Budget-friendly moving

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DENVER –  Q: I need some advice on budget-friendly ways I can move my belongings to our new home.

A: Finding and purchasing a new home is both exciting and challenging. Now that you have completed those steps, it’s time to plan your move.  Rarely is this part of a new home acquisition described as “fun” but there are ways to make it easier, less expensive and more successful. 

After living in the same home for a number of years, most people have accumulated a lot of items to be moved. Experts advise that we “aggressively thin out” or purge our possessions before moving.  For example, if you have boxes that have not been unpacked since your last move, you should think seriously about moving those again.

One helpful approach to this process can be called the “Method of Thirds.”  About one-third of what we own is probably no longer of use to us and not in very good condition.  That third needs to be trashed or recycled. A second one-third qualifies as things we no longer need or want but are in better shape and could be of use to someone else. Those items could be sold at a garage sale, consigned or donated to worthy organizations.  Save receipts for what you donate as there are tax benefits available. That leaves the one-third that you care most about as needing to be moved.

Once you’ve reduced the amount to be moved, should you hire a moving company or do it yourself? Each approach has advantages and disadvantages.

A professional moving company can usually get the job done more quickly.  They arrive as a team with a truck, tools, packing and protective materials and everything else that will be needed to safely pack up and move your belongings.  Their professional experience usually leads to less breakage than self-packers and movers.  And you aren’t expected to feed them.

Professional movers are not inexpensive. Realtors often advise their clients to get several estimates and then choose based on price, convenience, referrals and the confidence you feel in each company.

If you choose to move on your own there are lots of resources available to help you. You can easily rent an appropriately-sized truck and return it near your new location. These companies usually can provide you with all of the supplies you will need including pads to protect furniture, boxes, packing materials and hand trucks to move heavier items.

By packing the boxes on your own you may find the process of unpacking easier at the other end of your move. You can buy special paper to pack breakable items like china and glassware or you can be creative and use some of own your clothes to protect those items. That saves money and is cleaner than using newspaper which is another method many people use.

Grocery and liquor stores often have boxes they will give you for free.  And many cities have stores where you can buy gently used moving boxes for a fraction of the cost of new.  You may even be able to sell those boxes back to the store after your move.

Once you are packed all that’s left to do is load the truck and drive to your new location. This is where friends and family come in handy and pizza and beer are often helpful.

There is one other option that has come into the marketplace more recently – moving pods. This method is a cross between professional and self-moving. The pod company drops off a large container at your home. You pack everything yourself and then load the pod with all of your belongings. The company then transports the pod to your new home where you reverse the process. Likely more expensive than self-moving but considerably less than a professionally packed move.

This article was provided by the Colorado Association of Realtors.  Additional information about buying and selling real estate is available at ColoradoRealtors.com.

By Saul F. Rosenthal, for Colorado Association of Realtors

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