What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

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JohnFiscal
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What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by JohnFiscal »

I'd appreciate comments on moving our household roughly 3,000 miles from Tampa, FL area to Calgary/Edmonton, Alberta, Canada area. This will be a costly ($28K) move due to distance, cross-border moving, packing an entire household's worth of "stuff" accumulated over my 70 year lifetime and 25 years of marriage. I'm wondering what is not worthwhile to move. This is just my wife and I. There are no concerns with duty or other taxes entering Canada, the household move is exempted by my recent status as a "Permanent Resident" of Canada.

This is also an opportunity to reduce my own personal clutter of accumulated possessions: I'm retired and this is a chance to eliminate stuff and simplify my life.
  • 9 year old "garage frig" (I'm thinking "not")
  • 1-2 year old upright freezer ("not")
  • 8 year old Sharp 40" LED television ("not")
  • my awesome collection of lawn/garden tools: 20 yo mower, older power equipment (blower, trimmer, edger, etc), long handled tools, Japanese tree saw, clippers, trimmers, diggers, etc ("not")
  • 50 year old Craftsman tool chest and tool cabinet. Chock full of Craftsman/Snap-On/other high end mechanics tools. My collections of: 14 hammers, 10 various hand saws, etc. ("not")
  • random awesome power tools: Makita palm sander, new Makita cordless drill, etc (mostly "not")
  • 50 year old larger "All-Steel" 36" cabinet for storage of more tools ("not")
  • garden hoses ("not?")
I've already given away my bench grinder and my 80 lb vise as well as a lot of other stuff.

I am adamant on moving my wife's Mason Hamlin Model "A" grand piano (855 lbs)...that's probably several grand right there to move that but it's a keeper.

The items I'm thinking "not" are because of their weight and cost to move, some items are old and may be due for replacement, I'm old enough I don't want to do lawn work anymore. And the appliances may be too old and subject to damage during moving. There's also the issue of storage here at the end; we'll be in a temporary house (no garage!) for several months. I could do the "Public Storage" thing, done that before and it seems like you just pay to store stuff that you get rid of later.

On the other hand, some of these items could be very costly to replace, or impractical or impossible to do so.

But some items may be too fragile/delicate to withstand the handling, or they are old and while working well may be due to replacement (the TV, the appliances, etc)

I'm thinking I should put together a smaller toolbox with my most useful tools for around the house, not those for a mechanics shop. This will reduce weight and bulk immensely. And not bring any of the lawn/garden hand or power tools.

Any comments or insights from similar long-distance moves?
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JohnFiscal
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by JohnFiscal »

I mean, like, "garden hoses". These are some costly Gilmour "no kink" hoses. But am I going to need all of them? Will the cost to pack and move them actually be more than just replacing them, if ever?
Mr. Rumples
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Really good hand held garden tools are expensive and hard to find; thus if there were any that were particularly useful, I'd keep them.

I moved from VA to CO and back. My biggest disappointment was what happened to an 1820's English pine chest. It survived the Zeppelin raids on London in WW1, the Blitz, V1 and V2 attacks, the Atlantic crossing, but not the movers coming back from CO. I found the insurance system sold by United Van was a disappointment. The adjuster was ignorant when it came to antiques.

I'm not sure how one gets around this issue with the piano. I had them pack, wrap everything but my financial documents, the pets of course and I packed the cloths. Still when the furniture arrived after being in storage for two months while I looked for a new home, it was filthy and some pieces of wrapped furniture were untapped and damaged.

Thus, sell everything you can and buy new. In the US, unless something has changed, once the items cross state lines, state moving regulators wash their hands of complaints and the federal DOT hasn't the resources to handle many complaints, thus folks are on their own. Legacy companies outsource to independent owner/operators so the folks packing and moving the goods out, won't be the ones delivering.
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stoaX
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by stoaX »

I've moved across the country several times and never missed anything that I got rid of before a move. You can certainly get rid of stuff that would go if you were staying in. FL and just de-cluttering.

