When it comes to costs of moving, it seems simple enough on the surface.  However, as anyone who has moved recently can attest, hidden costs and surprises are everywhere.

It seems to me that those who haven’t moved in a while have forgotten all of the work in involved to not just move but to do it wisely.  The costs of moving can add up quickly, and before you know it, you’ll want to throw all of your life savings out the window to make everything go away. However, for those of us who do not have the luxury of paying for others to do things that we could manage to do ourselves, there are options to make the experience more manageable.

Something to consider with many aspects of a move is that time is money. Many different parts of a move require time and energy, and you have to ask yourself if it is more valuable for you to allow someone else to spend the time and energy. Opportunity cost.

1. Distance

It’s common sense that the costs of moving increase the farther you move the more it will cost. If you are traveling out of state or over 100 miles you will need to avoid local moving companies and services. Long distance movers will need to make sure they have the requisite licenses to operate in the required states of your move. Plus, there is the unavoidable cost of gas to simply transport the space and weight of ones possessions. The effort and time of driving a moving truck is another potential cost made greater by distance.

2. Time Spent Packing and Unpacking

One of the top mistakes we make is underestimating just how much stuff we have.   Packing can be one of the most tedious processes you’ll ever take on and one that you don’t want to take shortcuts on.   Be sure to budget appropriate time for packing.  It’s never too early to start putting away and packing things that you don’t use frequently.

3. Physical Capabilities

If you have a bad back, a little too far over the hill, or for some other reason feel you are incapable of doing the heavy lifting, you will need help moving. Some people are lucky enough to have friends, family, or neighbors that are willing to help for free, for food, or for a little compensation. However, you’ll need to plan ahead and make sure you can get all the help you’ll need, or else you can find yourself in a jam.

4. Moving Tools

Everything is easier when you have the right tools.   There are a number of tools that you’ll want that can add up a little bit. There are the basics such as boxes, packing tape and newspaper/bubblewrap.   There are also tools you can rent such as a dolly or blankets.   Something else that might come in handy are specialty boxes for transporting large televisions, mirrors, or photographs. If you want to be more careful you’ll need something like moving plastic wrap and thick moving blankets. If you have even larger specialty items like large pianos and the like then you might need professional helpers with the right tools.

5. Time Spent Researching Moving Options

Sometimes I’ll spend hours researching ways to save money that I don’t want to spend only to not really find a better option. Sometimes things justifiably cost more money than we usually spend, and there is not getting around it. Sometimes in trying to be too cheap you take risks that cost you more in time and money in the long run. It can be best to go with a reputable company that is easy to find, instead of trying to find some miracle cheap option from a cousin of a buddy of yours that saw something once a few years ago.

6. Decluttering Costs

It is easy to build up a bunch of random junk in closets and other random places in your house. If you don’t end up thoroughly going through everything you have and donating or throwing away things you don’t want then you’ll end up paying to move things you don’t want. It was amazing how much stuff we got rid of when we move and how much stuff we still have for those few times a year when that random object will come in handy.   The costs that are typically involved are paying for junk removal, especially where your local municipality won’t pick up some items.   There is also the option of hiring a professional organizer, who can make the decluttering process less painful and time consuming.

7. Tipping the Movers

One cost to consider if you pay for someone to help you pack and unpack the moving truck is the cost of tipping. Here is a link to a small guide to tipping movers. I never know how to tip at anywhere other than a restaurant, so I end up tipping more than I really want to so I don’t feel guilty.