Guidelines for inter-state move

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Will be moving half way across the country (MA to TX) in a few months and am planning on using a full service mover for it. Thus far I've gotten quotes to move everything just for an estimate, the best of which came out around $7k using a national mover. What I'm wondering is, what makes sense to move?

* One mover told me the 32" flat screen TVs will cost about $100 to ship so I'm better off selling it here and getting new ones there (they're old anyway).
* My couch is nice but about 10 years old and heavy so probably also better to sell and buy a new one. Still, it would be nice to quantify it.
* What of a queen size mattress and box spring? Sell or ship?
* I figure cheap bookcases should be sold or given away.
* I've got a nice but cheap ($100) glass corner desk - sell or ship?
* I figure I should take baby things like the crib, bassinet, glider, changing table, playpen, etc to save hassle in rebuilding them if nothing else
* What about night stands and similar tables? All cost $100 or under.
* Cars are each about 10 years old and we need a minivan now anyway so I figure sell both.

Keep in mind that for some items to include the cost of packing, disassembling, reassembling, and insurance. Thanks for the help!

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The movers I've checked out so far include Wheaton Van lines, North American Van lines, and a smaller mover my company u... (more)

balor124 (May. 14, 2012 @ 12:04p) |

Note: You dont need to itemize to deduct moving expenses. They are an "adjustment to income" and go in line 26 of f1040 ... (more)

fw101 (May. 14, 2012 @ 12:09p) |

You may want to leave time to do a walk-through with the property manager to make sure they don't try to screw you with ... (more)

jetsfan92588 (May. 14, 2012 @ 12:54p) |


The equation is simple: For each item, compare "Incremental cost to ship" vs "Cost of buying new minus what you can sell the old one for?"
Get an idea of the Incremental cost to ship from the mover. You will have a good idea about the price of new and old item.

You also need to account for the fact that a new item is more valuable than an old item. This is somewhat subjective but YOU will be the best judge of this.

Keep in mind things that you may need right away at your new place so that you have less time to shop for them at a good price. IOW, you may have to pay closer to "full price" on these (e.g. mattress, crib etc.).

Use the opportunity to get rid of stuff altogether.

It's not really that simple unfortunately. There's a trust issue with the mover, as they have incentive to move more things so that they can make more money. When I asked, they've all given me answers like "it's complicated", citing issues like varying prices per weight depending on which range you're in, cost of gas at the time, etc. I haven't been able to get a decent heuristic from any of them thus far. The best estimate seemed to come to around $1/lb, which maybe I could use as a guide but that's only useful if I know how much something weighs and I suspect my couch would break my scale I'm leaning towards buying new things if the cost of shipping is notable relative to the cost of purchasing again new. Yes I'm aware we probably won't have much time to shop discriminantly for replacements but have already taken steps there (kids will stay with parents for a week while I shop for things).

There was a thread on here a while back about dealing with corrupt movers. There was a lot of advice in that thread about how to deal with movers and how to set up the agreements. I know it's not really what you're asking for in this thread, but I would recommend you take a look at that thread as well.

ETA: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1004259/

balor124 said:   It's not really that simple unfortunately. There's a trust issue with the mover, as they have incentive to move more things so that they can make more money. When I asked, they've all given me answers like "it's complicated", citing issues like varying prices per weight depending on which range you're in, cost of gas at the time, etc. I haven't been able to get a decent heuristic from any of them thus far. The best estimate seemed to come to around $1/lb, which maybe I could use as a guide but that's only useful if I know how much something weighs and I suspect my couch would break my scale
When you said "One mover told me", I thought you could get this information about other items from the mover. Have you tried online moving quotes from some major moving companies. That might get you an idea of the incremental cost per lb, specific to your origin, destination, dates etc. It would be crude but will get you an idea. Here is one random link from a simple G00gle search but I am sure it should not be difficult to find a site with more detailed quote.

I used "Uhaul's UBox" where they just dropped off a giant empty box and I filled it up with my stuff and it showed up at my place a few weeks later. Each box was $1200 to ship from IN to AZ. I packed, so I knew how secure it was. Their site is down, but it's http://www.uhaul.com/UBox/

balor124 said:   * One mover told me the 32" flat screen TVs will cost about $100 to ship so I'm better off selling it here and getting new ones there (they're old anyway).

That price tells me they routinely break about 30-40% of them evidently.

