Maybe you’ve been offered a great new job. Maybe you’ve met the love of your life. Whatever the reason, now you have to move.
It might seem like you save a lot of money by hiring your own moving van and packing your own stuff. But there are potentially expensive hazards involved in moving yourself. Before renting that truck, consider the following.
The universe is unfair, but the older you are, the less it’s a good idea to handle all the moving yourself.
People over sixty are more prone to poor balance and worse complications from broken bones. Carrying a heavy box that blocks your view of where your feet are stepping can be a terrible idea.
The danger of breaking a hip is the worst peril of do-it-yourself moving for anyone over fifty. According to studies published by the National Institutes of Health, seniors often die within a year after a hip fracture. Such a fracture may lead to pulmonary embolism or new heart problems.
There are other hidden health costs to moving, such as pulled back and leg muscles, scrapes, and bruises, just from hauling boxes and dropping a few heavy things on your feet.
Even healthy people can easily injure themselves during a move. And do not assume that such injuries won’t require expensive medical attention.
Admittedly, if you are young and healthy and all your furniture comes from Wal-Mart, Crate and Barrel, and or a nearby curb, moving your own stuff may make sense.
However, if your household inventory includes valuable antiques and a couple Picassos, you need professionals. They will know how to protect the corners of your marble-topped end tables and where to apply extra bubble wrap to ensure your Lladro doesn’t break.
In a perfect world, we would all hire the best people to both pack and unpack our belongings. If you have items in your possession that are one-of-a-kind or worthy of being in a museum, hiring the best professionals to pack and transport is a more urgent matter.
In considering the value of your collections, don’t just add up what you paid. Consider the value of gifts you have received and things you have inherited. The bottom line is not what your things cost, but what it would cost to replace them.
People who are moving an entire household must also consider the emotional value of certain objects. Perhaps that teapot your great grandmother owned is not a priceless antique. But if you would have to pay a restorer $1000 to repair it, that money would be better invested in a moving company.
Another hidden cost of moving yourself is the time you will lose from work. If you have quit a low-wage job to take a higher-paid one in another state, then DIYing your own move makes some sense.
If, on the other hand, you are a highly paid corporate executive being moved to start up an office in another state, your time is obviously valuable to you and to your company. And if that company has not offered to cover some moving expenses, you should definitely ask for them.
The moving party where you invite all your friends to load the truck, and you provide the beer and pizza is a wonderful tradition. No one wants to take that away from you. Especially if your goal is not so much to save money, but to spend time with your friends before you go.
Because your friends will be able to drink A LOT of beer and eat a LOT of pizza.
That said, you might want to buy a couple six packs and hold off on ordering pizza until you see who shows up. It’s one of life’s mysteries how friends get sick or develop family crises around the time you need to load the rented truck.
Your teenagers have fewer options about helping you with the move. But children under twelve should not be given heavy boxes to carry.
As you are calculating the costs of a do-it-yourself move, be sure to consider:
If you opt to hire a moving company, be sure to ask good questions. Breakages will occur, even with the most careful and professional movers. So be sure to ask what the policy is, if something you own gets broken.
The following questions will help you to determine whether a moving company is right for you:
Moving can be very stressful, especially if you are leaving home for the first time, or if you are breaking up a relationship, or if your children are changing schools. Whether you move yourself or hire a moving company, planning carefully and calculating costs in advance will demystify the process and ensure a smooth transition.
Having the comfort of familiar things around you will buffer the discomfort of navigating strange new people and places. So do your best to protect your household items. They will be your old trusted friends while you undertake a brand new adventure.