Relocating? Daunted by the magnitude of the move and the inevitable costs of logistics? Keep this mantra in mind: the less you move, the less you pay.

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The number one priority before a move is to reduce the amount of volume you’ll be moving. A friend of mine locating to Washington, DC, from Orlando just went through this process, all the while keeping in mind that the cost of living was markedly more at his destination city and knowing he needed some extra seed money to get life started there for his family.

Being in the storage industry I’ve made lots of contacts within moving companies and relocation services, and over the years I’ve gleaned several insider tips for helping people maximize the efficiency of their move while making a little money on the side.

  1. Plan Ahead

    It’s no good to unload all of your stuff right before you leave when the moving company already has you signed up for a big expensive truck. Plan your extra-stuff liquidation months ahead so that when the moving company comes by to estimate the price and size of the move you will already be rid of bulky items that add expense and take up space.

  2. Take a Hard Look at Your Stuff

    Walk around your house, peek in your attic, delve into your garage and any storage units, and think about your items in terms of the past, present, and future. What items from the past are you no longer using? Golf clubs? Your beer steins collection? Think about whether or not you have a sentimental attachment that is strong enough to warrant their being packed up, hauled, and unpacked and stored on the other end. Think about your destination. If you didn’t use your clubs in Orlando the chances that you will be using them in Washington is slim. Analyze what you don’t use or display and see if these items may or may not benefit your life in your future city. If not, put them aside for liquidation.

  3. Think about Your Destination and Timing

    If you have a closet full of coats but you’re moving to San Diego, well, you know what to do. On the other hand, if your move is semi-temporary and there is a chance you will again relocate or return within the next few years, you may want to consider storing items in your current city in a storage unit.

    Another thing to consider is pricing in the different locations. In my friend’s case, his new home in DC has a room over the garage that will need a new window unit. Window units are cheaper in Orlando because with year-round hot weather most folks use more central air conditioning than window units. He plans on buying a window unit in Orlando and moving it with him to Washington.

    Also his new home is smaller, so he has to think about how much room he will have to store items. Luckily, his new home is close to his job and to a Metro station. In Orlando, he and his wife put many miles on both their cars criss-crossing the sprawling area. He plans on selling one of the cars in Orlando before the move, cutting down on the cost of moving or driving the second car up the interstate and cutting down on long-term costs by making use of public transportation and walking/biking.

  4. Sell What You Can

    There are countless ways to unload your unneeded items. But do consider the implications of each. While getting top-dollar for your unwanted stuff would be optimal, negotiating or marketing your stuff can be extremely time-consuming during an already busy pre-move frenzy. Except for relatively valuable items, be willing to forego top-dollar for speedy transactions. Here are some ways to shop your stuff:

    • Peer to Peer: Send a shout-out to friends and contacts via email, facebook, and twitter. Just be sure you name a price for items in your message so that it’s clear up front what your expectations are and in the name of friendship you don’t end up giving something away you were hoping to make a little bit of change on.
    • Sell individual items on Craigslist. Be sure to include a picture. Remove the post when an item has sold. Do your best to minimize time spent delivering or arranging pick-up for items. If you have an item you don’t need to sell but must get rid of, post on Craigslist under the “free” category with caveat that the taker will come and pick it up.
    • Ebay: Sell items but be prepared that this process could take time. Plan on starting this process several months or a year before the move.
    • Garage Sale: Get rid of a lot of stuff quickly. Be sure to advertise in the paper, with signs, and online. Resist the temptation to over-price your items, and be willing to negotiate. It’s unpredictable which items find buyers and which don’t so put anything and everything you are willing to part with out there and you may be surprised what sells. Once the sale starts to wind down, take offers from people willing to buy what’s left for a lump sum.

  5. Keep Moving Costs Down

    Pack your own stuff so that you are not paying for excess hours or over-use of packing materials you could be charged for. Do your best to keep boxes itemized. Number boxes and keep a list of what is in each. That way if anything is missing on the other end, you will have a record for yourself as well as to make a claim to the moving company for any missing or damaged items.

    Begin collecting boxes and newspaper in the months before so you do not have to spend too much on packing materials. Try to schedule your move for a weekday which is cheaper. Be sure your mover is reputable through referrals or online reviews. Paying a little more for a reputable mover could save you in the end when it comes to missing or damaged items or time lost.

Moving is stressful no matter what, but if you can reduce your household inventory the load will be a little lighter and your wallet a little heavier.

Tim Eyre helps residential and business customers who use self storage when they don’t have enough storage space on their own property via his company .

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