Are you paying for this OOP or is your employer reimbursing you? If the latter, is it "use it or lose it" type of deal? Keep in mind moving costs paid OOP are usually tax deductible.

For my most recent move, I sold all my furniture (got around $1k for all of it). I shipped 5-6 boxes of clothes and such (the boxes did not fare well, I'd suggest wrapping them with packing tape to prevent them from ripping at the corners) via FedEx for ~$35/box then packed everything else in my car and drove. I bought two bedroom sets, dining room set and family room set for around $6k (not including the new TV). Overall, I'm certainly happy with my decision.

Assuming you are paying out of pocket for this move and not an employer, I would dump most of the larger items since a legit mover charges by weight usually. The non-legit movers just hijack your stuff regardless of the weight.

I would also disassemble anything you do ship since it usually holds up better that way. Might be a hassle, but better than busted furniture. Forget any assembled fiberboard stuff from IKEA. That stuff has to be taken apart and some movers refuse to ship and/or insure any assembled fiberboard products because it busts so easily. Some even call out IKEA specifically.

Whatever you do though, find a legit mover. See the post above.

Mattresses are iffy. Just like the tv, factor in their age. If they are move than 5 years old, probably not worth bringing.

Check freecycle.org, Craigslist, and IKEA in TX.

Two critical words if you decide to go with a mover: BINDING ESTIMATE.

Based on prior threads here are the guidelines:

1- Assume your stuff will be held for ransom payment at place of delivery, or flat out stolen
2- If stuff is delivered, assume people delivering it are fellons and will be back a few weeks later to steal anything of value
3- Sell your furniture, ship everything else via Amtrak (it's about 60 cents a pound across the country):

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am%2...

They take pallets up to 500 lbs or boxes up to 50 lbs on Amtrak, but in my experience, they really just have you create a pallet of boxes at the originating station. As long as you can lift it onto the pallet, you're good to go.

Movers Accused Of Holding Items Hostage In Exchange For Sex, Cash

Open your wallet, or your legs it seems.

If I had to move across country, I'd look into a PODS type service (they drop off a box, you fill it, they move it) or a large truck rental. If it doesn't fit in the truck, it gets sold.

I would go Pods for most of your stuff, then rent a small truck to take your high priced items, and electronics. Will save you a ton of money.

uutxs said:   Are you paying for this OOP or is your employer reimbursing you? If the latter, is it "use it or lose it" type of deal? Keep in mind moving costs paid OOP are usually tax deductible.

Above the line, even. Your new place of employment must be more than 50 miles from your old house, and you must work full time in your new job location for at least 39 weeks of the 12 month period immediately following the move.

Please DON'T use United Master Lines! Definitely get a BINDING ESTIMATE as stated before and use a credit card if possible. Don't pay cash and be an idiot like me. Go to https://www.protectyourmove.gov/ and check out the http://ai.volpe.dot.gov/hhg/search.asp to search your future mover.

As long as you have the space PODS is great. We used PODS to move from Utah to Ohio 2years ago (company paid), ended up being about $2300 for a 2bedroom (plus a bunch of car stuff including a transmission and an engine crane). A U-Haul would have been about $1500 for the rental then another couple hundred for gas and lodging (plus I didn't want to have to drive across Nebraska at 55mph).

Worked out really well since the apartment we had lined up fell through and my gf ended up living out of hotels for 3weeks (company paid) while I had to fly back to Utah to finish out my job, they just stored the PODS for a month until we were ready to claim it. We hired two guys for 2hours to help us unload it, they got it all done in about 1hr whereas it took my gf and I about 4days to load it.

sell your stuff and start fresh if you are inclined to do so!

Sell everything big and move the rest in a Uhaul. You'll save thousands, not to mention the headache of dealing with a company that won't give you straight answers.

I posted these "rules" a while ago in response to another post about movers.

I've been through a few moves. Here's what I've learned.

1. Any halfway decent moving company should do a packout survey where they send someone (someone in a suit from the moving co.'s office, not a laborer) to asses how much you have, discuss any special concerns, such as with artwork, high value electronics, etc. That's also the time to discuss how much it will cost. Never on the day of the move. You can also discuss how many laborers will be sent to your house, and what time they will arrive. Also get a phone number for someone responsible at the office in case there are problems on the day of moving.

2. Schedule your move a day or two before you need to fly out .. not hours before. Yes, you'll have to pay for a hotel or stay at a friend's for the last couple days. But a few hours of lead time is not enough.

