Moving For Cheap Or Free

Alivia Whitaker | February 19, 2020 @ 12:00 AM

Between buying boxes, putting down deposits, paying for utilities, movers and more - moving can be expensive!  We have provided you a guide below for ideas on how to move for cheap or free!


One of the best and 100% free ways to move on the cheaop is to lessen the amount of stuff you need to move.  That means you need to clean out and DOWNSIZE!  That means going through what you own and getting rid of it in one of the ways listed below. 


Downsizing is a great excuse to de-clutter.  It's good for your wallet and good for your sanity. did a great overview on the Keylock Storage blog about how to de-clutter.  They said,

  1. "When is the last time you used it?

This question is an important one to ask if you want to clear out the clutter.  But it needs to be thoughtfully applied.  Just because you haven’t used something for awhile doesn’t mean you won’t need it in a year from now.  For example, you probably only use holiday decorations once a year.  But not using your seasonal decor in a year obviously doesn’t mean you should throw it out!

However, you need to carefully analyze each item and think seriously about whether you’ve used an item consistently, with intention or at all.  If you can’t remember the last time you used something in your home - it’s most likely time to store, donate or toss the item!

  1. What is your attachment to this item?

Not all belongings that have little daily use are automatic candidates for the garbage can.  There are actually a lot of items and objects we keep in our home for reasons other than frequent use.

For instance, family photographs, letters and heirlooms might not be taken out very often.  But of course you wouldn’t get rid of those things!

When you want to clear clutter in your home think about the items you’re going over and decide why they are important to you.  Think of your belongings and space as an investment.  Is the item worth the space it’s taken up or the “home real estate” it’s consuming that could be put towards a different use.  If your guest room closet is worth it for those family heirlooms - then keep, don’t toss.

  1. How difficult or expensive would it be to replace?

Another basic and great rule of thumb to use when you want to clear out clutter is how difficult would this be to replace?  If you’ve got expensive tools you’ve invested in - they may not be the best thing to donate.  However, other items may be candidates for the donate or toss bin if they are pretty cheap.  Sure, you may use some inexpensive organizing bins one day.  But if you don’t have immediate plans for something like that - think, “how expensive would it be to replace these?” If the number isn’t very high then it’s probably not worth the space it’s taking up!

View your belongings, space and functionality of your home as a cost, investment and return scenario.  This will help give you objectivity as you review your belongings and clear out clutter."

Sell Things

Another great way to not only save money when moving but MAKE money is to sell what you own!  With the internet, it's never been easier to sell your items secondhand.  You can have a garage sale that you advertise on your social media and sites like or you can sell items individually on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. did a piece on it's blog about selling items online and other place.  They said,

"Garage Sale Alternatives: Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is a relatively new aspect of Facebook that competes with more veteran sites like Craigslist.  It's a selling aspect of the site where Facebook users can buy and sell used and new items from other Facebook members (Whether they are friends or not).  The leg it has up on Craigslist is it is much more easily searchable and the photos are better. did a great overview on how to successfully sell on Facebook Marketplace:

"Take awesome photos

Facebook Marketplace is a photo-stream of items for sale, so your first picture needs to be eye-catching -- or, at the very least, well-lit and in focus. Your pictures don't need to be professional -- it's a mobile app, after all -- but it's worth it to spend some time getting the right ones. Here are some tips:

  • Keep background clutter to a minimum.
  • If you don't have good lighting in your house (you probably don't), go outside and use natural lighting.
  • Clean up your item before shooting; wipe fingerprints off screens or electronics.
  • Try to get the entire item in the frame for the primary shot (additional shots can be detail shots).
  • Take at least three (or more) photos from different angles (Facebook Marketplace lets you add up to 10 photos per listing).
  • Use your own photos, not stock photos -- people want to see what the item looks like, and your listing will appear more authentic.
Price high, and prepare for negotiation

You want to get the most for your stuff, but you don't want to alienate people with outrageous prices. To get a ballpark figure for how you should be pricing your items, check completed listings on Ebay -- you may not get quite as much for your stuff (Ebay offers more protection for the buyer, thus buyers are often willing to pay more upfront), but this will give you an idea of where you should start your listing.

Price your item at the high end, but be open to negotiation. Nobody will pay you more than the listed price, but plenty of people will try to negotiate via Facebook Marketplace's Make Offerbutton (or via private message).

List each item separately

Maybe you're moving and you have a slew of items to post. You might be tempted to combine them all in one mega-moving-sale listing, but if you can spare the extra minutes, you should list each item you're selling separately. Because Facebook Marketplace is primarily picture-based, you only get one picture to capture the heart of your potential buyers -- they're not going to swipe through 10 photos just to see if you have the pieces they want. All of your listings are associated with your Facebook account, so just mention that you're having a moving sale and potential buyers can browse through your listings.

Prep your profile

The big difference between Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace is the fact that Facebook Marketplace is linked to your Facebook profile. This makes Facebook Marketplace a little more credible, because people can see your picture and learn your name (and perhaps other information, depending on what you choose to share) instead of making a completely blind purchase.

What this means is that you want your public profile to make you look like a trustworthy person -- not a scammer. Make sure that your profile picture is a photo of you (preferably a well-lit photo of your smiling face), and that your cover photo is not offensive. Now is also a good time to do a Facebook privacy check-- make sure your public profile isn't sharing informationyou wouldn't want random strangers to stumble across.

