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November 25, 2008


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Has he priced the cost of renting a moving truck and driving it themselves? Since he's driving across the country, it would be worth pricing a one-way rental. It might end up being a wash or better than what they plan to spend on new furniture when they get to their new location.

Perhaps the poster can find someone else (via craigslist or such) who's moving and pay a nominal amount to put some of his items on their truck.

Sell it all. Moving is a lot of work and you get new everything when you get to LA. It would only be an argument if some of the items were worth $500 or more.


I don't know the specific costs, but I don't think I like that plan. If you sell everything on craigslist, you are taking a loss on everything you bought. Only to have to use that money to re-buy everything again in LA. Plus the time and annoyance of having to search and go out of your way. Plus after buying the items, you then will need to rent a truck to move everything. I think it would be less expensive, and hassle free to just get a moving company with a large truck to take all the large items cross country.


If you stick with your original plan, buy a bike rack on Craig's list and haul your bicycles.


Cheap shipping (one pallet-sized shipment = ~$200)
Decent delivery times (a few days from pickup to destination)


Not handled with care; run the risk of minor damage to goods
Might need to ship to and from a site with a loading dock; need to aquire dock use if so.

Worth looking into, though. Especially with furniture - damage suffered will usually be along the "dinged a corner" line.

You could try They drop off a trailer and you have a few days to pack it, or whatever portion of the trailer you need. You pay by the foot used. Then, over a number of days, it gets moved across the country. We used this service when we moved from New Jersey to Wisconsin and it was FAR cheaper that U-Haul, etc.

I'd either sell all the big stuff or move it all U-Haul (except for stuff you really want to purge anyway). I don't see much reason to go half-way like this, you take a loss on the things you have to replace without much reason because you still have the expense of moving some big stuff.

Amtrack, will ship up to 500lbs of stuff for 55-59cents a pound. All it has to do is be able to fit on a 4x4 pallet (no furniture).

UPSP, book rate is also super cheap, if you have a lot of books to ship.

Amtrak, will ship up to 500lbs of stuff for 55-59cents a pound. All it has to do is be able to fit on a 4x4 pallet (no furniture).

UPSP, book rate is also super cheap, if you have a lot of books to ship.

Having lived in LA, sell everything, and don't buy off craigslist anything you can't find on the street. People leave their used everything on the sidewalk outside their house in LA when they move, and usually you can find plenty of couches, tables, tvs, bookshelves, mattresses (although I wouldn't ever use these unless absolutely necessary), etc. I once got an expensive glass dining table from a neighbor who was moving. The main thing is if you see something left on the corner, take it when you see it, otherwise it will be gone an hour later. If you get to the west la area around the time school lets out, all the college kids will be dumping their lightly used ikea, and sometimes nicer goods, rather than taking them back home.
Also, I believe the u-haul or similar is your cheapest option. Just get the smallest one you can fit everything into, and get a rack for your car. Then take turns driving, so as to get across the country in as few days as possible to save on hotel/dining costs.

I commend your idealism and hope things work out for you. Only I hope you have done your homework on the cost of living and lifestyle changes. LA can be very brutal without proper support networks established. If you do not have one get some connections before going with a local church or other organization. You will need as much as you can get. I've spent a lot of time in south central so it's great to hear about someone going in to make a difference... Godspeed to you!

Do you already know the size of the apartment you're moving into in L.A.? I would be wary of keeping big items that may not actually fit in your new place.
Also, we have TWO Ikeas in L.A. :-)

I moved from Ohio to LA. The biggest difference is going to be space. Do you know where you are living yet? I have a 1 bedroom apartment close to the beach. It's the size of a shoebox. Well-meaning relatives tried to buy me a kitchen table, but I convinced them not to based on the size of my not-kitchen.

Rent a u-haul and enjoy the drive. We drove straight through the boring states (sorry Oklahoma) and stopped in Sedona, Arizona and the Grand Canyon.

Good luck in the LAUSD and bring bottled water to work.

Most of the major moving services provide a "pack yourself" option. Where they pull up a semi-trailer and you are responsible for packing it. The rates are reasonable and you can even ship a car this way. It personally worked great for us moving across the country.

I'd stay away from the national moving services, my mom just moved from Virginia to Los Angeles and got ripped off. It was expensive, they damaged a lot of her things and were late on both ends. Uhaul is kinda expensive and I can tell you of my childhood cross country move in a u haul that broke down in every state. It doesn't sound like you have a lot of stuff or things that are irreplacable. I think you have an OK plan, I first moved out here in a Plymouth Neon stuffed full. You could try freecycle in addition to craigslist. Do you have a place to live worked out, do you know LA? It's a crazy place but I love it, welcome to LaLa Land.

I am sure pricing a moving truck was the first thing that he did, which is why he is trying to come up with an alternative plan. It costs $1500 to move across the county in a 10'-17' truck (an apartment, couple bedrooms). Plus if you are towing your car, thats another $250-500. For that much money you could refurnish your apartment at IKEA.

I don't know if you can do this with a "tiny, old Mazda", but when my wife and I moved from Buffalo, NY to the San Francisco Bay Area, we rented a U-Haul trailer and towed it behind our SUV. This was MUCH cheaper than renting a UHaul truck, as there were no mileage charges for trailers (like there are for trucks).

I'd consider renting a Uhaul trailer. Can get a 4x8 trailer for $300 range. Of course they'd need a vehicle that can tow something and might need to buy a hitch. They can haul their boxes and other stuff. That would save on the $150-200 they were planning to spend to ship the 3-4 boxes. Plus you can stuff most of the other stuff into the trailer too. Should be cheaper than rebuying stuff I'd think.


These are a little off-topic, but I have a couple of other moving tips that will save you some money. I moved 18 times by the time I was 24 (Pastor's kid) and have it down to a science.

1. Get your boxes at liquor stores because they have handles and are extra-heavy-duty.

2. Wrap your dishes and glass items in towels and sheets. That way you don't have to wash them when you get there.

3. On moving day, keep a slow cooker with sloppy joes going all day because otherwise, it'll be 8 PM and you'll realize no one has eaten all day.

4. Use saran wrap to wrap your furniture before you put it in the moving van. This will minimize scratches and keep the drawers from moving around in-transit.

I'd rent a small U-haul truck. I'd drive the truck, have my wife drive the Mazda (or vice-versa, or switch off), stay in a tent in safe campgrounds (instead of motels) at night, take a slightly meandering route, and make a 8- or 10-day low-cost adventure out of it. I'd pack everything carefully per the advice in this thread, blast the music in the truck, flirt shamelessly with my wife as I pass her back and forth in traffic, stop at all the stupid old-time tourist traps I saw, take lots of pix along the way to show my friends and family and future kids someday, and just generally try to make it a joyous trip.

That's probably not the absolute low-cost way, but it's lowish-cost and you end up making a fun vacation out of what could be a grinding awful chore.

This is the original poster - thanks for the advice! I am still making my calculations, but had been told that hitching the uhaul trailer to a small car would not be great for the car. The small truck, at $1500 or thereabouts (not including gas) is probably more than the value of all our large possessions.

Beware of PODS! I had a horrible experience with PODS.

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