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Old 03-29-2012, 12:50 PM
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I’ve noticed that every now and then we get people who want to move but don’t know where to start or how to navigate certain aspects of the move. Since I’ve moved several times, I figured I’d put something together to help out. Since I don’t have kids and I have never owned a home, I feel that I am not qualified to provide advice for moves containing those elements. I tried to keep it simplistic while at least touching on every aspect that needed to be covered. I did not go into much detail in regards to finances. There are some other services and elements I didn’t break down greatly either. That was intentional as to try and keep this tutorial to a reasonable size. The intent was to at least point the mover in the right direction and right mindset of thinking. Further research is up to you, the mover. I may have missed, forgotten or simply omitted something. So please feel free to make suggestions that you feel could be helpful to any non-home owner with no kids, looking to move. Any feedback is appreciated. I will be happy to answer any questions as the most of the suggestions in this checklist, I have used personally. So I will be happy to elaborate further if you so desire.

How to Move: A basic checklist for Non-Home Owners w/ no Kids

1-Identifying the location and the Salary you’ll need to survive in your new city.
a– what are you looking for? Things to consider in choosing your future home: Weather, Cost of Living, Job Market, Nightlife, Crime, Activities, etc. (City-Data has tons of information on many of the cities in the U.S. From average weather, median age, median salaries of residents, top lists the cities may have made, etc. that you can find outside the forums on the main site)
b-Look up the cost of Rent using apartment websites, City-Data, Craigslist, or any viable resource. You may not know the neighborhoods, but you should be able to get a good idea what a typical Studio, 1bdrm or 2bdrm apartment goes for in most neighborhoods.
c-If you make 40K in your current city, what is the median salary for your career in the city you have chosen? How does rent in the new city compare to your current city? Does the increase/decrease of salary in the new city cover the increase/decrease of rent in that new city? Are utilities more expensive in that city? In the South, electric bills are higher during spring and summer. In the North, are you paying for gas? You’ll want to plug the new cities numbers into your current budget to get an estimate of what you’ll need to make per year to live to your standards.

2-Plan a low cost scouting trip - Especially if you’ve never been to the targeted city. Identify neighborhoods, apartment complexes, and other points of interest to visit while you are there. How is traffic in the selected areas during rush hour? Are the apartments you can afford all in high crime areas?

3-Inventory - If you are happy with the city you’ve selected and are ready to plan the move, you’ll need to decide if you are taking all, most, some, or none of your belongings. For some, replacing things like furniture makes more sense than paying to store it or transport it. If unsure, you can just start the purge process and see what you have left over that you just can’t live without. The more you get rid of, the less storage space needed. Began selling or donating anything you don’t plan on taking. It’s also a good idea to began packing non-essential items you will not need, but don’t want to sell, donate or trash. The primary reason of tackling this early on is two fold. One, it allows you more time to sell anything you don’t want to take. Those monies can be put towards the move. Secondly, by starting the packing process early, you alleviate some of the stress of the move. Waiting to the last minute to pack just makes the move process that more stressful. Be sure to perform inventory on each box that you pack. .

4-At this point you should have a good idea of what you are taking. Determine how you are moving your things if taking them with you and where you are storing them. If storing them, do you want to store them in your current city, and return for them once established in your new city? Or do you want to move them to the new city and store them there? There are pro’s and con’s to both methods. Depending on where you live and where you are moving to, storing them where you currently live may be a cheaper option initially, saving you money up front. However, you will not have access to anything left behind, and eventually you’ll need to return to retrieve them.

5-If you’ve decided you are taking most of your possessions and that you don’t want to leave them behind. How are you going to move them? Each person’s scenario is different, so there is no one right answer. You’ll need to assess how much you are taking and perform a cost comparison of renting a Moving Truck, Hiring a moving company, or using a service like Upack/ABF, Pods, Pack Rat, etc. Which is the most affordable for you? If using a truck, you’ll have to find a storage facility, while a service such as Upack/ABF, Pods and Pack Rat allows the items to remain in the storage container in the destination city for x amount of months. Each of these has pro’s and con’s. One may be cheaper than the other for shorter moves, while more expensive for a longer move. Read reviews and do some background on each service before committing to one. The cheapest isn’t always the best and could leave you with damaged goods. Now would also be a good time to figure out how much money it would take to get back to your “home” city. This is your exit strategy. Failure should not be an option, but in the event of catastrophe, you may be forced to look at your remaining funds and decide “do I risk being homeless and keep job hunting? Or do I pack up and head back home?”
**Whether you are driving a moving truck or your car, don’t forget to budget hotels stays, meals and gas as part of your moving budget.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:51 PM
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6-Temp Housing:. Where are you going to stay in your new city while looking for employment? You have a few options. After finding one that best suits you, I highly suggest you find a second and third option to fall back on. It may be hard to calculate the monthly cost of temporary housing. My advice is to shoot high and make an educated guess.

