Howard Wolowitz (center) struggles with moving out of his mother's house, on The Big Bang Theory.
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Home Hacks

How to move apartments on a budget


Securing a new apartment may have seemed like the hard part, but stress levels are bound to remain high until everything's set up in the new place.

And often, a big part of this comes down to the moving stage.

Finding cost-effective ways to move, could alleviate some of that stress and even offer a chance to declutter and sell some belongings.

Here's some top tips and life hacks to help you ease into your new place.

Help is on hand

Family and friends could be willing to support you. Whether that's through transporting heavy items by car or cataloging possessions — it'll be difficult not to find help on hand.

Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford and Retta as Donna Meagle on NBC's "Parks and Recreation."
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"For those who cannot afford to hire a van, ask friends to help out with other distractions (like children and pets), whilst you concentrate on the job of moving," Miles Shipside, a property expert at U.K. real estate website Rightmove said, adding that this can let you concentrate on moving more "quickly and efficiently."

Shipside added that if you have kids who are old enough to help, find age-appropriate tasks so they can feel a part of the move. Joshua Becker, founder of Becoming Minimalist and author of 'The Minimalist Home', told CNBC he would definitely recommend asking friends to help out.

"Make an event out of it. Provide the pizza and soda while they provide the arms and wheels. But do your packing before they get there. Your friends, almost certainly, don't want to help you pack up boxes from your bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen. You fill the boxes before they get there and allow them to help packing the vehicles and driving across town," said Becker. He added that the financial savings will likely be significant.

Friends may even do it all for free — if you promise to return the favor someday.

If you do decide to go it alone however, Rightmove suggests that you should start moving preparations "at least a week before and pack a few boxes each night."

"Ensure you label all the boxes with what room they will be going to in your new house — this will help immensely on move day," said Shipside, adding that when it comes to the first night in the new place, pack the essentials and make the bed, so this can help you "feel revived and ready to crack on again in the morning."

No car? No problem

If you have a car, decipher which routes are most efficient and whether moving everything by car — or just heavy products — is more cost-effective.

Even without a vehicle, cities can offer several alternatives, with apps providing information in selecting the right option. Citymapper is one such platform that offers transport comparisons for various international locations — like taxis, ferries and cycling.

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If you're restricted on time but have cash to spend, Rightmove suggests finding a licensed, insured moving company, as on the day it could become "the biggest stress reliever" and ensures possessions are transported safely.

Sharon Lowenheim, founder of Organizing Goddess, Inc. and National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) board member, also advocates for this, as spending a bit more will thwart "a lot of headaches."

When I personally moved from one side of London to the other, I tried to save as much as possible. One option suggested was using Uber XL, which for a one-way trip for me ranged between £45 ($57) and £60 at the time (excluding waiting-time charges); yet as I needed more than one trip to cover heavy appliances and pet equipment, I diversified my options.

For the lighter possessions, I used the London Underground, as my daily travel could be capped at £8, meaning I could take multiple trips to move goods, while familiarizing the route. For the trickier assets, such as cats and breakables, I looked to those close by.

Time to organize

Before you pack – divvy it all up and decide what's essential in your new home. As bestselling author Marie Kondo once wrote "keep only those things that speak to your heart" and then look to dispose of the rest. Here's a guideline I often use:

  1. For keeps: Frequently-used possessions that offer sentimental value.
  2. Discard: Haven't picked up a product in several months and don't see it being used anytime soon? Consider throwing it away.
  3. Use up: Untouched frozen food, almost-empty toiletries and ragged tea-towels all fit in this category. If it's a nuisance to bring, starting using it up — the earlier, the better.
  4. Charity: Many items can offer a second life someplace else. Time to look up local charity shops and foodbanks.
After falling boxes trap Murray in the garage, he demands Beverly (L) get rid of everything except for one trunk on 'The Goldbergs.'
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"Moving is the ideal time to take stock of everything you own and decide what merits inclusion in the next phase of your life. We tend to accumulate things over time, but we seldom take time to get rid of old things as new items come into our homes," Lowenheim said over email.

As you need to peruse everything when packing, make a concerted effort to analyze which items deliver joy and which don't. "By thinking first and then packing, you will save money because you will have less to move, and you'll have less to unpack at your new apartment. Settling in will be easier and less stressful," she added.

Ultimately, to ensure smooth sailing when moving it's crucial to do your research. Another NAPO board member and board-certified professional organizer Regina Lark, tells CNBC that she always advises people to make note of every key detail.

"Create a timeline for your move and write down the dates by which you should have: all your boxes, line-up friends to help pack/move, turning on/off internet and other utilities."

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