Is It Cheaper to Move Your Furniture or Buy New?

Whether you’re moving around the corner or across the country, you may be wondering if it’s cheaper to move your furniture or buy new.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but it’s usually (not always) less expensive to move furniture and appliances than to get rid of them and replace them later.

Of course, it depends on factors like the cost to ship the items versus replacing them and whether you’re hiring a professional moving company or using moving containers.

In this post, we’ll look at the question from every angle to help you decide which option makes the most sense.

Before reading on, check out these helpful resources:

  • Moving cost calculator – What a great budgeting tool! Just add your origin and destination information and move size, and let the magic algorithm handle the rest.
  • Consider a hybrid move – Save money and reduce stress by completing some tasks yourself and paying professionals to do others.
  • Cheapest ways to move out of state – Pinching pennies is more important than ever. Thankfully, moving from state to state doesn’t need to cost a fortune.

The cost difference between moving and replacing furniture on local and long-distance moves

On local moves, it’s usually more cost-effective to move items than to get rid of them and replace them after settling into your new place.

This is mainly because labor and transportation on local moves are usually charged by the hour, and you can move bulky items like triple dressers and refrigerators fairly quickly.

Below are a few examples to illustrate the cost differences:

Item(s) Average cost to move locally (as part of a full move) Estimated replacement cost
Refrigerator Less than $50 $1,000 or more
Bedroom set Between $100 and $200 Well over $1,000 when bought new
Hot tub About $100 Well over $1,000 when bought new

On the other hand, the decision to move or replace items may not be so clear on long-distance moves because interstate move charges are based on important factors like weight (or volume) and mileage.

In some cases, the cost to ship one item as part of a larger shipment can be hundreds of dollars or more.

Below are a few examples to illustrate the cost differences on a long-distance move:

Item(s) Average cost to move to another state (as part of a full move) Estimated replacement cost
Refrigerator Between $200 and $500 $1,000 or more
Bedroom set Between $250 and $1,000 Well over $1,000 when bought new
Hot tub About $200 to $300 Well over $1,000 when bought new

Of course, these figures are just estimates. Your actual moving and replacement costs will vary depending on how and when you move and whether you’re considering buying new or pre-owned items.

To clarify the decision-making process, ask each moving company to provide quotes that include and exclude the items in question.

Is it practical to move your furniture?

If your furniture has seen its best days, then it may not be worth the cost and hassle to move. Older furniture is more likely to get damaged during the move. You may have to buy new furniture quickly to replace broken items while leaving the trashed pieces (that you just paid to have moved) at your new home’s curb.

And how will your old furniture fit in your new home? Make sure you have a good idea of room layouts and where your old pieces will go. Take measurements and think through how you will arrange old pieces in the new space.

Also, keep the interior design in mind. Will your old furniture match up with your new living space? Your old recliner may look out of place in a contemporary new living room.

Does your furniture have personal value?

Sometimes a piece of furniture can have sentimental value. Perhaps an armchair was passed down through your family for generations. A bookcase from your college years may still evoke fond memories of your past. It’s okay to be soft-hearted about personal belongings. Emotional value can outweigh the practicality of moving costs.

However, all pieces of furniture in your home aren’t family heirlooms. Take a hard look at each piece of furniture you possess. Evaluate whether or not each one matters that much to you. You will likely view most of your furniture from a practical perspective, with only one or two pieces having any real sentimental significance.

Conflicts can arise. Sometimes a sentimental piece is too expensive to move or will not fit in your new space. In those instances, you may want to reach out to family or friends to see if they can “adopt” the sentimental piece. This way, you always have the peace of mind of knowing where that emotionally valuable piece of furniture resides, even if not in your new home.

What’s the dollar value of your furniture?

If you have high-quality, expensive furniture that will last you a long time, then it’s worth moving it. But keep in mind that pricey furniture has to be appreciated. If you are holding onto a designer couch just because it cost you a fortune back in the day, you probably won’t love it any better in your new home.

Think about what will make you happy in your new space, and compare that to what you can afford. Weighing the cost of the move with what you truly want in your new house is the only way to a positive outcome.

Factors to consider when thinking about moving or buying new furniture

If you’re thinking about the pros and cons of moving vs. buying furniture or appliances, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I moving locally, out of state, or overseas?
  • Will my items be stored or moved directly into a new residence? (replacing items may be cheaper than storing them long-term)
  • Am I hiring movers or doing the move myself?
  • How much are my moving quotes?
  • How much is my shipment worth?
  • What’s the monetary value of each item I’m considering replacing?
  • What’s the replacement cost for each item?
  • Are the items in such bad condition that I can’t move them safely?
  • Am I capable of moving bulky and heavy furniture by myself?
  • Will I get a tax write-off for donating gently used items?
  • Will the donation or charity center pick my items up for free?

How to make an old furniture vs. new furniture estimate

Assuming the furniture has no personal value, get the following numbers to make the best estimation of whether or not old vs. new furniture will make a difference in your moving cost.

  1. Create a shopping list of new furniture. This would give you a price range if you were to buy new. Also, with new pieces of furniture, include additional costs such as delivery and assembly to get the most accurate bottom line number.
  2. Look at the space of your new house to decide how much of the old furniture fits in. Some pieces will. Some may not. This pre-move preview will give you a better idea of how much furniture you need to move and how much you need to buy.
  3. If working with a professional mover, ask for two estimates. A moving service can give you one estimate with all of your old furniture included and one without the furniture. You can then compare the cost of moving your old furniture to that of brand-new furniture. Keep in mind that moving companies have a minimum weight price, so reducing the load may not make a difference. In that case, moving your old furniture will make more sense financially than buying new.
  4. If moving yourself, look at estimates for two different size moving trucks. Again, compare those numbers with the cost of new furniture to see if it’s worth it. Take into account your own (and others’) physical labor required to move the old furniture—sweat-equity matters.

Moving old furniture vs. buying new furniture: other considerations

Although, at first, moving quotes may seem high, moving your furniture to your new home will likely be your best bet. Purchasing an entire home’s worth of furniture will be very expensive. Not to mention, delivery for furniture is usually relatively high.

What else should you have in mind when making your decision?

Is your move local or long-distance?

We should say that if you’re having a local or short-distance move, you’ll save money by moving your furniture instead of buying new.

If your move is cross-country, this is where you should be considering the alternative.

Will you require storage?

Storing in and of itself isn’t very expensive, but think about how you will transport your items to and from the storage unit. You may be able to avoid storing large furniture pieces by downsizing and buying new furniture.

That said, you should understand the ins and outs of storage before making a decision based on it for your move. You may choose the most storage-friendly moving option: hiring a moving container company.

However, this is all relative to each person’s situation. Because of this, get a moving estimate and contact the most reputable moving companies.

This will assure you that you have all the information you need to make the move that’s best for YOU.

Takeaways for anyone considering moving vs. replacing furniture

We suggest moving furniture items when:

  • They have sentimental value
  • They’re valuable, well-made, and in good condition
  • They’ll fit in your new place and match the decor
  • It would cost more to replace them than to move them
  • You’re renting a moving van or using moving containers and have excess space
  • You’re physically able to move them yourself or are hiring someone to move them for you
  • They’re in your household goods shipment as opposed to being moved by themselves

It’s best to get rid of and replace items when:

  • They’re cheap, worn out, and poorly made
  • They have no sentimental value
  • They won’t fit in your new place
  • They’re hopelessly outdated
  • You can’t move them yourself
  • Money isn’t an issue
  • You only want to upgrade one or two items (not everything you own)

Frequently asked questions (faqs)

Should I buy new furniture before I move?

No, because you’ll pay to have it moved, and it could get damaged. To save money and play it safe, it’s best to replace items after moving into your new residence.

Is it better to move with or without furniture?

Decluttering and downsizing before a move can be therapeutic. It can also save tons of money by eliminating things you no longer need, use, or want. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for every situation.

Is moving furniture expensive?

Moving furniture doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, but the more you move, the more you’ll generally pay. Our moving cost calculator is an excellent pre-move budgeting tool.

What is the cheapest way to move my furniture?

Check out this post for the cheapest ways to move cross-country and this one for the most inexpensive ways to move locally.

Should I ship my mattress or buy a new one?

If you’re trying to decide whether to replace or move your mattress, think about how old it is, what shape it’s in, whether it’ll fit in your new place, and how much it would cost to buy a new one.

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