How To Move House Without Spending Way Too Much Money

Listen, we all know that moving house is a horrible, torrid experience akin to uprooting everything good and stable in your life and throwing it out into the street. In fact, a recent survey has ranked moving house as one of the most stressful experiences in your life – just under getting a divorce. So how to lessen the blow?

As someone who has had to move once a year for the last four years, I can testify as to the awful levels of stress involved, the exhaustion and the high cost in both time and money.

My struggle, however, has gifted me with some excellent tips for saving money when moving:

Sort your shit out

Unless you’re some kind of minimalist hero, you’ll be unsurprised to discover that you’ve picked up a metric f*cktonne of miscellaneous stuff, and it’s all over your house. It could be a bunch of no-sugar cookbooks from your healthy phase two years ago; it could be a set of loud Hawaiian shirts that your uncle gave you for Christmas. The point is, it’s taking up space.

Use your horrific moving date as an opportunity to sort through all of this and prioritise your life. Not only will it allow you to finally walk from one end of your bedroom to the other without potentially knocking over the giant piles of clothes and crockery, you’ll also save money by not having to pay people to move this junk to the next house.

This is also a good opportunity to try and sell as much stuff as you can. I have a rule that if I haven’t worn an item of clothing since the last year, it’s time to sell on eBay. I also sell any book that I can’t imagine ever reading again.

Put the things inside other things

The babushka doll is your moving-house muse. Your luggage is a great place to store other things, such as clothes and yet more luggage. If you are paying for removalists, tape your chests of drawers full of non-breakable things shut, so they move it all quicker.

Beg for boxes

People are basically giving away boxes for free, so you might as well grab them. I usually go to bookshops and ask them, generally because I always know where bookshops are. Grocery stores and cafes are usually good bets, too.

The other thing I always do when I finish moving is offer those boxes to anyone else I know who might be moving, so I don’t even need to dispose of them and seem like a really great guy. It’s probably worth putting a callout on social media and seeing if anyone still has their moving boxes dominating their laundry. A lot of people put up free boxes on Gumtree and Craigslist too, the downside of that being that you have to go on Gumtree or Craigslist.

Wrap it up creatively

Instead of wasting money on bubble wrap or packing foam, use your towels and sheets to wrap up fragile items. If you’ve got a whole bunch of objets d’art, consider using your clothes too, especially if you’ve got winter outfits like sweaters and jumpers all packed away and you’re moving in summer.

This also fits in with the previous babushka principle – imagine a chest of drawers full of clothes that ALSO had wine glasses wrapped up safely in them. It’s just so delightfully efficient.

Move it all yourself

If you can swing it, it’s much cheaper to rent a van yourself and shift all the boxes (it works out so much cheaper than any moving company that it’s almost ludicrous). Of course, if you have some kind of tricky second-story situation with a couch that needs to be lowered on straps, then maybe it’s worth paying people to do it all for you.

This is also a good time to get friends who owe you favours to come and move boxes for you. Maybe some of these friends are people you just recently gave your stuff to as gifts! For extra points, see if you can find a friend with a van, so you don’t pay any money. You might even be able to sit back and let everyone else work.

If you decide to go with a moving service, the golden rule is research. There’s a lot of services that look cheap, but have hidden costs. Also, it might seem more economic to get a smaller truck, but it’s far more cost effective to load it all into one big truck, so they only make one trip.

Patrick Lenton is a writer and digital marketer. He runs Town Crier, a social media and marketing consultancy for authors.