option 1: Long term Hotels chains such as InTown Suites, AKA, Element by Westin, Hyatt House, Residence Inn, Homewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, GrandStay Residential Suites, Larkspur Landing, Chase Suites, StudioPLUS, Homestead Studios, Extended Stay America, Crestwood Suites, Studio 6, etc. Although cheaper than regular hotel stays, they can still be pricey. Rates can range from $147 - $260 a week. The great thing about these is, you can reserve in advance, and you can budget for them easily.
option 2: Subletting an apartment. You can usually find many of these on Craigslist. Whether it be moving for a job, the military, someone getting married, a couple buying a house, business that takes them away for several weeks or months, etc you get the point. There are circumstances where renters are not occupying their apartments and looking to recoup some of the money it’s costing with no one living there. So rather than break the lease, the renter will often get permission to sublet their apartment for a short time. Sublets may be as short as a few weeks or several months. The downside to this option is you will need to be in your new city to view the domicile. This option is best utilized a couple of weeks before the move. Make an appointment with the rentor based on when you are arriving. I would strongly advise against giving anyone any money (deposits, etc) over the phone to hold these rooms for you. You need to be on site to check everything out and verify the individual you are working with is not trying to scam you.
option 3: You can also use websites like roommates.com or Craigslist to find rooms for rent. Again, REMEMBER to exercise caution when dealing with people from these sites. Scams run rampant. Do not send anyone any money.
option 4: Hostels. Not all cities have Hostels, and you can usually only stay in these for a few nights. However, this can be a great option if you find yourself without shelter and not wanting to sleep in a box or in your car. Hostels typically run in the $20+ range for one night. This is much cheaper than a hotel, they have showers and you typically get 1 free meal. Conditions can vary. Some are clean and nice, others may be a little dirty and crowded with strange people.
option 5: YMCA. Like Hostels, the availability of these in some cities as well as the conditions may vary. They tend to be cheaper than Hostels, and like hostels, should probably only be used as a last resort.
option 6: Couch surfing. www couchsurfing.org For the truly adventurous, this could be a viable short time option for those not wanting to be with a large group of strange people in a Hostel or YMCA. Each host has ratings and reviews as this website host a large community of connected travelers.
option 7: Renting an apartment out right. If you are financially very sound and have stock piled a large sum of cash this may be an option for you. This is not a viable option for someone rolling into town with only a few thousand and no job. More than likely an apartment management company will not rent to you with no job. However if you can afford to pay several months rent on top of a deposits, and still have enough cash to live more than 6 months without work, this could be an option for you.

7-Picking a date: When does your current lease end? how much money do you want to move with? When will you have it? How long will you be able to survive with no job with all the aforementioned expenses on top of your concurrent monthly expenses like car notes, cell phone bills, insurance, etc?

8-Make a list of everyone that will need know about your change of address (friends, banks, creditors, memberships, Doctors, Insurance companies, Veterinarians, Dentist, domestic services etc)

9-Purchase a small lock box to hold important documents (Passports, Social Security Cards, Birth Certificates, DD214’s, etc. ) that you will need on the ready in your new city. This will need to be accessible for job hunting but safe from theft.

These next few steps should be started on anywhere from 1-4 weeks prior to the move

10-What do you do with your mail?
option 1 – Have the Post Office hold your mail. In your new city, you can rent a mail box at a UPS mail centers. The Post Office will not let you rent a Post Office Box without proof that you are a resident in that county. Since you just arrived, you have no way to provide such proof, therefore an option like the UPS Mail Center may be your only option. Once you have one of these, you can have the Post Office release your mail to your new address.
option 2 – forward it to a trustworthy parent or relative.

