How compute $$ to move household goods v. replace at destination?

ntmameMay 8, 2006

Moving WI to AZ. We plan to use commercial interstate movers, which I know compute charges using a combination of:

1)tariff (weight x distance)

2)service fees for a variety of things like disconnections, stairs, baby grand pianos, etc.

I'd like a rule of thumb to help us decide which items it pays to ship, and which it makes more sense to replace once arrived, and would like to know the cost/pound from WI to AZ. (I know this will provide only a guesstimate as to actual charges because we'll have those other "service fees" to deal with as well.)

I'm having trouble getting this info from movers. Can anyone help? Thanks.

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You could go by what you would get paid by insurance through the moving company. Let's say that value is $1/pound (just to keep numbers round). That old 60-pound 19" CRT TV? Not a good candidate to move as you could buy a TV of that size and vintage for $60 and new ones are better anyway. Clothing and linens are light and it's likely that, unless you're a Goodwill shopper, it will cost you more to replace those items than you'd get paid to replace them. Eight-year-old freezer? Maybe it will cost more to buy a new one, but new freezers are so much more efficient than older ones that it might pay in the long run to replace it and not bother moving it.

I suspect the reason movers cannot/will not give you a rule of thumb is that there really can't be a rule of thumb. So much depends on factors the movers don't know, such as the likely remaining life of an item, its replaceability (I have some tools which would be hard to replace in kind), sentimental value (that picture of dogs playing poker doesn't have a lot of value unless it's your budding artist's first painting), whether someone else is paying for the move, ...

And, typically, moving into a new residence entails all kinds of one-time costs, such as utility deposits, driver's license fees, money spent on window coverings, etc. Movers have no way of knowing what kind of discretionary income you'll have to replace goods.

It's purely a judgment call.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 10:40PM
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Unless you have an idea of your household weight right now, I'm not sure how you could make a comparison.

One thing I would also consider besides just the cost and weight of an item. How much time will you have to replace items not moved. If you have to immediately start a job or school and hit the ground running, it may be worth it to pay the cost (such as the TV) rather than have to find a replacement.

I live in Anchorage, so moves away from here are very expensive. No one takes the appliances which are part of the home sale here, so those don't really become an issue.

Good luck with your new home. If it was me having to plan this move, I would look at all sentimental items first and make sure they are included. Older appliances I would not take, except my terribly heavy 1950's gas range. Small household items like books and extra dishes I would be ruthless about not taking (unless they came under that sentimental catagory). Furniture of good quality I would always keep. I think they cannot be replaced with new items unless it costs a fortune.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 2:00AM
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I think if you got too ruthless, you'd find that it really did cost a lot to replace stuff.

The thing about the insurance thing is, you *CAN'T* replace an older TV. They're not even available. So you'd HAVE to buy a new one, and the insurance amount wouldn't help you w/ that much.

There's a minimum $ amount they'll charge, so I'd look at how much MORE than that minimum you think you might pay if you took everything. And say, "is this TV worth triggering that extra charge?" not so much a strict money amount, but a "do I value it enough to pay extra for it?" sort of assessment.

Some stuff, you might decide you didn't need to replace right away anyway, so it would be worth not triggering that extra charge. Other stuff, you'd not want to cope with rushing around.

Good luck--sorry none of us have been much help.

I'm surprised the mover won't tell you the cost per pound to move stuff to Arizona. Even a ballpark. But maybe they could help you figure out that extra.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 10:04AM
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Don't forget to count the PITA factor. Packing and whatnot. If there's stuff you have that requires packing but isn't really important or in great shape, maybe you should leave it. Dishes? If it's not fine china, it might be well to leave it. You can get pretty decent dishes for not terribly much money compared to the cost of packing and moving the old ones.

Take into account the age of your stuff. When will the couch need to be replaced? If it's already 8 years old, maybe you shd sell it or donate it. The antique dresser is another matter--that would be hard to replace.