And yes, storage rooms can be very dusty so be aware of that. Best of luck!
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snackdog
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by snackdog »

Get rid of absolutely everything you can. Have moving sales and use Craigslist. It really is more hassle to move stuff than to get rid of it and replace any you truly need on the other end. Using Craiglist you can refurnish with great stuff for thirty cents on the dollar vs. retail. We moved last year and I sold sofas, beds, dining sets, etc. It all sold fast and really minimized the move.
Arabesque
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by Arabesque »

I did not have an expensive move, in part, because got rid of many, many things. (1) It is amazing how cheaply you can replace furniture on the secondhand market. Just go to an upscale consignment shop, and see what is there. (2) Tools are not so cheap to replace, although at 70 I did get rid of most of mine. (3) I purposely wore out a lot of clothes in the years before retirement, gave others away, and have been slowly updating my wardrobe. I still have too many fancy outfits, enough to last the rest of my life. (3) Florida will be hard on wood and wool. The move will damage so much.

One of the things that stayed was a 40 year old baby grand in great condition. I had to give it away. At this point in time, there are more pianos than players. They are a glut on the market, especially with the growing preference for digital pianos. Also remember that pianos are machines, the guts wear out and need replacement. If you can bring yourself to buy a secondhand one in Florida, you may save money as well as worry. Here is a website that provides a lot of piano information. http://forum.pianoworld.com

Good luck on the move.
Vogatrice
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by Vogatrice »

We recently moved from Calgary to Italy. I spent a year and a half trying to get rid of things in a semi-organized fashion via consignment stores, Kijiji (Craigslist) sales, giving away. I rotated friends in to help me. It was awful because nobody needs more stuff and selling the “good” stuff like china and quality furniture is impossible. After 18 months, I just said “pack the rest, we’ll deal with it at the other end.” I could have spent another several years downsizing, or I could spend those years here enjoying life while continuing to manage the “too much stuff” problem. We packed and shipped a very full 40’ container.

I don’t regret it because we got here during a brief window in the pandemic and are getting settled. I don’t miss the tools and garden stuff we didn’t bring, though some of it had to be replaced. I do regret bringing a lot of our stockpiled consumables (ziploc bags for life) but we will cope. Those boxes full of photos that lived unopened in the basement for 20 years? They are here doing the same. I’ll get to them.

Tl;dr. Get rid of as much as you can in advance but then just get on with life. Don’t let your stuff hold you back.
Stick5vw
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by Stick5vw »

Agree with others. Get rid of as much as you can. Have moved multiple times (US to Europe to Asia, and back again) and while we slowly downsized each time - especially on the last move - any remaining stuff is now just sitting in our basement in boxes untouched. Sooner or later we’ll get around to it…or maybe not.

I reckon many of the possessions you take with you may well have the same fate, even if you don’t think so now.

When in doubt, throw it out!

Simplify, simplify, simplify….
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Sandtrap
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by Sandtrap »

We planned our "long distance" retirement/relocation move over many years/decades.

Distance was nearly 3000 miles and over an ocean.

To save costs, everything had to fit in a 20 foot ocean shipping container.
(and it still was very very expensive)

We had it trucked to our home, left for 3 days, hired movers to load it, had it shipped to our new home, then hired movers to unload it in the garage.

Before moving, we eliminated everything that could be reasonably purchased at our new location. We looked at each item and balanced actual worth vs replacement $, etc.

*We eliminated almost everything.

* Yard sales, Craig's list, Thrift store drop offs, free giveaways, trash.

What we did not ship:

All Furniture
Household goods unless they were keepsakes or heirlooms.
Kitchen goods unless they were keepsakes or heirlooms.
Most clothing that could be replaced.
Bulky items (ladders, cheap tools, all yard items, etc).
All Appliances
All Machines
All Equipment
All TV's, all monitors.
Etc.

