Cut Your Moving Bill

Moving comes with some unavoidable expenses, but you can cut some moving expenses by following these tips.

The most obvious way to save money is to move yourself rather than hiring a moving company to pack your belongings and truck them to your new place. If you have a choice about when to move, and you plan to use movers, avoid the high season premium and move before June or after September.

If you can reduce what the movers move, you can save money, so get a floor plan of your new home and take a look in your closet: do you really wear all those clothes? Use moving as an opportunity to pare down. You can have a big garage sale or donate some belongings to the Ukiah Senior Center, Hospice, Good Will, or other worthy organizations.

If you have a lot of books, consider mailing them at the media rate. It may be cheaper than having movers deal with them. If you haven’t digitized your music, consider doing so and selling or donating your old CDs (if it’s been a while since you moved get rid of the 8 tracks as well).

If you have weight-lifting equipment or heavy tools, it could actually be cheaper overall to sell the equipment and/or tools before you move and buy new ones when you arrive at your new home. The same goes for a heavy pool table, kitchen appliances, and other heavy items.

If you have a fireplace, do yourself and the people who bought your house a favor: leave them the fireplace screen and fixtures. There’s a decent chance that the screen won’t fit your new fireplace as well as it fits the old, and the size and shape of screens typically makes them awkward to move.

The only upside to moving expenses is that they are frequently tax deductible. Keep records during your move, including transportation, lodging and meals. You should also keep records of home improvements and expenses associated with preparing your house for sale. Check with your accountant to find out exactly what is tax deductible.

Before you start packing, create a detailed inventory of your possessions for insurance purposes (it’s best to use photos or video). In fact, you should have a recent inventory of your possessions whether you’re moving or not.

The other thing you should do before you move is to wait until your escrow closes. I know this sounds obvious, but as someone who’s been in this business for some time, I can tell you transactions that look rock solid can sometimes fall apart.

You may also want to check your homeowners insurance to see if it can be applied to your future residence or partially refunded to you. And, if you’re owed any deposits, it’s wise to collect them while you’re still in town. Writing letters is far less motivational than dealing with someone in person.

Finally, don’t forget to contact the utility companies on both ends, to end service for the house you’re leaving and to make sure service is ready to start the day you arrive at your new home. It’s tough to move in when you can’t turn the lights on.

If you’re not moving away from Ukiah, be sure to save the following dates for this year’s Sundays in the Park concerts.

  • Sunday, June 15 – New Orleans R & B Brass Band music by The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
  • Sunday, June 29 – Brooklyn alternative country music by The Defibulators
  • Sunday, July 13 – Futuristic Gypsy Rock by Diego’s Umbrella
  • Sunday, July 27 – Roots Jazz Collective Dustbowl Revival
  • Sunday, Aug. 10 – Twice as Good and the John Mattern Band
  • Sunday, Aug. 17 – The Ford Brothers Band (blues)

If there’s something you would like me to write about or if you have questions about real estate or property management, feel free to contact me at or visit our website at If I use your suggestion in a column, I’ll send you’re a $5.00 gift card to Schat’s Bakery. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 35 years.

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