For many, the thought of planning a move is enough to cause a cold sweat. Anyone who's done it before will tell you: There's always more to it than you think. From apartment-hunting to storage rentals to hauling boxes cross-city and beyond, the to-dos are seemingly never-ending. And, if that wasn't enough to get your heart rate pumping, there's another big factor to consider on top of it all: budget.
We asked a handful of moving experts -- professionals and experienced city dwellers alike -- to share their best tips on how to save money (and preserve your sanity!) the next time you plan a move.
According to Niccole Schreck of Rent.com, timing makes all the difference. “Although apartment selection in the winter months tends to be a little tighter,” she says, “property managers and landlords are often willing to come down in price during the slower period in order to help fill vacancies. Conversely, while there may be a wider selection of apartments available May through September, high demand often results in higher rental rates.”
The same applies to movers’ fees. “Moving during the winter is cheaper, as is moving before the end of the month — demand skyrockets when leases end, so prices skyrocket, too,” says Mateo Prendergast of Brooklyn’s Rabbit Movers.
If you’re opting to transport your own goods, consider scheduling van or truck rentals for a weekday. “Save money on your rental equipment by avoiding the weekend rush,” says Sperry Hutchinson, a moving and product expert for U-Haul
. “Typically, Sunday through Thursday offer greater equipment availability at a better cost. Plus, banks, government services, and utilities offices are open.”
Hiring movers? Just remember: “Book with a company you trust — don’t just go with the cheapest quote," says Prendergast. "I can’t tell you how many calls we get at the end of the month when the cheaper movers have canceled on someone but we’re already booked to capacity. Struggling to find a mover at the last minute is stressful — and probably expensive, too.”
“This sounds obvious, but taking time to make sure that everything you pack is something that you actually want to take with you is my best advice," writer (and small-space expert) Erin Boyle
says. "It stands to reason that moving less stuff means spending less money, whether you're moving yourself or hiring someone to help.”
Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo
agrees that purging with purpose can help pad a limited moving budget. “We’ve held a stoop sale every time we’ve moved,” she says. “We do a major cleanse of our place and try to pare down to only the things we love and need most. When my then-boyfriend, now-husband Alex moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan to live with me, his stoop-sale earnings covered the entire cost of the movers.”
The stress-reducing benefits of a head start are myriad. After all, says AptDeco founder Reham Fagiri: “There are a ton of moving parts to consider, no pun intended.” To begin, sort through your things — decide what’s coming with you and what you’ll leave behind. "Have your movers handle only the largest, heaviest items you can’t move on your own," says Prendergast. "And, if you can do assembly work — taking apart bed frames or wardrobes, for example — you’ll avoid having to pay movers to do it.”
's Monica Ma cautions: “Make sure to label the content of your boxes, and to indicate what rooms you want them to end up in. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to open a few dozen boxes to get to your extra rolls of toilet paper.”