Make the sale

Once you've listed your item and found a potential buyer, it's time to make the sale. Facebook lets you connect with the buyer via Facebook Messenger, and you should use this to hash out all the details -- the condition of the product, the price, the logistics of how the item is going to transfer from seller to buyer, etc. Because Facebook Marketplace does not offer protection for the seller or the buyer, it's important for both of you to be on the same page before any exchanges go down."

"Garage Sale Alternatives: Nextdoor

Nextdoor is a site an app that is a social media network for neighborhoods.  It connects neighbors for mostly neighborhood related communication such as local questions, crime information, etc.  Nextdoor describes itself this way on it's About Us Page:

"Nextdoor is the private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. It's the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it's free.

Thousands of neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.

People are using Nextdoor to:

  • Quickly get the word out about a break-in
  • Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group
  • Track down a trustworthy babysitter
  • Find out who does the best paint job in town
  • Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog
  • Find a new home for an outgrown bike
  • Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name

Nextdoor’s mission is to provide a trusted platform where neighbors work together to build stronger, safer, happier communities, all over the world."

Nextdoor recently added a selling feature where geographically located neighbors and connections can sell items.  Similar to a Craigslist of Facebook Marketplace model.  It's pretty basic - you make posts with photos and information about what you want to sell and wait to hear back from your network."

Donate or Gift

If you don't want / need or are able to sell your items it's not reason to hang onto objects that you no longer want or use. Remember - everything you keep will have to be packed up and moved and that costs time and money! 

Another great bonus of donating or gifting is that you get to do a good deed!  And depending on where you donate, some second hand stores run by charities offer tax deductible receipts with your donation.  A clear win-win - you clear things out and give them to those who could use them.

Some places that accept donations are organizations such as The Salvation Army, Deseret Industries, Boys and Girls Clubs and more.  If you don't have a donation center near you and/or a friend or family member who could use your donation, you can look up "Buy Nothing" groups on Facebook where people network in order to give and get free items from fellow community members.

Get Free Boxes

Don't make the mistake of overpaying for moving boxes when you could probably get them for cheap or free!  Make sure you start looking for boxes well ahead of the time you move so you aren't in a time crunch.  It's extrememly common for people to sell for cents on the dollar or give away boxes they just used in a move or boxes they collect from shipments such as Amazon.

Check Facebook, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and put out a post on all your social media including instagram to let people know you are looking for boxes!  If you give yourself enough time and keep to it - the likelihood is that you will not have to buy boxes or it will cut down on the amount of boxes you need to buy.

Use Free Help

A great way to save money in a move is by using volunteers!  The cost of a moving company can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. detailed on their blogs ways to get cheap or free moving labor.  They said

"Do You Really Need Professional Help?

Right off the top, you should consider if you even NEED professional movers in the first place.  There are actually a lot of ways this can be avoided if possible.

What Is Your Time Frame?

One thing to consider is what your time frame is.  If you have a little bit of warning, you can slowly move items eitheir to the new home or into temporary storage.  If your move is at all expected and within driving distance, moving items slowly one car load at a time is a totally economical way to move things without involving professional help.

You Can Always Use Self Storage

Temporary or long term self storage is every movers best friend.  Rarely do moving outs and moving ins perfectly align and reputable self storage is there to help.  Check out to get rates and answer any questions you may have about self storage.

Can You Get Free Or Cheap Moving Help

The next thing to consider is whether you can get free or cheap moving help.  If you belong to a friendly neighborhood, school, church or civic group - you may be able to find volunteers who are happy to help you move for the price of a pizza.  If that isn't an option - another great idea is to ask around in your neighborhood, church, synagoguge, or school and find young teenagers who would be willing to help you move for little to no money.  This is a great option as they will often be willing to help you do things like pack that a professional moving company wouldn't be willing to do."

Check For Discounts

Many clubs and organizations offer discounts on a variety of products and moving products are no exception. You can get discounts on everything from car rentals and packing products to moving vans. published a detailed list of groups that offer discounts on moving products.  They said,

"Membership discounts

Don’t let a membership card languish unused in your pocket. Take full advantage of a club or organization’s perks to make your move for less money.

AAA discounts

You may think of using AAA when your car breaks down on the highway, but did you know its membership also nets you moving discounts? Here are a few to look for:

  • Penske: AAA members get anywhere from 12% to 52% off truck rentals and moving services.
  • Atlas Van Lines: Move with Atlas and receive free full-value protection (FVP)—a savings of $600.

Get all the details on member deals in our AAA moving discount guide.

AARP discounts

Budget Truck Rental: In the 50+ age bracket? You’ll get a discount on Budget moving truck rentals with an AARP membership. Save up to 20% on Sunday–Thursday truck rentals and 10% on weekend reservations with your membership number.

Unfortunately, no other large moving truck companies—Penske and U-Haul—or self-storage companies offer discounts to AARP members.

Union discounts

Budget Truck Rental: Are you a dues-paying labor union member? Then you can save 20% on local and one-way Budget truck and van rentals through Union Plus. The discount is also valid for retired union members who are relocating.

Costco discounts

Budget Truck Rental: A Costco membership is good for more than bulk toilet paper and cheap gas. Costco members save 25% on Budget truck rentals. Start your reservation through Budget’s Costco partnership page, and your member discount code will be automatically applied to your rental."

Check If Your Company Pays For Moves

A great way to move for cheap or free is to have someone else pay for it!  Organizations like the military and many private companies offer a benefit of covered moving expenses if you are moving for your job.  Even if it is not stated outright in your employee agreement, often reaching out to management for help with the move will illicit some type of moving benefit whether you get a dollar amount or they agree to pay for the moving truck.

In addition, you can visit Keylock Storage Blog for more interesting articles about organization and lifestyle: