Is It Cheaper to Move Your Furniture or Buy New?
Whether you’re moving around the corner or across the country, you’ll likely take a close look at everything you own and ask “Is it cheaper to move furniture or buy new?”
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule, it’s usually less expensive to move furniture and appliances than getting rid of them and replacing them later.
Of course, it’s going to depend on some factors, such as:
- The cost of shipping the items versus replacing them
- 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 any move, you need to do your homework. Using all the tools available to you to help plan your move can save you time and money. Decide on a budget and see which moves meet your needs with a moving cost calculator. You can plug in where you’re moving, how much you’re bringing and it’ll give you an idea of how much you’ll need to spend.
By getting quotes, you can compare different types of moving services and consider a hybrid move, which can save you money if you decide to move some items yourself and leave the specialty furniture to the pros.
Now, let’s break down what it costs to move your furniture and discuss if selling or bringing everything with you is the best option.
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 because labor and transportation on local moves are usually charged by the hour, and you can move even bulky items like recliners 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|
Keep in mind if you plan on renting a U-Haul and doing the heavy lifting yourself, you’ll need to get your own moving blankets, sliders and packing materials — and possibly hire additional moving help.
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.
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 help you make your final decision, 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. Old pieces of furniture are more likely to get damaged during the moving process. You may have to buy new furniture quickly to replace broken items.
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. If you plan on donating your old furniture, make sure the charity you choose can pick up for free.
This goes for mattresses as well. Think about how old your mattress is and if it’s worth packing up and moving with you.
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. 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. You will likely view most of your furniture from a practical perspective, with only one or two pieces having any real sentimental significance.
If you have a sentimental piece that is too expensive to move or will not fit in your new space, you may want to reach out to family or friends. Giving away a sentimental piece can give you the peace of mind of knowing it’s being cared for.
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 home 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 furniture or appliances vs. buying new stuff, 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?
- What’s the monetary value of each item I’m considering replacing?
- What’s the replacement cost for each item?
- Am I capable of moving large pieces of furniture by myself?
- If I am moving heavy furniture myself, will any pieces require disassembly and will I have to go up or down stairs?
- 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 your furniture has no personal value, get the following estimates to see whether it’s cheaper to move your furniture or buy new:
- Create a shopping list of new furniture. Find out if there is a furniture store in your new city or town that works with your budget. Make sure they offer delivery and assembly if necessary.
- 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. 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.
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 the physical labor required to move the old furniture—sweat-equity matters.
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Moving old furniture vs. buying new furniture: other considerations
Although moving quotes may seem pricey, moving your furniture to your new home will likely be your best bet. Purchasing an entire home’s worth of furniture can 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?
If you’re moving a short distance, you’ll save money by moving your furniture instead of buying new. Make sure you hire reputable furniture movers or ask some hard working friends if you plan on a DIY move.
If your move is cross-country, you should consider getting rid of heavy and large items (like dressers and armoires) and buy new after you move into your new home. When you hire a moving company for a cross-country move, pay attention to customer reviews.
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.
The DOs and DONTs of whether it’s cheaper to move your furniture or buy new
DO move your furniture when:
- It has sentimental value
- It’s valuable, well-made, and in good condition
- It will fit in your new place and match the decor
- It costs more to replace than to move
- You’re renting a moving van or using moving containers and have excess space
- You’re physically able to move furniture yourself or are hiring someone to move them for you
- It’s going to be put on a moving truck and not being shipped as part of a larger shipment
DON’T move your furniture when:
- It’s worn out, or poorly made
- It has no sentimental value
- It won’t fit in your new place
- You can’t move the furniture yourself
- Money isn’t an issue
To make the most informed decision, start by using a moving cost calculator and look through real customer moving experiences to find the moving help that will work best for you.
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