Whether seeking more space, an up-and-coming neighborhood, or less commuting time, Recessionistas are always relocating. And between the boxes, brokers, and storage, it can get pricey. Even if you’re cutting the cost of your rent, the “simple” task of transporting your possessions from one apartment to the other can break the bank. But try following a few of these guidelines and you could save yourself hundreds of dollars in moving fees…
1. Ditch the broker. Shop around for no-fee buildings to avoid paying a broker fee, which can be up to 20% of the year’s rent. You can even locate all of the area’s no-fee buildings on sites like NY Curbed, Urban Edge, or Zillow. Brokers are usually looking to find you an apartment and sign a lease as quickly as possible; but if you’re apartment-hunting solo, you can take your time and shop around for the best value. Plus, by removing the middleman, you can expedite your moving process and avoid hidden fees and charges.
2. Pack yourself, move yourself. Send out an email to a few friends and bribe them with pizza to help you move. A large pizza from Domino’s is only $8, while a team of professional movers can cost $500 or more. You can kill two birds with one stone: get your new pad unpacked and have an impromptu housewarming party! Also, by packing everything yourself, it will be easier to unpack, because you already know the contents of each box.
3. Save some green by going green. Not only are cardboard boxes bad for the environment, but they are also pretty costly. Not to mention you have to break them down and shuttle them to the dumpster when you’re done. For the price of 25 cardboard boxes, you can get twice the number of reusable containers. Go to your local Bed Bath & Beyond or Container Store and stock up on clear plastic bins to pack in; it will be easier to direct your friends to the appropriate room if you can easily see inside the boxes. And when you’re finished moving? Use those bins to store off-season clothes, winter coats, or spare towels. It’s easy storage plus you’ll have them on hand for the next move!
4. Store your s*%#: If you’ve moved into a city, you’ll quickly realize that storage space is in short supply, which is why storage units can cost nearly as much as an apartment. But who wants to pay for a second home that you can’t even live in? Finding storage space in the surrounding suburbs can save you tons of money each year; the farther from the city, the more money you will save. If you have access to a car, you can easily get to and from your stuff. If not, U-Haul trucks are pretty affordable, but you may need some truck-driving practice first. Keeping your extra stuff far away may seem unsettling or inconvenient, but if you’re putting it in storage, chances are you don’t need to have it readily accessible anyway.
5. Sell the extras. Wanna offset some of those moving costs? Sell the extra stuff you don’t need! Especially if you’re moving in with a roommate, chances are you have more stuff than you really need (after all, what are you going to do with two microwaves??). Your local Craigslist listings are a great place to start. For a speedy sale, time your post with big moving dates. Most leases end on the 1st or 15th of every month, which means that you’ll be reaching potential buyers right as they move into a new place and are looking for furnishings. Be sure to post plenty of photos of the item for sale; after all, people want to know what they’re paying for! And, if possible, ask your buyer to pay in cash. The last thing you want to do is to deal with a bounced check when that couch is already out the door.