The Moving Checklist: Everything You Need to Know to Move

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Updated (01/6/2020): New info for 2020

The moment you know for sure that you’re about to move, life seems to turn on its head.

You instantly have a million questions on what to do next, but often feel like you have no place to turn for those important answers. That’s where we come in! This moving checklist will ensure that you get all of the essentials done so you stay on track for a stress-free move.

Create a Timeline to Tackle Your Move Using Our Moving Checklist

Moving is a process. It shouldn’t (and can’t) happen overnight. Our checklist provides a detailed and resourceful step-by-step guide as you start your journey to a new place, big or small. What should you be doing now? What should you be doing the month, week, or even day of the move? Heck, is there anything extra to do after the move, besides unpacking? We’re here to answer all of those questions for you!


6 Weeks Before the Big Move

Moving Checklist: 6 Weeks Out

How do I plan to move out? And what are my moving options?

Before you begin this moving checklist, we highly suggest you read this Moving 101 guide to get all of the details on your moving options. Essentially, moves fall into one of these three categories:

  • Do-It-Yourself Move: You rent the truck (or find a friend’s truck), load it up, then drive it all to the next location by yourself or with friends.
  • The Hybrid Move: You hire help to load and/or unload the truck, you drive and rent the truck.
  • Full-Service Move: You can relax while the movers take care of loading and driving. The movers you choose will depend on a number of factors, including budget and timeline.

Moving101 has charts and up-to-the-day costs to help you find the right move for your situation. Plus, you can use the Moving Cost Calculator to get your budget in order from the very start.

When should you schedule movers?

For the absolute best prices and flexibility, start purusing available movers and trucks now, at roughly six weeks out.

If you are renting a truck for your move, make sure to compare your options. U-Haul isn’t the only option anymore. Budget and Penske are just two of the rental truck competitors that have their own fleets available all over the country.

Now, you don’t necessarily have to stress about actually booking movers just yet … you have until about three weeks before the move to do it comfortably. And if you’re just booking labor-only move helpers from HireAHelper, you also have plenty of time to secure them – you don’t necessarily have to start worrying until two weeks before the move. After that, though, movers and trucks become harder to come by.

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How do I prepare to move to another state?

However, if you are booking a Full-Service Move, complete with movers, a truck and even a container, then booking now at six weeks out will keep you right on track. This is especially true if you are moving to another state, where things like state laws and paperwork for movers going across state lines come into play. This month and a half timeline is more likely to ensure the things you need on moving day are available and reserved just for you!

Consider renting a container for your things.

Container moves are a perfect way to move in some situations, especially ones where your new property is not ready yet. This container guide lays out the pros and cons to help answer whether or not a container move is a good fit for you. Did you know most moving companies will store your container for one month for free? Yes, this guide has the scoop to help you decide what’s the best plan for your situation.

Get rid of the stuff you don’t need now before you think about packing.

Purging before a move is a great idea for a number of reasons. Not only will you have less to pack up and move, but you’ll also have less to unpack and organize in your new place. The easiest way to slowly purge is to keep a small box or bag in every room of your house (especially in the closets). Items you find that are broken, missing or just never used should be added to these boxes and eventually donated or thrown away. You can also have a garage sale or sell your old items online, which will help you make some last-minute cash right before your move. For items you end up donating, be sure to save the documentation from the donation center so you can use it as a tax write-off at the end of the year.

What exactly can I do with my old stuff?

When it’s time to finally sort through the items in those donation boxes, here is a list of items you can donate to particular spots in your city. And if you have any random items to get rid of (a mattress, outdated appliances), we’ve got you covered too. Read up at those links!

4 Weeks Before the Big Move

Moving Checklist: 4 Weeks Out

Start notifying businesses about your upcoming move.

Four weeks before your move is a good time to start notifying the necessary people or companies about your relocation. These parties include:

  • Utility companies
  • Local schools
  • Homeowner’s insurance company
  • Current landlord
  • Bank/credit card companies
  • Government agencies
  • Anywhere you hold subscriptions
  • Anyone else who may be sending you important documents over the next few months

Not only do you want to notify them of your move, but of course you will need to give them your new address to them if you will still be using their services. When it comes time to change your mailing address, this step-by-step guide was extremely helpful for us.

Start collecting moving boxes now.

No moving checklist is complete without helping you figure out what kind of moving boxes you want. And there are plenty of ways to get them on the cheap … or even FREE if you do a little research. This checklist outlines all of the places you can score free boxes, and here’s a list of places you can try to at least get a deal on the ones you do purchase. But always remember that wherever and however you get your boxes, be sure they are clean and in good shape. No matter how cheap they are, there’s no value in getting your stuff dirty or crushed.

HireAHelper Free Moving Box Checklist (click to expand)

Since you still have plenty of time before the move, you don’t need to be frantically throwing items into boxes. Four weeks is plenty of time to start packing your stuff with an organized game plan. Will you pack items from one room together? Will you pack items of the same size together? Whatever method works for you is great, just be sure you are labeling your boxes as clearly and as detailed as possible so the unpacking process is even easier! If you’re not sure what labeling system is best for you, we really love this trick because it makes moving day efficient.

Purchase furniture to be built or delivered. 

Buying furniture now is a great idea so it can be ordered and delivered to your new home just as you’re about ready to set things up. Instead of lugging over that king-sized bed or oversized buffet, sell those items on Craigslist and look for new items that will fit. If they’re back-ordered or will take time to ship, that’s perfect because you still have a month to go!

Remember: if you have them shipped to your new address, you won’t have to worry about moving them. For items you end up buying on Craigslist, be sure to set up the pickup date on your moving day so that you can utilize the truck you have already rented! You can use this same trick at stores like IKEA. You can do all of your shopping and arrange to pick up these large pieces on your moving day so you can get the most bang for your buck for your moving truck rental.

3 Weeks Before the Big Move

If you decided to rent a truck, figure out which one and how big it needs to be about now.

Now that we’re three weeks out, it’s time to book your truck. The kind of truck you rent will be different for each move, but it will mostly depend on how much stuff you’re moving from point A to point B. You may want to shop around to find the best deal and see which day will be the least expensive. This post guides you through all of these important truck rental factors.

Okay, who exactly should I hire to move my stuff?

That’s the easiest question on this list! Just check out HireAHelper for all of your heavy lifting needs. You can find local movers to help you on moving day so you won’t have to lift a finger. It’s suggested that you book your Helpers about 2-3 weeks in advance, so now is the time to get this checked off your to-do list.

It’s (officially) time to start packing.

It’s finally time to start packing up. And since you already figured out where to get boxes on the cheap, you can go ahead and pick up all of your moving supplies. Don’t forget to consult this post for a list of all of the supplies you will need for packing (plus tips to pack them up efficiently).

Make sure you know what you’re not allowed to transport on moving trucks.

Yep, you can’t bring it all! Here’s an entire list of things you should keep off the truck come moving day. Be sure to have a game plan to get these items to your new place.

How do I pack strange objects?

Moving Checklist: 3 Weeks Out

Let’s face it, not everything you own is going to fit nicely into a cardboard box. But we’ve got you covered with step-by-step instructions to pack up even the most unusual objects, such as these: 

1 Week Before the Big Move – What should I do a week before moving?

Do the mandatory cleanups of your old place.

It’s always nice to leave your old property in good shape for the new homeowners, but for renters, it’s imperative to do a few things before you leave in order to increase the chances of getting your security deposit back. After your place is emptied, make sure to patch and paint any holes in the walls so you don’t get charged for this simple repair. If there is anything else your landlord requires (like getting the carpets professionally cleaned), be sure to coordinate this before you head out.

What else should I pick up at the store?

Call us crazy, but we think a fanny pack may be the best thing to wear come moving day … and here’s why! Now’s the time to find a sweet one so you’re all prepped and ready.

Also, consult this list so you have the seven items you absolutely need for moving day.

Prioritize the right cleanups for your new place.

Cleaning is the next big one on our moving checklist. If you can get into your new house, we highly suggest you head over there before you actually move everything in to give the space a good, deep clean. Here are five areas that need some TLC right away. You can also setup time for a locksmith to come over to your new place to re-key the locks shortly after your move.

A Successful Moving Day

Moving Checklist: Moving Day

Be fully prepped with all the right stuff.

  • Put on your handy dandy moving day fanny pack and make sure you have these moving day essentials all ready to go.
  • If you booked a container, it should be fully loaded before moving day … especially if you have a morning pickup for your container.
  • If you rented a truck, make sure you get to the rental place early to avoid a line. Start your day on the right foot and totally on time! Also, if you hired Helpers, make sure you allow yourself at least an hour for picking up the truck so you can get back in time. You don’t want to waste any valuable time with your hired help!
  • The best thing you can do is to have a talk with you and your moving team at the beginning of the day. Go over all of the key pieces of information so everyone is on the same page from the start. You need to be a confident leader!

If I hired movers what should I do?

Sit back, be a manager and watch them do the heavy lifting. Yes, this may feel a little awkward, but it’s what they’re there for! (Plus, for insurance reasons, you’re usually not allowed to help anyway.) Don’t be afraid to speak up if you want them to do something differently, like wrap the piece of furniture with one more pad for safety!

