When you’re selling your house, it’s up to you to move before the closing or right after. If you’re doing it yourself, it will obviously cost you much less money from your moving budget, however it will probably cost you much more time in packing and transporting. If you’re hiring movers, know that movers charge more for longer distance moves and to transport heavy or bulky items like big furniture pieces, pianos, etc. Seasonal pricing also affects moving costs too, depending on when more people are moving more frequently – i.e. less people move in winter compared to summer, and since demand is lower in the cooler months, it will be cheaper to move then.
If you have many things that need to be thrown away, you may need to pay for either a portable dumpster that can be picked up, or to have someone else haul those items away. And then on top of these things, you may need to pay deposits for electric, gas, water and trash collection at your new home.
Home overlap costs
There’s typically some sort of a transition period between selling your current home and your move date. If you’ve already closed on a new place before selling your current one, it’s possible that you’ll pay mortgages, utility costs, HOA fees, property taxes and homeowners insurance for two houses at once. For example, you should leave your utilities on while your house is on the market for showings and open houses. But shut them off the date you vacate the house, so you can avoid unnecessary payments. Your final utility bills for your current house should be prorated as of the date of sale.
If you haven’t closed on a new place, you’ll need to budget for temporary living arrangements. You’ll also need to pay to have your furniture and other belongings stored until you can settle permanently. And pay for moving a second time too. Just factoring in moving one time can be a wide range from $500-$12,000, depending on how you want to do it and the services you want or need to pay for, not including possible temporary storage or living arrangements or moving a second time.
You probably have a lot of stuff, and it doesn’t hurt to think about how much you need to move – do you need it all?
Where to start
If you’re not used to getting rid of stuff in your house in general, then take it slow and try starting with one room at a time.
Try starting in a room that has low emotional investment, like a laundry room or a bathroom. Make sure you have materials to assist – boxes, garbage bags, recycle bins, gloves, whatever might be necessary.
Take a general inventory of the room you start in. Label everything “Yes” or “No,” either in your head or on the actual items themselves.. Don’t label things as “maybe,” since that just means you’ll end up with a huge “maybe” pile, and you’ll end up keeping all of that.
Plan your time to throw stuff out, move stuff to box up and get rid of, etc. Schedule it on a calendar, so you’ll for sure do it – start slow with maybe 15-30 minutes on a few days a week.
Once you start getting momentum at working on different rooms, it will get much easier, and you’ll be a pro at this.
How to decide what to take and what to throw away
First things first, keep the things you want and use – If you’ve used it or appreciated it in the last year, then keep it, if it’s in good shape. If it’s chipped, worn out, beat up, then get rid of it and use something else.
- Paper – Get rid of it, most of it anyway. Save financial records for 3 years, but it’s not necessary to go beyond that, unless you want to digitize them, and then it’s easy. But old financial records, you can get rid of.Save the important documents that you may still need obviously like mortgage documents, property tax payments, closing paperwork, or the sentimental stuff like your college diploma or your marriage license.Save the old cards and letters that mean the most to you. But don’t save all of them. Get rid of the stuff you don’t look at anymore – letters from the ex, letters or graduation cards from the relatives you never see, blank birthday cards you never sent.
- Big items – Make sure you’re matching the heavy furniture you’re taking to the place you’re moving. If it doesn’t fit into the plan, then set it aside in the No pile. It is much better to make these big item decisions before you move, since then you likely won’t need to pay as much to a mover or sweat it out yourself hauling the couch you didn’t need or want to a truck and into a new house. And again, based on the size and rooms in your new place, this could be tricky. You may have the same living room/family room/kitchen set up, but you have less bedrooms, or you could have more bedrooms but perhaps your living room and family room are smaller and squeezed together.
- Small items – Smaller items require less intense decision making, and they won’t be as difficult to move to a new place, but it’s still a good time to think about what you need and why you need it. With smaller items, there’s no reason to rush to judgment as quickly either. You may find you’ll use that carving knife after all at your new place, even though you didn’t use it at your old place. You have time with the smaller stuff. Keep it in the Yes pile if you’re not ready yet.
How to host a yard sale
- Pick a date. Is it a Saturday and Sunday morning event? Many people do Friday too, oddly.
- Gather your goods and put everything in one place and pick your location: your house, your friend’s house, your garage, your actual yard. Maybe do this with friends or relatives so you have more stuff.
- Check on permits. Some cities have regulations for holding yard sales.
- Advertise by getting your yard sale up on Craigslist or any other number of yard sale advertising places. Make yard sale signs for the more traditional approach too
- Get supplies to make change, sit and have tables for smaller items.
- Sort everything to make it easier for people to find the stuff they want
- Price your items fairly so that you can actually sell the stuff. Don’t overprice things because you are too enamored of the item to let it go for cheap. If you don’t really want to sell it, then put it back in the Yes pile.
- Be prepared to do something with the remainder of all the items you didn’t sell. Will you throw those out now? Will you give them away to charity?
How to pack
Now that you’ve gotten rid of the sell, donate, or trash items in your prelude to moving, you’ll need to:
- Label first on and first off items – Whether you’re moving yourself or using a service, it’s good to know what you’ll need first at your new house and what you won’t.
- Pack the easy stuff first before moving to the harder rooms – Start with the least used areas in your home and work your way to the more commonly used areas, like bathrooms and the kitchen.
- Pack one room at a time before moving to the next room – This will keep you focused, and you can concentrate on how that next kitchen will look like the previous kitchen and ensure you have all the right items for it.
- Don’t be afraid to make a new No Pile to donate or throw away – Better yet, invite your friends and family over to help you pack, and encourage them to take away items you don’t need anymore.
- Make a packing inventory – Label everything and track it. A place for everything and everything in its place so you won’t lose it all when you get to your new house and so things won’t mysteriously disappear on you, especially if you need to make a claim with the movers.
Moving after you pack
Depending on the size of your home, the labor you have to help, the distance, your budget, and your time, there are several ways to make this move happen.
Do it yourself
Rent a moving truck or use your own truck. Renting a truck is often cheaper than other options. But make sure you know where to drive, so you don’t need to drive fast, if it’s a local move. If it’s a long distance move, like over 100 miles, make sure you have your truck on lock down when you stop for the night and that you pack everything tightly so things aren’t bouncing around when you’re getting on, getting off the highway. Also make sure you have plenty of helpers on both ends of the move so you don’t have to do all the work yourself. Finally, make sure the truck rental company has a location to return your truck when you get there.
You pack and load (and unload), they drive
Some services, like moving container companies, deliver a trailer or a van to your house, and you pack it up. Then they give you a driver to drive it to your next house. Sometimes you’ll share the space on the truck with other customers, if you don’t need all of the space. This has the convenience of obviously not needing or driving your own truck and is less expensive than a full-service mover. It’s also a good option if you are making a local move with local movers and saves money over a full-service mover.
This is a good bet if you don’t have time, if you don’t have the manpower, if you’re cross-country moving etc, although it can be expensive. But many of these professional mover companies will do everything for you with packing services and with full value protection. Just make sure your specialty items are labeled, and you have first on, first off understanding with the movers.