Moving can be difficult and moving on a budget even more so. There are so many costs that need to be factored in, from the cost of your movers or rental truck to the costs associated with renting or closing on a new home. And then there are the packing supplies, which can really add up and fast. Fortunately, unlike securing your next place and the mode of transport for your belongings, you actually have some wiggle room when it comes to how much you spend on supplies.
With a bit of creativity, you can save some serious dough and still keep your things well packed and protected. Here’s how to save money on packing supplies and take more control over your moving budget.
Figure out how much supplies you’ll really need
Over purchasing supplies is one of the biggest and costliest mistakes that people make when they’re moving. While in most cases you can go back and return unused supplies to the store once you realize you’re not going to need them, it’s one more step in an already overwhelming process and an easy one to forget at that. Make sure that you’re picking up exactly what you need the first time around so that you’re not burdened with the task of either having to lug all your unused supplies back to the store or holding on to them and eating the cost.
Rent your boxes instead of buying them
Instead of buying dozens of cardboard boxes that are just going to go in the recycle bin after you’re done with them, save money on packing supplies and rent reusable plastic containers. Put in your order for how many boxes you’ll need and a box rental company will deliver them to your door. Fill them up, move them, and then schedule a pick-up at your new home. It’s easy, good for the environment, and good for your wallet.
Source free boxes
If you’re going to be using cardboard boxes, ask around and find out if you can get some for free. One of the good things about cardboard is that it’s durable and can easily be reused, provided the boxes haven’t gotten wet or come into contact with some other damaging substance. Call up local businesses and see if they have boxes you can pick up many of them just get rid of their boxes after unpacking inventory.
Get creative with what you already have
Chances are that you already have plenty of items in your home that can serve double duty and save money on packing supplies. Here are some common things you can utilize:
Suitcases and duffle bags. Pack up clothes, bedding, and heck, even dishes, in your suitcases for easy transport. Suitcases in particular are great for moving because their wheels allow you to move heavy items with ease.
Dresser drawers. There’s no rule that says you have to move your dressers empty. Use your drawers as packing containers, either putting them back in the dresser and securing the whole thing in plastic wrap or securing each drawer individually in plastic wrap. If you do put them back in the dresser, note that it will be super heavy. Wrap up drawers individually unless you have professional movers coming to help or you’re super adept at heavy lifting.
Garbage bags. They’re not the most sightly things to move with, but garbage bags are excellent for hauling your belongings. Use heavy duty black garbage bags for things that need a little bit of additional support, such as books, and regular garbage bags for lighter things like toys, hangers, and clothing. Just be careful not to pack anything fragile in a garbage bag—you’ll want a moving container with a level base for those types of items
Linens, towels, and clothing. If it’s soft and needs to be moved anyway, may as well put it to work as packing material. Use these items to wrap and/or cushion breakable or sharp items just as you would use packing paper or bubble wrap.
Get rid of stuff
The more you own the more you have to pack. And thus, the more packing supplies you have to purchase. It’s always a good idea to declutter before moving day, and especially so when you’re trying to save money on packing supplies. Before you get to packing, go through what you own, including clothes, décor, kitchen supplies, food, and books, and sort those things that no longer bring value into your life into three piles: donate, recycle, and throw out.
Cheap moving supplies aren’t necessarily hard to come by, you just have to know where to look. Save money on packing supplies by following the tips above and you’ll have more left over for what really counts, like that extra large takeout order you need when you’re too exhausted from unpacking to even think about making food.