what are our alternatives to renting a truck for interstate moving?

We’re moving ourselves and the contents of our small, one-bedroom apartment from DC to Chicago. For several reasons, doing the U-haul route is not an option.

What can we do?

I’ve heard rumors of shipping by train, having a company drop off a big crate that you load and then is shipped, shipping item-by-item through the mail…what are our alternatives? What’s worked for you?

Our biggest items are a very small couch, a wooden chest, and a table that breaks down/the legs come off. Everything else will be boxed up in small boxes.

What do you guys suggest?

If either of you works for a large company (or one of you just got hired by one, hence the move), check with their HR department to see if they have contracts with the larger van lines, and if they make these contracts available to their employees. I was able to get a substantial discount from the traditional movers this way…

Unfortunately, neither of us has a new job yet, so it’s going to be just us. We’d also like to avoid movers if at all possible.

Door to Door moving is a company that drops off a pod in the street and you fill it up. PODS is also another company. I saw quite a few around DC. Store to Door is another one.

We just moved from Northern VA to Texas and used ABF U-Pack. They drop off a trailer in front of your place and you pack it with your stuff. They charge you per linear feet used so you need to pack your stuff in really really well. But it was $600 less than renting a truck. They were great. I highly recommend them.

You can only ship so much by train- there’s a weight limit. And you have to haul it yourselves to the Amtrak station.

Also, if you have a significant number of books, mailing them book rate can save you some money.

I second ABF U-Pack. I know 2 people who have used the service this year. Both have said they would do so again.

Have you already pared down and gotten rid of everything you can possibly get rid of before this move? Have you had enough moving sales and therefore what you’ve got left is stuff you just can’t live without? Unless you’re moving prize antiques, I think you should sell what you can and give the rest to a worthy charity. You can always buy new furniture where you’re going. Hope this helps.

We’re both 24, so our Ikea furniture is like prized antiques to us. Seriously, we’re already living as ascetic an existence as possible (except these damned books…our bedroom looks like a library), so we can’t get rid of anything else.

By the way, medstar, I see you’re from Alexandria. We’re moving from Alexandria. Wanna come help load up stuff? :wink:

Another recommendation for ABF U-Pack-It. I have two good friends who’ve each used their service to move cross-country, one from the East coast to the West coast, and the other in the opposite direction, and both have had really good experiences. Depending on how much stuff you have, it’s cheaper to move it than replace it all.

Thanks, all. I think we’re all but sold on ABF U-pack. It’s about half the price of renting a truck, and going through the horror of driving it ourselves while towing the car, plus only going 45 mph.

Ship it UPS, but put your new address in the RETURN address section, with the ship to address as your old address.

Then, when they deliver it to your old address, refuse it. They’ll return it to sender. :smiley:

Well, I moved from Alexandria to be exact. Just make sure you get the reserved parking spaces from City Hall. It’s $10 per space and $10 per sign. You’ll only need about 2 spaces. Just make sure you reserve it 3 business days before you need them. (The exact info is somewhere on the city website). Park your car in the space in front of the 2 reserved spaces when the trailer is there so the truck driver can easily come back and attach the trailer. (We had a car parked right in front of our trailer for a while. I thought she would never move.) As long as those signs are up, you’re fine. If you’re in a complex, let the manager know about it too.

Have a ladder handy when you pack and make sure to use all that space at the top. Things will fall in transit so don’t put breakables at top. The bulkheads are ok, and may bend but your stuff will stay as long as it’s packed tightly. Use blankets and newspapers to stuff holes and things. The ramps are a good thing to have while packing. We didn’t use one to unpack.

When they tell you the time range they’re going to deliver the trailer, think later not sooner. They told us 9am-1pm for delivery. They got there at 12:30pm. You don’t have to be there for pickup of the trailer. You can buy a cheap padlock to keep your belongings safe. Your driver will tell you where to put the key.

It’s a lot of work to pack the trailer, but in the end it’s really worth the money you save. Just pack well and you’ll be fine.

I’m in the process of doing a cross-country move, and I feel your pain. I used City-to-City moving (which is the same company as Door-to-Door storage) and I am very happy. It is costing me about 1/4 of what U-Haul would cost, and I’m going pretty much coast to coast. Since I am also paying for the move myself, I spent a lot of time doing price comparisons, and I think City-to-City was the best.

City-to City is a compary that drops off the ‘pod’ at your place, you pack it up over the course of a few days and lock it with your own lock, then they ship it and drop it off at your new location. The pick-up and drop off are done in three hour windows, so you don’t have to wait around for them all day.

The thing that I did, which in retrospect was the smartest thing about the whole move, was to hire a professional mover (friend of a friend, but used to be in the business) to pack my container. He managed to fit everything into one container, and got more into it than I could have believed was possible. We helped load, but he was the master loader.

Anyway, good luck on your move, I wish I was going to Chicago!