Moving via UPS

I’ve just arranged to have all my stuff shipped from New Jersey to California via UPS. Let me tell you a little about my experience:

I’ve got 2 shipments… 150 lbs of computer equipment being shipped to my apartment. It’s going 2 day air because such packages are usually treated kinder in the UPS system. Cost: about $350. I’ve also got 1,100 lbs of stuff being shipped directly Ground to a storage space in San Francisco for about $700. Total cost: about $1,100.

I found that any other option would have cost two to four times as much. If you can find cheaper, please tell me! PODS would cost a cheap $200/month for the storage space but $3,000 to ship it cross country. Movers charge $0.50-$1.00 per mile…. * 3,200 miles is expensive. It would have been nice if a mobile storage unit company like PODS would work with a rail line to get the cost of a long haul shipment down.

Packing boxes for UPS is much different than packing boxes for moving. It takes quite a bit longer and is quite a pain in the neck. 50 boxes all carefully packed with cushioning and styrofoam peanuts. Ugh.

To accept the packages at the storage space, I’m going to have to sit there and wait all day for them. But it’s better than finding 1,200 lbs of stuff at the door of my second story apartment! Not all storage spaces will let UPS pull up to their loading dock.


  1. Catherine says:

    Hi there,

    Your post came up via google (“moving & UPS”). I was just wondering how this worked out for your last summer. I will be moving from California to Michigan (around 1 bedroom apt’s worth of stuff, but no furniture other than TV) at the end of this month, and the cheapest way seems to be: get rid of as much stuff as I can and then mail it all with UPS. Then, drive my car with a few things that are important/leftover. Did you end up using UPS? Was anything damaged? Would you do the same again?

    Thanks a bunch in advance!!


  2. Bathes in milk says:

    A friend of mine used package express via Amtrak, ansd UPS for breakables, Media Mail for books. I am in MA and heading to California and pretty much purging lots of stuff, selling books via Amazon. A mathematician friend said it costs about five dollars a pound to move stuff (that was in 98)–so the question is can youreplace it for less than five a pound…your mileage may vary. Good luck! It is such an adventure!

  3. Powerfrau says:

    I am so glad you helped me downsize to a laptop! : D

  4. Catherine says:

    Bathes: Thanks! Unfortunately Amtrak package express doesn’t have a Bay Area shipping station :( I wonder if there’s another cheap yet realiable shipping option.. Good luck on your move!

  5. Bathes in Milk says:

    Uhaul and truck rentals were incredibly costly, for coast to coast moves–simply due to higher fuel prices. There are some pod prices a bit lower than Lee paid, but they may not head out to where you are headed.

  6. Lee says:

    Bathes, what’s the name of those container services you’ve been thinking of? PODS, Something Door-To-Door, and…. oh.. the one that Aaron and Shani used. $1,800 coast to coast for 1 container. That’s likely the best deal around.

    I found that my move via UPS worked great. Though packing for UPS is a lot more time consuming than packing for movers… every package must be “UPS dropable”… cushioning etc. Just imagine how you pack a box to haul out to a moving truck vs how you pack a box to go in the mail.


  7. bathes in Milk says: and Upack or something similar. I queried on move/ Uhaul/Penske and got a pile of unsolicitated information. I am considering a steamer or oceanliner and one of those elegant bon voyage parties, a steamer trunk, a row of servants to serve me champagne, keep my hat dusted, and my gloves white…a beautiful semi-victorian dress, and an exceptionally broad hat aka “insert your favorite period novel here” or just like “Out of Africa.” My apologies for the frivolities. The move has gone to my head and I am saying farewell to my Victorian furniture. Sigh. The steamer trunk was sold two seasons back. Sigh.

  8. Lee says:

    Check out

    And U-Pack moving containers.

    I haven’t researched these at all. Note that I found Movingscam because I googled “upack” and turned it up so there might be a -big- problem with the company. Tell me about your research!

  9. Lee says:

    PS. Don’t forget your mosquito netting if you go through the Panama canal!

  10. Chris says:

    Thanks so much. This was the kind of information I needed as I am considering doing the same thing to go from Orlando to Chicago

  11. lee says:

    Chris, slad I can help! This info is wow, 5 years old but should be mostly valid. Please write back and tell me how it works out for you!

  12. Bathesinmilk says:

    Recently my brother in law told me that you can bid on trucking services to ship things.
    Do check out the scams end of it. Also, sometimes you can split a move/pod or vehicle with somebody else who is heading that direction. Have a great adventure, Chris!

  13. Chris says:

    Actually I changed my mind and decided to just use a moving company since my company is paying for my moving costs and hopefully it will be easier in the long run. Thanks again

  14. lee says:

    If your company is paying for it, hey! that’s totally easier and ($0) cheaper.

  15. Mike says:

    Just came across this today while contemplating how to move. Since I’m moving to a furnished apartment and have some time, I’m thinking about shipping my clothes and accessories via UPS ground. It seems a lot cheaper than any other option. Glad to see someone else has thought of it!

  16. lee says:

    Mike, yup, it worked out pretty well. I hope your move goes well too. As for the clothes, I hope you get to throw out all your clothes instead of bringing them with because they are too large. Good luck with the weight loss.

  17. Alex says:

    I guess it was no UPS Freight LTL. Did you consider them? Was it more expensive or inconvenient?

  18. lee says:

    It was a while ago, but I think I remember considering LTL and it didn’t save money but added complexity. Regular UPS was pretty easy.

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