Three Ways to Move Belongings Across the Country

We’ve moved! Again. This time we moved back west after spending a little over a year in NYC. And this time we wouldn’t have a car to pile all our stuff into. There are many options out there in addition to actually hiring movers. We didn’t research that particular option because, while we do have a lot stuff, we don’t have any big furniture or heavy items that would have been hard to transport. So we limited our research to options that were best for taking just a few boxes across the country.

Pre boxed

Pallet- The jist is that you order a pallet to be brought to wherever you are. They place it outside your home or apartment and you are responsible for getting the boxes from your home onto the pallet. Once you have loaded the pallet, they will wrap it up tightly and load it onto a truck that they will then drive to your destination. At your destination you are also responsible for unloading all the boxes from the pallet. It seemed like an awesome choice until we realized that where we were living wasn’t conducive to having a pallet of our belongings on the sidewalk without one of us standing by the whole time. That didn’t seem feasible, especially if the truck was late coming back to load up the pallet. We also had a hard time finding any companies in NY that offered the particular services we were looking for. So we nixed this idea.

Shipping with Amtrak- We heard about this from a friend who moved from Seattle to Boston. You can send five 3’x3’x3’ boxes up to 50 LBS each. The first 100 LBS cost $82, then 73 cents for each pound over 100. This became our first choice until we read the list of restrictions. The list included sharp items, lotions, art, and electronics. Basically everything on the list was everything we would be sending back, except our clothes. Normally you would take your items to a shipping dock. But there isn’t one in NYC so we would have had to lug it all to Penn Station. And we didn’t think it was feasible for us to get our boxes to Penn Station and get them to the appropriate area without hiring at least one more person to help. This would have been the cheapest option but we decided that the issue of getting our stuff to Penn Station combined with the restricted items list wasn’t going to work for us.

Some of our boxes

Shipping by mail- Simply put, you pack up your boxes and ship them to your destination. This was the plan we decided to go with. We each had a few credits with a startup called Shyp that would allow us to ship a few boxes basically for free. There’s also a way to ship books, CDs, and DVDs for a flat rate using a service called media mail. We decided this was the best way for us to get our stuff to CA. We shipped 16 small to mid size boxes and it cost us $628.34 including the price of boxes. It wasn’t the cheapest option, but it was the option that worked the best for us.

On the train we took back to CA, we were also able to bring eight bags with us (four checked and four carry ons). That helped with our last minute items, personal files and memorabilia that we didn’t want to risk getting lost in the mail. I’m excited to be reunited with our stuff but not thrilled about having to go through it all and decide what gets put into storage and what gets taken with us to LA.