Probably the best way to cut your losses when making a move is to bring your stuff over in your car. You automatically eliminate the truck rental cost, which as a rule don’t come cheap – a 10-12 ft moving truck running a long-distance move can set you back for at least $1,000, while for interstate moves, the price goes over $3,000. By using your vehicle, you not only avoid rental fees, but also the insurance that goes along. For many people, the biggest advantage is that you get to move at your own pace.

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Organize and prioritize

Even before you pack your things into boxes or moving bins, you need to make an inventory of your belongings. If moving a short distance, you may need to make multiple trips with one car only. If you move a long distance, you may ask a friend or two to help out with their cars, as well. However, in both cases, you should keep the box of valuables such as jewelry and important documents with you all the time. In moving a house, boxes and bundles are lost and found, but you don’t want it to be your new house deed, insurance policy, or bank statement.

How to pack?

While this one seems like a no brainer, you’re running on limited space so you need to plan the loading process to the last detail. Although you should use a few reusable boxes to hold your electronics and fragile items, you’ll want to use soft travel and duffel bags for linens, clothes, and other small items that can be pressed and squeezed into the loading space. If you need extra space, you can rent a roof carrier. If you plan the moving budget in advance, you’ll be able to see if the carrier fits your moving plan.

Prepare your vehicle

Keep in mind that your vehicle will be pulling double duty in the moving days, so make sure it’s working properly. While even a small Honda Jazz offers a substantial loading space for its class, there’s hardly a better choice for a self-move than a thoroughbred 4×4 with a truck chassis. When compared to an estate, large 4x4s and utes have a side-swinging rear door or split rear tailgate for easier loading, as well as more vertical space.

Even so, using your vehicle in a cargo role creates additional safety concerns, so make sure you invest in the best car parts, such as brakes and a suspension system. As the additional heavy load you carry during the move could compress your suspension, ultimately affecting the car’s ride comfort, steering, and braking, improving your vehicle with quality equipment is the only thing that will ensure your safety on the road.

Maximize the available space

Many cars today have practical features, such as the flat interior when the backseats are folded down, which makes your job much easier. Make sure to protect the interior with moving blankets or other forms of padding, before you load any piece of furniture. If possible, disassemble all furniture before loading. This is actually how most of today’s tables and chairs are delivered to your doorstep. This not only saves space but eliminates the chance of load shifting on the road. Another way of maximizing your space is to be more rigorous in selecting what goes and what stays. Don’t make the same mistake every time you move and burden your vehicle with things you have no use for.

Keep it eco-friendly

Cutting the moving truck out of the equation is a big environmental bonus, but try to make the rest of your move as earth-friendly as possible. Sort your things through a 3-pile system, and decide what is to be packed, donated or recycled, and dumped. Host a garage sale a few days in advance, and donate what you can’t sell to a veteran’s association or the Salvation Army. Don’t waste money on bubble wrap or packing paper when your electronics, porcelain, and glass can be wrapped in old towels, shirts, and newspapers. After the move, if you want to get rid of old clothes and towels in a responsible way, contact a nearby animal shelter who can use them as bedding for puppies.

Although cars have less available space than moving trucks and vans, they offer a lot of advantages. You can move at your own pace, making rounds and stops at your convenience. For many people, this is a great chance to select what they really need and what they can live without, reducing the clutter in their new home from day one.

About the Author

Mike Johnston

Guest Blogger

Mike Johnston is an avid freelance writer with a focus in home improvement, interior design, family life, and sustainable living.

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