If I didn’t hire movers what should I do?

Get ready to hope your friends show up! Maybe do some stretches so you can avoid injury and mentally prepare yourself for being on the downside of a couch in a stairwell praying your friend holding the top doesn’t let go! At the very least, it’s going to be a long day, so stay hydrated and nimble. You’ll be extra excited to check this off the moving checklist.

Unload and label your stuff in the most efficient way.

If you used our labeling tips to make a gameplan for which room each box should be delivered, then you’ll want to label the doors in the new place based on the key. This will keep things organized and will ensure that your Helpers get the right boxes in the right rooms of your new pad.

Should I tip my movers? If so … how much?

There’s a lot of debate on whether you should tip your movers or not, and if you do tip…how much should you cough up? For more clarification, check out this post and then make your call.

Following Up After the Big Move

Moving Checklist: Hiring Movers

Get rid of or utilize all your moving boxes correctly.

Chances are you’ll have a lot of leftover boxes. Here are some ideas to make the most of all of that cardboard:

If you can keep those boxes around for your next move, your future self will thank you. But if you don’t want to repurpose or don’t have the room to save them, please, don’t forget to recycle them! Here’s a searchable database that’ll let you know the closest place to recycle anything of yours that can be reused, including those moving boxes!

Meet your neighbors online!

Nothing like starting off on the right foot with the people you’ll be living next to for quite some time. Check out this post on neighbor etiquette, download the Nextdoor app (must have!), and then muster up the courage to head next door and say, “hello.”

Unpack (efficiently). 

Of course! We’ve got industry tips to make your unpacking party more manageable and more enjoyable. (Yes, it can be fun, but make sure you don’t hurt your back!).

Can I finally relax?

Yes, it’s time to celebrate! You definitely deserve to focus on this celebration step before moving onto the few remaining steps! After your move we think it’s important to take a deep breath and celebrate in your new home. You’ve earned it!

What’s next?

Now the fun finally begins … getting settled into your new home! Consider painting the walls one of our favorite neutral colors, adding some smart home accessories, and even try tackling some of these DIY projects to transform your new home into home, sweet home. 

Two Ways to Take This Moving Checklist With You

    1. Tried and True Printer Friendly PDF – A ready-for-paper checklist. Pencil sold separately.
    2. Digital Friendly *Expanded* Version – Download/screenshot/save to your camera roll.

Illustrations by Dola Sun

Should You Use Salt or Sand on an Icy Driveway?

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Updated for 2019: This post has been updated with new information.

Taking a spill on your icy driveway is bad enough when you’re carrying your car keys. So imagine wiping out while carrying a dresser full of clothes. Scary scenario, for us and for our movers. (And one reason people prefer to move in summer.)

If the forecast for your move date calls for moisture and freezing temps, you might be thinking: Should I cover my front walk and driveway with salt or sand? Sand is used to cover up the snow, salt will melt it.

If you have the option, sand is always better.

Why? Let’s break down first how to best apply both of these, which will explain the pros and cons of both.

First of all, shovel the area you’re going to walk

The best defense is a good offense. If it snows the night before your move, it almost goes without saying that the first thing you’ll want to do is grab a shovel and get to work clearing the area.

If you live where temperatures can remain below freezing for days on end (if not weeks—hello, Minnesota!), then you’ll understand the importance of shoveling your driveway before all that snow gets packed down and turns to ice.

Now let’s decide whether to melt that ice or cover it up.

Sand or Ice?

If Mother Nature insists on coating the driveway with ice, we have two choices.

We can either melt it or cover it up.

The answer depends on how cold it is, as well as how much you care if it gets into the environment. In either case, the biggest priority is traction.

The case for sand

Covering up ice in our way can be quick and pretty easy. All we need is a bag or two of sand.

Sand is less toxic, much cheaper, and works immediately.

But you might have to keep reapplying it. Keep in mind these few things:

  • Since sand provides traction, once it gets ground into the snow or ice it becomes less effective. As many times as you or your movers will be walking back and forth on it, you’ll likely have to put more down once or twice during the move.
  • In extremely cold temperatures, sand can freeze in hazardous clumps. Some suggest adding salt to the sand to help prevent this from happening, but if it’s cold enough, that salt won’t help either (more on that in a minute).
  • Sand comes in several varieties. The stuff explicitly meant for icy roads is better than sandbox sand, which in turn is better than something like mason’s sand. In other words, the grittier, the better.
  • After the fact, sand can collect in drainage systems and the soil, eventually clogging up lakes, streams, pipes and sewers. That means it’s also getting into our drinking water. Clean up what you can or give the neighbor’s kid a few more bucks to make sure it’s cleaned.

The case for salt

Instead of covering your packed snow and ice with sand, you can try melting it with salt. Because it’s specifically designed for this purpose, it can definitely be an attractive option.

But if you don’t apply salt several hours or a day or so ahead of when you need to safely walk on the area, salt is largely pointless, as it needs time to begin working.

Running out and buying the biggest, cheapest bag you can find might be your first instinct, but as with sand, there are a few things to consider.

  • Driveway salt, sometimes called “rock salt”, doesn’t melt ice like, say, a hot rock or a flamethrower would. Instead, when mixed with water, it forms a liquid brine (a fancy name for “salt water”) which has a lower freezing point than pure water. This brine then acts to lower the freezing point of the water it comes in contact with, effectively melting italthough only down to a certain degree. (Brine that is 20% salt will still freeze below 0˚F.)
  • Throwing some salt down on your icy driveway will get you nowhere if it’s too cold for the salt to actually mix with the ice! The salt needs to draw moisture from the air to create a brine which will act on the ice it touches, which will melt and further the reaction. Alternatively, there needs to be some heat, from the sun or from friction, to initiate the melting process. In other words, don’t wait until your movers are pulling up to your house before you start throwing that salt around.

Other concerns about salt

The cheapest and most plentiful salt you’ll find is basically table salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl). That may sound perfectly safe, but do be aware:

  • That salt may contain small amounts of cyanide, which isn’t exactly good for any curious pets or animals.
  • Using salt can cause metal to rust and can damage blacktop, cement, flagstone, brick, wood and pretty much anything else your driveway is (or has). If you’re interested, this damage is not merely from the salt, but from the increase in freeze/thaw cycles that come with the brine’s lower freezing point, which can begin to break down the integrity of the surface with which it is in contact.
  • Got a cool yard? Salt can damage plants by inhibiting their ability to absorb water and nutrients. Salt also leaches heavy metals into the water supply.
  • Got pets? If salt gets lodged in your pet’s paws, it can cause a nasty burning.

There are also salt and sand alternatives!

Alternatives to salt would more accurately be called “variations of salt” and have a spectrum of merits. While you can probably find any of these at a store, which one to pick is most dependant on exactly how cold it is where you are.

  • Calcium chloride (CaCl): Covers a wider area than rock salt with a lower freezing point (around minus 25˚F). It also works more quickly because it gives off heat as it dissolves. Like rock salt, calcium chloride is corrosive to metal and can leave a slimy residue. It also encourages algae growth which clogs waterways.
  • Magnesium chloride: It’s similar to calcium chloride, albeit somewhat less corrosive, and will begin to absorb moisture from the air at 32% humidity, speeding up the melting process.
  • Potassium chloride (KCl): Despite its use for executions by lethal injection, is safer for pets and plants than calcium chloride. With a freezing point of around 12˚F, it is also less effective.
  • Nitrogen-based urea products: This is similar to fertilizers in that they are expensive, ineffective under 20˚F and, like other salts, will eventually get into the water supply, lakes and streams.
  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA): Can prevent ice down to around minus 27˚F and is much more environmentally friendly than the abovementioned salts – at a much higher price.

Are there more eco-friendly alternatives?

With all the pros and cons of these salts and chemicals, you may be wondering, “Is there an eco-friendly way to de-ice my driveway?”

Yes. Maybe. It depends on your definition of “eco-friendly” and your motivation to be so.

Grist offers a few eco-ish alternatives to rock salt in an editorial. GreenMoxie also goes all out. Read about them there.

But what everyone seems to agree on – including us – is that there’s no better way to keep your driveway and your front walk clear of ice than grabbing that shovel and getting to work.

Or maybe get the neighbor’s kid to do it.

Final Tips

  • Salt and sand the day before your move, clearing away any chunks or other bits to help keep it all from refreezing overnight.
  • Applying salt the morning of your move? The heat from all the foot traffic will help the melting process, but in the meantime, scattering some sand on top wouldn’t hurt.
  • Get an idea of how much square footage you’ll need to cover before you run out to grab that salt or sand. If a sales assistant isn’t there to help, you might find how much you need right on the bag.

And remember, get rid of whatever snow and ice you can along the way. Your movers will love you for it.

How Much Does a U-Haul Really Cost? We Found Out.

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We’ve all seen it: that $19.95 per day deal that’s advertised on the side of seemingly every U-Haul truck and van across the country. And that price looks mighty nice.