What we did ship: (must be packable in plastic storage containers, no loose items)

Heirlooms and keepsakes.
Personal items
Expensive items that were not bulky
Items that could not be replaced and were needed
Horses and animals (did not fit in plastic boxes)
:shock: :shock: (the horses went by air fare, lst class, with meals and drinks).$$$$$$ Overland in an air conditioned specialized trailer)
1 car (sold the rest)
Computers
Printers
Some tools

*Key thought: the easiest item to "ship" is a "filled wallet".

It has been many many years since this move and there was nothing that we left behind that we wished that we had shipped.
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sailaway
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by sailaway »

I would advise you focus more on what you do move. Marie Kondo style, do we really need this/ does it bring us joy? Such a move is an excellent opportunity to cull through things, rather than dragging it all with you.
GJ48
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by GJ48 »

No particular wisdom to offer on specific items but some thoughts on managing the move.

I needed to move my stuff 1,400 miles two months before I was going arrive myself. The movers just kept the pallets wrapped up and charged a monthly fee to hold them at the destination until I was ready for delivery. I liked the simplicity and convenience.

If you do use the movers for storage at your destination you could ask them to separate the pallets by season. That way you might be able to get by with unpacking only the current season's stuff and leave the rest for later when your housing situation is finalized.
40 Years' Gatherin's
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by 40 Years' Gatherin's »

You'd be a fool not to hang on to all your old "Made in USA" Craftsman hand tools. If you don't want them, I'll take them off your hands.
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Tamarind
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by Tamarind »

Having once moved overseas via container ship, I'd say there's no reason to keep anything unless:
1) You still want to have it and will use it
AND
2) It's better than what you'd replace it with

No reason to keep tools you will not use again, regardless of their quality, unless they have sentimental value (which I count as a "use"). This goes double if they can be sold or donated to someone who will enjoy and use them.

Marie Kondo's method gets mocked but is truly valuable for this kind of purge.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

snackdog wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 7:11 am Get rid of absolutely everything you can. Have moving sales and use Craigslist. It really is more hassle to move stuff than to get rid of it and replace any you truly need on the other end. Using Craiglist you can refurnish with great stuff for thirty cents on the dollar vs. retail. We moved last year and I sold sofas, beds, dining sets, etc. It all sold fast and really minimized the move.
I agree with this!

Sell absolutely everything you can. We have a furniture consignment shop who we'd bring literally every single piece of furniture in our house if we were moving. As mentioned, craigslist, which works excellent for tools of any type. Heck, I've sold non running, big box junk gas hedge clippers to a landscaper who told me he repairs and uses these things for his business. Use some of the new methods like facebook marketplace and for valuable things that are easy to ship, put stuff on craigslist.

I look to a friend of mine as an example. He worked in Massachusetts and got an offer in Texas. He negotiated to get $10k cash, with the new company doing the tax adder. He then sold his house, all his furniture, all the dishes and silverware, everything, including a goat. He loaded up what was left, mainly his huge Grateful Dead collection and huge stereo into his Volvo wagon and small utility trailer and drove to Texas. Once there, he had already arranged to buy a house and could move right in. He bought all new furniture, silverware, everything. He told me that in the end, he made a boatload of money and essentially traded everything he owned for brand new things.

A good guide is to look at the moving contract. What are they charging per pound. In my company paid moves, I looked and found that there were things that cost 4 times what they were worth to move. For me, it didn't matter because I wasn't paying, but for you, it could be literally cheaper to throw things out than to move them and sell them for full value up in Canada.
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UpperNwGuy
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Sell, donate, or trash almost everything. Give family photographs to younger family members who show an interest.
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Watty
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by Watty »

What NOT to bring on long distance moving? ....This will be a costly ($28K) move...
You are asking exactly the wrong question.

You should be asking what IS worth the move and then not move anything that does not make that list.

I would guess that you might be able to move the stuff that has sentimental value for maybe $8K(??) then use the other $20K to furnish the house in Canada.

Here is a list of things that will likely will not make that list.

Anything you you can buy at Target or Walmart.

