Moving is expensive. In fact, it’s the reason that some people choose to stay in one place. To many tenants, just the thought of relocating is stressful. Not only do they have to spend money on moving, but they must also pay deposits on the new residences. And not only is the process taxing on the pocketbook, it's even more burdensome for the mind and body.
Corporate apartment complexes love to hit new tenants with surprise fees after they've already moved out. They’ll charge for things you didn't know you could be charged for, so don’t wait until the last minute to prepare to move. The best way to move on a budget is to plan ahead, start getting organized at least two months before your move out date, and make your make as painless as possible.
Here’s a step-by-step checklist for moving out on a budget.
Many stores have boxes that they need to get rid of. Don’t pay for boxes from a storage warehouse or Office Depot. Instead, go to a local liquor store or grocery store and ask for spare boxes.
Approach them with a friendly attitude and be as courteous as possible. They’ll be more than willing to help you out. You can also ask a friend or family member who has recently moved out.
You don’t have to purchase supplies such as packing tape and Sharpies at a big box store. Instead, go to a dollar store in your area. Chances are, you’ll either use everything in one day, or lose it in the moving process.
Before you begin boxing your belongings up, figure out what you can live without. The less boxes you have to schlep around, the better. If you’re the charitable type, donate everything to a homeless shelter or Goodwill.
A good way to get a few extra bucks is to list your belongings on Craigslist. Advertise it as a garage sale and give the people your address. You won’t get top-dollar for your belongings, but the cash you get can help you in the next phase of moving. Donate the unsold merchandise to charity.
Most apartment complexes can charge anywhere from $100-200 to clean an apartment after a tenant moves out. This charge can absolutely be avoided, but you must be thorough. Many tenants are too lazy to clean the cracks and crevices of their rental.
Empty out all of the drawers and cabinets and clean the insides; make sure that you leave nothing behind that they can charge you for. Clean all surfaces and sweep. If you have a patio, clear it out and sweep outside as well. If you have carpets, rid them of any surface spills and stains. The easiest way to make your apartment look cleaner is to get a carpet cleaner rental. Do not let the complex replace your carpets, you’ll pay for it.
A general rule of thumb: enlist the help of close friends and family-people who wouldn’t mind going the extra mile for you. Don’t get on Craigslist or Reddit and ask random people to come and help you move with the promise of a few cases of beer. Even if you are anti-social, you probably know someone with a truck who is also able-bodied.
When your friends or family arrive, promise them that you will take them out to eat afterwards. Provide them with water and food. Also, remind them that when it’s their turn to move, you’ll be more than willing to return the favor.
Gate card, mailbox key, apartment key; these are the smallest money-makers for apartment complexes. If you store your gatecard in your car, take it out and put it in an envelope along with the rest of the things you’ll need to turn in. Managers like to charge excessive fees if you forget that tiny mailbox key.
Finally, remember to change your address so that your bills will be forwarded to your new home.
About the author: Marie Ortiz is a Staff Writer for DIYMother.org.