But just like renting a truck is only one small part of your move, that $19.95 U-Haul rate is likely to end up being just a fraction of your final bill. We know, because we went out to rent a U-Haul with one question in mind: how much does a U-Haul really cost? 

Here’s absolutely everything we learned.


The Big U-Haul Cost Breakdown

How much does a U-Haul truck rental cost?

After trying to rent a truck on their website, we found out the $19.95 price point refers to local moves only, not a “one-way” move, where you drop off at a different location – aka a long-distance move. (More on those prices later.)

The famous $19.95 price point is also exclusive to any one of their three smallest options:

  • 8’ U-Haul pickup truck
  • 9’ U-Haul cargo van
  • 10’ U-Haul Rental truck (what we rented)

“To get your actual U-Haul cost, you need to add up all of their other fees that come with renting a U-Haul.”

And most importantly, the $19.95 only accounts for U-Haul’s “rental truck fee”. (It’s also technically subject to availability and might be higher, even for the smallest ones.)

Here are the U-Haul fees that make up one (1) U-Haul bill

  • Rental truck fee (+ ~$40 per additional day, when applicable)
  • Mileage fee | Rate varies by regional location/distance driven
  • Damage protection fees
  • Fuel costs
  • Environmental fees
  • Equipment rentals
  • Miscellaneous fees (e.g., Cleaning, toll, damage, parking, convenience, drop off fees)
  • Taxes

How much did it cost for us to rent a U-Haul for a day?

Our final cost was $55.76 for the most bare-bones rental imaginable.

Below we break down how U-Haul gets their prices, what else we could have bought instead, as well as what we had to do to get our quotes.

How much do the bigger U-Haul trucks cost?

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
Photo source: Uhaul.com

It’s not possible to pinpoint the exact cost of a specific truck size because truck prices vary by supply and demand and U-Haul location, and are subject to change. There are sites that ballpark individual truck size costs, but if you want an estimate based on user-reported, real-time prices for U-Haul moves, click on the graph below.

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
Moving101 Real-Time Pricing Page

Can you rent a U-Haul for more than a day?

We could not rent our U-Haul for any longer than 24 hours for a local move rate.

Almost any U-Haul location around the country won’t let you add days at the “local move” rate for a U-Haul you’ll be returning to the same store, but our store did say that there were some U-Haul locations that still might allow it in rare situations. But in most cases, U-Haul will instead try and sell you on one of their moving containers if those are available in your area.

“Paying for a U-Haul in cash? We were told cash payments need to give a $100 deposit (yes, seriously), which would eventually be reimbursed – minus our total cost – upon return of the vehicle.”

For long-distance moves, you get five days with your truck. We asked and yes, you can add days to your rental – but only with advance coordination with your local U-Haul store.

Beware: U-Haul tacks on an ADDITIONAL $40 fee to every day you keep your truck after five days.

Here are the daily U-Haul rates for adding days to a U-Haul long-distance truck rental:

  • U-Haul trucks – $40 per day
  • U-Haul trailers – $20 per day
  • U-Haul towing devices – $20 per day

How exactly does renting a U-Haul cargo trailer work?

How much does a U-Haul cost?
Middletownstorage.com

We didn’t rent a cargo trailer with our truck, but we got all the info straight from U-Haul.

There are three types of trailers U-Haul offers:

  • Cargo
  • Utility
  • Car carrier (Available only at some locations)

For smaller loads or something super fragile (or heck, even quarantined), U-Haul offers trailers that hitch to cars and trucks, pending location availability. U-Haul likes to say they’re perfect for moving a dorm room.

Like U-Haul trucks, they advertise these being as cheap as “$14.95”, and just like the trucks, that quote is only for the smallest versions of them if AND if you are moving locally. You generally get up to seven days to use a U-Haul trailer for long-distance moves.

Moving far away?

Do it cheaper.

HireAHelper.com can save up to 40%, compared to traditional interstate moving companies. Click here to learn how.

All trailers are subject to regular U-Haul fees (minus gas and mileage) and – most importantly – come with an installation fee if you don’t have the proper hitch.

How much does it cost to get a U-Haul hitch installed on my vehicle?

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
tacomaworld.com

All types of trailers require a proper hitch and lighting to hook to your vehicle, which you either need to prove to U-Haul meets their standard requirements, or make an appointment to have them install them onto your vehicle for a fee roughly around $100 and greater.

For the heck of it, we asked how much it would cost to get one of our cars modded for towing a trailer, and for pieces and installation. We were quoted $428.24.

  • Product subtotal: $269.75
  • Installation fee: $138.75
  • Tax: $19.74
  • Total: $428.24

Not exactly a steal, given that doesn’t even include the rental. (But at least you’ll be good to go for the future.) You will be buying all the pieces you need, but expect to get up-charged versus if you found the pieces elsewhere.

Technically, you could also rent a trailer for your U-Haul truck rental, which already has a hitch and lighting hook up on it if you for some reason needed a little additional space.

What’s the difference between the three different U-Haul trailers?

There are actually three different kinds of trailers you can typically rent.

U-Haul Cargo Trailers

subaruoutback.org

U-Haul cargo trailers come in four different sizes and come with a built-in, lockable latch, so they’re secure.

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
Photo source: Uhaul.com

The smallest model and a couple other models do not come built with the U-Haul “EZ Ramp”, so prepare for that.

How much does a U-Haul Cargo Trailer cost?

For local moves, U-Haul trailer rentals generally cost as little as $14.95 before fees, and as much as $29.95 for the biggest size, after fees.

Without any hitch installation and for single-day use, the smallest cargo trailer (4’x8′) with no ramp was quoted to us at exactly $14.95, before taxes or miscellaneous fees. For their biggest cargo trailer (6’x12′), it was $29.95 under the same stipulations.

For a long-distance move, that quote goes out the window. Our quote for the smallest trailer (4’x8′), minus taxes and miscellaneous fees and for up to seven days was $239.00, and the largest cargo trailer (6’x12′) was for a whopping $562.00! This is exactly how your U-Haul price can skyrocket fast.

Don’t forget the hitch installation charges if you need it, which adds another couple hundred, at minimum.

U-Haul Utility Trailers

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
Photo source: Uhaul.com

Utility trailers are needed for when you have to transport something tall or oddly shaped. So when you move your arcade cabinet (okay, probably a refrigerator), you can strap it to this and haul it behind your vehicle.

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
Photo source: Uhaul.com

Bring your own ramp, though, because only the 5′ x 9′ and 6′ x 12′ utility trailers come with U-Haul’s fold-out “EZ ramps”. (Careful, they rent a 6′ x 12′ trailer without a ramp, too.)

How much does a U-Haul Utility Trailer cost?

For local moves, prices generally begin at $14.95 and range to $29.95 at the biggest, but vary by availability and demand.

It was hard to get a quote for a long-distance move with a Utility Trailer because so few of the largest options were available anywhere we looked – even in heavily populated areas. (You’ve been warned!) However, for a 5′ x 9′ Utility Trailer with a ramp, we received a quote for $356.00, minus fees.

You can expect both larger and smaller utility trailers to scale roughly the same in cost as U-Haul Cargo Trailers.

U-Haul Vehicle Trailer

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
corvetteforum.com

Finally, if you need to tow a vehicle and aren’t looking to ship your car, check U-Haul’s car towing site, and maybe also call ahead to see if the U-Haul near you has any car and motorcycle trailers available.

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
Photo source: Uhaul.com

This type of move can definitely save you some cash compared to normal car shipping, but keep in mind that do-it-yourself car transport is not for moving rookies and requires a lot of time and some skill.

How much does a U-Haul Vehicle Trailer cost?

For our local move, U-Haul trailer rental rates for a tow dolly for a front-wheel drive vehicle started at $45.99 and an auto transport trailer started at $54.99.

To get an idea for a hypothetical long-distance move, we came prepared with two far away ZIP Codes. Before fees, our quote from the west coast to the midwest was quoted as $478 for a tow dolly and $962 for an auto transport trailer. Not cheap, but potentially cheaper than other options, but only if you were up for driving it yourself.

“…(W)e had to reproduce the same or another form of payment in person, regardless of what we used online to reserve it. Makes sense, but it might be a stumbling block for some people.”

Keep in mind hitch installation, taxes and other fees are not included in this quote, which as you can see, can add hundreds more to this cost.

Oh, by the way, the rep told us U-Haul won’t let you rent any trailer of any kind if your vehicle doesn’t have a hardtop, SUV and Jeep included. They also strongly recommend you not exceed 55mph with any of this stuff attached to your vehicle.

How much do U-Haul U-Box containers cost?

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
Photo source: Uhaul.com

We also didn’t rent a storage container but were told they are available for long-distance moves. According to Moving101’s real-time, user reported prices, the average price for a U-Box move is $2,755.

For a complete breakdown on all U-Box moving container costs before you make your U-Haul U-Box reservation, check out the Moving101 U-Box page.

How U-Haul Fees Work

How much does U-Haul charge for mileage?

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?

In general, the price per mile is region-specific. Mileage rates are also higher for local moves.

