How to save time and money when you have to move

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Nobody likes moving their stuff from one place to another.

Americans move an average of 12 times during their lifetime.  If you don’t like moving--and most people don’t--we have several ways to make it less of a hassle and cost less money.

The first tip is to consider shipping items if it’s not too expensive and only pack essentials you can’t afford to lose with your vehicle.  Another good idea is to get free boxes from stores, from Craigslist or buy them in bulk.

“We moved about a dozen times in 20 years.  My wife and I know the ins and outs of moving, and now I work for U-Haul, so it’s kind of appropriate,” joked Curtis Reigelsperger, executive assistant with U-Haul of Indiana.

If you're moving yourself, plan ahead.  Get all the supplies you need in advance, and that includes a moving truck.  Do not wait until the last minute like so many do.  Also, make sure the truck you use is the right size for your needs.  Most companies have trucks that range from 10 to 28 feet long.

“Even our smaller cargo vans can haul a lot in them, but it’s important not to undersize.  If anything, go just a little bit bigger.  You don't want to make a second trip because you're paying for these trucks by the mile,” said Reigelsperger.

Here's something else that will cost you a little money, but it will save you a lot of time: look for reputable companies to help move your stuff when you’re not going very far.  Unlike movers who do everything, there are companies that will just help you load and unload.  U-Haul sponsors a website called Moving Help.

“U-Haul connects customers with movers like us.  Customers can rent the truck, and our people do the loading and unloading, and even the driving if you want.  Every company that's on the website is different.  For us, 2 men, 2 hours costs $180.  Every additional hour is $80,” said Carrie George with We Do It All Movers.

You can check out the reviews online, which can not be edited or removed, so you're getting real responses.  One of the big mistakes when moving is not getting enough boxes.  Many people spend extra time running back and forth to the store or the moving box company.  Instead, find a place where you can return unused boxes.  U-Haul lets you buy boxes and whatever you don’t use, you can return for a full refund.

Another way to cut down on costs is to sell items you really don't want to take with you.  You can do so on different websites, or even sell your items at a garage sale.  The money you make can offset moving costs.  You can also donate to places like Goodwill and write it off on your taxes.  Another simple saver involves when you move.  Many companies charge less during certain times.

“If you can, move Sunday through Thursday.  We give a 20% discount on mileage at U-Haul during those times.  It’s a great way to move, and the stores are less crowded,” said Reigelsperger.

Many places offer deals for moving in the winter, during the middle of the week, or during the middle of the month.  Just call and ask or check out their websites.  Finally, if you have movers, see if you can get a fixed price, versus an estimate.  Those estimates can often change after the fact.