Moving and Planning to Return: Store or Sell?

by AJ Pettersen · 5 comments

Moving furniture

My fiancée and I will be moving south this winter, but we plan on returning to the midwest at the end of the baseball season. This presents an interesting problem for us. We’ve furnished an apartment at our current location, but it’d be difficult to transport all of our belongings.

Should we store or sell our possessions that can’t make the trip? What’s the correct choice?

Selling: Make a Little Extra Cash

While selling may take some time and effort, it would provide my fiancée and me with a little extra money in our pockets. We’d only consider selling bigger items that won’t fit in our sedan on the way down, such as our bed, couch, desk, dresser, and TV stand. They’d take up too much space (or not fit at all) and it’d be too costly to find alternate transportation for them.

We could probably get around $500 for all of our items, which could be nice for buying or renting furniture when we get to our new home.

The down side of selling would be the extra cost of purchasing new furniture when we returned after the baseball season. If we make a similar trip for a number of years in a row, this would get quite expensive — and would be a big waste of time.

Have you ever sold your belongings before a big move? How was your experience?

Storing: Convenience on the Back End

Storing our bigger items would be nice upon our return to the midwest. We’d be able to furnish another apartment without buying anything new. My fiancée’s mother has a storage unit with a lot of open space; she told us that we could split the cost with her if we wanted. For around $50 per month over 8 months, we could store everything and have it waiting for us when we return.

But that’s still $400 for our possessions to sit for months on end. Though it seems like a waste, it may still turn out to be a money-saving move. The up-side is that we’d be helping my future mother-in-law save a bit of money in the process.

What’s Best?

My fiancée and I will need to find out what’s best for us. While an extra $500 would be nice, it wouldn’t be much towards buying new furniture when we return at the end of the summer. There will also be extra temptation for us to spend the perceived windfall (even though it’s not free cash at all). Storing our items would be nice when we get back, but spending $400 to store furniture seems a bit wasteful.

What do you think is our best option? Have you ever been in a similar situation and had to make the same decision?

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  • Shane says:

    If you plan on returning I would think you should store it. But you could get a new storage unit with a sign up bonus of a free month or two, then you could move your mother in laws stuff in there and save some money too.

  • Cat says:

    Christine had a great idea based on experience. I am off to sell the small stuff!

  • B.J. Mctavish says:

    So, you’re going to rent a place for 4 months and then hit the road again? That’s what it sounds like. In that case, look into rooming with mother-in-law for 4 months, or finding a furnished, corporate apartment.

    You don’t make it clear if the move is one time only, for this season, or you will be doing it for several seasons.

    If this will be ongoing, I would look into renting a furnished room/studio apartment for the four months you are “at home,” getting rid of your furniture and putting the proceeds into a savings account.

  • Christine says:

    Between my husband and I we’ve done this both ways. I moved across the country and sold basically everything I owned. It was a good decision at the time. I was leaving graduate school and most of my stuff was crap and not worth it’s weight to move. I was also moving into a mostly furnished house with my then boyfriend, now husband.

    When my husband went on his first deployment (as a non-married guy), he put all his stuff in storage for 6 months rather than pay rent for that time. Also a good decision for the situation he was in.

    My advice? Sell stuff that you don’t want or need so that you can rent the smallest storage unit possible. Seriously, the key to this is not having tons of stuff. Then pack what you need for down South. I think the storage unit is absolutely worth it because you are definitely going to lose money if you keep selling and re-buying furniture.

  • Think of it this way. If you sell now for $500 and have to buy new furniture for more than $900 you have eventually spent more than $400.

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