Home & Garden

A few tips make your move easier

A new year presents a fresh start, and for many people that means moving to a new apartment or home.

However, in addition to signing a new lease or mortgage, there are many hidden costs to moving that people often overlook.

Don't buy boxes: It's tempting to go to the nearest Staples or Office Depot and pick up a prepackaged set of boxes, but those can be pricy -- for instance, you will spend $47.99 for just 25 medium-sized boxes at Staples -- and that amount likely won't go a long way.

Why spend all that cash, when you are likely to break the boxes down and recycle them? Ask the managers at your local grocery store or department store if they have any used boxes they can donate.

Get quotes from movers: If you are planning a long distance move -- and in some cases an in-city move -- it helps to get a price quote from a few moving companies. If you are going a long distance, insist on an onsite visit to determine the true amount of space you will need.

Some movers, such as Flat Rate Movers, will give you a fixed price, guaranteed not to go over. In the world of moving scams -- when movers hold your valuables "hostage" if you don't pay an extra, hidden fee -- this guarantee is invaluable.

Enlist your friends: Don't pay for full service moving and packing, which can add several hundred dollars to your bill. Have a moving party, order some pizza and play some music while a few of your most reliable friends come by and wrap every little dish you own. Thank them by helping them out the next time they move.

Get supplies cheap: The 99 cents store is your friend. You will be able to find packing supplies -- including packing tape and rope -- for much cheaper than you would at big box stores.

Use what you have: Don't buy Styrofoam peanuts to fill up your boxes of fragile items. Instead, wrap your towels, sheets, pillowcases and other clothing (such as socks) to shield the items from breakage.

If you have a ton of old bills, put them in the shredder and use the shredded paper as box stuffing. As they say, you will kill two birds with one stone.