Should You Sell All Your Stuff When You Move?

If you move a three-bedroom household from Chicago to San Diego, you’ll pay a moving company as much as $10,000, according to’s moving cost calculator. Even a DIY move can exceed $3,000 with truck rental and gas costs.

So what if you just sold it all before you hit the road?

We asked people who ditched their possessions to save money and alleviate stress on a long-distance move how they did it. Here’s what they said:

Save on moving costs

Alyssa Johnson and her husband David moved from Cleveland to Seattle with a single moving box after selling everything.

“We spent around $2,000 buying new furniture, and the cheapest way to move what we had before would have been around $5,000,” Alyssa said.

A full-service move would have cost $7,000.

Post-move perspective: “We were saving money overall but it was still difficult to spend such a huge chunk of money at once in order to make our [new] house livable,” she said.

Kids running around empty room in new house

Start fresh

When Cori Carl and her wife Casey moved from Brooklyn, NY, to Toronto, ON, they sold most of their antique and custom-made furniture and furnished their new home for $2,000 with IKEA.

“Most of our furniture sold for more than we bought it for,” said Cori. “We didn’t make a profit after moving expenses but it evened out.”

Post-move perspective: “While my condo in Toronto is very comfortable and looks great, IKEA is never going to be as nice as antiques and designer furniture nor will it hold its value,” said Cori.


Cori found living temporarily in a sparsely furnished space refreshing because her new home wasn’t dictated by the things she’d collected.

Post-move perspective: “I actually wish I’d gotten rid of more,” Cori said.

New beginnings, young man exhausted from unpacking.

Minimize moving stress

Wendy Solomon and her husband Roy sold everything when they moved from New Orleans to Chapel Hill, NC.

“We decided to keep the minimum of furniture we needed – a dining set, a loveseat and a bed,” Wendy said.

The rest they sold on Craigslist and at a garage sale.

Post-move perspective: With a couple of sentimental furniture items, the couple worried they were getting rid of memories. “However, these were short-lived feelings,” Wendy says. “Overall, it was freeing to downsize and have a fresh perspective.”

Get a new outlook

When Debi Spangler moved from Kansas City to Hollidaysburg, PA, she sold or gave away about 65 percent of her possessions. Letting things go changed her views on accumulation, she says.

Post-move perspective: “I think of everything I bring into the house now,” says Debi.

computer scrap

How to get rid of it all

Start early. Give yourself at least a month to clean and price years of accumulated items to sell or haul to the thrift store.

Organize a sale and sell stuff online. Wendy and Roy made $1,800 from a garage sale plus another $6,000 in furniture sales. List your furniture, sporting goods and appliances on Craigslist or KRRB.

Throw a giveaway party. Invite friends over to take items they fancy.

Get rid of the rest on FreecyclePeople love free stuff and will even pick it up.

Categories Moving