6 Tips for Moving On a Budget


I remember when my little boys and I moved out of my former matrimonial house to live in a small, rented apartment. It was the first time I was renting on my own, both as a single mother and head of household. It was also the first time I learnt the true vulnerability of being a renter. And how some landlords can be potential bullies.

And that was when the stress of moving, the anxiety of rental hikes and never being in one place for very long, hit home. After all, no one likes to live off of others, no matter how close they are to you. So you make a small budget work.

Moving and Advice

So, while I was inspired to write this piece after my latest move, the lessons have been drawn from other moves. All those more difficult moves and living conditions. Those days when we lived with limited resources and a lot of imagination. I am here to help with the process by giving you some real, practical, tried-and-tested tips.

Let me begin by saying this.

You may be overwhelmed by the many challenges a move, on a smaller budget and few resources can bring you. You will, however, become mentally strong and more resilient, because of these very same experiences.

You will also realize that people put themselves through a lot of unnecessary stress to move. I was once that person too. You can cut out drama, from other people. You can save a corresponding amount of time and energy. You will then have a much better time moving overall.


1. Make a List and Prioritize

I am a hoarder so I am unable to identify just a few select things to ‘spark joy’. I find that comparing items and then asking myself which ones are the least painful to part with, is the only way to let go of excess stuff. Also, I ask myself how much it would cost to buy a new item, of the same kind, in the future. Obviously, deeply sentimental items always move with me. More expensive items are usually kept too.

Make a master list of the items you want to move with. Identify the items you don’t use much in this same list. Pack the seldom-used items first. For example, if you have Christmas decorations, you know you won’t need them for months on end and so pack those up early.

2. Book Movers Early

Whatever your budget and however ‘do-it-yourself’ you are going to be, movers and moving trucks seem to be booked up well in advance. This is a fact, particularly during certain times of the year. People like moving during clear weather.

So, research third-party, independent, online profiles. Study the reputations of companies you are going to use. They can make or break your move. Then go ahead and make a reservation of truck and/or people as soon as possible.

3. Get Packing Materials

If you cannot afford brand new boxes and are collecting old boxes, splurge on internal packing materials. My favorite packing material is unmarked print paper. This paper is excellent for wrapping, padding and for any other packing function. Truly versatile. I used to use old newspapers instead, but the ink used to stick to my personal items and was problematic to clean off.

In addition, make sure you have plenty of tape on standby because the last thing you want is to run out of tape to seal boxes. You don’t need this drama hours before you physically have to move out of your old home.

4. Number and Label Boxes

When you number boxes, you can consult your box list at any time to identify the contents of each box. Also, with this list, you don’t have to unpack boxes sequentially, at your destination.

Indicating which room each box belongs in, helps you and those helping you to move, to quickly place boxes in the desired rooms. If you’re hiring total strangers to move your boxes, you probably don’t want to mark the contents within, on the face of a box.

5. Open First Box

Over the years, nothing has brought me more joy than the ‘Open First’ box. It is precisely because the box was packed when my mind and body was fresh, that I have always been delighted by its contents upon opening. Whether it contains towels, toilet paper, sheets, power strips, a kettle or anything else you fancy, this box has provided great relief on the first night in a new home.

I suggest a similar box for each room to help you settle in after your tiring move. The joy is just multiplied by the number of rooms you have.

6. On Furniture and Organizers

My first rule of thumb for moving is that I never buy new furniture or furnishings, before I have moved into my new location. The prime reason is that I waste money by moving brand new furniture. This is especially so if instead, I can get free furniture shipping, to my new home. Moreover as a renter, I have hardly had time to measure the home prior to move-in. I never want to end up with an awkward piece in an odd space, instead of something that fits perfectly in my new home.

The only exception to this rule is with portable organizers. Any renter will tell you that not being able to drill holes in the walls of a rental place is a huge inconvenience. Organizers are a life-saver. I especially like over-the-door organizers, because at the very least, I can hang clean clothes on pegs when I take a shower or need to keep other fabric clean.


Moving can seem like a lonely task, with few around to help out. However, you can take this as an opportunity to purge yourself of unwanted stuff. Then, decorate your new place in a way that clearly defines you. You will then, finally find bliss, contentment and a sanctuary for yourself.

concentrated woman carrying stack of cardboard boxes for relocation
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

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