Local Moves - DIY Style!

Building a new house is fun and exciting! The act of moving is not quite as fun. View our tips and tricks for completing a flawless move!

Even when you're just moving across town, the anticipation of a new home and new neighbors can become pretty stressful when combined with the long list of to do items that suddenly surface. The best advice for your move? Be aware of the process ahead of time and follow these steps:

Take Inventory

Visit every room in your house, even the hall closets and the garage. Make a general list of all the things you'll be moving. This list will help you gauge the size of truck you'll need and for how long you'll need it. While you are visiting each room in your house, you'll likely be amazed at the "stuff" you've accumulated which hasn't actually been seen or used in years. Flag these items on your list with a "$" for possible sale or a "G" for give away or garbage. Moving is a great time to "clean house" and donate your unneeded items to the local thrift store or charity. The less stuff you have left over, the less you'll have to move!


Since you'll be packing your own belongings and loading the truck yourself, it's important to use good quality materials, i.e. sturdy boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape and packing peanuts. All of these items can be purchased at a local moving or shipping company. You'll want to concentrate on one room at a time and labeling each box appropriately describing the contents. Be sure to use a dark, water proof marker. Flag the boxes with breakable items inside by writing "FRAGILE" in various places. It's a good idea to keep a detailed list of what's going in each box so that unpacking is much less tedious. If you are creative, you can use the same list developed from your inventory done in the first step above. Take the time to empty out drawers; it will make moving the furniture much easier. Put all of the knobs, screws, nuts, and bolts from disassembled items in one container so you know where to find them. You can separate the items in the container by using small plastic lunch bags and labeling them. Wrap your items individually, cushioning with newspaper, crushed paper or bubble wrap. When the cartons are firmly packed, heavy on bottom and light on top, transporting them out of the house will be a breeze. It's also important not to pack flammables or heat sensitive items - keep those separate so they are transported safely.

Renting A Truck

You'll first want to determine what size truck you'll need, when you'll need it, and whether or not you'll be returning the vehicle to its original rental location.

For size, the general rule is that you'll need a 24 foot truck for moving an eight room house, a 20 foot truck for five rooms and a 15 foot truck for three rooms. A cargo van or trailer will do for a small load of household goods.

Depending on the time of year you decide to move, you may need to book your truck well in advance. The peak season runs from the end of May through the end of September. Prices are generally more expensive during this period as well. If you are finding it difficult to get a truck booked, aim for a mid-month move which is a less popular time frame. Many rental agencies will offer one way trip pricing but be sure to check before you book as many smaller agencies will charge you for moving the truck back to its place of origin. You'll also want to check into their rates for mileage. Is it in addition to the rental fee? What about fuel costs? When you pick up your truck the tank should be full and if it is, remember to return it that way. The cost you'll incur for the rental company to fill up the tank will likely be greater than the one you would see at the pump yourself.


Many auto insurers exclude automatic coverage for vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds in GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight). If your insurer is one of these companies, you will need to purchase insurance from the rental agency which can cost upwards of $30 per day. Check with your credit card company as well, some newer credit card companies will actually have built in protection if you charge the cost to rent the truck. Be informed about whether or not the protection you obtain will cover large vehicles and/or the towing of an additional vehicle. Is the coverage only good in the state in which you are renting the truck? What about coverage for your property while its being transported? Make sure you ask the right questions and get the coverage you need.

Storage Options

Lately, the use of portable on demand storage units such as PODS, or Smartboxes, have become very popular. They come equipped with a roll-up door and are about 4 inches off of the ground. The roof/ceiling is made from translucent plastic to allow light to enter from above. The units are brought empty to your home where you load it yourself, lock it with your own padlock and either store it on your property or request that it be picked up and moved to a warehouse; or even your final destination. Many of these portable storage companies will move both short and long distances.

Roughly, a 16ft container will cost about $235 for delivery, removal, and storage for up to a month.

While it may be more expensive than moving the items yourself, portable storage systems do have their advantages.

  • No driving, returning, insuring, gassing up, or responsibility of a rental truck. It's also more customized as you can order as many as you need but only pay for what you use.
  • And since the units are lower to the ground, you'll have a much easier time loading and unloading it.
  • Lastly, most of these storage companies can also redeliver to multiple destinations, for instance, they can deliver some of your items to a rental house or apartment and the rest to their secure storage facility.

Making the decision to move is the tough one but the moving process can end up being a lot tougher. As long as you plan ahead and follow these steps, the stress of getting it all done will ease substantially, giving you more time to focus on settling in your new home and getting to know your new neighbors!

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