THE BLOG

The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Move Online

06/24/2013 03:51 pm ET | Updated Aug 24, 2013

It's widely known in the moving industry that summer is the busiest moving season of the year. With that, there's an extremely large number of do-it-yourself movers that turn to the Web in an effort to plan or coordinate their relocation project. However, what they often find is that there's no single online resource that cobbles together all the various components one needs to move from point A to point B. It's as equally difficult to find an honest breakdown of the options people have that can save them some serious time, effort and expense. That said, here's an "industry insider's" perspective on everything you need to know about planning your move online -- from the do-it-yourself move, to the full-service door-to-door relocation.

Option #1 -- Self Move (DIY with Help)

Packing Materials

Cardboard is the industry standard for packing up everything from your dishes to your winter coats, but recently some new, earth-friendly contenders have emerged in the packing material market. Eco-friendly or not, here are our favorite spots to find boxes, tape, sharpies, box cutters and everything else you'll need to wrap, pack and protect your favorite things:

www.usedcardboardboxes.com
Free Moving Box Sources
● Home Depot
www.rentagreenbox.com (LA & Orange county only)
www.zippgo.com (Bay area only)
bungobox.com (most of the east coast)
www.custommoversservices.com -- Packing of specialty items (such as crating expensive art, dis-assembling billiard tables and entertainment systems)

Transport Your Stuff

Everyone likes to save money on their move -- one surefire way to cut moving costs is to skip the full service moving companies and national van lines, and book alternative transportation for your boxes and furniture. Here are some little known, excellent alternatives to paying a big national moving company to do the driving:

#1 -- Rent a truck and drive it yourself.

Everyone knows about U-haul, but most people don't know that Penske, Budget, Ryder, and even Enterprise all offer moving truck rentals as well. Some even have newer truck fleets and are often cheaper depending on location. With a variety of options on cost per mile, one way trips, and car-towing, you should compare your local options to see which one best fits your move:

● Penske
● Budget (also owns Ryder Truck Rental)
● Enterprise

#2 -- Pay a portable storage company to handle the transportation.

Portable storage containers aren't just for storage. PODS, 1-800-PackRat, Door to Door, GoMinis, and Units all offer portable storage containers to moving consumers. Each container company will drop off the storage container in a driveway (or almost any load location), then pick it up and transport it to the unload destination. Or they can also store the container before being dropped off at an unload location. Get quotes and info online:

#3 -- Hire professional transportation help to do the driving.

This third transportation option is great for anyone unable to drive their own rented moving truck or unreachable by a portable storage container company. They offer some unique ways to transport items from one location to another, but don't provide any labor help to get it packed, loaded or unloaded (see "Packing and Loading Help" for labor resources). Here are the best alternative transport booking tools on the web:

Packing and Loading Help

People almost always underestimate the time it takes to carefully pack up their home, especially if they try to do it themselves. Hiring packing help from a service below can be inexpensive and a huge time-saver. When it comes time to load, hiring moving labor help can be an inexpensive, time-saving option, whether you use the help just to lift the heavy pieces or to load everything.

HireAHelper.com -- Prices and reviews on local moving services like packing, loading, unloading and unpacking help. The best local movers can be compared and booked on HireAHelper.com to pack, load, unload, and/or unpack.

● Princess Packers -- These ladies take the worry and stress of packing precious valuables off your shoulders. They have gone through extensive training and have experience with packing even the most fragile of possessions. The Princess Packers serve several major metros of California.

Places to Store Extra Stuff

Needing to store extra items always seems to come as a surprise. Finding a great deal on the right size storage unit at the last minute is easy with these online tools:

www.sparefoot.com -- A list of every available storage unit nearby, with sizes, pricing and locations.
www.storagefront.com -- Another easy way to see the available self-storage units from all the different locations in a given area, complete with pricing, sizes, and warehouse features like climate control, drive-up access, and online bill pay.

Option #2 -- Hire a Full Service Mover

For individuals fortunate enough to afford a full-service moving company, this type of mover will do it all -- they pack, load and drive household goods between locations and then unpack it all again. This is for those who don't have the time or desire to handle any portion of their move, and can be quite expensive when compared to the self-move options. Here are two online brokers that can help book a full-service move:

Transferring Cable, Forwarding Mail, etc.

The following sites help save time when filing for a change of address and setting up or transferring services like cable, internet, phone, electricity, and gas.