For a rental truck:

  • Our quote was $0.89 a mile in Southern California. You might see it go higher
  • In the midwest, it’s more common to find price points of $0.79 or $0.69 a mile
  • Meanwhile, the mileage rate for either U-Haul rental pick-up trucks or U-Haul vans are typically $0.59 a mile

We drove the U-Haul all of eight miles from and back to the U-Haul store to take pictures. For this, we were charged $0.89 a mile, for a total of $8.90.

Imagine, now, how much your mileage fee will stack if you drive your rental 20, 50, maybe even 100 or more miles to and from the rental location? That’s why some call it “consumer-unfriendly“. Let’s hope there are U-Haul coupons out there somewhere.

If returned with less than 1/4 tank, I agree to pay a $30.00 service fee.”

U-Haul customer agreement receipt

What are the mileage rates for a long-distance/one-way U-Haul rental?

If you are moving long-distance, you receive a calculated amount of miles you have to stay under (which might be a little stingy), and your U-Haul mileage rate is typically around $0.40 a mile.

Remember, a one-way/long-distance to U-Haul simply means dropping it off at a different location than the one you rented it from. Technically, this could mean as near as a town over. Keep this in mind when typing in “U-Haul near me” into Google and deciding between multiple nearby stores.

Also, mileage is cheaper for long-distance moves, but other fees are way, way more expensive, so make sure you stick to in-town rates, if possible.

Do U-Hauls have unlimited miles?

No, U-Hauls do not have unlimited miles.

For that, you’re better off looking at Penske or Budget. This area is where the $19.95 price promise really falls apart, unless you’re moving something across the street from your U-Haul store.

How do U-Haul gas fees work?

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?

Simply put, you will pay for any gas you use. You gotta bring it back with at least as much gas as it started with.

The U-Haul clerk marked down the exact mileage and gave us their daily rate for gasoline. We had the choice of filling up what we used ourselves out in the wild, or paying U-Haul $5.25 a gallon (!) to do it for us after we returned it as a “convenience fee”.

And heed this warning straight from our receipt: “If returned with less than 1/4 tank, I agree to pay a $30.00 service fee.”

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
U-Haul mileage gauge

Your U-Haul truck can get as little as 7 mpg, but it might be in the neighborhood of 10-12, depending on what size truck you rent. They often have this little module on the dashboard so you can see in real-time.

Protip: Make sure your truck’s tank is full when you take it off the lot. And by full, we mean full! When you pick up your truck, your U-Haul rep might think “full” means the needle on the gas gauge is more or less at full. But when you drop it off, that same rep will likely insist it isn’t full if there isn’t gas splashing out from under the gas cap.

U-Haul Insurance

What are my U-Haul insurance options?

U-Haul has two (2) main kinds of insurance. They’re called Safemove and Savemofe Plus. Just like everything else, the added cost scales dramatically for local and long-distance moves.

Keep in mind that absolutely no U-Haul insurance covers damages due to …improper packing, normal shifting of cargo in transit or theft of cargo“. When in doubt, U-Haul will probably win out.

Here are the differences between their two insurances.

Safemove is basically coverage for if someone hits your truck. It gives you:

  • Damage waiver
  • Limited coverage for the stuff in the vehicle (cargo coverage)
  • Life coverage for the people in the vehicle

You’ll have to look to your own insurance if you hit someone else. And your stuff inside is only covered if you get hit, there’s a fire, a windstorm, or if your truck literally overturns.

“The rep let it leak that anywhere between 10-15% discount is what they’re allowed to apply to an order, if they decide.”

Safemove Plus is basically the coverage for if you were to cause an accident:

  • Damage waiver
  • Limited coverage for the stuff in the vehicle (cargo coverage)
  • Life coverage for the people in the vehicle
  • $1,000,000 Liability Coverage

It covers overhead damage, like the kind you see on YouTube where people slam their trucks into low clearances, as well as tire protection. (You know, the two most likely things to go wrong if anything were to go wrong.) And as a “safeguard” to your personal insurance, if you were to cause an accident or mess up their equipment somehow, this covers up the first million dollars (literally) of losses.

For our tiny little “move”, we were scared by U-Haul customer service into picking up U-Haul’s regular SafeMove coverage for $14. SafeMove Plus would have cost us $48.

Do I have to buy insurance with my U-Haul?

No, you don’t have to buy insurance of any kind to rent a U-Haul.

Here’s the thing though. While you’re statistically in the clear, U-Haul’s policies are perfectly crafted to screw you if absolutely anything were to go wrong.

  • Your personal auto insurance policy most likely does not cover damages to rental trucks
  • Your credit card likely does not cover any damages to rental trucks
  • You are responsible for damages even if it’s not your fault, including things like vandalism
  • You are responsible to pay U-Haul for “lost rental revenue” while the truck is being fixed, whatever U-Haul deems that cost to be
  • You have to pay U-Haul the exact moment you return the vehicle for any and all damages, then deal with insurance later – it’s not billed

Keep in mind that U-Haul only offers SafeMove for their rental trucks. Pickup trucks and vans have their own type of insurance they call Collision Damage Waiver (CDW).

U-Haul also offers “Safetow” for $5 extra, which means if you need roadside assistance they’ll send someone out to help. Kind of sad that you have to pay extra for this, but the option is there.

Damages and cleaning fees

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?

Also, if you leave some kind of a noticeable mess, they will charge you up to $25. Maybe don’t eat while you drive … or transport hay.

U-Haul Equipment

We didn’t rent any equipment or buy any boxes or supplies, but we definitely had the option!

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
U-Haul stores give you a wide range of boxes and equipment to choose from online, and in person.

Sure, it’s possible to move without renting (or buying) any special equipment. But even if you hire a crew of movers to come in with all their hand trucks and dollies to load (and unload) your truck, you’ll at minimum still need your own blankets to protect your belongings.

Here’s how much the stuff cost for us.

Average* U-Haul equipment purchase prices:

  • Padlock: $5-15
  • Stretch wrap: $6.
  • Boxes: $1-25 (Wide varieties available)
  • Tie Down Tope: $3
  • Straps: $9.95
  • Roll of packing tape: $3
  • Furniture dolly: $19.95
  • Hand dolly: $39.95
  • Furniture pads: $4 each

Keep in mind that you can rent some equipment versus buying it. U-Haul has furniture pads for $5 per half dozen, as well as furniture dollies for $7-10 and appliance dollies between $10-12.

*Prices may vary by location.

How much does moving labor cost?

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?

When you go to a U-Haul shop, it’s likely they’ll try and sell you on movers. Even the inside of their trucks have advertisements for moving labor all over them.

How much are U-Haul movers? Movers prices will vary dramatically, depending on the number of hours booked, how many movers you book, whether they are doing a load, unload, or both, and how soon you need them. Movers cost as little as $200 to as much as $5,000, which is why you need to get your own moving quote.

The way U-Haul’s movers work is that they have a network of local move helpers that sign up to receive job requests via their marketplace. But unlike HireAHelper’s $1,000 guarantee if anything goes wrong or gets broken during a mover, with U-Haul you’re mostly taking your chances.

We found this part of their terms a little unsettling:

“Furthermore, the [Move Help] request and its acceptance and if applicable, any resulting provision of Services, are solely between You and the [Service Provider]. Therefore, when and where there are any claims, demands, liabilities, damages or losses incurred as a result of the same, You, your heirs, successors and assigns, do hereby waive and release Us (Our officers, directors, agents, parent, subsidiaries, affiliated companies and employees) from any such claims, demands, liabilities, damages or losses.

You acknowledge and agree that both You and the [Service Provider] each have the right to pursue a claim against one another in a Court of competent jurisdiction or in another similar forum of dispute resolution.”

This, compared to cheap movers through HireAHelper, which provides some insurance for free (and $1,000 service guarantee if anything goes wrong), plus additional insurance starting at $12.

And in case you were wondering, for us to add movers to our made-up, on the spot move, U-Haul quoted us $312.

Are movers actually worth it?

The difference between a move that takes you all day, breaks your back and your friendships, and keeps your stuff out of the hands of amateurs could be as little as $200, depending on how much stuff you have. Movers may be the most value you can get from any single add-on.

Other Factors That Affect Your U-Haul Cost

What actually happens at the U-Haul store after you reserve online or over the phone

We went online and used a credit card to book a 10’ rental truck, and we thought the booking was all paid up. But it wasn’t. 

While our vehicle was reserved online (thank goodness), we had to reproduce the same or another form of payment in person, regardless of what we used online to reserve it. Makes sense, but might be a stumbling block for some people.

It seems counter-intuitive, but given equipment costs and time constraints of U-Haul’s local moves, getting movers might realistically end up saving you the most money.

After that, U-Haul put a hold our bank account upfront for the total fees, minus the costs of future mileage and (hopefully no) miscellaneous fees.

When we returned with the vehicle, we dropped off the keys and the truck and were given a paper receipt with the total costs. Because we used a debit card already on file, no further action was needed.

Paying for a U-Haul in cash?

We were told cash payments need to give a $100 deposit (yes, seriously), which would eventually be reimbursed – minus our total cost – upon return of the vehicle.

