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SamIAm's avatar

I am shipping 12-15 boxes across the country, what is the cheapest way to do this?

Asked by SamIAm (8633 points ) November 22nd, 2009

I’m moving on the 1st and need to ship my entire life to California. I did this a few years ago (moved to Florida) but I can’t remember exactly how I scheduled to have the boxes picked up and shipped so that I would receive them on a certain date. I know sites like FedEx have a way for you to enter the size and weight of the box and I will definitely look further into that but I am wondering if there is a cheaper way?

I would like to boxes to arrive by the 3rd of December, and I plan to have about 12— 15 boxes (ranging from book sized to extra large) all under 70lbs.

Does anyone have any experience doing this or something similar? Would it be cheaper to look into moving companies? How do I go about this? I’m so stressed out over this stupid stuff, I need all the help in the world – and you guys are by far the best :)

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7 Answers

Beta_Orionis's avatar

Are any of your boxes filled with books/CDs/DVD’s ? I moved from California back to Pennsylvania recently and what really helped was shipping about 10 boxes as Media mail. They arrive more slowly, but are extremely affordable.

SamIAm's avatar

@Beta_Orionis : one of the boxes has books and one will have cds & dvds but the others will not and some are large. who did you ship with??

jaytkay's avatar

@Samantha_Rae Media Mail is the US Mail

You really have to try the online calculators. Costs change, and the dimensions of the boxes makes a difference

http://postcalc.usps.gov/
https://wwwapps.ups.com/ctc/request?loc=en_US&WT.svl=PNRO_L1
http://fedex.com/us/

For movers, I would call and get 2 or 3 estimates, they vary a lot.

Jeruba's avatar

My son recently shipped 21 boxes of wildly assorted sizes and weights from the Northeast to California. After exploring all options, he chose USPS. There was no method that you could call cheap, but the hassle factor is worth something. This is a quick, reliable service, and you don’t have to make pickup and delivery appointments or haul your boxes a long way to a dropoff point. You just go down to your post office, which is, thankfully, still in business. Everything was delivered here to the house (over a span of about 5 days), and all arrived intact.

The calculators are good if you have exact weights and dimensions (or if you’re a commercial shipper), but he had no way to compute all that for 21 boxes. He just went with a very general comparison. As I recall, the final tab was something over $500, but a good $100 less than we expected.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@Samantha_Rae Media rate is with the USPS.

@Jeruba‘s estimate regarding the USPS seems accurate from what I remember. In addition to the media rate, we shipped 5 normal / reasonably sized boxes (not much bigger than file boxes) which ran us around $85. The only thing I can think to point out in that regard is that you really need to pack your boxes carefully and tape them well. More than a few belongings got crunched and a few boxes were barely held together at the seams by the time they reached us in PA. Part of what you pay for (presumably) with shipping companies is the treatment of your packages in transit.

Darwin's avatar

I used Gator Freight when I shipped literally a ton of books from Florida to Arizona. You do have to have the boxes at an address that is accessible by an 18-wheeler, and they have to be delivered somewhere where there will be someone during typical office hours to accept them. I shipped them from a house in Florida to the Biology Department at the university I was moving to for grad work. It was the cheapest game in town, working out to about $8.00 per box. Typically a “book box” full of books ships for about $20 with USPS Media Mail.

However, like the post office you have to be certain your stuff is packed well in sturdy boxes that will tolerate being flung and stacked. And unlike moving companies or even USPS/UPS/etc. insurance, if it gets damaged it’s your problem, not theirs.

cookiesncream's avatar

I’m a 56 yr.old widow on disability. I’m planning on moving to Arizona soon. And, I was thinking about selling my big things, like my bed, dresser, etc., and just having about 10 to 12 boxes shipped to Arizona. The problem I have, is I don’t have anyway to get the boxes to the post office, so I can have them shipped by USPS. Is there a place that also picks them up, and takes them where they need to go? It’s hard to get people to help with things like that, when you live alone, and don’t drive!

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