Because many professional movers charge by the pound, you can reduce the cost of your move significantly by moving fewer things. In a DIY move, slimming down your belongings could mean a smaller rental van and better gas mileage for the trip. That’s not to mention the time and stress you’ll save with less to pack. Here are seven items you can sell, donate, or ditch to help you cut moving costs.
Pianos are heavy, bulky, and difficult to move. If you can sell the piano with your home, you’ve scored big. But if you haven’t touched grandma’s baby grand in a decade, you’ll save money just by getting the new homeowner’s okay to leave it behind – free of charge to them. Other options include selling the piano on Craigslist or donating it to a local school.
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Solid wood bedroom or dining room furniture is heavy and can cost hundreds of dollars to move. Of course, if an heirloom piece has been in your family for years, fits perfectly in your new home, and still has years of life left in it, take it. But if this isn’t the case, it’s easier and more cost-effective to donate the furniture to a charity organization that will pick it up. You can also sell it locally on Craigslist or a Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade group.
Books are small, rectangular, and happen to pack up neatly in moving boxes. But that doesn’t mean you should take your entire hardcover “Wheel of Time” series, plus your full Stephen King and Anne Rice collections when you move. If you have an extensive library, you’ll see how quickly books pile up.
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Choose a small bookcase worth of favorites to keep, and donate the rest to your local VA hospital or the library. Alternately, invite friends over and let them have their pick of books as a going away present. If you ever have a craving to read “The Secret Life of Bees” again, you can borrow it from the library or download it to your Kindle.
If you’re making a long-distance move, it’s important to decide if your old clunker can safely make the trip and how much life it will have left when you arrive. It might make more sense to sell it privately or donate it to an organization like Kars4Kids for a tax deduction.
That large sectional sofa you love probably won’t fit perfectly in your new home. Rather than paying to move the couch, sell it locally or donate it to an organization that will pick it up for you and re-home it with someone in need. This not only lightens your load – it frees you up to purchase the perfect furniture for your new home. (And donating a couch is a great way to deduct some money from your taxes.)
Most homeowners leave the stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator behind as part of the home sale. See if the buyer might offer you cash for the washer/dryer and any other large or small appliances you don’t want to keep, including a microwave oven or LED-TV. You can also offer these items as part of the home sale, using them as leverage to get closer to your asking price or to help negotiations go smoother. In a buyer’s market, including appliances might lead to a faster sale.
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Mattress manufacturers recommend replacing your mattress every five to 10 years. If you’re not sleeping well or waking up tired, it may be time for a new mattress. Leaving your old one behind frees up room in the moving van and reduces your moving budget.
Unless your pillows and linens are brand new, it probably makes sense to donate your worn-out items and buy new ones at your destination. No-kill animal shelters can often use old sheets and blankets for dogs and cats, so your blankets can find a second life keeping these furry friends warm and comfortable. If you’re not bringing your bedding, remember to pack a sleeping bag for the first few nights in your new home.
Getting rid of items in these seven groups will no doubt lighten your moving load. Depending on your moving budget, you might opt to pack even fewer items. Have a “moving sale” before you leave or hosting a grab party, where you invite friends to go through what you aren’t bringing with you and take what they can use.
Every pound you leave behind could mean money saved, plus the satisfaction of fewer boxes to unpack when you arrive in your new home.
Featured photo by Parker Knight/Flickr