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For a number of years I worked as a Contract Designer. I would go where ever the work was, for durations lasting anywhere from 6 months to 2-1/2 years. So we, my wife and I, learned How to  do   Cheap  Moving. We could pack up and move, with less than a weeks notice.

When I started  doing  Contract Design work, we moved all of our household items into a 2500 sq. ft. warehouse which cost us $250 a month. That was a lot better than paying $600 to $800 a month rent just for a place to store your things. Then we packed up the basics: 2 folding tables, 4 folding chairs, basic kitchen items, microwave, TV, TV stand, computer, printer, 2 recliners with back that would come off and lay flat, a night stand, 2 table lamps, king size air mattress, 7 changes of clothes each, plus our Church clothes and a couple weeks of canned and dry food. We packed all of this into a 6 Foot U-Haul trailer and were on our way the next morning.

What we have found over the years, there are 6 key points to being able to  do  a quick  cheap  move:

1. Organize what you are going to take and what you are going to store. If you are planning on taking everything, you still need to get organized to determine what size truck and/or trailer you will need.

2. Locate packing material. Boxes – 12 X 12 X 12 tall, 18 X 18 X 12, these are the most useful size, they are easy to pack and stack. You will also need a few of the 24 X 24 X 24 boxes for some of the larger items (just don’t pack them to heavy). And of course, you will need a few wardrobe boxes 24 X 24 X 60. For anything that is odd in size, you may want to just wrap in bubble-wrap or cut and fold cardboard to make a specialty box. You will need several rolls of packing tape, lots newspaper for the fragile items and/or bubble-wrap. One of my favorite places to find boxes for free is behind strip malls. Just go through the dumpsters, and be selective. Also talk with your local grocery store produce manager and see if he will save the banana boxes for you. They are strong and have slide on lids. If all else fails, call your local U-Haul dealer, he/she will be able to supply you with whatever packing materials you are missing, at a price, of course.

3. Pack every box full. If a box is not full leave the flaps open. When a box becomes full, close it, tape it shut and mark what room it will go into at the new house. Bottom line, maximize your packing space, don’t leave empty spaces in boxes, but also don’t pack them to heavy (don’t fill a 24 x 24 x 24 full of books). When loading your truck/trailer, put the heavy items on the bottom and light items on top. Any chest of drawers, dressers, night stands, file cabinets, anything with drawers, leave the drawers full or fill them, just not too heavy. When loading the cabinets, take the drawers out, load the empty cabinets and then return the drawers back to the cabinets. Remember, to use all your available space, in, around and under. It is better to have extra space than not enough. Note: When loading a trailer, adjust your weight to be over the wheels with a tongue weight from 50 to 200 pounds max. If the tongue weight is light, the trailer will fish-tail badly.

4. Shop around for the best prices on truck and/or trailer rentals, and even car haulers. Some area locations charge higher rental fees than others even within the same company. There was a time, when I needed to drive from Kentucky to Los Angeles and rent a trailer there to bring some things back with me. The cost of renting the trailer in Los Angeles, for the 3 day return trip, was greater than it would be for me to rent the trailer in Kentucky, for the whole 2 week trip. So that is what I did. I hauled an empty trailer out there and hauled the stuff back. I have found that Budget Truck Rentals will usually give you better rates on trucks and car haulers than U-Haul. But U-Haul will usually give you the better rate on trailers. So sometimes you may need to mix and match your moving equipment.

5. When it comes time to load the truck and/or trailer, don’t try to  do  it alone. If you belong to a church, call upon your church brethren or youth to help you load. Or if you have a college in the area, post a notice on the college bulletin board or their website bulletin board for college students who would like to make an extra $25-$30 (plus a 6-pack) for 5-6 hours work loading a truck or trailer. Just don’t ask for student help on Friday nights or too early on Saturday morning, it just won’t happen. Also, make sure they aren’t on spring break or summer vacation.

6. While traveling, when you need to stop, look for pull through places to park. It is just so much easier to pull ahead, instead of trying to back out of a parking spot. Also, every time you stop, walk around your truck/trailer and check the tires, lights, hitch, chains, electrical connections and that the back door is latched and secure. It is just a good idea to  do  a visual inspection every time you stop.

I hope these thoughts and ideas will help to make your move easier,  cheaper  and safer.

Thank you.

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