Picture of a young lady deciding how to move her studio apartment without a car.

How To Move Without a Car

Ways To Move Without Owning a Car

In much of the United States, nearly everyone owns a car, but more than 10 million households in the U.S. do not have a vehicle, according to the Census Bureau. This fact makes sense, considering how many people live in urban areas where cars are comparatively more expensive and less necessary.

Living near a city center might make walking or taking transit more convenient than owning a car, regardless of economic status. Anyone can do well by avoiding the hassles of parking, filling up gas, and vehicle maintenance in favor of the urban, car-free lifestyle. However, not having a car becomes more of a problem when it comes time to move. Luckily there are many moving services you can choose from when you do not have a car.

Ways To Move Yourself Without a Car

Moving can be much more difficult when relocating across town or to an entirely different state when you don't have a vehicle. Making a move doesn't mean you have to buy a car. If you'd rather not own a vehicle at your new location, it might make sense to find another method of transportation.

Take Transit or Rideshare

For short and simple moves, you could take multiple trips with Uber, Lyft, or public transit to get all your belongings to your new residence. However, costs will add up quickly, and your stuff will take up more space than you think. Finding a vehicle, like a rental truck, that can carry larger loads and offer greater independence for your move is usually a better solution.

Phone a Friend

If you are moving within the same city and only have a little stuff, your solution could be as simple as calling a friend who owns a car and asking them to help. You might accomplish your whole move by compensating your friend for gas and taking them to lunch.

If you decide to go this route, you should organize your packing carefully in advance; to ensure everything is moved efficiently in your friend's vehicle. However, if you have too much stuff or must move a long distance, it may be best to avoid burdening your friends.

Rent a Truck

Consider renting a truck from a company like U-Haul or Penske, enabling you to fit much more stuff in one trip. Many truck companies even allow you to pick up the truck in one location and drop it off in another, making it possible to move between cities with relative ease. Other advantages of renting a car may include the following:

  • Flexibility to move on your schedule, choosing when to get the truck and how long to keep it.
  • Customizing services like the size of the truck and additional supplies like moving boxes or pads.
  • Saving money over hiring a moving service.

However, there are many cases where a rental truck is not the best option. Remember that when you rent a truck, it's up to you to load and unload your belongings, drive the truck, and return it safely. Any accidents that happen, whether to your property or someone else's, will be entirely on you to cover, and this could potentially increase the cost of your move by quite a bit.

Ship Your Stuff

If you are moving from one city to another or even moving internationally, consider shipping some or all of your belongings. This method allows you to travel in whatever way is most convenient, including by air, and receive your items promptly at your new location. This solution can make your move more expedient and less stressful overall.

While it's possible to pack and ship items on your own through the Postal Service, you must obtain all the proper supplies, like boxes and padding, and pack everything just right to avoid damage. You may then be able to arrange home pickup for your packages, but you might have to transport them yourself to a dropoff location, depending on the services in your area.

Another solution is to use a specialized cross-country shipping service. This service can relieve tension and ensure your valuables are handled respectfully and with fragility. A company like Ship Smart can send professionals to your home to expertly pack your items and ensure their safe delivery to your new location, no matter where it is.

How To Hire Help for Moving

Moving is always a considerable endeavor, whether or not you own a vehicle. The time and effort that goes into planning, packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking can be a considerable drain when you're already thinking about how to get started with life in a new place, and mistakes can be costly. For these reasons, hiring help for part or all of your move might be best.

Moving Labor Service

One option is hiring people to help you with labor. A moving labor service will send people to help with packing and unpacking, loading and unloading, and even furniture assembly or disassembly. The main advantage of this service is that it spares you much of the physical work, and it's cheaper than hiring a full-service company.

However, a labor service can only eliminate some of the stress, and there are still additional moving expenses and a need for a vehicle. Even though workers can accompany and assist you on your move, you'll likely have to rent a truck and drive it yourself. Since damage can occur during the drive, you will also be responsible if any damages occur. Hiring a labor-only service is still a significant risk and does not solve your vehicle problem.

Portable Container Service

If you don't mind doing the labor yourself but want to avoid driving, you could order a portable container service. This solution involves hiring a company that drops a storage container at your current home and delivers it to your new home after you've packed it. Sometimes called the 'you-pack-they-ship' model, this service has the advantages of letting you take your time packing and unpacking, leaving the transport up to someone else, and potential cost savings over a full-service company.

However, your items may get damaged during shipment, you could experience delivery delays, and you may need more professional assistance loading or unloading. If you have valuable items or a time-sensitive schedule for moving, there may be better options than portable container services.

Small Move Service

To move a small apartment's worth of things to a new city in the most efficient way, you can enlist the professional help of a small move service. Small moves total less than 2,000 pounds of goods or the amount that might fit into a 10-foot moving truck.

Rather than rent and drive a truck yourself, you could hire a small move service to take care of everything, including the time-consuming packing and unpacking process.

A small move specialty company like Ship Smart can offer several advantages for making your move smoother and safer, including:

  • Providing a truck and professional drivers.
  • Customized options that allow you to pay only for the services you need.
  • Protection for your valuables and insurance for any accidents.

If you are okay with transporting most of your items in a truck by yourself but would rather not risk it with certain things, there is one more type of professional service you should consider.

Packing and Shipping Service

It would be best to consider using a professional packing and shipping service for those unique valuables you can't compromise. By doing so, you can have experienced pros come to your current home to pack or crate your essential items, guaranteeing a safe and on-time delivery to your new location.

High-value or sentimental pieces like antiques, family heirlooms, delicate dishware, or artwork deserve this kind of specialized attention. You might choose another method for the remainder of your belongings, like renting a truck or using a general moving service.

It's essential to consider every item's value and decide which ones warrant professional care. Leaving those up to the pros means you can go car-free and carefree for the rest of your move.

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