Packing for a cross country move

Part of our big Nova Scotia move meant actually moving. Like, all the stuff we’ve accumulated during 38 years of living, most of that time in large houses in Alberta.

We estimated we had about 10,000lbs of possessions left after selling, donating or tossing items we no longer needed. This included a few antiques – two dressers, a sideboard and coffee table – plus a handmade, extremely heavy kitchen table and two small bedside tables. No beds, mattresses, chairs, couches or any other furniture. No lawn mower, BBQ, patio furniture, bookshelves – we sold it all. 

We looked at movers, or renting a moving truck. It would have cost roughly $11,000 for a reputable mover. To move it ourselves with a rental, we were quoted around $7,000 for a one way U-Haul (plus gas and hotels). Pack your own container services were roughly $15,000.

After discussing our options, we decided to buy a small trailer to move everything ourselves. The 7×14 trailer was $3,500, and we’ll likely keep it for the business. We had to buy a large truck anyway for the new business, so that cost isn’t included.

But 7×14 isn’t very big, even with the bed of the truck, and I lined up some back up options. 

When friends came over during the packing stage, many expressed surprise at some of the stuff we were taking. Keith’s Bowflex, power tower, fish tank, bar fridge. Boxes and boxes of photo albums. At least 20 boxes of kids clothing/snow suits/footwear the next couple of sizes up. 

I think people expected us to literally sell everything. But even though it’s expensive to move, it’s more expensive to sell everything and have to buy it again! A box that weighed 8lbs and cost $8 to ship held $300 in brand new Sport Chek snowsuits, purchased for $50 at samples sales from when I worked at Sport Chek’s head office. The bar fridge cost $250 to buy, and $50 to ship. 

So ship it we did. 

In the end, we had to use a combination of shipping options. We filled the truck and trailer with the heaviest and most precious items. 

These boxes shipping via moving company for roughly $1,200. They included clothing, blankets, books and other items we could wait two months to receive. 


A friend worked for WestJet and let me use his discount to send these boxes for $70 (screaming deal!) which my uncle generously accepted on the other end and held for us. 

And yes, for the friends that visited and saw what we were packing – I did spend $100 shipping STUFFIES! I moved around a lot as a kid and remember how much more difficult the moves were because I had to give up nearly everything I owned again and again. It made the move that much more wrenching, and my new surroundings so alien, that I promised myself I wouldn’t do that to my kids. 

We’re now halfway across the country, and very much hoping to have everything we wanted on the east coast arrive with us or shortly behind!

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