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Clever moving tricks that could save you plenty

Originally written by Kate McIntyre and posted by The Courier Mail on 22 November 2023

Moving can be a costly exercise – especially when your removalist charges by the half-hour.

Muval moving guru Alana Lowes says while it varies depending on location, the going rate for removalists across the country now ranges from $60-$90 per half-hour worked.

But thanks to some clever expert tips, it is possible to slash hundreds off your moving bill without risk of broken plates or missing boxes.

Packing your own boxes can save you hundreds. Picture: Muval


The first step in a budget savvy move is to get rid of items you don’t really need.

Holding onto pieces of furniture or ornaments that won’t be kept for long is one of the biggest money wasting mistakes made in a move, says Holloway Removals & Storage business and commercial relocations manager Chris Cervera.

“There’s no point paying money to relocate those items if you’re just going to throw them out,” Mr Cervera says.

Selling unwanted items online not only reduces the time and money spent moving them, it also helps you make money in the process, Finder money and home loans expert Richard Whitten says.

“Sometimes giving away bulky, cheap items for free via online marketplaces can be cheaper than disposing of them, too,” he adds.

Muval moving guru Alana Lowes. Picture: Muval


Sourcing free boxes is another way to save money, Ms Lowes says.

“You can save hundreds of dollars on your packing supplies by getting free boxes,” she says.

Friends or family may have old boxes they have stored away from past moves. Alternatively, you may be able to nab some free boxes from appliance stores or your local green grocer.


One of the simplest ways to save money on a move is to cut down the time it takes by doing your own packing, Ms Lowes says.

“Have everything really organised for your removalist,” she says.

Start organising yourself early to avoid last minute panic and expense. Picture: Muval

An average pack costs as much as $1000 or even more depending on the size of the home and the amount of stuff that needs to be moved, Mr Cervera says, meaning a bit of elbow grease and masking tape goes a long way.

Stacking your boxes near the entrance and securing a parking spot for the truck right outside your house will also make the process easier and quicker for the removalist.

Mr Cervera says using boxes of a similar size that stack easily will add to the efficiencies – as will rolling up rugs and removing trip hazards.


Pulling apart any large or awkward pieces of furniture like beds and Ikea cabinets ahead of time will also speed up the moving process and help you save money.

Choose removalists that are members of AFRA. Picture: Muval

“A bed can take an hour or so to disassemble and reassemble,” Mr Cervera says.

Keep in mind, though, that some items are better left to the professionals, Mr Whitten says.

“The more packing and moving you can do yourself, the more you can save on removalist costs,” he says. “But remember that your time is valuable too. Trying to do too much of it yourself can be a false economy.”


If you want certainty around how much a move will cost, it’s wise to shop around for a removalist that offers a fixed rate based on the number of items that need to be moved, says Mr Cervera.

“That gives them a budget to work with,” he says.

Opting for the cheapest hourly rate can be a costly mistake if the removalist you hire takes longer than expected.

Have all your boxes stacked and ready to move.

He says most people expect a move to take three to four hours when it is much more likely to take eight or nine hours all up.


If you are moving interstate or from one city to another, backloading is an option that could help you save big bucks. This is where one truck is used to transport the goods of more than one customer.

“We might put three to five customers’ goods into one truck going interstate,” Mr Cervera says. “The cost of that transport is shared among the customers.”

He says choosing a removalist that is a member of The Australian Furniture Removalists Association (AFRA) will give greater peace of mind for those worried about their items getting mixed up.