11-cancel or setup any automatic payments from your bank account.

12-began packing up remaining items. If using movers, put anything movers will not be moving aside in a different box clearly marked. Items such as cell phone chargers, toothbrushes, etc fall into this category– inventory and photos of essential items that are valuable.

13-if you are driving, have your car serviced (Oil Change, have all fluids checked, tires, etc)

14-Verify arrangements with any third parties – Movers, storage facilities, etc
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:34 AM
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If you have kids, go to the schools, and get copies of their files. This will smooth everything out to enroll them in their new schools. The new school will request the information, but it can take weeks to get to your child's new school.

Get their current transcripts, IEP information, shot records, copy of birth certificates. It will make enrolling in the new school much easier.

I made a file with all paperwork needed for each child, along with a picture for their new school.
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:50 AM
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Default How to move your belongings: A shipping/moving reference for interstate moves.

In my basic checklist I briefly touched on several options that could be used to get your possessions from point A, your current home, to point B, your future home. In this thread, I'd like to expand on those options to give better insight as well as expose options you may not have been aware of. The amount of items you own, number of members in your moving party, distance, current location, new destination, pets, vehicles all play a factor and change the dynamics of a move. With so many variables, no one option is best for all movers. So which option is best for you and your family? Obviously, the first thing you need to decide is, "do I really need to drag everything I own across the country?". Let's face it; it’s probably safe to say that most of us are attached to possessions that are easily replaceable. There's no arguing, the less you take with you, the cheaper your move will be. The difference between throwing all you own in a car and driving is far cheaper than loading up a 16' truck that gets 6-10 mpg. But if you are like me, and you just can't part with that big screen LCD HD TV, then you need a way to transport your items. Selling, donating or purging anything you feel you can part with or don't mind replacing down the road is still a good idea and needs to begin before obtaining quotes for your options. If you haven't used it in a year or even two....do you really need to lug it across the country? Just one of the many questions you need to ask. As always, input and feedback is encouraged and welcome.


Rental trucks: Penske / Budget / U-Haul / Ryder / Hertz / Enterprise / etc
Probably the most popular method for a variety of reasons, it can be one of the cheapest if done properly. If reserved in advance at the right time of year, you can save substantially vs using a freight company. When you reserve your truck and what size of truck you rent could change your costs exponentially. I'll use my 2008 move to Chicago, IL from Dallas, TX vs my Butte, MT to Dallas, TX as a comparison. Both were done with Penske trucks. (This comparison is for the truck only, not gas or any other costs)
*Note, the Penske truck in the Montana/Dallas move was actually rented in Idaho. The rates stated are from 2007-2009*

Dallas/Chicago - reserved several months in advance via the web:
12' Penske Truck $266
Montana/Dallas reserved via the web 2 weeks prior:
16' Penske truck $578

Quite a difference as you can see. For a slightly bigger truck reserved on much shorter notice, the price more than doubled. That's not even factoring in the increased cost of gas. When calculating the cost of using a rental truck, after obtaining a quote, you'll need to figure in additional costs. Using any of numerous methods or online resources, determine the distance you will be moving/driving. You will most likely not travel as far and fast on a day to day basis in a rental truck vs driving your car. You'll want to factor that in when calculating the costs. Other factors to consider

Hotels - your travel time will be slower, and if moving east coast to west coast, you could be adding a couple of days vs driving a car.


Gas: The size of the trucks vary slightly among the different truck rental companies. However, the average mpg are about the same. Example, U-Hauls' 10ft truck is comparable with Penske's 12ft, U-Haul 17ft comparable with penske 16ft, etc. Trucks MPG (Keep in mind, the mpg may vary based on load and terrain. If you are crossing any mountain terrain or hills, expect your mpg to dip. When calculating, add a buffer and assume the lower end of the mpg chart.)

12ft. 8-12 mpg.
16ft. 6-10 mpg.
22ft. 8-12 mpg.
26ft. 8-12 mpg.

Labor: Who's going to load and unload your truck? Will you need to hire someone? are Friends and/or Family able to help?

Sight seeing: You may find you are driving through an area you are unlikely to ever visit again. Why not use this opportunity to visit any interesting points (Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone Park, etc) along the way? Just be sure to factor in any additional costs due to these stops.