99% of books. If you ever decide to read one of them again it is cheaper to just buy a used copy online of that one book instead of moving 20 book you might someday want to reread. If you have owned a book for several years and never gotten around to actually reading it then you are unlikely to ever read it.

Be brutal with getting rid of furniture. Even if it is nice and in good condition it may not fit well in your new place. If you do not know exactly where it will go in your new place then do not move it.

Any furniture made of particle board. They are surprisingly heavy and do not hold up well when being disassembled and reassembled. There are often small parts that can be lost that may make it next to impossible to reassemble.

Mattresses and box springs. Even if they were expensive if they are more than a few years old they are a good way through their expected lifespan.

Any clothing you have not worn in the last year. If you are not sure that it still fits now then try it on and do not move it if it does not fit.

Any large appliance that is more than a few years old. It it likely too far through its expected lifespan to be worth moving. It depends on the appliance but many of them will not last more than 10 to 15 years if you are lucky. There is no sense in moving an 8 year old washing machine.
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PaddyMac
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by PaddyMac »

From our experience, if you are planning in the near future to buy a new king-size bed, then leave the old behind.

Then just start getting rid of stuff now, every day - don't wait until the last week! It takes time to sort and donate stuff.

We went with a smaller company who gave us a flat rate based on looking at the boxes we'd already packed, not based on weight. They didn't realize (and didn't ask) that the boxes we'd packed were mostly filled with books!
Williams57
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by Williams57 »

Anything worth less than $1,000 as of the time of the move is not worth moving imho, unless it's something tiny or has a great sentimental value.
rich126
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by rich126 »

I've found less is more. I gave away a bunch of stuff moving back east into a 1 bed apt and honestly I haven't missed anything. Although I'm happy if the place is safe, has good internet and I have tv/computer. Kitchen wise I think my wife seriously over packed with knives, utility stuff that no one really needs. While mementos are nice, to me its the memories that count.

With all of the shortages of stuff, I would just make sure to not be in a position where it takes months to order a replacement.
Random Poster
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by Random Poster »

The “Calgary/Edmonton” area is a pretty large one. For your sake, I hope you are closer to the former than the latter.

Keep all of the tools. All of them. Worst case, you can consign them out in Alberta (there are a few stores in Nanton that had a nice collection of vintage tools).

I’d even keep the television and the upright freezer, but that’s just me.

I presume that you know that just about everything in Canada is more expensive than it is in the States. With that in mind, I’d consider stocking up on stuff and shipping it, especially cheese.
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illumination
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by illumination »

Anything that can be easily and cheaply replaced should be left behind.

The lawn equipment I would leave. The appliances I'd leave. The cheap and big electronics like the TV, I'd leave.
I know if I was moving that far, I'd probably leave every almost every single piece of furniture behind.

I'd probably take the hand tools and classic tool box, but I'm weird about my tools and it's a hobby. And it sounds like you have a high end collection that would cost big money to replace for the same thing (like Snap-On tools).

Some sort of cost analysis though should probably be done, like how much extra does it cost to replace these things in question vs move them and store them temporarily. But I would heavily lean towards NOT moving things in question. Unless it has heavy sentimental value, you're probably not going to miss it.
stan1
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by stan1 »

I would not get rid of old tools and other items that fall into the "they don't make them like they used to" category.

I have some of my grandfather's tools he made himself in the 1930s and my father's Craftsman tools from the 1960s. I will never part with them.

I would get rid of furniture, books, bric a brac, etc. I'd keep a few that are particularly meaningful to me and get rid of the rest.

Definitely thin out old clothing.
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climber2020
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by climber2020 »

I’m about as minimalist as they get, but I agree with others on keeping any high quality hand tools you use regularly. I don’t have a huge tool collection, but what I do own is designed to last a lifetime & I’d definitely hang on to them.
niagara_guy
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by niagara_guy »

I used a company called u-pack (ABF trucking) to move 1500 miles within the US more than 10 years ago. They gave me an empty 28 foot trailer, I packed my stuff and paid only for the number of feet I used. It was about the same dollars as renting a truck but I didn't have to take 3 days to drive, pay the gas and motel bills, etc. I looked and they evidently do serve Calgary. I highly recommend them.

