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Moving is expensive. There, we said it.  It’s probably not surprising. You’re packing up your belongings, paying for loading, transport to your new home and unloading. And since household goods are heavy, breakable, and valuable, it costs money to move them.

But don’t get discouraged. We’ll tell you how to pack on a budget using a few straightforward guidelines. Before we outline our suggestions, it’s important to understand the factors affecting moving costs.

Moving Estimates – Key Cost Drivers

apparel-clothes-clothing-8434Professional movers will ask several questions when calculating your moving costs. Some costs will be outside your control, while others can be reduced with cost-savings tactics.

  1. Number of Rooms: The more rooms to move, the higher your cost. You can’t reduce your room count, but you can declutter your space. We’ll share more on that later.
  2. Total Number of Boxes to Move: This ties closely to point one. 20 boxes will cost more than 10.
  3. Who Packs: Full service moves, where the moving company packs, loads, transports, and unloads is at the high-end of the cost scale. This is a cost you can lower if you take on some or all the packing responsibility.
  4. Distance: Just like rental car companies, moving company charges will cover the time the truck is in use, fuel and wear-and-tear. The longer the distance, the higher the cost.
  5. Day / Season of the Move: Summer moves are more expensive due to higher demand. And with leases closing at the beginning or end of the month, movers are busier (and charge more) at these times. You can save money by scheduling a mid-month date.
  6. Accessibility: You may face additional charges if you’re moving into a fifth-floor apartment in a building without an elevator. If the movers can’t park close to your building, you may have to pay a ‘carry-fee’ to cover the extra time to walk from the truck to your new home.
  7. Special Items: If you want to move pool table or an antique bookcase you’ll pay extra. If you’re planning on using a moving company, this is something you’ll want to check on, as some moving companies won’t move these larger/very heavy items due to the risk. 
  8. Insurance for Valuable Items: And if you want insurance coverage about the $0.60 per pound standard rate, you will pay an incremental charge.

Packing on a Budget

When evaluating how to pack on a budget, you can reduce costs by cutting down the number of boxes and handling the packing.

Decluttering to reduce box count


If you’ve finished college and are moving to your first job, decluttering may not take long. Larger households may need all-hands-on-deck to help with this process. Use our 4-choice matrix to help make decisions.

  • Toss It. Boxes of college papers, 12 years of greeting cards, and 35 phone chargers for phones you no longer own can be recycled.
  • Sell It. If you have time, make a little extra cash by selling items you no longer need using a yard sale or online tools like Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon’s Marketplace.
  • Share It. Books you no longer need will be welcomed by local libraries, hospitals, or senior living facilities. Clothes you haven’t worn in a year can find a home through Goodwill, the Salvation Army or other charities. Consider leaving your big appliances behind. The money you save can help you purchase replacements in your new city.
  • Pack It. With your belongings narrowed down, it’s time to start packing.

Packing Tips and Tricks

  • Although friends may give you old boxes for your move, we strongly suggest gettingboxes boxes from your moving company. You’ll need boxes with the quality, durability and composition to survive the move.
  • Use soft blankets, towels, t-shirts and sheets for padding and packing. Clean socksinsulate glassware, t-shirts protect dishes, and sweaters pad fragile items.
  • Use existing containers, putting clothing in luggage and electronics in plastic totes or suitcases you already own.

Use the Portland Moving Company With the Lowest Rates Around

Looking for moving boxes in Portland and surrounding areas? We can help. Contact our Smooth Move People experts for information. With the lowest moving rates in the Portland area, we’ll provide a great, budget-friendly moving experience.

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