled with but in the end, we thought it was a good, long-term move for my career. So, in February, I packed up my things and made the drive to Florida. After almost a year and half apart, we decided it was time to reunite our family and move me up to the Big Apple. Needless to say, I’m more than tired of packing and moving but I learned a lot along the way.
I’ve compiled these key tips to help save you some money and make moving easier. If any of these tips help you or if you have others you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about in the comments below the post!

1. Rethink using boxes
Hear me out on this. I know you can drive around town and get free boxes from super markets but I feel like you rarely get solid, quality ones and spending money on cardboard you’re going to recycle on the other end feels like a waste of money. Last Black Friday we [read: Justin] had the brilliant idea to stock up on these storage containers from Home Depot. Instead of packing off-season clothes, holiday decor, party supplies, etc. into cardboard boxes, we packed them right into the containers. They stack nicely into each other which helped us not only maximize our space so as soon as we moved in, but it made packing the moving truck easier because they were a uniform size. We just put them in our storage closet after the move – boom, done. Labels let us know what is inside, but they have plenty of clear options if you want to see the contents! (I prefer uniformity, so we went with the blacks to make it appear less chaotic)

2. Use what you already own

Instead of using foam, bubble wrap, or styrofoam popcorn, consider wrapping your fragile items in your towels, bedding, sweaters, or blankets. Trust me, with two moves across state lines, none of our things were broken by doing it this way. I’d even stuff a pillow on top to add cushion if needed.
Suitcases are also another great alternative to using boxes and utilizing what you already own. I used smaller, carry-on sized suitcases for things like books that can start to get heavy easily – having the wheels built in made all the difference. I used larger suitcases for things like shoes or other bulky, odd shaped items.


PRO TIP: Even though moving feels nothing like a vacation, pack a suitcase for yourself as though you’ll be going on a week long trip. This should include every day toiletries, clothes, shoes, etc. so that you aren’t having to dig through boxes as soon as you get in. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be exhausted and would rather buy a new toothbrush than try and remember which container is labeled “bathroom”. Obviously this should travel with you if you’re using movers and/or packed for easy access

3. Use reusable items

Speaking of things you already own, use reusable items like trash bags for things that aren’t easily damaged like clothes, comforters, and pillows. Once you’ve moved and unpacked, you can save them for the next time you need a trash bag. I also like to keep things organized so I used zip lock bags to keep small or similar things together and not lose in a box like silverware and jewelry.

4. Can you replace it?

Sometimes the cost of moving something, isn’t worth the money. Consider if you can replace it on the other end, especially if you can sell what you already have. For example, we didn’t move our bed/mattress (we left our house partially furnished) because we would have spent the same amount of money having to rent a larger truck. Larger truck = more gas + higher rental cost than it would be to purchase a new one and have it delivered. We bought this IKEA set when we moved to NY and it saved us a lot of hassle and it was nice to get a fresh start in our new place (FYI: delivery is only $29).
Also consider donating all of your food and toiletries to those in need. Unless you buy expensive shampoo, get rid of it. Not only is it great karma, but you can easily replace them and avoid any accidental explosions.

5. Love it or leave it – try to downsize

This used to be really tough for me – Justin can vouch for my hoarding tendencies in the past and how far I’ve come. Keeping these questions in mind really helped me to let go of a lot of things:
  • When was the last time I used this?
  • Can I replace it?
  • How much would I miss this particular item?
  • If I had multiples (i.e. bed sheets), how many am I willing to keep?
  • Will I have room for this?
When it comes to “how much would I miss this particular item,” only you can define the value of things. I learned what my spectrum was and if I would regret letting something go later. If it meant a lot, I kept it, (even if it’s the 20th pumpkin I own). 🙂
Knowing I had a limited space also helped me put things in perspective. NY closets are typically not big so I only picked items I really loved and told myself I could only bring what would fit into what was available. That meant taking my walk-in closet, attic, and coat closet and limiting it down to half of a small closet (same mindset was applied to off-season clothes that were put in the storage containers)

6. Spend the money

Now that I’ve shared my recommendations on how to save money with what you already have, recognize that some things are worth buying (if you’re making a big move). For instance, we bought the a television box for our 65″ and 45″ TVs knowing we’d need them to be secure and protected on the long journey. On local moves, you can opt to use comforters but never when movers are involved. We also invested in a few foam pouches for our plates and glasses for our out-of-state moves. I kept those for the next [inevitable] move so they won’t go to waste. Use your judgement on what you can get away with at home and what is worth spending the money on and consider keeping it too!

7. Freezer meals and paper plates

Before you pack up your kitchen, make a few freezer meals that you can toss into the microwave as you get closer to your move-out date. This helps you avoid eating out a lot (if you’re like me, you’ll save that for the other end of move) and allows you to pack everything up without worrying about what you’ll have for dinner. Big dishes like lasagna cooked in disposable pans are a family favorite, that way you can just toss them out when you’re done – no mess. Same thing with paper plates and cups OR, for an environmentally option, one set of plastic plates and cups that you can rinse off and re-use then toss in a bag (or that “vacation suitcase” above) and not worry about having to properly pack them up.
Let me know if these tips help you or if you have others you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

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