Last edited by Ankhharu; 04-04-2012 at 08:02 AM..
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:52 AM
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ABF U-Pack Relocubs / ABF U-Pack Trailers / Pods / Pack Rat

**You may need a parking permit for one of these units to allow you to put the unit on the street. As your apartment complex may have restrictions on this type of structure.

ABF U-Pack / Relocube - U-Pack ReloCubes are 6'3"D x 7'W x 8'4"H moving containers that sit flat on the ground for easy loading and unloading. They're large enough to accommodate one room of furnishings, yet small enough to fit easily into a single parking space

Pros: inexpensive. cheaper than PODS. Flexibility. Easy to make reservations. Better customer service than PODS. Nothing to drive. Easy to load.

Cons: You have to pack it yourself. They do not pickup on weekends. If not packed properly, your items risk damage. Size of the cubes and no variations.

**Remember we talked about storage facilities? If you don't have a home or an apartment yet, you'll need to store your belongings in your destination city. Rather than unload the relocube and move everything into a storage unit, you can keep it in the relocube. ReloCube storage prices range from $95.00 to $145.00 per container per 30 day period. Something to consider when trying to decide between a Rental Truck and a Relocube or the like.

NOTE! Unlike a storage facility where you will have access to your items at almost any given time, access to your relocube will be prohibited while being stored in the ABF Service center.

ABF Trailers
ABF delivers an empty 28 foot trailer to your residence (if not an option, you can load/unload at one of 300 accessible ABF service centers). You have 3 business days to load it. ABF then picks up the trailer and moves it to your new location. You have up to 3 business days to unload it. You only pay for the portion of the trailer you use and additional space is always available. Free Loading ramps, the taxes and fuel are included in every quote.

Pros: Cheaper than a freight company. Flexibility. Easy to make reservations, nothing to drive and easy to load.

Cons: You have to pack it yourself. They do not pickup on weekends. If not packed properly, your items risk damage.
Trailer storage fees range from $395.00 to $495.00 per trailer per 30 day period.

NOTE! Unlike a storage facility where you will have access to your items at almost any given time, access to your relocube will be prohibited while being stored in the ABF Service center.


Pods deliver an empty container to you. You pack it, they move it. Like Relocubes, you can store the container in a secure POD Storage Center but will not be able to access it while in the storage center. Pods come in 3 sizes: 8x7x7 - 5K lbs / 8x8x12 - 8K lbs / 8x8x16 - 10k lbs

Pros: Come in 3 sizes. Unlike the Relocube, you are not on a 3 day deadline to pack or unpack. Convenient. PODS operate 6 days a week and in some locations, 7 days a week.

Cons: Surprise charges. POD companies will not give you a total on your bill prior to rental since the rental time isn't definite. PODS have a long list of complaints from consumers due to these "surprise charges" including charges for additional time when it was not within your control that the POD arrived late. Customer service. If not packed properly, your items risk damage.
There are several threads on this site and many on other sites regarding PODS vs Relocubes. In my research and my own personal opinion, Relocubes are the preferred, safer and a better choice over Pods. The long list of consumer complaints and the higher price of PODS being the primary reasons I would choose the ABF Relocube over the Pod.

NOTE! Unlike a storage facility where you will have access to your items at almost any given time, access to your relocube will be prohibited while being stored in the ABF Service center.

Pack Rat

They offer 2 sizes of containers. A 16ft Pack-Rat that holds 3-4 rooms and a 12ft Pack-Rat that typically holds 1-2 rooms. More expensive than Relocubes, slightly cheaper (usually) than Pods. I found several consumer complaints, but was unable to gauge if these unhappy consumers made up only a small portion of the typical customer base or the majority. It was tough to find many people who have utilized Pack Rat. They appear to lose a lot of customers to ABF, which is not surprising, and are not as established as their competitors.

Last edited by Ankhharu; 04-04-2012 at 08:02 AM..
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:55 AM
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Freight companies FedEx / Central / SAIA / Roadway / etc

I worked as an operations clerk for one of the above mentioned freight companies for nearly 2 years. My sole purpose was to track freight for customers which included businesses and individuals shipping personal items. You'll read many people report bad experiences sending their personal items through a freight company. The internet is littered with people who have had plain bad to nightmarish experiences. During my short career in this industry, I was absolutely amazed at the amount of items that were damaged, lost or stolen on a day to day basis. The longer I worked and understood the process, the more I understood why. (I'll be happy to elaborate further and explain the shipping process from behind the scenes if anyone cares to know.)

