Moving locally is easy. At least when you compare it to moving to another state or across the country. All you have to do for a local move is rent a truck, call up some friends, and haul your stuff across town.
A cross-country move, on the other hand, takes a whole lot of planning. It’s a logistical nightmare and can easily wreak havoc on your nerves. In addition to finding a new place to live (whether owning or renting) and vacating your old place, you must figure out how to get your stuff from point A to point B in the first place.
Below are a few of the best tips on shipping your stuff across country. Though they won’t make the moving process a walk in the park, they will help make it a whole lot easier and less stressful.
1. Start Early
The key to a successful cross-country move is to get started early. Don’t wait until the last minute to pack your stuff and explore your shipping options. Beginning your moving plans a month or two in advance will give you the time needed to compare different shipping options for your household items. It will also greatly reduce the stress you feel as your moving deadline approaches.
2. Get Rid of Stuff
Do you really need to move every single item you have in your current home to your new one? Chances are that you don’t. Most people tend to accumulate a lot of “junk” and unneeded items over time. Spend the time to sort through all of your stuff before looking into your shipping options. Even getting rid of a minimal amount of stuff, can help big time with shipping costs.
You might also consider getting rid of anything you can easily replace at your new location. This is especially true the farther the distance of your move. Oftentimes, you can replace big furniture items for less than it costs to ship them. Consider donating unneeded furniture, clothing, and other household items to a thrift store like Salvation Army before taking it to the dump. Listing unneeded items for free on Craigslist is another handy option.
3. Fill Your Car
Once again, the less stuff you ship during your cross-country move, the better. So if you’re taking a car, pack it up with whatever you can. Fill up the truck and whatever seats aren’t going to be in use. This is also the ideal time to consider whether or not you want to rent and tow a trailer. Several moving companies have affordable trailer rentals. Depending on the circumstances of your move, it might be a good idea to use a rented travel trailer to move at least some of your stuff. It is an especially good idea to pack and ship your valuables yourself rather than trust them to a moving company.
4. Explore Your Shipping Options
Shipping is one of the best ways to transport your stuff across country when you’re moving. There are a ton of different options of companies out there to choose from. Better yet, some of these companies offer special deals and prices on moving particular types of items. For instance, prices for media related items like books, DVDs, CDs, and video games often go for far less, so make sure to look into this.
It is also worthwhile to look into shipping services that give you the option of packing and unpacking the shipping container yourself. These services are often far cheaper than services where your boxes are loaded and unloaded for you. You simply pack and load, the service does the driving, and then you unload and unpack. Self-pack moving services also give you the ability to pack and unpack at your own pace. You do not need to work off of a specific time schedule as much as you do with a regular shipping service.
5. Consider Independent Shipping
Independent shipping options are becoming more popular and more common as of late. One big reason for this is television shows such as “Shipping Wars” on A&E. Independent shippers are individuals or small companies that operate as independent carriers. Though many of them specialize in transporting items that traditional carriers cannot haul, it is an option worth looking into for standard household items. You might be able to score a lower price on shipping for your cross-country move than a more standard route.
6. Gather Your Own Packing Material
Buying material specifically for packing gets expensive. It is a much better idea to make the rounds at local grocery stores, paper stores, and big box stores to gather up boxes. Most have extra boxes lying around they are happy to give away from free. Additionally, wrapping fragile items in towels and linens is a much cheaper option than buying packing peanuts or bubble wrap.
7. Select the Best Time to Move
Moving companies offer cheaper rates at certain times of the year. For instance, most people want to move in the summer. To attract business during off-peak times, many companies that specialize in shipping for movers offer rates as much as 10% or more.
8. Keep Taxes in Mind
Are you moving for work related reasons? If so, then you might be eligible for certain tax benefits. Moving to within 50 miles or less of a new office means that you are likely eligible to deduct certain expenses from your taxes at the end of the year.
Final Thoughts on Shipping Across Country
What shipping your personal belongings across country all boils down to is getting started early. Start thinking about your move as soon as possible so you can make use of all the tips above. A little planning can net you huge savings on shipping rates at the end of the day. And when it comes to a service that can be as expensive as shipping, it pays off big time to cut down your moving expenses as much as possible.