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Moving Is A Pain & I Am Turning Minimalist

Minimalism and I have had a love-hate relationshipI’ve tried, but mostly failed, at minimalism, but now that I am prepping for a cross-country move, I am awash in this feeling of “die, stuff, die.

Moving cross-country alone is an expensive, stress-inducing proposition: not only will CB not be there to gallantly handle the heavy luggage, even the cheapest moving vans can cost several hundred dollars for rental fees and gas. In an effort to preserve badly-needed dollars and sanity, I am selling almost everything (furniture) and donating everything else (books, kitchenware). The move has certainly motivated me to pare down my possessions.

Here’s what the move will cost me:

  • $330: My one-way airfare from Southern California to the East Coast. Fortunately, I am flying Southwest so I can check luggage for free. So, basically, I have managed to fit most of my life into 4 pieces of luggage (1 carry-on, 1 personal item, 2 checked suitcases).
  • $50: I am shipping a box of shoes and a few paintings. I tried, but it is so hard to give up good shoes. Or meaningful-to-me art.

Once I get to my new home, I will need to buy a bed, a mattress, a desk, a chair, possibly a nightstand and maybe a chest of drawers. Thanks to all of your horrible bedbug stories, not only will I never consider a used mattress, I’ve become wary of buying even a used lamp or picture frame because all I can think about are tiny little bloodsuckers hiding in the crevasses, waiting for an opportunity to attack. So if I buy new, that obviously means I can’t buy as much stuff as I can buy used. Ideally, I’d furnish my bedroom and pay for my share of furnishing the common living areas for less than $1,000.

Maybe this is the year that I will finally turn (a little more) minimalist. There’s nothing like the stress of moving and fear of bedbugs to persuade me. 😉

If you’ve made a cross-country move on your own, do you have any advice for making the process easier, and dare I say, fun?

  • Paige - My best advice is to not rush into buying everything at once. Sleeping on a mattress on the floor in an empty apartment doesn't sound appealing, but I think you acquire less stuff when you get to know your space, see what you can live without, and buy something only when you actually know you need it. ReplyCancel

  • Aloysa - I moved not across the country, I moved once across the ocean and two continents. :) My move was simple: two luggages, and $200 in my pocket. Since then I have moved twice locally and it was a nightmare. My advice – really think what you need. In no way I am a minimalist, but I think I will be reconsidering my needs before my next move. Good Luck with your move. I lost some important stuff during my last move. Have no clue where and how and when. :) ReplyCancel

  • fugalportland - Moving is going to suck, no two ways about it. There are no bedbugs in picture frames, though! :) ReplyCancel

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses - It is hard to give up good shoes, I'd probably ship mine too. Me and the BF are toying with the idea of moving to the east coast too someday (Toronto) so I don't have any advice but I'll definitely look to you to see if you have any when we are moving! ReplyCancel

  • lkrant - Moving is a great opportunity to discard some stuff. You can give it away, sell your stuff in a yard sale or throw it away. ReplyCancel

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More - Best of luck. Make sure you get a comfy mattress as you spend 1/3rd of your life on it! I've moved cross country when I was a kid but the military paid for the movers and we drove (7 days of fun driving as a 10 year old… at least my mom put the SNES and tv in the van :)) ReplyCancel

  • MakintheBacon$ - My program at school also had a co-op portion to it, so every 4 months I was moving. School, then back home, then to my workplace and then back to school. It was quite a pain. The family minivan definitely came in handy. I’m currently in an apartment now, but since my bf and I are house-hunting I don’t want to accumulate a lot of stuff, cause then it would have to be moved out of the apt and into the house. Well, I’m trying not to have so much stuff in general. You don’t realize how much stuff you have until you move! 😛 ReplyCancel

  • insomniaclabrat - Do you have a good air mattress? Or will you be able to get a new mattress right away? When we moved across the country, I was SO glad that we had a good air mattress, so that we had something (relatively) comfortable to sleep on until we picked out a mattress and got it delivered. That was one of the first things we shopped for when we moved, but it was still a few nights without one. It didn't take up much space in our car, either, and now we have something decent for guests to sleep on. ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen - I second the air mattress, unless you can get a mattress delivered on day 1. I’ve had to wait for movers to deliver mattresses several times, and sleeping on the floor for multiple nights puts a significant damper on the excitement of starting a new stage in a new city!

    Also, taking your time on the rest of the purchases is probably a good idea- you’ll likely save money while furnishing your place with the right stuff, rather than just the immediately available stuff!

    Good luck! I hope CB can visit frequently!ReplyCancel

  • addvodka - I absolutely despise moving. It's the worst! I will never do it again until I buy a house. It's just not worth the hassle. ReplyCancel

  • Little House - Moving is the worst! I feel for you since I've never moved cross country and would dread the experience. When you get to the east coast, the most important furniture will be your bed. You can probably do without the other stuff for a little while if you have too. Good luck! ReplyCancel

  • Jason @ WSL - When my wife and I started to pack up our house to get it ready to stage (and sell), I began to realize just how much crap we had. We've always been fairly frugal and don't really accumulate "stuff" but I was surprised when we really started boxing everything up.

    I've never moved cross-county so I don't really have any tips for you. Good luck though!! ReplyCancel

  • The Asian Pear - I go away a few months and come back and you're moving across country?!?!
    Is this because of school? I somehow thought you were going to school in the city. o___o? ReplyCancel

  • LadiesGoFirst - Being a minimalist is definitely the way to go, you realize all the crap you have that you don't need after awhile.
    -Nurse Frugal ReplyCancel

  • Margo - When my grad school roommates arrived from outside the US, they had nothing beyond clothes, shoes and laptops with them.

    My"welcome" kit consisted of: Shower curtain liner & rings; toilet paper; basic soap and shampoo; and I think I loaned a few towels and blankets for the sofa. That way, each could get a hot shower and feel refreshed before going out for the marathon shopping day.

    Find a classmate who's doing the same thing, and coordinate your shopping trips. Remember what it was like to be 18 and shopping for dorm gear? Wasn't that fun?

    Other ideas: Order your basic non-furniture housewares on Amazon and have them shipped to your new apartment, timing it for your day of arrival or the day after. Voila! Shower curtain, towels, bath mat, coffee maker, coffee, etc. magically appear. You could probably do the same thing with Peapod for a basic grocery run with breakfast food, juice, etc.


  • belowhermeans - I apologize for my part in the bedbug horror stories. I hate moving too. M. and I decided our next move will be handled by professional movers. ReplyCancel

  • Lucy Breader - We moved cross country before last year, it was somewhat stressful. We bought everything we needed at once, we didn't enlist the help of a moving company and any help from friends. I think that's what made it really a poor experience. ReplyCancel

  • Graham Reynolds - You have a great point. Minimalist is definitely easier for relocating. It always surprises me how much stuff you actually have when moving an office or home. Professional removal companies are a god send but if you can't stretch that far plastic moving crate hire is the next best thing. ReplyCancel

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