Tips for Moving Long-Distance Without a Moving Company

February 24th, 2020 | Comments Closed | Blog

Do you have a long-distance move coming up? Are you hoping to save money by moving without hiring a professional company? While it can seem overwhelming to plan and organize a long-distance move, you can also save thousands of dollars. Here are some tips for having a successful DIY long-distance move.


When you’re moving long distances, it’s essential to start planning as soon as you can. If you give yourself plenty of time to plan, you will be able to make better decisions about truck or trailer rentals, insurance, and hotels. You will have more time to pack, which means you will be able to pack more carefully and efficiently, and you will have more time to figure out housing options in your new town.

1. Compare Shipping Options

Long before you are ready to start packing, you should be comparing shipping options. You will need to decide whether to hire a shipping company or drive a rental truck. There are pros and cons to each option. Rental trucks are much cheaper but you have to know how to drive a large vehicle. If you choose to rent a truck, you will also need to research options for shipping your vehicles. Car shipping in Chicago, Dallas, or other large towns can be the easiest way to get your vehicle moved, and can save you airfare and fuel compared with flying back to drive the vehicle yourself.

2. Downsize Ruthlessly

Start downsizing as soon as you can. It can be hard to part with things, but it can cost more money to transport things than it does to replace them. Most things you have accumulated over the years are not even things you use or care about anymore. By systematically downsizing and decluttering, you can remove a large number of things from your life that you no longer want. At the same time, you will avoid needing to move these items. Everything that you pack up and move across the country costs money in the form of packing supplies, fuel, and moving expenses, as well as potentially wasting time and space in your new house. Furniture is another thing that many people choose not to move. When you move to a new house in a new town, you will likely want new furniture as well. Think carefully about the items you choose to take with you and whether you will continue to want them in the future.

3. Make an Inventory

While you are decluttering and packing, start making an inventory of the things you’re going to transport. If anything happens during the transit, you will need a list of the items that you were moving for insurance purposes. Of course, you don’t need to categorize everything, but anything that is of value or that you would want to get a replacement for should be on the list.

4. What You Need Most

When you are packing up for a long-distance move, it’s important to think carefully about what things you need for daily life. Of course, you’ll need to keep out personal items and clothing but also think about the basic things you will need to get started in your new home. It’s not uncommon for shipping companies to be delayed and if this happens you will want to have some basic items with you. Even if you are driving your moving truck, you won’t have everything accessible immediately upon arrival. You will have to unload the truck and then dig through many boxes before you have everything you need.

Basic things that you might need for the first few days in your new home include cleaning and cooking supplies. You will probably find it cheaper and easier to give away your cleaning supplies and purchase new ones upon arrival, and this will alleviate any need for you to pack these items separately. You will also want basic cooking and eating supplies. Again, it’s easiest to purchase a small number of disposable items for your first few days rather than trying to make sure they are accessible upon arrival.

5. Pack Carefully

When you are packing for a long-distance move, make sure that all of your items are packed carefully. Whether you are hiring a shipping company or driving your truck, there’s a risk of items breaking during transit. All fragile items should be wrapped in a packing material of some kind. I prefer to use things I’m already taking as packing materials when possible. Linens such as towels, sheets, and blankets make suitable packing materials for dishes and kitchen items. Precious family heirlooms should not be shipped at all but instead should be kept with you.

6. Use Detailed Labels

It’s especially important to use detailed labels on your boxes when packing for a long-distance move. It can be hard to remember what you put in each box, especially boxes that you can’t unpack right away. Detailed labels can help you find specific items that you might be wanting, such as a can opener, eating utensils, and bathroom supplies. If you don’t label exactly which box the can opener is in, but simply write “kitchen” on everything, you might open a lot of boxes before you find the right one.

7. Plan for Emergencies

Make sure you have a plan for emergencies. Make a plan for how you will get along if your truck or shipping company is delayed. Have digital copies and backups for all of your important papers and keep these with you rather than packing them in a moving vehicle. Make sure you have the papers you need to apply for a driver’s license in your new home and to get your children registered for school.

8. Plan Meals and Shopping for Days

Plan ahead for the meals you will serve your family on moving days. Fast food might be the easiest option, but frozen pizza or other pre-made foods are also good choices. Try to stick to foods that don’t require a lot of dishes or personal eating utensils. This applies to both the day you move out of your old house and also the day you arrive at your new home. Also, consider any shopping that you might need to do immediately upon arrival. Items like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and eating utensils might need to be purchased as soon as you arrive. While you could pack these items and bring them with you, it will probably cost more in the long run, and you won’t be able to find them immediately upon arrival anyway.

Conclusion: No matter how far you are moving, you will have a successful trip if you plan, stay organized, and pay attention to details. Make sure you get help from friends and family and relax when you get a chance. Moving is stressful and exhausting, but by following these tips you will have a happier and easier move.