3. The day prior to moving, pack anything you plan to carry or physically bring with you and place it out of reach of the movers. This includes your wallet, car keys, medications, important papers, jewelry. And I mean keep it REALLY out of reach: either in a locked room, or in a closet duct-taped shut. Nothing like realizing your wallet or credit cards are packed in some moving carton when you're about to drive off.

4. Ask the company to limit the number of laborers they send. Sending 12 people may be fast but you want competence.

5. On the day of the move YOU be in charge. This doesn't mean micromanaging. But determine who is in charge of the crew, who will be writing up the packing slips. Direct them as to which room to pack first, then second. Walk the house with them and point out any fragile items, items that disassemble in a special way, etc. before they actually start to work.

6. If you're the one who will be cleaning up after the move, then set aside one bathroom for the movers and let them know where it is on arrival. Lock the other bathrooms.

7. The best place to stay during the packing itself is around the person writing up the packing slips. Don't let them list things as "packed by owner" (this absolves them of any responsibility). If you packed something yourself, open up the box and explain what it is, then have the list it by name.

8. NEVER be cowed into signing a blank form or something you don't understand. I'm amazed what some crews have tried to get past me, even from legitimate companies. Just don't. If your wife is being asked to sign something, have her say that you need to sign it. Do the same yourself - have your wife check over all the paperwork before you sign off on it. Moving is a stressful day, it is easy to sign off on some seemingly inconsequental form that will matter big later on.

9. There's mixed opinion on giving tips to the laborers. I don't tip. But I do give them food. Lay out donuts and coffee in the morning. Some soft drinks or bottled water in the afternoon. I don't make a big deal this, just point to the table where it's at and tell the crew that what's there is for them. They all appreciate it, and it keeps them alert and happy through the day.

10. In my experience laziness and sloppiness is much more common at the destination address. If you contract for unpacking, then that is what you must get -- although the movers may act like they can just drop off boxes, or "forget" to set up difficult items like an infant's crib.

11. Relax. Moving is always tough, but each subsequent move you make gets easier.

kb2120 said:   balor124 said:   * One mover told me the 32" flat screen TVs will cost about $100 to ship so I'm better off selling it here and getting new ones there (they're old anyway).

That price tells me they routinely break about 30-40% of them evidently.


I have a 32" 1080P LCD that's 4 yrs old and a 36" CRT HDTV Trinitron that's likely 10yrs old - Both are daily use and in great shape.

I dont consider either truly "old" - Is your definition skewed or do you really need a reason to purchase a new one?

Unless someone else is paying all or part of the costs, DIY it. Either Uhaul/Penske or Pod/container. OR if you must hire a shipper, use a national service and get the full insurance. And follow the guidance above from Kanosh, with one addition/clarification. If there's stuff you don't want packed, clearly identify/call it out. I've known of individuals who had trash/pets/etc packed up. You don't want to find out after the fact(on delivery) that there's a month old banana/coffee grounds/cat in a box.

Logan71 said:   kb2120 said:   balor124 said:   * One mover told me the 32" flat screen TVs will cost about $100 to ship so I'm better off selling it here and getting new ones there (they're old anyway).

That price tells me they routinely break about 30-40% of them evidently.


I have a 32" 1080P LCD that's 4 yrs old and a 36" CRT HDTV Trinitron that's likely 10yrs old - Both are daily use and in great shape.

I dont consider either truly "old" - Is your definition skewed or do you really need a reason to purchase a new one?


I'd consider the CRT old both by age and technology. If you've used it a lot over the past 10 years, it may not last much longer.

Rent a larger Penske. That's what I did with my move MI to FL in 2006 came out to be 1000 for the truck (with car carrier) and about 500 for gas and lodging. We packed ourselves, (three bedroom townhome) and took almost everything. We regret we didn't get a bigger truck and take everything. NOT ONE PLATE WAS BROKEN!! The move was not stressful, no problems, nothing went wrong.

Friend had a move. Federal contracted company. They sent like 6 guys over. Then boxes were packed and sealed. The other guys were ready to load them up. The guy in charge said no, we cannot move anything until we inventorized the content. So, they opened all the boxes, made notes of the content, and sealed them.