PM me if you want more.
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ram
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by ram »

My family once moved 10,000 miles. We brought 8 suitcases of 50 lbs each and carry on bags for the 4 of us. No regrets.
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IMO
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by IMO »

I think the advice has been said, but it's worth repeating, ask "what is worth moving?"

You can literally start making out a list of things kind of like you've started.

I'd further make the note on the items:
a) Will it be necessary at next location and/or in our lives after we move? Yes / No
b) Cost of item to move.
c) Cost of item if replacing.
d) Is replacing the item potentially worth not moving it as item is wearing out? Yes / No
(Example here being a couch, or your garage fridge).

Start early on the process and repeat as you get closer to moving.
digit8
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by digit8 »

I know this will be on the extreme side, but there is something to be said for just starting fresh. At one point to take a new job I had to show up at the other side of the country to get started in a couple of days. I wound up moving into my new company-provided place with a suitcase of clothes, a backpack of personal items, and not a heck of a lot else. And it was…..like getting a lifetime do-over. I picked up new hobbies, found new interests, changed my clothing style, the works. Don’t know that I would ever want to do it again, or that I even could succeed, but I can look back today and say I have a much clearer sense of what matters to me because of it all.
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tooluser
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by tooluser »

My biggest regret in life is moving a 250 lb desk across the country over 30 years ago. It has followed me to several places locally over that time. I still have to get rid of it. It has some memories and special significance, but is just too darn heavy, and is also too small for me. I haven't sat at it in decades. It looks good though.

Is there a general purpose calculator that can estimate the cost of moving an object based on weight, or does one need to specifically inquire with the moving company one has chosen? I suspect it is not particularly desired by moving companies to estimate moving costs for individual items.

Moving, especially long distances, is one case where it appears to easily calculate out that less is more.
Caduceus
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by Caduceus »

After having been through many moves and carried things with me that I've subsequently realized I don't really want, I've narrowed my thought process for moving down to three questions:

1. Will it go to a family member eventually? (e.g. sentimental items, family heirlooms.)
2. Will it go to a museum eventually? (e.g. rare books, artifacts)
3. Does it bring me any joy / do I use it frequently?

If it doesn't fall into one of those three categories, I try to declutter as soon as possible. I no longer own much in the way of physical books, and do most reading on Kindle. I have only half a wardrobe's worth of clothes (although I realize, having been recently married, that any "space" you clear from decluttering will simply be occupied immediately by spouse ...!)

If I were in your shoes, I'd probably not bring any of the things you mentioned with me. But it's a very personal thing.
getthatmarshmallow
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

With a cross border move I'd think it's less "what should I not bring" and "what makes the cut". So: piano, nice hand tools (kitchen/workshop), sentimental objects and photos. Everything else cull mercilessly. You'll need different clothes for the climate; furniture might not work in the new space; money weighs less.
clip651
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by clip651 »

Have you spent much time in Canada in the past few years? Do you know what you can easily buy there that you like? Much is the same between US and Canada, but brands and availability of some favorites may vary. If you've lived or spent a lot of time there in the past 10 years, you probably have a good handle on that. If not, do some research before deciding what you can "easily replace" in Canada, especially with the current global supply issues. Definitely cull things for the move, but think through what things you'll need to replace and whether it's really easy to do that there.
boglebob321
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Re: What NOT to bring on long distance moving?

Post by boglebob321 »

We moved about a 1000 miles last year and used a large interstate carrier. After getting a few estimates and selecting a mover, I asked the sales rep how much/lb is this move costing me. He said if you take away the packing part, for us it's about 50 cents/lb. Our objective was clear. Anything that was cheap and heavy, such as my workbenches, were gone. Decisions whether to move something became quite simple after that...
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