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How much does it cost to move?
Our simple 8-step framework, to move 2,400 square feet of personal belongings to a new home, in 1 day, for less than $600 in out of pocket costs, without your friends HATING you! We reveal the secrets that can save you THOUSANDS of dollars.
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Tracey Cope carefully packs kitchen items into a cardboard box

Its not uncommon to look at the cost of building an addition onto your West Grove PA home, or adding a sunroom to your Kennett Square PA estate and weigh that against  the cost of "simply" moving to a larger home.   Unless you have something specific that is tying you to your current home, location, or piece of land, then it can be smart to evaluate the alternative.  When you think about moving, the first question every asks is... 

How much does it cost to pack my house and move?

If you are planning to move, but worried about keeping up with all of the details, nationwide has put out a guide cover the base level of expenses to expect, and if you are moving outside of the local area, then this may apply to you.  Dave Ramsey also has some thoughts on the cost of moving... but what if we could share with you how we orchestrated a 10 mile move, from a 2,400 square foot home that was packed to the brim with two decades worth of accumulated belongings, tools, equipment, and stuff to run our business, in 8 Simple Steps and we did it for less than $600 in out of pocket costs?

Step by Step guide to a Cheap Local move of 10 to 20 miles or less.

Step 1: In the day and age of Amazon Prime, ask all your friends to start saving boxes for you.  They can bring them to you at church, or work, or to you house, or you can pick them up.   We had 2 months from accepted offer to settlement and that was plenty of time to collect more than enough free, sturdy amazon boxes from our friends.   We also stopped in the the produce section of our local grocery store and asked for apple boxes which were especially sturdy for books and tools. 

Step 2: Create a floorplan of the house and print it out. We labeled each room, with a two character designation... in a clockwise manner... 0 for the basement, 1 for the first floor, 2 for the second floor, 3 for the attic and 6 for the detached garage. And then each room A - Z clockwise around the floor plan, so that 1A is above 0A.   Its also important to to write a brief description of the contents of the box, incase you don't get everything unpacked in the first few weeks.   You may also find it helpful to label the box with the name of the room the contents came from, but only in really small print in a lower corner to avoid confusion.    First expense?  A six pack of packing tape, dispensers to apply that tape with, and a 10 pack of sharpies or other magic markers. 

Step 3: Plan on spending 1 hour every night, and 4 hours on a saturday for SEVERAL WEEKS boxing things up. And label the boxes on the top and 2 sides with the 2 character designation of where that box is going. Empty one room, and then make that room the box storage room, until you can start loading trailers.  The second expense?  White packing paper.  Don't use newspaper as it will bleed newsprint onto your belongings.    Maybe your realtor knows someone who recently moved who is unpacking and would be willing to put their used packaging paper into large garbage bags for you to pick up?  If so, that could be another cost saving technique.

Step 4: Barrow as many enclosed trailers as you can get your hands on. Being contractors, and having a consignment auction business in the family, we had access to four 6x12 trailers. Fill those trailers tightly and efficiently.... and try to keep items from the same room in the same trailer when possible.  You can rent these from local businesses like Gap Power Equipment and General Rental Sales and Service in Avondale PA.

Step 5: Once your closing on your new slice of paradise is complete, go through and CLEAN the new-to-you house while its empty.  Shampoo carpets, clean vents, wash windows, dust the top of door jambs, etc.   Then hang up simple paper signs at the doorway to in every room of the new house clearly identifying its 2 character designation, and perhaps include a common term such as "office" or "den" or "living room" but since the rooms are empty, your helpers may not know which room is the den and which one is the office. And be sure to hang the floor plan map with the designations on it at the entry ways so that your volunteers can quickly know where to go with the box they have in their hand.   Asking someone to take that box to room 2C is a lot faster and simpler, then trying to explain where the second floor master bedroom's private bathroom might be.

Step 6: Recruit your friends & family in two crews and ask for a half day of help. Your morning crew will help drag the trailers to the new property, unload them, and drag them back to the old house. Your second crew will show up and both crews work together to load the second trip.   Then your morning crew can call it a day, and the afternoon shift will unload the second run. (this is why you need multiple trailers so you don't exhaust your team, wasting time driving back and forth with only 1 trailer while people stand around.   People standing around leads to resentment and is the enemy of a successful move day.)   If your second crew gets to your old house before the trailers do from the morning run, your afternoon shift volunteers can help pack up any remaining belongings such as what might still be in-use in the kitchen and bathrooms.    We found that 12 to 16 people on each crew made it work really efficiently. Nobody has to work too hard, and you have plenty of hands for any of the heavy furniture... which is why we loaded the furniture at the shift change.  A couple of our friends from the morning came back to the new house, to unload the heavy stuff before cutting out for the day.    Shift change may also be a good time for subs or pizza or a wing bash... insert your guests favorite foods here.  Your parents may be hugely helpful with the food side and hosting your volunteers. 

Step 7: Buy some thank you cards, and perhaps some gift cards, and thank your volunteers.

Step 8: Be ready to volunteer your time, when one of your friends, asks you for help with their move. 

We moved 2,400 square feet of home, that we'd lived in for close to 2 decades in just 1 day, using this method... and we were packed to the brim accumulated belongings, tools, equipment, and stuff to run our business, and we did it for less than $600 in out of pocket costs?   

What are your tips for a successful move?  Do you plan to hire a professional or are you thinking about doing it DIY?   Join the conversation at Cope Construction and Renovation on Facebook or comment on one of our videos which you'll find under Cope BUILT on Youtube