Here’s how the cash payment breakdown works, straight from their website:

A credit or debit card is required to reserve a truck online (no deposit is required). If you don’t have a credit card or prefer to use cash, you can reserve the truck in person. In-town rentals need a deposit of $100 or the estimated charges (whichever is greater). One-way moves require $100 plus the rental rate. The total estimated charges will be due when you pick up the equipment, whether paying by cash, debit or credit.

Haggling and U-Haul coupons

There are no formal military, senior, or student discounts at U-Haul. However, it’s up to the discretion of the U-Haul store you’re renting at if they offer it for asking. The rep let it leak that anywhere between 10-15% discount is what they’re allowed to apply to an order if they decide.

How old do you have to be to rent a U-Haul? 

Wanting to test the age limits, we sent one of our 20-year-old team members to officially do the honors of picking up the vehicle. No matter, as U-Haul says you need only be 18 years old with a valid driver’s license, and just 16 years old to rent a trailer attachment. 

The Cheapest We Were Able to Get Our U-Haul

Our final cost for our U-Haul was for $55.76.

  • Rental Fee: $19.95
  • Mileage Charge: $7.12
  • SafeMove Insurance: $14.00
  • Environmental Fee: $1
  • 2 Gallons of Gas from U-Haul: $10.50
  • Tax on Rental: $3.19
  • Total: $55.76

We got a ’10 truck, U-Haul’s smallest with no ramp, and drove it a “colossal” eight miles. We bought the cheapest insurance, absolutely zero equipment and zero labor, and got hit with no other fees (since we didn’t actually put anything in the truck).

Our bill was still almost three times the advertised price.

Of course, $55.76 isn’t a bad deal, depending on what you need it for. The problem is that if you needed only a quick lift to pick something up, $50+ can render a lot of good deals useless.

How Much Does a U-Haul Cost?
The $19.95 truck has raised wheel wells inside the vehicle, which takes up some serious space in your rental truck.

On the other hand, if you were seriously moving, odds are great you’d drive many more miles, and your mileage would probably be way higher, given you probably aren’t hauling air. And if it’s during the busy moving season, the rental rate will likely be greater than $19.95.

An extremely conservative estimate for a very small, local move is probably closer to around $125 for the rental. You’ll realistically need one of the larger trucks for a real move.

And that is strictly local. For long-distance moves, even a small load will be much closer to $500-1,000, or greater. And that is assuming you don’t need a hitch installed.

The Bottom Line

Nobody pays $19.95 plus tax. How much you finally shell out will depend on your circumstances, your preferences and your requirements. Keep the above in mind as you plan out your move. You’ll probably save at least enough for some extra coffee on the drive to your new home!

How to Move Your Garden Without Killing Your Plants

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UPDATE: Check out the How to Move Your Garden infographic below!

It’s true, just because you’re moving doesn’t mean you have to say farewell to your garden.

There is actually a myriad of reasons you might want to move your garden. Maybe you purchased a new greenhouse and want to transfer your tomatoes and other vegetables inside before fall sets in. Perhaps you just bought a new home and want to relocate your favorite perennials to the current landscape. Or maybe you simply want to place potted plants into the ground instead.

Whatever the reason, you find the need to move your garden from its present location, which is not something you should do without reading about it first. There are a lot of steps to successfully moving a garden, so get your hoes, your wheel barrels and your expandable hoses ready folks, let’s move!

If you are able, choose the season you move.

The worst time to move a garden is in the heat of the summer. Not only is the dryness damaging to the roots, but the sun is especially hot at that time of year and direct light can cause a great deal of damage. More on this from thespruce.com:

Never leave the roots exposed to sun, heat or wind. It’s tempting to remove all plants from their pots and place them where you want them to go in the garden, but roots will desiccate quickly. Remove each plant just prior to planting.

Provided you aren’t moving into a winter wonderland, any other time is better. Of course, if you have no choice but to move your garden in the heat of summer, there are tips we will include along the way to ensure your garden’s safety.

Mark where everything is going to go first.

Wherever the new location for your garden, be sure to have the spots in which you are going to plant them ready to go ahead of digging out and transplanting. In other words, visually indicate what’s going into them so things don’t get confusing. If you are planting them in bigger pots, make sure the soil is ready to go at the bottom so the transfer will be ready to go. Conversely, if you are planting directly into the ground, make sure your spots are already dug out and big enough before anything is pulled out.

If you are moving in the heat of summer, we suggest dousing these spots with water before transferring the plants. The roots will need the moisture after the shock of being uprooted. 

If you aren’t sure exactly where you want to plant, dig trenches and create a temporary nursery for your plants!

Pot, bucket or burlap: get the transportation ready.

If you are moving your garden from one pot to another or if you are moving your potted plants into the ground, skip this step. But if you are moving your garden from one home to another, then you’ll need receptacles that can be also be moved. If basic pots or buckets aren’t available, wrap the root ball in burlap for transporting. The shock of moving is enough to kill a good deal of plants, so it’s important to make sure the transport goes as smoothly as possible.

Use a special watering schedule for soon to be in-transit plants.

It’s important during transportation that you water your plants correctly. Not to mention that watered plants are also easier to remove with the root intact.

First, you should water your garden the night before you plan on moving it so that the plants are well hydrated for the move. This helps them sustain what’s called “the jolt of transit”. 

Secondly, don’t go easy on the roots; Soak them well! If by chance you have plants with bare roots (or “naked roots”), the bottoms of these plants need to be submerged in water for two to three hours before being replanted. Here are just a few common bare-root plants to look out for:

  • Shrubs
  • Hosta
  • Daylilies
  • Roses
  • Fruit trees
  • Prarie Onion

Trim excess stems.

It’s suggested you cut off any stems or foliage that are dying or in excess. Doing this will diminish the trauma your plant might experience. However, this isn’t universally necessary for all plants, so use your best judgment!

Dig up using the drip line.

Now it’s time to dig up those plants. But you won’t want to dig into the base of the plant. Doing so risks chopping up a healthy root! Instead, take a hand shovel and dig a ring around the main stem of your plant, carefully paying attention to where the roots are positioned. This is the drip line, otherwise known as the area your plant drips onto the ground, and it’s a great method for digging up plants.

For larger plants, the ring you dig around the plant should be at least 6 inches deep. When you start digging around any size plant you will find that you will likely cut some roots on the way. This is okay, but make sure they are clean cuts, not torn.

Once the ring is dug, use a larger shovel (or several, for larger plants) to pop them out of place. Don’t shake or remove any soil from the root ball, since this will serve as protection. Put your plants into their transportation vehicles to get them ready for their final destinations!

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Re-plant (the right way).

You want to plant your garden in its new location as soon as possible. We would suggest doing it right after you are done uprooting them. If that isn’t possible, then quickly get them into their temporary, transitional home. Just remember, the longer the plant is out, the harder it will be to set.

Before placing your newly removed plants to their new home, you should water the holes and trenches you’ve created. Once you placed water again, gently top the roots off with some soil. Protip: Make sure the soil is solid, but not so dense it smothers the plant.

Reduce stress on the plants.

Once you have your plant in its place, give it a little shower to cool off the leaves. Provide some shade for plants planted in direct sunlight for at least a couple days. You might need to water these plants every day until they grow strong again. If you can do this gentle process in the cooler parts of the day, your plants will thank you for it. Also, if you see anything drooping, water it right away!

Check out our infographic for how to move your garden without killing your plants!


Tim Moore is the lead editor of Backyard Boss and is a lifelong backyard enthusiast. He grew up immersed in the outdoors, camping every weekend and tending to the backyard with his family. Follow Tim and Backyard Boss on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for everyday inspiration for your backyard.

Can Movers Help You With Other Stuff Besides Moving?

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If you thought moving companies do nothing but put all your stuff on a big truck, you’d be right—if you were living sometime in the distant past.

Today’s moving companies are constantly expanding their range of services and offering them all à la carte. That half-job or heavy lifting you need help with? Sure, you can try begging and bribing your friends, or you can call up a few movers in your area. You might be surprised at what they can help you with.

So What Else, Exactly, Can Movers Help With?

More than you can probably imagine. Heck, you don’t even need to be moving to have them give you a hand! More and more, people are turning to moving companies for all kinds of tasks too big to tackle alone. Movers make great day laborers, for things like:

Clearing out your garage or basement

  • Having a couple of sets of hands to move stuff while you figure out whether it goes to the curb or your cousin’s house or back into the garage can save you an entire weekend (if your garage looks anything like mine)
  • This also applies to attics, sheds, or anywhere

Hauling individual furniture from Point A to Point B

  • From your house to the curb; from your bedroom to the basement; to that cousin’s house; to the municipal trash dump; to your local secondhand store or consignment shop

Moving everything out of the room you are repainting or remodeling 

  • And then moving it back when you are done

Hauling stuff to your home from the furniture store

  • Or from your second cousin’s house, or from the garage of the guy selling that big beautiful piano on craigslist

Movers can (and often will) also take care of those jobs tangential to a move:

Even if you’ve managed to tackle your entire move on your own, you may be left with a mountain of unwanted cardboard boxes and unusable packing paper that you just don’t want to deal with. Movers, however, see gold in those mountains. So try giving them a call.

