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Moving Tips: What to Buy and What Not to Buy|The Holy Mess

Moving Tips: What to Buy and What Not to Buy

If you are about to move or are in the middle of a move, you know that moving is a hassle, and it’s expensive. You might be wondering what you need to purchase for this move, and what you can do without.

We are wrapping up (no pun intended) a major move across the country with our family of 7 people. I’ve learned many tips and tricks along the way. Here is what I’ve learned is worth it to purchase and what you can skip.

Moving Tips: What to Buy

(Note: If you are using a moving company, they will probably be providing these items. Check with your company before making any purchases.)

Moving Box Kits

  • Good boxes. High quality boxes are the staple item of your whole move process. We tried both Walmart and Lowes brand and did not like them. Walmart’s were flimsy and Lowes had the handles in a weird place. We like U-Haul boxes. Check out U-Boxes, an online company that offers factory-direct boxes shipped to you for a discounted price. You’ll read that some people recommend rubbermaid boxes for a move, or clear boxes. It’s worth considering, if you think you will have a need for them when you get to your new location or will plan to sell them on Craig’s list. Clear boxes are better since you can see what’s in them. With the cheap ones, the plastic is pretty flimsy and they crack in the heat, so just know they are not going to last long-term. We had some of these boxes in our garage already and we used what we had. What’s good about plastic is you don’t have to worry if they get wet. Oh, and as far as the advice like “pick up free boxes at the grocery store”, I’ve tried that on a number of occasions and never had any success. When I’m in the middle of a move, I need to go, get my boxes, and get on with my tasks. I don’t have time to run all over town looking for boxes.I Love Moving...Not.Packing paper. You need some type of packing paper. This is to pad your boxes and wrap your breakable items. I did not like what was at Walmart. Lowes or Home Depot brand is better, and U-Haul or U-boxes is even better. People often use newspaper, but I don’t know too many people who buy a newspaper anymore, plus newspaper leaves your dishes and everything so dirty they all have to be washed when you get to where you are going. You can also use dish towels and small blankets for this, by the way.
  • Picture boxes. Picture or mirror boxes are large boxes especially for the purpose of these large items, and they are silly expensive ($10-20 each). It feels like a stupid purchase. If you can get them on Craig’s list, definitely go for it. I plan to sell ours there when we move. But to replace the glass in these items would be quite expensive, so it’s worth the purchase if you are moving further than just across town, and can move these items in the back of your car.
  • Shrink wrap or Stretch wrap. Okay, this stuff is the BOMB you guys! Seriously, this move was the first time I had used this stuff and I am over the moon in love with it! It’s totally changed our move process. In the past only available to professional movers, this stuff will totally rock your moving world. It takes a little bit of thought to realize what you can do with this, but once you get the ideas flowing, there will be no stopping you. I might just wrap my kids in this and transport them to New York that way. Here are just a few ideas for you: wrap your drawers with the clothes still in them. Wrap bed frames together (with the hardware in a ziplock bag). Wrap small junk drawers with the junk all still in it, jewelry displays with the jewelry still on them, desk trays, kids toys with small parts, kitchen silverware drawers. Wrap fragile furniture in blankets and then wrap the whole furniture item in this wrap. Same with fragile glass items. I watched professional movers wrap an entire piano in this stuff. Seriously.

    Shrink wrap for moving

    Josiah’s junk drawers of teenage boy electronic gadgets and what-nots. Wrapped up the whole thing.

Stretch wrap for movingThis jewelry display hangs on the wall of my bedroom. I took it down, laid it on a flat unused box, and wrapped up the whole thing jewelry and all.

  • Packing tape is a cornerstone item just like boxes. I highly prefer this BROWN packing tape over the clear junk. It’s a bit harder to find but so much better. It doesn’t stick to the roll and then you can’t get it off without standing there for half an hour picking at it, and then only half a strip of tape comes off. (I swear, one of those little annoyances that drives you batty in the middle of a move!). Brown tape, friends, brown. And oh yeah, get some dispensers, too. More than one, because you will set one down and not remember where you put it.
  • Mattress covers. I think this is worth it IF you are going to putt your stuff in storage for awhile or your stuff will be in transit for a long period of time. I really, really love my bed, and we all know a mattress is a huge investment. I get sort of freaky about bedbugs and water damage, since you can’t really clean a mattress. I didn’t worry about the kids’ mattresses (sorry, kids) since theirs are inexpensive. This king sized mattress cover cost about $20, but it’s nice with 3 separate bags, 2 for each of the box springs, then a large one for the mattress, and it’s a thick plastic and has handles for carrying.
  • Hired help. Here’s where it’s really a “to each his own” type of thing, but my personal suggestion is to hire whatever help your personal budget will allow. If it’s beer and pizza for friends to come over and help out, do that. If you are doing a moving truck or PODS but can afford to pay for movers to help with the furniture, do that. If you can afford to hire a moving company, do that. Moving is a huge hassle, friends, and it’s stressful. Yes, you want to be frugal and do this smart. But you also have to count the cost, and some things are worth the investment in the long run in terms of your stress and emotional investment.
    PODS arriving