For some families who need to transport a large number of items along with cars, this may be the best or maybe even the only option. When choosing this option, I would advise to proceed with caution. If you have anything that you truly covet and do not want lost, damaged or stolen, seek an alternative for it if possible.

Minimums: Freight companies tend to have minimum’s in the amount of weight or space. Some have various long haul options where the size or weight min/max differs depending on the needs of the customer.

Other Options

Here are some ideas for those who have more than they can fit in their car, but not enough to justify renting a truck, relocube, etc.

For books: USPS Media mail. This is the cheapest option when it comes to shipping. It's also the slowest. Due to its cheap shipping rates, many people attempt to ship things that do not fall under the media mail guidelines (books and CD's are the only items allowed). The USPS has attempted to circumvent this by cracking down in the last couple of years. They reserve the right to open your package to verify its contents are only books or CD's. I would advise against using media mail for things other than books or CD’s.

For small items: FedEx and UPS

www.uship.com and www.youcrate.com
How uship works. Whatever it is you need shipped, you list the item for free on uship's website. Shippers then bid on your item. You can either choose to accept the bid or leave it open longer. The shippers who bid on these items to transport typically do so when they have available space on existing shipments. uship allows you to ship a wide variety of items. From Boats to pets. Uship is often referred to as a cross between ebay and USPS.

Pros: opportunity to ship for very cheap. Wide variety of things that can be shipped. From pets to boats.

Cons: Anytime you deal with a service that relies on 3rd party individuals or companies to execute, the risk of an unpleasant experience is high. There are a multitude of customer complaints and praises for this service. If you've ever done business on eBay or other auction site, you can expect similar issues and problems. It would be wise to research thoroughly if considering using this service. Use at your own peril.

Portable moving and storage containers, YOU CRATE delivers crates to your doorstep, you pack and load them, then they pick up and deliver the crates anywhere in the country. YOU CRATE allows 2-3 days for packing and unpacking. The crates are weatherproof, however, they do not have locks on them. 72 hour notice is required on bookings.

Storage rates for YOU CRATE
$40 per month on cubes $60 per month on Towers
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:41 PM
Location: Oklahoma
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Very helpful and informative. Thanks for the posts.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:29 AM
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Awesome sticky, guys. This is very helpful, thank you!
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:15 AM
Location: South Carolina
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Just discovered this thread and it is extremely helpful. I *hope* to move to AZ from NY in the first half of 2013. A couple of things I'd like to add as I've been doing some very preliminary research.

If you're traveling a long distance like I potentially will be solo, it might pay to ship your vehicle. I'm already 99% sure I will be doing this. It may be a few hundred dollars extra versus driving, but I have one cat and my sanity is worth the extra money to ship my car and take my cat on a plane for six hours rather than drive 4-6 days with my cat, and paying for hotels, tolls, gas, and food and dealing with potential construction zones, traffic, etc.

I also wanted to supplement #'s 8 and in 9 in the second post of this thread by adding don't forget to add your pet's medical records to your lockbox of important documents. I know in this age, info can be sent by fax or email virtually instantly. But I myself prefer having paper medical records for any pets that I own that goes back a few years. Maybe this is my "thing" but I feel better this way in case I have a stressful pet emergency and I have all my pets vital records with me if/when I have to go to the vet.

Thank you to the OP. Very good stuff.
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:51 PM
Location: Military City, USA.
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Yes, thanks to the OP and to the others who are adding their knowledge and experience. I made the move from Texas back to Michigan in June, and am now returning to Texas by the end of November. I just cannot do this terrible cold, gray wet, gloomy, depressing fall, and I had been dreading the snow and ice, well, just a taste of this fall has made me not want to stay. So.......back I go.

I only found this forum about a week ago, I didn't have it for when I moved back in June. Any and all advice is appreciated. I went to Texas as a couple 9 years ago, and returned to Michigan as a single. Now I am again returning to Texas as a single. I am trying to remain upbeat and think of all of this turmoil as "my great adventure(s)".
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