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Move It Or Sell It: What To Sell Before Moving

Should you move your stuff or sell it when moving house?

Should you sell everything and move or take your old items (and your old lifestyle) to your new home?

So, you are planning a relocation and wondering whether to move your stuff or sell it? Here is a brief quiz that will help you find the right answer real quick:

Should you sell everything or move it to your new home?1) Moving to a new home is a chance to:

a) start afresh and build a new life for yourself;

b) put your old life in a different perspective.

2) Your old household items and personal possessions are:

a) outdated things you can’t wait to get rid of and replace with fascinating new items;

b) cherished belongings you’re very much attached to.

3) Shopping for new stuff is:

a) an exciting experience you’re looking forward to;

b) a dreadful hassle you’d like to avoid at all costs.

If your answers are predominantly “a”, you most probably want to open a new chapter in your life and leave your past behind. If this is the case, you should sell all your stuff before moving and buy new items for your new life after the relocation.

If your answers are predominantly “b”, you probably don’t like drastic changes and would like to keep everything that worked for you in your old life. In this case, your best option is to move most of your old belongings to your new home, so that you can quickly and effortlessly recreate your comfort zone in your new surroundings.

As is often the case, however, things aren’t that simple. Even if you wish for a brand new life, you may not be able to buy so much new stuff at once. And even if you want to keep your old items, they may not fit into your new home or may be too difficult or too expensive to relocate.

Therefore, you need to research all the available options and consider all the relevant factors before making a final decision.

Pros And Cons Of Selling Items When Moving

Everyone likes nice new things, of course. Then, why spend all the time and money necessary to relocate your old stuff when you can buy new items after the move – items you will really love?

It is indeed a good idea to sell everything before moving because:

  • You will save the time and effort required to prepare your belongings for shipment – packing an entire household is a truly exhausting and time-consuming task, after all;
  • You will save a lot of money on your move as you won’t need to hire a moving company to relocate your stuff or rent a moving truck to transport your belongings yourself and won’t spend a dime on packing materials, moving insurance, and other similar costs;
  • You will actually make money so you’ll be able to afford buying new items for your new home without experiencing any financial difficulties;
  • You will be able to set up your new home in whatever way you want and fill it ONLY with items you like;

    Selling items when moving will add to your relocation budget.

    A sold old item = A few more dollars in your piggy bank

  • You will be able to make the most out of your new house or apartment as your new furnishing will perfectly fit its design and layout (the items that fit your current home and suit your current needs are unlikely to be right for your next residence, especially if your living style changes from one move to the next);
  • You will enjoy a simpler, clutter-free life (at least for the first couple of years after the move).

On the other hand, however, why part with your cherished possessions and sell comfortable and enjoyable items that have served you well for many years? There is no point in leaving your practical old belongings behind only to replace them with similar things after the move.

It is not worth it to sell everything and move because:

  • You will lose items of high practical, aesthetic, and/or sentimental value (and it’s impossible to replace objects invested with special meaning or powerful emotions, no matter what);
  • It will take you a long time to find appropriate new items – ones that fit the available space and suit your practical needs, personal preferences, and post-relocation budget (and you’ll have to put up with plenty of inconveniences and hassle in the meantime);
  • Buying new items will cost you much more than shipping your old belongings (and you will have to spend all that money within a very short time, unless you want to sleep on the floor and eat from paper plates for months on end). You can always buy used items online or at garage sales (it will be cheaper than buying brand new items, of course), but it doesn’t make much sense to leave your old stuff behind only to buy other old stuff, right?

Pros And Cons Of Moving Old Items

Moving your old items to your new home is not necessarily the right or wrong choice either.

There are some considerable advantages of taking your belongings with you when moving house:

  • You will have everything you need as soon as your shipment arrives and won’t have to spend time and effort looking for new items;
  • You will keep all the things you’ve grown attached to – favorite items, comfortable items, enjoyable items, treasured items, sentimental items, etc.;
  • You will know what works best for you and will be able to recreate your old surroundings and make your new place feel like home within a couple of days;
  • It will be cheaper to move your old stuff than to sell it and buy new items after the relocation.

As good as all this sounds, however, there are significant drawbacks to moving your old belongings as well:

  • You will have to pack all your earthly possessions – organize your belongings, make a moving inventory, provide adequate packing supplies, pack each and every item with utmost care, label the boxes, and complete all this work in the limited time before moving day. Quite a laborious, stressful, and time-consuming task indeed! (If you’re not up to the challenge, you’ll have to pay professional packers to do the job for you.);

    Moving all your earthly possessions is very difficult and very expensive.

    Moving is hard. Period.

