Once again all of my worldly possessions are boxed and stacked. A fun new rental house comes with its share of downsides — security deposits, heavy lifting, cardboard boxes creeping into your dreams. I’ve spent six summers of my life working for a moving company as a packer, so fortunately, I’ve got this down. And lucky for you, dear reader (if you’re moving that is), I am about to share some of my wisdom.
1. Don’t pay for boxes. The best way to do this is by visiting your local liquor store and asking if they’ve got any empty boxes up for grabs. Almost always, the answer is yes. Liquor stores get new boxes every time a shipment comes in, and the boxes are large enough to accommodate multiple wine and liquor bottles. Try to get several from the same product (i.e. Sky Vodka or Jack Daniel’s). This makes for easier stacking as you load your car/van/truck. Change the sizes up a little, though, so you have different options for your different-sized possessions.
2. Don’t pay for packing paper or peanuts. If you live near a big city, chances are you can find a free weekly or monthly publication printed on standard newsprint. In Athens, it was the UGA newspaper, “The Red & Black” or the artsy rival tabloid, “Flagpole.” In Atlanta, it’s “Creative Loafing.” For the two weeks leading up to your move, grab a handful of each publication every day. For those of you who feel guilty doing this, wait until mid-day when most people have had the chance to get their copy. If the guilt persists, read some articles before crumpling them in between your shoes, dishes and picture frames. Un-inked newspaper is what professional movers use to pad breakable items in boxes. It’s malleable, cheap and will hold things in place.
3. Don’t pay for padding quilts. Movers use ugly old quilts to pad large pieces of furniture during moves. Vendors like U-Haul offer rental quilts at their shops usually for about $30 a package. However, as long as your new place has a washing machine, use your own linens to pad nice furniture. It’s all going to the same place, so make the blankets multifunctional.
4. Make friends with a van owner. Rental trucks or trailers (which are more work than they’re worth) are expensive, and you have to cover the large fee plus gas for the vehicle. Thumb through your phone contacts in search of someone who owns a minivan or a truck. Offer to cover the cost of gas plus their favorite 6-pack or dinner. The result may be more enjoyable and more affordable than a commercial rental.
No matter what, moving is usually crazy and stressful. Remember that it’s all temporary, though, and people do this all the time. Use these tips to take the edge off the mounting expenses of relocation!
Note: These suggestions above are best-suited for smaller moves, like apartment to apartment or college dorm to first rental ever.