Moving house is expensive. If you can do the physical move yourself, there is money to be saved. But you need to be organised.

To move without the professionals it's a good idea to start planning a couple of months before and research subjects such as how to source boxes, available storage facilities if needed, and even how to water and feed volunteer helpers if you have them.

It's a good idea to print out from the internet or create a DIY moving checklist to ensure you keep on time and on task.

Increasingly, homeowners are passing on their moving boxes to others in the community or even renting out suitable vehicles for moving, which can save a lot of time and hassle.


Moving boxes don't necessarily need to be commercial, although boxes from leading moving companies tend to be stronger and easier to stack.

A house moving pack of boxes, along with some butcher's paper and packing, costs between $459 and $579 at Storage King.

Many homeowners choose to collect banana and apple boxes from local supermarkets, restaurants and greengrocers over time. Supermarkets will often let you take 10 at a time and that soon adds up to a house lot.

Moving boxes, however, tend to take up less space overall, which might be important on moving day.

If you can't get free boxes from friends, neighbours or the local recycle centre, and don't have the time to collect them yourself, then you can buy them second hand.

Anyone who plans to pack their own belongings also needs to collect paper and/or bubble wrap. Herald readers can of course keep their old newspapers. Bubble wrap can be bought in rolls from stationery suppliers.

Another packing option, which is also environmentally friendly, is to hire moving boxes or crates from companies such as ReloCrate.

The strong, plastic, stackable, reusable ReloCrates cost less to hire than it would be to buy boxes and they don't need assembling and taping together. What's more each one gets about 600 uses and reuse is always better than recycle.

Once packed, mark each box up with the room it needs to go to at the destination; lounge, kitchen, master bedroom... With a very small household, it's possible to borrow or hire a regular trailer, horse float or work van from a friend or employer.

The next step up is to hire a dedicated furniture trailer or van. At Hirepool, furniture trailer hire starts from $123 for 24 hours, including up to 100km and GST, says Gary Richardson, general manager of sales and marketing.

It will take more than one trip to move an entire house with a furniture trailer, but is quite achievable within that 24 hours if you have a few able-bodied people to help with loading and unloading.

The next step up, says Richardson is a two-tonne truck, which costs $185 for 24 hours. "You can drive that on a car licence," he says.

If you have a heavy vehicle (HT) licence or know someone who does, then it's possible to hire a larger vehicle from Hirepool or other hire companies. However, the two-tonne truck is sufficient for most moves, says Richardson.

Hirepool is sometimes approached by people who want to do a one-way DIY move to other parts of the country.

This can cause logistical problems for the hire company if it needs the vehicle returned to its original location.

"We look at this on a case-by-case basis", says Richardson. "If we can do it, it probably won't cost more."

Anyone considering hiring a moving vehicle does need to look into the insurance situation. At Hirepool, the excess on a two-tonne truck is $2500 and can't be reduced.

Customers can pay an additional premium to reduce the excess on smaller vehicles, says Richardson. Each company has its own rules.

With a DIY move, the more you can declutter in advance the better. That means fewer boxes and pieces of furniture to pick up and carry.

If you're not good at saying goodbye to items you use infrequently, get a friend or professional in to help you declutter.

Sell big items or smaller items in bulk lots. You can also give away good belongings to local op shops or call the likes of the City Mission to collect suitable larger items.