Protip: Most movers tend to charge for a minimum of two hours of labor, due to scheduling their business hours. This is not by any means a hard and fast rule, but make sure you ask before you book your help.

Can I hire movers to JUST help me load and unload my U-Haul?

You betcha!

Renting a truck or a moving container and hiring moving labor for all the heavy lifting is a huge trend—and for good reason. You save a ton of money by renting your own truck, and you save your back by hiring movers.

À la carte movers often:

  • Bring all the equipment
  • Have all the knowledge necessary to do the job right
  • Pack stuff you need packed, wrap stuff you need to be wrapped
  • Load it all up safely and securely

You drive your U-Haul (or Penske or Budget), or have your portable container delivered, and a fresh crew of movers unloads everything at your new home. This is what we call a Hybrid Move. As far as moving goes, it’s the best of both worlds. And it’s what HireAHelper movers do best.

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Protip: If you are moving locally, your movers may be able to rent you moving blankets for a small fee. But if you are moving out of the area, you might be able to rent them from your rental truck company. You may, however, have to buy them. Just please don’t move without them!

Can my movers do my entire move?

Yes, of course. Your traditional Full Service moving company will handle the whole moving enchilada if that is what you want, including packing up your entire home, right down to your last box of biscuits. This is the easiest way to move. It is also by far the most expensive.

Movers Know Best

Of course, we can’t tell you what’s best for you. But we can say with total confidence that movers know how to best handle your stuff. Whether it’s a single item job or a few pieces of heavy furniture; whether you’re moving one room or one door down or one hundred miles away; whether you need loading help, unloading help, or both, hiring moving labor is the best and most economical way to make sure your belongings are taken care of.

If you’re not sure what to do, that’s cool. Calling a mover and asking a few questions costs nothing. And it could end up saving you a lot.


Illustrations by Rob Wadleigh

A Pro’s Guide to Moving Heavy Furniture Without Hurting Yourself

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Chances are, there are movers near you who can help you move that fridge, bed, or whatever else makes your back ache by the mere thought of picking it up. But if you can’t find the right help, or if you and your back feel up to the task, then keep reading—we’ve got you covered!

The First Step to Moving Heavy Furniture

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Okay, that’s a little weird, but moving heavy furniture is the same idea. You gotta really, really prepare.

Before you roll up your sleeves and start picking stuff up, you’ll want to do a few things:

  • Clear as wide of a pathway as you can
  • Measure that your furniture isn’t too big to go through that path
  • Mark a clear, physical end point where you will drop the item

The last one will probably be near your moving truck or storage container or, if you’re particularly strategic, a staging area (meaning your driveway, sidewalk, or the garage during sketchy weather) in order to better “Tetris” your stuff.

Disassembling Furniture

The great news is that many movers across the country will offer to disassemble any furniture that might need it in order to be moved. All you have to do is ask if your local mover offers the service.

If you’re disassembling furniture all yourself, there are plenty of basics to know when taking off table legs, moving desks, or detaching a flat screen tv.

The Most Important Basics When it Comes to Disassembly

  • When removing table legs, immediately reattach whatever nuts and bolts were holding the leg in place after the leg is off. This keeps screws from disappearing 
  • Always use a screwdriver with a magnetic head when unscrewing flat screen tv mounts, as losing important screws is extremely easy to do
  • Dresser mirrors always get removed and properly packed up. Any undetachable dresser mirrors require tons of special attention to move
  • Dining room chairs aren’t often designed to be taken apart easily, if at all. But if you have chairs with exposed bolts or screws, you may be able to disassemble them

The above just scratches the surface of what professional movers with experience know about moving furniture and disassembling furniture. You’ll learn plenty, just like I did, by trying to do it yourself.

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“The IKEA-Exception”

The furniture in your home didn’t just grow there, right? It had to have been carried in.

But the one exception to the “furniture doesn’t grow there” concept is IKEA-like furniture, or in other words, most anything you had to assemble yourself.

Full Service moving companies will generally refuse to move customer-assembled furniture made of pressboard. This is because such furniture was designed to be assembled, put in place, and never ever moved again. Any customer requesting their pressboard bookcase (or pressboard anything) be professionally moved usually has to sign a waiver stating they understand it will very likely get destroyed and the movers will assume zero responsibility for the destruction.

If you have any pressboard furniture or any furniture that – be honest with yourself – is generally cheap and flimsy, consider selling it or giving it away. Moving it costs time and money and will more than likely turn it into an unusable piece (or pieces) of trash.

Wrapping Furniture

how to move heavy furniture

At some point during the move-out process, you’ll need to wrap your furniture so it doesn’t get scratched, gouged and cracked into oblivion.

Cloth furniture pads (also known as “moving blankets”) are what movers use, and we highly recommend them. Wrapping your furniture before you carry it through your home and out the door can help protect it against incidental dings in the doorway and, quite possibly, holes in your walls.

No true professional mover will ever dream of transporting heavy furniture without furniture pads.

Protip: Moving pads can make it hard to keep a firm grip on your furniture. I always preferred to wrap everything in the staging area, or right there on the truck.

The Most Important Basics When it Comes to Wrapping Furniture

Wrapping a refrigerator or a bookcase is pretty straightforward. Wrapping a non-rectangular item like a sofa or a chair can be a challenge.

  • The key is to secure your furniture pads neatly and tightly, covering every surface except, in general, the bottom side
  • You mostly need to just make sure the pads don’t come off. Some movers use shipping tape to keep their pads in place, while others use shrink wrap. Both are effective but costly (not to mention a little wasteful). That’s why other movers use big rubber bands called “mover’s bands”. They are versatile and reusable for applications far beyond moving furniture (like, say, wrapping an office chair)
  • To secure those pads, whether you use tape, shrink wrap or those big rubber bands, just remember: avoid putting tape or shrink wrap directly on your furniture’s surfaces

How Many Furniture Pads Do I Need?

For reference, furniture pads the pros use measure 72” x 80”, give or take.

End tables, small bookcases, and dining room chairs usually only need one (1) pad; most furniture needs two (2), while things like sofas, really large dressers, even some big headboards need three (3) apiece.

How many furniture pads do you need, then? Your best bet is to go from room to room, check how many things you have that need to be wrapped, note how many pads each item will require to cover their surface, then tally it all up. (To be safe, you might want to tack on a half dozen more!)

How Do Pros Move Furniture Through Doorways?

how to move heavy furniture

Angling

If your sofa is too wide to fit through a doorway in your home, there are a few things you can do.

The simplest is to tilt it 45 degrees (more or less) so the front edge of the seat cushions and the top of the back of the couch are aligned vertically. This will make the bottom rear edge of the couch look like it is sticking further out, but all you geometry lovers out there will appreciate how this actually makes the couch narrower.

Curling

If your couch is still too wide, try standing it on end and curling it through.

Laying down a blanket first will help you smoothly and safely slide your couch through the doorway. Ease the top back edge through first, then curl the sofa around the side of the doorway closer to the seat cushions as you slip the rest of the couch through. (You can also push it through seat cushion edge first.) This same strategy can be used when trying to get oversized easy chairs through a seemingly too-narrow door.

Detaching

If you find you need a few extra inches of clearance before your sofa will pop through that doorway, try removing the legs or feet.

Even though they are sometimes nothing but short squares of wood, I’ve found on many occasions that taking them off is the difference between success and a damaged door jamb. On occasion, I’ve had to actually remove a door from its hinges in order to get a couch out the door. While not difficult, you will need a flat head screwdriver and a hammer to coax those hinge pins out, and a couple of extra sets of hands to keep the door in place until those pins pop free.

Moving Furniture Up and Down Stairs

how to move heavy furniture

Hauling large pieces of furniture – more importantly, heavy pieces of furniture – down a flight of stairs is a dangerous proposition if you don’t take it slow (and smart).

  • Make sure you have a strong friend (if not two) on the lower end as you go down (or up) the stairs. Take those steps one at a time. Rest as often as need be, simply by laying that dresser or bookcase down, right on the stairs. Just make sure it doesn’t start sliding!
  • Watch for walls, banisters, and hanging light fixtures
  • It’s easy when you’re watching your feet to forget about everything else. And that, I can tell you, includes your knuckles!
  • When sliding items around corners on landings, use a blanket underneath
    • When doing so, put a blanket down to make the sliding process easier and to avoid damaging that dresser and/or the floor. If the floor is carpeted, the item is really heavy, or if the surface it is resting on is uneven, try walking that thing forward – using small, slow, easy steps

Using Wheels to Move Your Furniture

how to move heavy furniture

If you aren’t The Hulk, a little extra help in the form of wheels can make a huge difference. Here are what the pros use:

  1. 4-wheeler: A 4-wheeler is great for moving large, heavy items over long flat distances. Two main things to watch for: your piece of furniture is resting firm and balanced, and that the wheels, usually black rubber, aren’t marking or scuffing your floors.
  2. Hand truck: A hand truck has two wheels and a metal plate on which to rest your furniture, and a long upright surface with handles. Their soft-ish wheels let you move heavy items up and down stairs and across uneven surfaces all by yourself. However, we highly recommend having a second set of hands at the lower (bottom) end of that piece of furniture any time you are negotiating stairs.
  3. Appliance dolly: An appliance dolly is basically a heavy-duty hand truck with a strap to secure in place the refrigerator, washing machine, dryer or whatever. Despite its name, an appliance dolly can absolutely be used to haul furniture.

