Want to save money on your long distance move? Here’s what to get rid of when downsizing your home and moving across country for the cheapest move possible –
To move long distance in the cheapest way, you’re gonna have to lighten your load – and YES, it’s overwhelming… moving can be SO expensive.
To spend less money on your long distance move means – you need to move less STUFF.
Let’s talk about what to get rid of when moving across country or just across town.
Trying to decide what to keep when moving and what to get rid of is a BIG job – especially when you’re making a big move to another state or across the country!
Today, we’re going to focus on what NOT to move long distance to lower your moving costs so you can move in the cheapest way possible.
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Leave It or Move It?
When trying to decide how much stuff you should take when you move across country can be an overwhelming process.
For those making these “take it or leave it behind” decisions, it comes down to:
– Finding the CHEAPEST way to move long distance, and
– Reducing the stress and overwhelm associated with moving.
Taking less with you and leaving more behind WILL not only make your move easier and less stressful, it will also reduce the overall cost of your move.
Long Distance Moving Cost
Not only can moving long distance be very stressful and overwhelming, it can also be very expensive.
For example, the cost to move an average 4 bedroom house across country can cost $15,000 or more for an insured full-service move.
The average cost of moving a four bedroom house locally or long distance is $3,000 to $16,000 (1).
Moving Cost Breakdown
If we break down the cost to move across country, the cost to move varies based on:
– How MUCH stuff you’re moving (the total weight)
– How FAR you’re moving
– Packing services/supplies
– Whether you opt to have your move & items insured
Movers.com estimates that an average 4 bedroom home has about 9,000 pounds of stuff – and moving all that stuff 3,000 miles with packing services and mover’s insurance will cost $15,800.
Obviously, you can drastically reduce the cost to move by renting a truck and doing all the packing and moving yourself – but keep in mind that you will still have to pay for the truck rental, gas, boxes, packing tape, etc.
Moving Pods Cost
Another option for moving across country is to use long distance moving pods.
In short, these Pods companies drop a portable storage unit at your home and YOU fill it up (ie, no packing services).
When your moving pod is full, the company picks it up and delivers the entire pod to your new location.
Cost for long distance pod that is moving a 4 bedroom house about 3,000 miles will cost you $5,000 – $7,600 (2) (depending on whether you need the pod put in storage for a while or delivered immediately to your new location).
Moving Cost Calculator
If you’d like to see how much your approximate moving costs will be, there is a moving cost calculator on moving.com here.
The moving cost calculator takes into account your moving company cost based on:
- Where you’re moving FROM,
- Where you’re moving TO,
- The size of your move (ie, how many bedrooms),
- What Packing Services you want (ie, no packing services, partial packing help, or full service packing), and
- WHEN you plan to move
As an example, I calculated how much it would could to move a 3-bedroom home across country (from Atlanta to Los Angeles – 1,956 miles) with full packing services – and estimate the moving date to be 2 months from today.
Guess how much the moving cost estimate was?
My point of sharing these long distance moving costs is this:
Less Stuff = Less COST
The more stuff you can declutter and get rid of, the less your cost to move will be – that includes obvious financial monetary cost – and STRESS cost.
If there ever was one single PERFECT time to declutter your life, it would be BEFORE you move across country.
How To Purge Clutter BEFORE You Move
Before we talk about WHAT to get rid of when moving across country, let’s talk about HOW to declutter before you move.
Before you even start, you’ll need to clean. You do NOT want to be packing a messy house, it will drive you nuts lol!
So first do a basic clean of your home so you can see what you’re working with and get to decluttering your things before you move.
Personally, I like the one room at a time declutter, purge, pack method.
I start in any spot in a room in my home that is used the LEAST (for example, the guest bedroom), then I start in the closet or another small area and declutter, purge, pack that one area.
My goal is to get RID of 90% of the STUFF in that area – if not ALL of it.
Yes, it IS hard when you first start – that’s why you start decluttering for a move in an area that is bound to have things you rarely use – or probably even forgot you have.
By doing it this way, by the time you get to your most used areas, you will be REALLY good at purging clutter and stuff without all those overwhelming feelings.
In short, you’ll be in “all business” mode and feel GOOD getting rid of things.
Here’s some more tips for getting rid of stuff before you move:
What To Get Rid Of
Deciding what to get rid of when moving across country is really hard when you first start thinking about it – but it oddly gets easier as you go along.
The most important things to consider when deciding what to keep and what NOT to move are:
- The space available in your NEW house or apartment –
- Your moving budget –
- How much TIME you have to declutter, pack and move –
If you are downsizing and moving into a smaller home than your current one, you obviously will need to get rid of a LOT of stuff.
If you are moving to a larger home, you have the option to move more of your current belongings with you (but do you REALLY want to do that?)
As I pointed out above, how much it costs to move across country comes to how MUCH stuff you’re moving.
The less you have to move the less the cost TO move will be.
If you’re moving on a tight budget, selling your clutter can help to PAY your moving costs.
Ideally, you’ll want 6-8 weeks to declutter, downsize, and pack before a long distance move. That might SOUND like a lot of time, but trust me, every, single day of those 2 months will be “packed” with decluttering and packing.
Our neighbors – and dear friends – (Tina and John) moved 4 states away this past Spring – so I got to not only witness what goes into moving a home you’ve lived in for 10+ years many miles away, but help do it.
Now, they had the luxury of time and had no pressure to move quickly.
In fact, Tina decided to declutter everything BEFORE they even put their house on the market.
Now, let me make this clear – Tina is a VERY neat and organized person. She is NOT someone who keeps everything and feels NO guilt throwing things away.