Nothing was missing.

i did this 5 years ago, WA to FL, and had similar age stuff, most went to the salvation army, sold a few items, started fresh

Having done such a move 3 years ago and potentially getting ready to do one again in a few weeks, I'll be following this thread closely. Two suggestions I haven't seen made

-Selling all your used stuff and buying used stuff when you get there. I see a bunch of references to "buying new" (which I guess could mean "new to you"), but by buying used, you could actually make money on the deal if you're smart and patient )at least as much as is possible) about it.

-I highly recommend ABF UPack. It's a great balance between PODS (where you have to do container by container, thus costing more) and Uhaul/Penske (where you have to deal with the stress of driving the huge truck yourself). They drop off a trailer, you fill it and pay based on linear foot (NOT weight), they haul it across the country and drop it off at the new place. I had a great experience with them, and will likely use them again if necessary.

I have done this over and over in last 10 years.

Chicago -> NY
NY -> DC
DC -> Chicago
Chicago -> Atlanta.


Freecycle and Craigslist works best for giving away stuff....you'll be amazed how the big/small stuff goes away in minutes.
Ship a few boxes....Sell/Giveaway all other BIG stuff and move with what else fits in the car.

Goodluck with the move.

I may be more a cheapskate (fatwalleter) then you want to be, but I moved cross country Dallas to Charlotte for $2000. We moved a four bedroom house and two cars. How we did it? Rented the biggest truck penske has for 6 days cost about $900, plus $200 for car tow. Paid movers in Dallas to pack the truck, we boxed everything our self they just put our belongings in the truck, tied it down with ropes (they were amazing), cost $300. 2 Day drive in 26 foot Penske truck with car towed behind it (not fun, but made it without incident). Spent about $3-400 in Diesel. Then paid movers $200 to help unload tuck in NC. If your employeer is not paying for move this is my recommendation, worked for us. We looked at full service movers, but they quoted us around $10,000, and they recommended that we do it they way I described above. Hope it helps

Get a job that pays for the move.

I had a lot of things get broken when I did a paid move, but it was fine because I got reimbursed. Anything of any value (monetary or sentiment) I moved my self and removed from the domicile before the movers came to give an estimate.

Thanks everyone for the posts. My goal is to be frugal, not cheap, so that's why I'm going with full service. I have a preschooler and a 1mo old at home and my wife and I both work full time so our options are pretty limited. I'm shopping around the business and will look for binding quotes as suggested (previously, no mover would make one since the date was too far off). I was going to leave 2 days for the movers to pack and load with the cleaning on the day after - is that enough time (Thurs - Fri movers, Sat clean, Sun fly out)? I'm moving from a spacious 1200sf apartment btw. The move is partially reimbursable. My wife got a new job but they're only paying for about half of it. I may look at a new job but like my job so I'll probably work remotely. Also, we hope to buy and move straight into a home rather than renting and GSE loans apparently require 30 days of income at a job to use it for a loan. Thanks for the reminder about tax deductability. I was aware of it and it's definitely well over the threshold required! With a home, we should be itemizing as well.

The movers I've checked out so far include Wheaton Van lines, North American Van lines, and a smaller mover my company uses. Next I plan on hitting Mayflower, Allied, and Two Men and a Truck. Any other suggestions?

balor124 said:   Thanks for the reminder about tax deductability. I was aware of it and it's definitely well over the threshold required! With a home, we should be itemizing as well.
Note: You dont need to itemize to deduct moving expenses. They are an "adjustment to income" and go in line 26 of f1040 (after figuring it out in f3903).

balor124 said:   Thanks everyone for the posts. My goal is to be frugal, not cheap, so that's why I'm going with full service. I have a preschooler and a 1mo old at home and my wife and I both work full time so our options are pretty limited. I'm shopping around the business and will look for binding quotes as suggested (previously, no mover would make one since the date was too far off). I was going to leave 2 days for the movers to pack and load with the cleaning on the day after - is that enough time (Thurs - Fri movers, Sat clean, Sun fly out)? I'm moving from a spacious 1200sf apartment btw. The move is partially reimbursable. My wife got a new job but they're only paying for about half of it. I may look at a new job but like my job so I'll probably work remotely. Also, we hope to buy and move straight into a home rather than renting and GSE loans apparently require 30 days of income at a job to use it for a loan. Thanks for the reminder about tax deductability. I was aware of it and it's definitely well over the threshold required! With a home, we should be itemizing as well.

You may want to leave time to do a walk-through with the property manager to make sure they don't try to screw you with cleaning or repair costs, etc...



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