    The biggest thing we learned about using PODS is they need space above to drop the POD down — you can’t place them in an area where you have tree branches.

    PODS arriving

    The way the PODS system works is pretty cool. Your stuff does not get tilted around much.


Moving Tips: What Not To Buy

  • Pre-packaged boxes of boxes You might or might not need a moving kit, depending on if you already have some moving supplies on hand, since these typically include things like box cutters, sharpies, and all the basics. If you are just getting started, check out these moving kits to get going with the basics. Once you have the basics, though, you don’t need a kit. You can just continue to resupply boxes or packing paper as you need it. What can be helpful is sets of boxes, like 20 medium boxes at a reduced rate.
  • Dish boxes If you have fine china or really nice dishes, you might want to consider dish boxes. Otherwise for everyday dishes, these types of boxes are expensive and you can’t get very many in each box. I used regular boxes and packed our dishes in packing paper.
  • Colored Duct Tape for different rooms. You’ll read the idea all over to use different colors of duct tape to label each room of the house a different color. We used this idea for this move. The issue is, duct tape adds up pretty quick, and I could never seem to find the color I wanted when I needed it, so then I borrowed another color (defeating the purpose). We ran out of some colors for the popular rooms and other rooms we had lots extra. It’s a good idea, but I think a better one would be to use Sharpies in various colors. It would be cheaper and easier.
  • Moving blankets can typically be rented from companies like U-Haul, Budget rental, and other large companies, saving a purchase. You can also use your own regular blankets if you have old ones.
  • Rummage Sales hosting items before a move. Okay, I can already hear my cousin Jeff gasping in horror as he reads this, because he is the king of all things rummage sale. (Read his blogs with tips for hosting and attending rummage sales here.) I’m not a huge fan of hosting a rummage sale before you move, unless you have the time and REALLY want to do so. Yes, there is money to be had, and YES, you seriously need to get rid of a lot of your stuff. But you guys, moving is so stressful. If the thought of sticking little $0.25 stickers on half of what you own makes you weep quietly into your pillow at night, I here and now give you permission to skip this whole thing. Give the stuff to Goodwill and write it off on your taxes. I do recommend that you sell your big ticket items on Craigslist, as that is where the money is to be had, anyway. I know Jeff also recommends local rummage sale groups on Facebook as a great way to sell items, also.
  • Moving companies. This might be controversial but I’m going to throw this thought out there. If you have a place of employment that is paying for your move, you are golden and don’t need to worry. If you are paying for your own move, or you have the option to keep some of the cash, let’s discuss this a bit. I’ve moved myself, used a moving company (which our church paid for since my husband is a pastor), and this move we are using PODS and hiring movers to move our big items. Moving companies charge top dollar. Consider PODS and hiring movers to move your items for you (and even pack for you if you want) and you could save thousands of dollars. If you need your items stored, the stuff will stay in the PODS without having to be moved into storage, preventing damage. We looked into a renting a moving truck, but the cost for renting a POD was similar (either from PODS company or U-Boxes from U-Haul) and you don’t have to drive the thing. If you are moving locally and the move will only take a day, then you might want to go ahead and rent a truck since you can make multiple trips. It’s a toss up. The final option is of course if trips in your vehicle, or a friend’s, will suffice.

These are some of your best moving tips: what to buy and what not to buy for your move. While a big move is never easy, having the right equipment on hand makes it much easier.

Also see: The 1 Product that Saved Me Hours and Dollars When I Deep Cleaned My Whole House, and How to Say Goodbye to a House You Have Loved, I Love Moving…Not (The Pros and Cons of Moving with a Family).

Sara Recommends

After the Boxes Are UnPacked — book

Moving with Kids — book

Moving Boxes

Moving Stretch Wrap –highly recommend!

1-800-Got Junk — removal company, highly recommend

Moving Supplies

Have you moved recently? What do you recommend?Moving Tips: What to Buy and What Not to Buy|The Holy Mess