She isn’t a “minimalist” by any means, but she is one of those rare amazing people who has zero Pack Rat tendencies.
One would THINK moving Tina and John’s house would be SO easy.
Once Tina started decluttering in preparation to pack and move, she was totally overwhelmed with ALL the stuff they actually had.
The tricky part was – they were downsizing and moving long distance to a smaller home – so stuff had to GO.
It took Tina and John about a week of serious pre-move decluttering to realize:
There were TONS of things they were NOT going to move – and they became RUTHLESS about getting rid of things.
What NOT To Move
When deciding what NOT to move long distance, Tina came up with these 3 rules to help her decide what to take when they moved and what to leave behind:
The bigger the item, the more space it takes up in the moving truck.
Tina took a good, long hard look at ALL their big items and decided what furniture to get rid of before moving.
For example, their living room furniture.
While it was a beautiful couch, love seat, recliner living room set, there was no way it was going to fit into the living room in their new home – so she sold it.
(Yes, that means they’d have to buy NEW living room furniture, but WHY move that heavy bulky furniture thousands of miles only to get rid of it once you move in?
Use of Item
At first, Tina got a little hung up when deciding what to get rid of and NOT move – she told me it felt like everything she touched was followed by the thought of “Well, I MIGHT use it someday”.
But then she realized she wasn’t getting rid of anything and became ruthless about downsizing their things.
She told me – “If I haven’t used the thing recently, or couldn’t even remember when I used it last, I’m getting rid of it”
No remorse about tossing it, selling it or giving it away – she just got rid of it – and she said it felt GOOD.
She said that every single item that she got rid of BEFORE moving made her feel lighter and less overwhelmed about the actual moving day.
She had less TO pack and move and… the actual move would not only be easier, but CHEAPER.
Replacement Cost vs Moving Cost
As with most things, it all comes down to money.
Does the cost of moving an item justify not selling it BEFORE you move?
Will it be more expensive to replace the item after you’ve moved into your new home (ie, cheaper to just move it with you and not leave it behind).
If you’re moving somewhere close, or locally, it is almost always cheaper to just move all your furniture with you. The cost of moving a short distance or interstate is MUCH cheaper than moving long distance so moving your stuff with you will be much cheaper than buying all new stuff.
However, when moving across country, you really have to take into account which is more cost-effective – pay to move it with you, or pay to buy a new one if you leave it behind.
If you’re trying to move on a tight budget, but are moving a long distance away, I’d say Sell It and take all that cash with you to your new home.
But, it’s totally up to you to decide which makes more sense for YOUR situation.
Furniture – Sell It Or Move It?
The furniture pieces in your home are not only the biggest items you will consider moving – but are also commonly the most expensive items in your home to replace.
The biggest question is:
“Should I sell my furniture or move it?”
If it’s a big, bulky item that won’t fit into your new home – sell it, donate it, give it away, etc – but, yes, leave it behind.
For example, your dining room furniture – should you move it or sell it?
If your new house doesn’t even HAVE a dining room, you totally SELL IT.
It is not worth moving.
In fact, it’s downright SILLY to pay to move anything that won’t work in your new home.
For items that will fit into your new home, ask yourself if you REALLY want to pay to move it – or would you rather sell it and use that money to help pay for your moving company and/or go towards NEW furniture in your new home.
As for family heirlooms or antique furniture that simply can NOT be replaced, it all comes down to…
Do you really WANT it in your new home – or do you feel bad at the thought of selling it or giving it to a family member?
If YOU truly want it in your new home – keep it and pay to move it.
Those types of furniture items ARE worth moving.
Other big items, like your washer and dryer, are things people wonder if they should take when they move or get rid of BEFORE moving.
Personally, I LOVE my washing machine.
While it’s not new anymore, it would still be very expensive to replace it once in my new home.
I’d move my washer and dryer with me.
In short, if:
- You love it,
- You can’t replace it and/or
- It is more cost-effective to move it –
Take it with you.
Move Out Decluttering Strategy
There are specific decluttering strategies for moving out of your current home and moving long distance to a new home.
Here are some tips and tricks that can help when getting rid of things before moving:
Many people that are moving across country sell everything.
Literally, EVERYTHING – with exception to their basic needs (limited clothing, important documents, etc) they sell ALL their stuff before they move.
The basic concept is this:
If it won’t fit in your car, it doesn’t get moved.
While this is an extreme way to declutter before moving, I can see the attraction to this strategy.
Sell it ALL, then take all that cash and your absolute Must Haves, move across country and start over fresh.
Sounds pretty good, huh?
But at the end of the day, whether you sell everything or move everything, it’s still gonna take time and a lot of work before you’re ready to actually make that long distance move across country unless you use one of the companies that sell your stuff FOR you (which also costs money).
I learned a LOT while helping and watching my neighbor friends move long distance.
It also makes me shudder to think about ever moving from my house – ugh!
While I constantly work to downsize and get rid of clutter, this is still a 4-bedroom 3000+ square foot home with lots of STUFF.
I’d need lots of time, lots of energy, lots of help… and a checklist!
Declutter Checklist For Moving
I’ve found a few free printable decluttering checklist pdf options that can help you declutter and downsize before moving across country (or before moving anywhere, really).
Here is downsize and declutter checklist pdf that is helpful:
I also like this free declutter checklist pdf for moving… it helps you declutter room by room – and it’s a cute printable too =)
Here are some more checklists and tips for decluttering and downsizing your home before moving across country:
More Tips for Downsizing
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