  • You will have to find a safe and efficient way to relocate your belongings – hire a trustworthy moving company or rent a moving truck and drive your items to your new home;
  • You will spend a lot of money for packing materials, professional movers (or moving truck rental + fuel, parking fees, road tolls, etc.), proper insurance, and so on;
  • You risk damage to your possessions (or even losing them if an accident happens or if you fall victim to moving scams), as well as damage to your property when taking your items out of your old home or into your new one;
  • You won’t be able to set up your new home the way you want to, especially if you wish for a different style and a fresh, new living space (not to mention that some of your old items may not even fit the size or the layout of your new residence).

Should I Move My Stuff Or Sell It

Now that you know all the benefits and disadvantages of moving old items vs selling them before the relocation, you can make an informed decision about your own belongings. Just make sure you take all the relevant factors into consideration:

The Value Of The Item

When wondering what to do with your stuff when moving house, it is not really a question of sell everything or move it – it all depends on the specific item:

1) Practical value – If you need something and it serves you well, there is no sense in selling it only to buy the exact same thing (if you find one!) after the relocation. It will be wise to keep everything that is:

  • much needed and frequently used;
  • functional and convenient/comfortable;
  • durable and easy to maintain;
  • in excellent condition (if something is already worn out and will have to be replaced soon, you shouldn’t bother moving it to your new home).

2) Sentimental value – As already mentioned, some items can never be replaced. You will most definitely want to hold onto:

  • family heirlooms;
  • personal favorites;
  • items associated with a special person or a special moment in your life.

3) Monetary value – Whether you’re really good at math, or not particularly so, it will be easy to calculate that selling valuable items is not worth it – you’ll never get as much money from the sale as you’re going to need for the purchase of a similar item after the move. Therefore, it is recommendable to take along:

Move it or sell it - that's the question.

What will tip the scales when it comes to the fate of your old belongings?

  • expensive items that will cost a lot to replace;
  • high quality items that are very difficult to find;
  • artwork, antiques, vintage items, and collector’s items (unless you don’t like them and can find someone who will pay really well for them).

Good to remember: You need to make sure that a certain item will fit into your new home (through the doors and into the available space) before making your final decision to take it with you. You can find some more useful information on the topic at the links below:

How to create a floor plan of your new home

What to do if furniture doesn’t fit through the door

The Type Of Your Move

The type of your move can often be the decisive factor in your “move it or sell it” dilemma:

  • If you’re moving locally, it certainly makes sense to take all your belongings with you – transporting them to your new home won’t be very difficult and won’t cost you too much, so why bother selling your stuff and looking for new items (especially if you like your old ones);
  • If you’re moving cross country, you will probably prefer to leave most of your large, heavy, and difficult-to-move items behind and relocate only your most valuable possessions. Not only will it be very expensive to move all your belongings (the moving cost is based on the weight of your shipment), but you risk having them damaged during the long haul;
  • If you’re moving abroad, you will only be able to take some personal possessions with you – your best option is to sell everything else (if you choose to put your items in storage with the idea that you may return after a few years and need your belongings again, it will cost you dearly and will cause you a lot of trouble, not to mention that your things may be rendered useless or valueless by the time you come back – if ever).

Good to remember: If you’re downsizing, you will have little choice but to sell everything you don’t really need or like a lot – regardless of the relocation distance. The only other alternative – putting your items in storage – has a number of considerable disadvantages, as mentioned above.

The Risk Of Damage To The Item

This is a no-brainer – if an item is unlikely to survive the relocation safe and intact (because it is very delicate, highly sensitive, too heavy, too large, too awkwardly shaped, etc.), there is no point in moving it, no matter how useful or how valuable it may be. Your best bet is to sell it and buy a similar one in your new location (unless it is an irreplaceable item, of course – in this case, you may want to consider using custom crating services to ensure its safety during the relocation).

The Cost Of Moving

Your moving costs will depend on the amount of items you decide to relocate to your new home.

The worth of your old life?

All things considered, it will be the actual cost of moving an item that will tip the scales in favor of either selling it or taking it to your new home:

  1. If moving an item will cost you roughly the same as buying a new one of similar quality, you will probably decide not to go into the trouble of relocating it;
  2. If replacing an item will cost you a lot more than shipping it, you will certainly prefer the cheaper option and take the old piece to your new place.

But how can you determine if it will be cheaper to move your stuff or buy new?

1) Your first step should be to find out the cost of moving your old items:

  • In the event of a local move, the moving cost will be based on the time it will take the movers to prepare your items for shipment, load them onto the moving truck, transport them to your new home, and unload your goods;
  • In the event of a long-distance move, the moving cost will be based on the actual distance to your new home and the weight of your shipment;
  • Regardless of the relocation distance, the moving cost will increase in proportion to the level of relocation difficulty – the more specialized extra services are required for preparing your items for shipment (furniture disassembly, crating, hoisting, etc.), the more and the higher quality packing materials are necessary for ensuring the safety of your possessions, and the longer it takes to complete the job, the higher the moving cost will be.

