How to move house for free

We are in the final stages of our house move from a 3 bed detached to a 3 bed semi. Around a month ago I set us a challenge – move house as cheaply as possible. The more I researched removal companies, the more I realised that it is possible to do it yourself and even move house for free. Read on for my top 5 tips on how to do it…

In order to achieve this you have to be well-organised and be willing to give up the best part of two of your weekends. If this is not possible for you, it may well be worth calling in the removals company.

Tip 1: Embrace minimalism

Being in a first-world, middle class environment means that many of us over-consume and accumulate. One way of reducing boxes on move day is by having a possessions cull. Go through all those dusty boxes stuffed away in the attic or garage one by one and have an honest chat with yourselves. We asked ourselves the following questions – is it sentimental? If no, have we used the item in the past year? If no, we sorted the items into a a bin, a car boot and an eBay pile.

Tip 2: Sell your unwanted possessions

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We found this out by listing all items in the eBay pile on their special offer days where it’s possible to only pay £1 maximum selling fees per item. Within a week, we’d sold around 20 items for a net profit of £125. Whatever didn’t sell, we added to the car boot pile.

With around 8 boxes full of clothes and unwanted household items, we knew we had to choose a busy car boot sale on a good weather day! After a couple of weeks of waiting, the Sunday before a Bank Holiday Monday presented itself as the day to do it! We packed everything into boxes, loaded the car and woke at 5.30am for a 6am start. After 3.5 hours of intense bargaining, we ended the morning with a net profit of £120. Profit so far: £225.

Tip 3: Rent a removal van yourself

Our first instinct was to request quotes from local removal companies. Within minutes we canned this idea as the first quotes came back ranging from £850-£1100! A quick Google led me to uncover that on a standard UK driving licence, I was able to rent a van up to 3.5 tonnes, or a Ford 3.5T GVW Tail Lift Luton. This was plenty big enough for our now greatly reduced possessions. I compared a couple of van hire companies online and got it booked in for moving day for the princely sum of £41 per day. Bargain!

Tip 4: Materials.

One thing the removal companies include in their price is to supply boxes, tape and bubble wrap. As we were DIY’ing the move, we needed to find a supplier for moving materials. A few calls later and a local business was dropping off their ‘3 bed house moving pack’ for £68.50. this included 25 boxes, tape and enough bubble wrap to cover the house itself! You could go super frugal here and ask supermarkets for their spare boxes which would save you buying them. We also purchased a trolley to wheel bigger things like the washing machine out of the house which cost £9 from Ikea. Total spend so far: £118.50

Tip 5: Moving day

This is it – the big day is here. Ask around friends and family nicely and see if anyone is around on the morning of your move to assist with loading etc. I would suggest putting £50 away for team lunches and some drinks, as well as a bottle of bubbly for when the final cardboard box is brought over the threshold!

Our moving day started around 6am, when we began loading up the van with the biggest items – couches, beds, tables etc. We then filled the gaps with boxes and other bits and pieces until the whole van was full to the brim. We utilised a friend’s 4 x 4 for garden pots and some more boxes and set off on the 40 mile trip to our new house! We waited around for an hour for the keys to be released by the estate agent. As soon as we had them, we cranked open the van and got to work! A clever labelling system meant we knew exactly which room to put each box  and within 2 hours the van was empty and returned to the van hire company. We were in!

Total income:

Car boot sale: £120

eBay: £125

Total expenditure:

Moving materials £77.50

Van hire: £41

Food and drink: £50

We actually made a profit of £76.50 by moving house!

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