Auckland Moving Hacks
Let me just say it here: I never want to move again! Two moves in one year is too much, and even though this move was much simpler since it was from one Auckland house to another and not from the other side of the planet, it was (and is!) incredibly stressful. Like every move, we did some things wrong and some things right. I have a few domestic moving tips to share that I hope you find helpful.
Free moving boxes and supplies are readily available. Yes, there are periodically boxes posted on Facebook Marketplace and Neighbourly, but if you can’t find any when you need to move, try calling the big moving companies like NZ Vanlines. This company unpacks and removes the boxes from bigger (and often international) moves, and they have to do something with all of those leftovers. NZ Vanlines hooked us up with all of the boxes we needed, plus new packing paper and rolls of packing tape. We had everything we needed for our domestic move for free. And after the craziness that was the last movers packing our household goods, there was no way I was going to let anyone else pack this time around.
Large hardware stores and some nurseries have complementary trailers. If you don’t need to move a ton of furniture and aren’t traveling a huge distance, it might be more economical to buy something large, like a huge piece of plywood or big planter, to take advantage of the free trailers some stores (i.e. Bunnings) provide to get that purchase home. We happened to need a few pieces of wood for some building projects, but were able to keep the trailer for a few hours to move some straggling pieces from the old house to the new house.
Moving companies are inexpensive. If you just need someone to move boxes and furniture, there are lots of small moving companies that are relatively inexpensive. We used No 1 Movers to haul most of our stuff from point A to point B. We got 3 guys and a large, new truck for NZ$160 (+ GST - this was one time when GST wasn’t included). They were thorough, pleasant, and able to carry all of the large, heavy boxes with no problem. Would I trust them with my grandmother’s china? Probably not. But they were absolutely fine for our needs. To give you some perspective, their hourly rate was about US$125. The last time we moved in the US and had 2 guys and a truck, it was $150 per hour.
Cheap storage is available. When we first moved, we knew our rental house was temporary and we didn’t want to get rid of the extra furniture we had on hand just yet. What if it was perfect in our next house? We found lots of self storage facilities, but they weren’t cheap. However, we found that NZ Vanlines would happily store two huge crates of furniture and other goods for NZ$108 (US$73) per month. The downside is that it isn’t a go-in-and-rummage-at-your-leasure kind of situation. When we were ready to move, they delivered our goods to the new house for NZ$145. It was the cheapest storage situation ever, and for us, it worked because we didn’t need to look through our stored items frequently.
To steal a common phrase, “Be a Tidy Kiwi.” Pay it forward with your free packing material and try to give it away to someone else. Those cardboard boxes and packing paper are usable for several moves. Alternatively, save the material for your next move. I can’t tell you how many expats I’ve met who had every intention of staying put in the first house they moved into, but found themselves moving a year into their Great Kiwi Adventure.