In order to get an accurate idea of the cost of your move, you’re recommended to fill in a moving quote and request a few binding on-site estimates from several reputable moving companies in your area – when you compare the offers, you’ll be able to determine how much it will cost you to move your old items to your new home.

2) Your next step should be to find out the cost of household items (at least, the ones you’re going to need right away) in your new area. Keep in mind that the cost of living varies from one city to the next, so one and the same item may cost differently in different areas of the country. To get an idea about how much it will cost you to replace your stuff after the move, you can browse through the Internet, scour local store pamphlets, ask any friends or relatives you may have in town about the costs of the items you will need to buy, etc. (Make sure you don’t forget about the delivery fee either!)

When you compare the cost of moving your old belongings and the cost of buying new items after the relocation, you’ll have the answer to the disquieting question “Should I move or sell my stuff?”.

What To Sell Before Moving

There is no doubt about it – when moving house, your best option is to take the things you need and love and sell the rest of your possessions. This means that you should relocate only items of high practical, sentimental, or monetary value and stuff that will cost more to replace than to ship.

Choose what to sell before moving wisely.

When you decide to sell an old item of yours, do not think of it as “yours” anymore. It makes things easier.

Therefore, it is a good idea to move:

  • Items in good condition you use on a daily basis;
  • High quality furniture pieces;
  • Yours and your family members’ favorite items;
  • Family heirlooms and items invested with great sentimental value;
  • Fine, comfortable clothes;
  • Valuable artwork you like;
  • Anything that will make you feel at home in your new surroundings.

On the other hand, you’re recommended to sell:

  • Difficult to move items that can be bought for about the same price as you would pay for moving them – large and heavy furniture, household appliances, exercise equipment, etc.
  • Sensitive electronics and other delicate items that can be easily damaged during the move;
  • Most of your books (except for valuable ones and ones you really love);
  • Most of your dishes, glasses, and other fragile items that have no special value;
  • Spare linen, extra bedding, and anything else you have more than one of;
  • Cheap decorative items;
  • Outgrown items (clothes, shoes, toys, collections, etc.);
  • Anything you barely use or don’t like anymore;
  • Everything you won’t be able to use in your new surroundings.

How To Sell Stuff When Moving

So, once you’ve decided what to take to your new home and what to sell before moving, it’s time to put your plan into action and find an easy and profitable way to get rid of your no longer needed items.

The first thing you need to do before you can put your items for sale is assign an appropriate price to each and every one of them. As much as you’ll want to make the most money out of your belongings, be careful not to price them too high or you may not be able to sell them at all. In order to come up with the right price for an item you need to consider:

  • its market value – find out the market prices of similar items, check if your piece was made by a famous manufacturer, have it professionally evaluated if you believe it is old enough to be considered an antique or rare enough to be a collector’s item, etc.;
  • its current condition – it’s only logical that items in excellent condition will sell for higher prices than worn-out or damaged articles.

Find a way to sell your old goods at a profit.

May your successful moving sale be the first step towards your happy new life!

When you know the correct price for an item, you need to decide how you’re going to sell it. You have several good options:

  1. Sell your household good online. It’s as easy as it gets – all you need to do is write a catchy ad (make sure you include all the important information about the item you’re selling, as well as a couple of attractive pictures) and post it on one (or several) of the specialized websites for selling things online (Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, etc.). Offer discounts, answer any inquiries you receive without delay, and choose convenient and simple shipment and payment methods. Have in mind though that a lot of time may pass before you manage to sell your items. Besides, you’re likely to get a lot less for them than you should (people are looking for bargains on Craigslist and similar sites – they know that you need to get rid of your stuff quickly and take advantage of the fact).
  2. Organize a moving sale. A moving sale is a bit more difficult to organize (you need an appropriate place and plenty of time to do so), but it allows people to actually see and try the items they are interested in and provides the advantage of direct communication. If you organize the event properly (advertise it well, make the area attractive and safe, display your items in a tidy and organized manner, offer discounts and sell in bundles, etc.), you may be able to sell all (or almost all) of your stuff in one day.
  3. Take your old items to a consignment shop. This is your easiest option, but also your least profitable one. You will save yourself a lot of time and effort but you will receive your money only after your things have been sold and the amount will be considerably smaller than what you could get from a direct sale.

RELATED: How to sell old furniture when moving

Bonus tip: When someone buys an item from you, be sure to mention that most of your other household items are for sale as well.  If someone bought your bookcase, for example, they may also be interested in some of your books, shelf decors, etc. If they purchased your microwave, they may want your Pyrex dishes too. You get the idea.

One final piece of advice – when you sell your old belongings and perform your move, do not be quick to fill your new home with stuff. Buy only what is essential and what you really like – this way you will not only save your post-relocation budget, but will also be able to create the home of your dreams.


Source: My Moving Reviews

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