This All Seems Hard. Are There Furniture Movers Near Me, Just In Case?

Most likely, yes!

Get a Quote

See prices for local moving labor. Read real customer reviews. Easily book your help online.

Start by searching HireAHelper’s massive network of local movers to find movers near you to tackle the big stuff. You don’t necessarily need to hire an entire moving crew if you just need to move your heaviest items.

Normal moving rates will apply, usually starting at a couple hundred bucks for two experienced professionals for two hours. They will usually bring all the necessary equipment, too!

If you just aren’t sure you want to move heavy furniture yourself, relax. Professionals know how to do everything in this article, plus way more.


Illustrations by Marlowe Dobbe

Say Hello to the New HireAHelper Logo

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11 years. 250,000 moves. 100,000 reviews. 1 awesome new look.

Introducing the new HireAHelper logo.

Our New Look Just Moved In

HireAHelper has spent the last decade making moving anywhere in the country simple and affordable. Now we’re bringing that fresh “just moved” feeling straight to our website. Our brand new “H-logo” and green colors mark a moving adventure we can call our very own.

In other words, we just turned over a bright, green leaf.

The new HireAHelper logo in action

Is anything else new? Don’t worry, whether you’re moving or you’re a mover yourself, everything you love about HireAHelper is still here. We’re a nationwide marketplace of local movers that’s easier than ever to browse, with live help available 7 days a week. But more great additions are on the horizon. 

We’re Expanding

We’ve pioneered Hybrid™ Moving, and now we’re giving you even more options than ever before. Coming soon to select cities, we’re giving you the option to search our local mover marketplace for Full Service movers. This is a huge expansion to our moving options that will take even more stress out of your move. Stay tuned to this site for more details.


Moving soon? Want to join hundreds of local movers from across the country already in the marketplace? Come see for yourself why over 100,000 people have given their HireAHelper moves an average 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Let’s get moving.

5 Expenses I Didn’t Expect After Graduating

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Graduating is even harder than it looks.

I am one of the lucky ones who found my first job right out of school. But that secretly meant my living expenses suddenly skyrocketed after I had to buy a used car, move away from home and find and furnish an apartment.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew those purchases would be way more expensive than the usual trip to the grocery store. But there were so many details I didn’t even realize existed. It was a crash course.

Now I want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Here are the random expenses that hit me after graduation, plus how I survived a rocky first few months so that I remained intact before my first adult paychecks could make an impact.

1. Moving Costs More Than You’d Think (But There’s a Hack for That)

Moving101 Container Price Comparison

When I graduated I lived on campus, but I still somehow had a lot to move into my first apartment. The first thing I did was figure out if anyone could help me move. In return for snacks, my friends and family were happy to offer some manual labor. I got lucky!

But when I got a job, it ended up being located out of state. So to save money, I figured out I could rent a truck and tow my car behind it, and only hire movers to do the lifting. Getting your own vehicle and hiring labor separately for either end of your move (Hybrid Moving) costs less than Full Service moving and varies dramatically in price, but the average cost is around $660. It’s an added cost, but plenty of critical time saved, which I needed.

HireAHelper lets you compare the price of movers and customize everything, from how many people help you move to what arrival time window you’ll need. The more options you can compare for a moving process the better, as every move is going to be a little bit different.

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How can someone so young take on that expense? Well, I barely had enough to cover the move, but here’s another thing I learned — many employers offer reimbursement for moving expenses! Make a note to talk with your new employer and ask if they make a similar offer. It was a lifesaver when my company helped me out so that I could put my money toward the next round of expenses!

2. Crossing State Lines Can Mean More Fees

When you move to a new state, you’re going to have to get a new state license and plate for your car. The steps will be different depending on your move, but you can check out the process for your specific state online to know what prices you’re in for.

I had to fill out paperwork and pay fees for the process of:

  • Getting an updated title for my car
  • Printing a new plate
  • Creating a new license

All of it cost about $200! Plus, there was the time it took to go to the DMV, get my new emissions test and talk with my car insurance company about my new address and license information.

Call the DMV where you’ll be moving to ahead of time for clarification because it really is a lot to deal with when you’ve never done it before. It definitely was for me.

3. Even My Used Car Had a Major Price Tag

An approximation of how getting your first used car looks.

When I was in school, I used my parents’ old car to get around to my part-time jobs and the grocery store. But after college, I knew I had to get my own ride. I’d been saving up for a while and figured I could negotiate the price of the car down to what I had in my savings account, but it turns out there’s so much more to it than that.

The only thing I knew about buying a car before I walked into the first dealership was that you have to negotiate your final price, but fees and taxes can’t be worked down. The dealer had to explain things like document fees and dealer fees, plus the sales tax. (Again, every state will be a bit different, though some fees are the same across the board.)

It’s smart to save up some extra cash to cover these fees since they’re non-negotiable. While you’re getting your down payment together, take steps to research what these expenses will be so you can better plan for the total cost of a car.

Lastly, make sure you can handle the monthly payment. While I saved enough for a hefty down payment, I did have to take out a small loan to cover the rest. I automated my car payments through my bank once my regular paychecks started rolling in so I would never risk jeopardizing my credit score with late payments.

4. My First Student Loan Payment Shocked Me

The amount I had to take out in student loans wasn’t nearly as drastic as what some of my friends had to sign for—proud state school grad here—but there are ways those loans can pull you into paying more than you originally borrowed. For starters, I had no idea what capitalizing interest was. Basically, it’s interest that’s triggered by specific events and causes your monthly payment to not even make a dent in your overall debt. The debt increases while your payments stay the same.

I also began to panic when the loan bills came in. I hadn’t even earned my first paycheck with my new job yet, so how was I supposed to pay $350 a month after already paying for moving and buying a car?

That’s when I started to research how to consolidate my loans, and it really saved me. The Department of Education can consolidate multiple federal loans with one fixed interest rate, which streamlines the process and extends your repayment period. Rather than juggling multiple payments, I just had to worry about one.

You may also consider private refinancing if you’ve landed a steady job and worked to build a credit score of at least 690. This can both consolidate your loans and lower your interest rate — but isn’t necessarily always the best choice for recent grads. Do your research! 

(So I Learned a Budgeting Trick)

Sure, I’d managed my own bills in college, but between forthcoming loan payments and the costs of moving and a higher rent, I saw my expenses skyrocket. 

So I did some research online and began militantly tracking all of my income and expenses with a Google spreadsheet. I vowed to follow the 50/30/20 budget, which stipulates that half of my earnings pay fixed expenses, 20 percent goes to debts and savings, and 30 percent is reserved for variable expenses like groceries and light spending.

TheBalance.com

It’s tempting to have your paychecks come in and put all your extra cash toward one big thing like a savings account or credit card debt, but metering it out will help you tackle everything at once. Building my savings while decreasing my debt has helped me more in the long run than just choosing one over the other.

Now, my healthy savings account means a minor emergency like a car repair doesn’t trigger any anxiety. After upending my meager college savings to move, a steady and dependable tracking system soothed my nerves and helped me navigate this whole new world.

5. Filling Up a New Apartment Drains Your Wallet

The process of finding my apartment was easy since everything is online now. I could map out how far each apartment complex was from my work and not have to worry about it being too far away. Actually getting settled was a whole different story.

I had to buy all my own furniture, and you can bet that I didn’t have the money to do it all at once! For a little bit, my apartment décor consisted of a mattress on the floor and the most basic kitchen supplies. A good list of basic apartment supplies you’ll need will consist of:

  • Plates and bowls
  • At least two or three of each type of silverware
  • A trashcan
  • Dish soap and a sponge
  • Toilet paper
  • Basic cleaning supplies (e.g., broom, cleaning solution)

Don’t panic if your apartment doesn’t feel like home for a little while. Getting more than the basics will take time, but eventually, your new fancy budget will help you get everything on your list, and your apartment will gradually feel more like a home and less like a living space. 

Plus, if you have a roommate, that makes your quest to fill the space of essentials even easier! Me? I bought myself a couch from a killer Amazon Prime Day deal—and I’ve been treating myself with one apartment item a month since.


Some of the above surprise costs were never mentioned to me because I didn’t know to ask about them.

Give your post-college world about six to eight months to settle down. Now, I’m much more financially secure and living in a home that feels cozy and welcoming. I’m finally ready to put some money into my travel fund and I don’t sweat the occasional sushi dinner. For now, you just have to buckle in and prepare for a crazy ride after that diploma lands in your hand.


Holly Welles is a millennial-focused real estate writer and the editor behind The Estate Update. For more home tips and financial advice, subscribe to her blog for even more financial advice.

How Do I Plan a Long Distance Move?

