Moving Guide

Do-It-Yourself Moving

Do-It-Yourself Moving

If you have decided that you want to move yourself, there are several important steps involved in the process.  First, decide whether you want to rent a truck to drive yourself, or if you want to rent a storage container from a do-it-yourself moving company that will deliver it to you and then pick it up on your specified date and drive it to your new location. 

If you want to rent a truck yourself, you have to determine the size of the truck that you will need.  Truck rental companies will provide you with a general guide as to how many items or rooms will fit in each type of truck.  Depending on the distance you’re traveling, the size of the truck, and the date of your travel, you can pay between $150 and $250 per day.  If you have a vehicle that you need to bring with you on your move, some rental trucks have towing capabilities so that you can tow your vehicle behind you, though this will increase the cost.

There are some extra charges to be aware of when renting a moving truck.  You can add daily insurance, but you may already have insurance that covers this, so check with your insurance companies and credit card companies (which may offer travel coverage).  In addition, while mileage charges are normally included in your rental price, sometimes there is a limit to the number of included miles; be prepared to pay overage charges if you are driving for a longer distance than what is included in your price.  You can also purchase additional rental days for your trailers and trucks.  You will receive the truck with a full tank of gas, but you will also have to return it with a full tank; including gas you buy during your drive, you could end up spending several hundred dollars.  Your rental company will likely provide you a number of free furniture pads to use for packing, but you should be prepared to rent at least 30 pads for a 4 bedroom house.  You will also need a dolly to help transport your belongings to and from the truck.

Be sure to book your truck well in advance, especially if you are moving between the end of May and the end of September, which is peak season.  You will also be charged extra for truck rentals during this time of year.  You may want to set up a rental agreement as early as one to two months in advance.

Whether you are renting a truck or a storage container, you may want to consider having someone help you load your furniture onto the truck or container at your current location, and unload it at your new location.  Some do-it-yourself moving companies offer labor services for an additional fee, and will help you find labor.  You can also contact full service moving companies in your current and new locations and ask for movers to simply load and unload your truck.  The most cost-effective option is always to ask family and friends for help.

Once you are on the road, your rental truck might be a target for thieves. If you must park it overnight, try and find a secure, well-lit area or a guarded parking lot. Use a steering wheel lock and a secure padlock on the back door.

National Truck Rental Companies
Local Truck Rental Companies
Packing Tips
  • Some supplies you might need are: boxes; package tape; newspaper; bubble wrap; sandwich/plastic bags to keep hardware, screws and other loose parts; tool kit which should include a hammer, wrench, screwdrivers, etc.; plastic tarps; large roll of construction paper to protect floors; painter’s tape to tape down paper; extra cardboard; and a first aid kit.
  • Consider purchasing plastic mattress bags to protect your mattress and box spring from dirt, dust, and water.
  • Pack boxes as tightly as possible.
  • Boxes should not weigh more than 20 to 30 pounds each.
  • Heavier items go on the bottom to maintain balance.
  • Separate fragile items from unbreakable items.
  • Label every box clearly “fragile”, if necessary, on each side.
  • Take an inventory of your boxes and furniture. Take photographs of anything of value.
  • Use bubble wrap or newspaper to protect fragile items.
  • Package tape is the strongest and sturdiest tape.
  • Reinforce the bottoms of the boxes with extra tape.
  • Always keep your valuables, such as jewelry and passports, with you at all times.
  • Wrap furniture with blankets or bubble wrap. Avoid placing tape directly on furniture.
  • When packing lamps, remove the bulbs and pack the shades separately.
  • Have one box, or several boxes, of essentials that you kept using right up until your move. Examples of these items are: a toothbrush and toothpaste, medicine, a hairbrush, toilet paper, several daytime outfits and nighttime sleepwear, shoes, some dishes and silverware, and some essential cooking utensils.  Label these boxes “Last Box Packed / First Box Unpacked”.