You could always try googling 'moving company cost per pound' or something and see if you can get a ballpark number. I have '$.60/lb' in my head but don't know if that's a memory or a fantasy. Sorry.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 1:32PM
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My nieces and nephews who are college students rent houses for a year rather than live in dorms. This is very common, the prior owners often leave all or most of their belongings behind, so when someone moves to a new house there's very little they need to purchase new.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 4:10PM
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You are supposed to allow $5000 per room to furnish a home. Now some rooms will be much higher and some much lower but that is what is reccommended.

We dumped everything but a few books, computers and clothing a year ago.

We furnished a 9 room home ( library, two offices, gym, two bedrooms, kitchen, two sitting rooms ) for a bit less than $3000 a room. There are things I'll add in over time but most of them are smaller items.

That includes tvs, stereos, washer/dryer and small kitchen appliances.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 7:46PM
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It not just straight dollars and cents. Moving stuff has a lot of issues, from the question of whether your things will arrive intact and on time, to whether they'll be appropriate for the new location. Not only that but moving your old stuff can burden you with finding a place where it will fit.

Obviously you should move things you love that can't be replaced.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 11:49AM
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Hmm, that's interesting, So if it costs you less than $3,000 to move all your living room stuff, it may be worth it to take it with you.

If, however, it'll cost more like $5,000 to move your living room stuff, then maybe you should just leave it behind and buy new.

Is there a cost to leaving it behind? Will you have to pay to junk it?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 1:45PM
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We were lucky our neighbor and husband split and he took all the furniture. So she took ours. Each weekend we moved some more stuff over to her home.

Many charity orgs will come get the stuff if it is decent. Or a yard sale might gain you a few dollars.

Movers should come and give estimates of what it will cost to move all the stuff.

Also to consider, we moved from a 100 year old house in NE to a new house in the SW. What works in one home may not work in another.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 6:28PM
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Gloria has a good point about having time to replace the necessary items you don't move. DH and I moved about a year ago. Neither of us liked our sofa, and DH wanted to get rid of it before the move. I insisted on moving it, and I'm really glad we did. A year later we're still looking for a suitable sofa. If we hadn't kept our ugly sofa, we'd either be sitting on the floor or have another sofa that we don't like.
Pat (a faithful lurker)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 8:44AM
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I'm not sure if this will help but we just moved from San Diego to Seattle. It cost about $0.46/lb to move our stuff. We got a couple of estimate and went with the carrier that gave us a "not to exceed" price. The estimate was based on 12,999 lbs (a price point cut off). Our actual weight was just a little over at 13100 lbs but we didn't have to pay any extra. I know prices go way up in the summer, we got in just before the increase.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 1:47PM
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I'm coming in late, but since I just received estimates for moving, this may help.

To get a sense of what it will cost to move, per pound, ask an agent for a major moving company to give you a complete estimate. It will state the estimated total weight and the estimated total charge. Just divide the price by the weight and you will be close enough. Keep in mind that the time when you want to move will make a difference.

I'm moving from Los Angeles to Boston, more than 3,000 miles. There is some seasonal variation in rates; the time I'll be moving is neither the most nor the least expensive season. The destination is one that does not have any special charges. (There are sometimes surcharges for destinations that do not have about an equal amount of stuff being moved out.)

The estimates I've been given all work out to slightly less than 90 cents per pound. So this means that if something weighs 100 pounds, it is worth paying to move it unless I could replace it for $90 or less, provided that I would replace it.

This means that I will be keeping some heavy furniture that is in good condition and that I like. I am not keeping anything that is broken or nearly worn out, or that is no longer to my taste. For example, I will replace a sofa that is structurally sound and in fairly good appearance, but that's because I want a different style in the new place.

I'm simplifying some things, e.g., I'll move only one computer printer, the newer and lighter one, even though I currently use both.

I have more than 1,000 pounds of books. I'm going to pack them all myself and send them as Media Mail, which costs about 41 cents a pound regardless of the distance. If the mover's per-pound rate were 50 cents rather than 90, as it could be for a shorter distance, I probably wouldn't do this.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 8:29PM
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