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Moving long distance requires patience, stamina, and grit. But it doesn’t have to be an awful experience. With some planning, a little know-how, plus some research, you can make the process of moving much easier. But just to help you out, we went ahead and did all the research for you.

After all, settling into a new, far-away land shouldn’t be anything less than transformational! 

How Am I Gonna Get Me and My Stuff Where I’m Going?

You have a number of options when planning a long distance move. Your options will all depend on these three things:

  • How much stuff you’re hauling
  • Your budget
  • Personal preference

What if I’m driving?

Some people decide to drive across the country, especially if they are bringing a vehicle or two. Beforehand, however, you should consider:

  • Car’s age and how many miles it has clocked
  • How many people and things it needs to hold
  • If it can handle a long trip without breaking down

If you need to get repairs ahead of time, then trust us, do that first. If that seems like it could be an issue or you just don’t wanna add hundreds of miles to your car, consider getting your car shipped.

Your other options are hitching it (to a truck for towing) or just ditching it. You can always try selling it or trading it in if you decide this is the end of the road for the car.

Are you driving with small children? Transporting pets? Both of those have special considerations, so click those links to learn everything you should know first.

What about my stuff?

The most hands-off option for getting you and everything long distance is a Full Service moving company. If you have the money for going that route, you need to find one with proper licensing, especially for interstate moves, as opposed to somebody off Craigslist.

What other options are there? Some people who make a long distance move opt to rent a moving truck for loading up their stuff and driving it themselves, then only hire movers for the lifting part, not the driving. This is called Hybrid Moving and can save a lot of money (if you don’t mind the drive). 

If you want to leave the driving to somebody else but still want to save money as compared to a Full Service Move, you can opt for portable moving containers like a PODS container. With those, professionals drive your stuff to and from destinations.

A final option to explore is to rent space in a freight truck that a professional driver hauls to your final destination, or sometimes to a warehouse for pick up.

The pros, cons, and prices of all of these options (and much more) are covered extensively on Moving101.

If you opt for a moving crew, make sure you get the answers to these questions:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How much experience do you have serving clients moving long distance? How does that compare with the number of local moves you conduct for clients?
  • Do you have proper, up-to-date licenses? Are you legally able to work in both states and cross state lines?
  • What kind of feedback do you get from clients?   
  • How would you describe the value you provide for the price you charge?
  • What are your policies regarding damaged or lost goods? What are your policies regarding re-scheduling or canceling service?

And you shouldn’t just take their word for it either. Get genuine opinions by consulting verified reviews on HireAHelper or anywhere you look.

What if I’m flying?

If you’re taking a plane to the final destination, you should obviously consider bringing some things with you in luggage or handbags to save money on however you’re moving the rest of your stuff. Pack clothes and personal items that won’t break in the luggage, and bring fragile stuff, such as laptops and digital devices, in your carry-on bag. Paying for extra luggage on a flight is sometimes cheaper than shipping it via snail mail! Pile up your stuff, do the calculations and see what works best with your budget.

Looking to maximize your flying budget? In “The 10 Best (and Worst) Airfare Search Sites,” Frommer’s shares some of the best places for you to seek hot deals for air travel. When researching prices for flights, consider the following online travel agents and booking sites, but recognize that being better known does not necessarily mean being the best.

Should I ship my stuff?

You could theoretically choose to ship some of your things via UPS, FedEx, or the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Yes, it’s cheapest to send through USPS, but after packages get to only two pounds, pricing typically levels out. (That said, check out media shipping rates if you want to ship out a parcel or three that each weigh around 20 pounds.)

Of course, you probably have more than a few pounds worth of stuff. In this case, moving containers are a savvy pick for getting your stuff driven to where it needs to go for you. Not only do shipping containers come in different shapes and sizes, but you can plan to keep them placed somewhere for usually as much as a month at a time, so there’s lots of flexibility with using a moving container for a long distance move.

There are several things to consider when thinking about using a moving container:

  • Do you care if it’s wooden versus metal?
  • How many do you need?
  • How long do you need it to wait for you before unloading it?
  • Do you need help loading and unloading it?

Your options will depend on where you live, due to which moving container companies are available to you. Beyond PODS containers, check out this massive break down of the best moving container companies for your exact situation.

Moving101 Container Price Comparison

How Much Do Long-Distance Moves Cost?

Interstate and long distance moving companies charge based on weight, distance, and any extra equipment or insurance options you opt into.

The average cost of an interstate move is $4,300 for an average distance of 1,225 miles and a shipment weight of 7,400 pounds, according to the American Moving and Storage Association and as reported by numerous outlets.

But ultimately, as we’ve explained above, the price will depend on:

  • Your exact starting and ending points
  • How much you need to move
  • Modes of transportation
  • Who, if anyone, you decide to hire

One more big factor to consider is if you have any specialty items to move, such as a baby grand piano or gun safe.

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Are there any ways to reduce the price?

Here are some money protips you should know as you collect estimates:

  • Binding vs. Non-Binding Estimates: This is important to know if you’re pursuing a Full Service move. A binding estimate means you will pay the final price of the estimate regardless of whether your stuff ends up weighing less or more than expected. A non-binding estimate means you could end up with a different final tally, either less or more, depending on the weight
  • You can bring the price down by being flexible with travel dates; weekdays, especially in the offseason (read: not summer) are often cheaper
  • Ask moving companies for discounts. For example, members of the military and veterans often get cheaper rates for rental trucks and containers
  • If you have time before you have to move, you should try to start a moving fund
  • Be sure to keep track of spending and make a written out or digital budget
  • Those who are moving for work should see if the company reimburses for any or all of the move

What if I’m Moving Across State Lines?

Doing your homework on what is required of you for your specific interstate move is the first step.

Interstate moves are particularly complicated due to state laws. You have to know what you are responsible for when you cross into another state.

Hiring movers? Some moving companies can’t even provide service for interstate moves because they lack the proper license. Check in with your mover ahead of time. (Of course, typing in your ZIP code into HireAHelper filters all that stuff automatically.) 

In addition, you have to know both state and local laws and ordinances that may be relevant to you. Both your departure and arrival towns likely have parking rules, which will be a consideration as you’re loading and unloading, especially if you’re leaving a PODS container somewhere for a week or more. (You think you can just park a big truck on a busy New York City road any time you want?)

Also, some states have certain laws restricting what you can bring in. For instance, there are a number of items that are illegal to bring into California, including certain firearms and fruits. Yes, your pet ferret, among other things, can’t join you if you’re headed for the Golden State.

To-Do list for interstate moves

What do you need to do if you’re moving to a new state? This is what your to-do list should look like:

  • Forward your mail. Regardless of distance or state, do this first. This requires filling out a change of address form with the United States Postal Service (USPS)
  • Get a new driver’s license and plates. Typically, states require you to get your new license within 30 days, so make this a priority. Unfortunately, this will probably require standing in line at the DMV. One thing we can guarantee is it will be as annoying as nails on a chalkboard no matter what state you’re in
  • Establish domicile for tax purposes. In other words, that means becoming a resident (No matter where you go, they’ll have taxes!)  
  • Transfer your utilities
  • Get a license for your pets if you have any (as long as they aren’t ferrets in California!)

How Do I Pack My Stuff?

Anyone who has ever moved can tell you that packing up your entire world is maybe the most stressful part of the journey. Getting sturdy cardboard boxes and wisely packing them is one way to ensure the process is easier. Refraining from making any of the boxes too heavy and keeping items that will go in the same room in one box are obvious tips.

Make sure to label everything. Most importantly, make use of soft items, such as pillows, to serve as buffers between breakables and harder items. Use appropriate packing material – such as bubble wrap and newspapers – to protect glass, china and other delicate items. You can learn more in “How to Pack a Moving Box.”

If you want to be extra cautious with your stuff, then turn to professionals for help with packing your things.

Should I get rid of my stuff?

Take a look over the vast empire you’ve established. You must recognize that the less stuff you have to move, the better off you’ll be. After all, professional moving companies generally charge you based on the weight of the stuff you need to be transported. In other words, both literally and figuratively, you will have lifted a weight off your shoulders if you downsize.

“You’ll almost certainly want to bring some of your stuff, but the vast majority of what you own is replaceable,” writes Scott Meslow in GQ. “And the cost of moving most of what you own across the country is comparable to the cost of just buying something similar—or better!—once you actually arrive.”

The good news? Purging can be cathartic. Discover some ways you can unload your stuff before moving day:

  • Sell stuff online through Craigslist, eBay, or Etsy
  • Have a traditional garage sale
  • Give away things to your friends and family
  • Donate items through charities or religious organizations
  • Throw away old, worn out, or unusable items

Experts suggest taking photographs, especially for anything of great value. You may want proof of exactly what condition the chosen ones – items with which you simply can’t part – were in before they get on the moving truck (or whatever mode of transportation you choose).


Moving long distance is a tremendous undertaking. But if you prepare and research your options, you can make the move successfully without pulling out your hair. As you deal with the technical aspects of the move, give yourself a break if you – or others in the family – get emotional. Starting a new life in a new place is never easy. A stress-free move is the first step to arriving at this new world. 

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