Shipping a Few Household Items Out of State

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • My sister, who lives in the Greenlake area of Seattle, has agreed to let me have our grandmother's buffet cabinet if I can figure out how to get it to Albany.

    I've seen that UPS offers such a service, but have no idea if that's the best way to go.

    Any advice?

    [Moderator Note: see past advice here:  Shipping a Few Household Items Out of State ]

    I used to bring a vintage trailer down from Washington, and it worked out great. The trailer basically caught a ride with someone who was driving from up there to Southern California. People use the service for furniture, too.

    I had to move a dresser, vanity mirror, table lamp, and a handful of boxes from Eastern Washington to Oakland. I priced out UPS but the cost ended up being much higher than just hiring a moving company. Because my shipment was so small, my cost ratcheted up to their minimum fee rather than being based strictly on weight. Moving something the size of a dresser--or a buffet cabinet--is expensive no matter how you slice it. I used Bekins; they were very professional and easy to work with, the move was uneventful, and every thing arrived on schedule and undamaged. 

    I did contemplate renting a U-Haul truck and moving everything myself, but wanted the assurance of pros, and the insurance, because the furniture pieces were family heirlooms. I did previously move a large and unique but not fragile or particularly valuable item by renting a U-Haul pickup truck ($19.95 a day plus mileage), driving up to Washington and driving it back down. It was cheaper than flying and doing a one-way rental. We were clearing out my Mom's house after she moved into a retirement home, so the truck did double duty since we used it for multiple runs to Goodwill and the dump while we were there.

    I don't know if you are still looking for a shipping method, but Greyhound ships at a good price.  It does take a while to arrive but if you can wait a little while for it, it was worth it, price-wise.  My mother-in-law shipped a rocking chair to us and it arrived in great condition.

  • Hello,

    I know this question has been asked before but my search didn't yield any results.  I need to move some furniture and memorabilia from Washington D.C. area.  Does anyone have a company to recommend that's not too expensive?   Thanks so much,

    We used ABF. You have to pack/load items yourself (or hire someone to do so) but our move with them was very efficient and affordable.

    We just moved from Berkeley to Texas and found the Ubox from Uhaul to be the best price to move stuff. You will have to pack stuff yourself, but it gives you the flexibility to move as much or as little stuff as you need to.

    Good luck with the move! 

  • Shipping household goods to NYC

    (3 replies)

    My daughter and her BF moved to NY recently. They are staying with her aunt who lives on Long Island. My daughter told me they recently found an apartment in Manhattan and would like me to ship some of her things to her. No big items. Maybe only 4-5 boxes. We've used ABF before to another part of the country but shipping furniture etc using one of their pods. What company did you use? I'm thinking UPS. Any other recs? How much did it cost? I'd like a ballpark figure; I know it depends on weight, # of boxes and shipping time. Also, I'm assuming it's best to have someone there to receive the boxes. Any tips you have are appreciated.

    I just made the same move in the opposite direction. I used a site called college boxes.  they have an option called something like direct shipping which anyone can use. It's basically fed ex, I sent 4 boxes, approx 45 pounds each for around $80 a piece. It was very easy.

    Look into Amtrak. I think they still have the service where you pay $67 for the first 100lbs and then cents on the dollar for every pound over that. Back when I moved here in 1991 it took about 4 days fromg Philadelphia to Emeryville. You get a tracking and claim number and your daughter picks it up at the NYC Amtrak station. It was a great experience for me.

    I recently used FedEx Ground to ship boxes to my daughter leaving for college.  You may need to register for an account to select the Ground option which I believe is the cheapest.  I also opted for having the boxes held and picking them up at a FedEx location to avoid the risk of no one being available to receive them but that may not be convenient in NYC.  Another option that someone recommended is Greyhound Package Express.  Both sites allow you to calculate time and cost based on the specifications of your boxes and the destination.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Shipping framed art across the country

April 2013

My elderly mother is moving back east and has willingly given up most of her possessions. At this point she does not need a moving unit but has a few special things including some framed art. Is there a place in the east bay or sf that anyone can recommend to have them packed (maybe crated) and sent? Heather

I use Norton Fine Art Handling in Emeryville to ship my paintings that are under glass. They will build the wooden crate and ship anywhere. It's not cheap, but they're great. Artist

Atthowe Fine Art (Oakland) and ShipArt International (SF) are two reputable art shippers. Tell them you want the art on a shuttle, and have the dimensions on hand. Also important to note if there is glass as opposed to plexi glazing. Soft pack is the cheapest option, then travel frame, then crate. In a fine art shuttle you may not need to pay for the more expensive options. Valerie

We have never mailed framed art but I know that the Berkeley Packaging Store specializes in shipping art. I've seen some AMAZING and quite valuable art there when I've been shipping my mundane items. They're located 1625 University Ave., 2 blocks east of Sacramento. Sally

Moving some furniture from Indiana

March 2013

I am looking to move 4-5 pieces of furniture from my Mom's estate in Indiana to our house here. The largest piece is a 7 foot breakfront/china cabinet and the smallest is a couple of end tables. Does anyone have recommendations of a moving company that will move just a few pieces of furniture for a reasonable cost? I am in no hurry since we won't put the house on the market until early summer. Thanks!

I recently completed a move from the Midwest using Mayflower using their container option and have nothing but good things to say about the company - professional services, reasonable prices, on time delivery and everything in perfect condition. I would go with their container option where the containers are sealed when the movers leave your household and only reopened when they deliver them as it eliminates the transition points and opportunities for items to go missing or get broken due to being handled many times throughout the move (load and unload local truck for pickup, load and unload cross-country truck for transit, load and unload local truck for delivery). The cheapest route would be a self-pack service like PODS or U-Pack or Pack Rat - but then you would have to load the furniture yourself. anon

Shipping a coffee table to Portland

Jan 2010

I want to ship a fairly large but not heavy wooden coffee table from Berkeley to Portland, OR. Looking for any good suggestions that are not too expensive. Shipping via Greyhound would be fine except that the table is 84'' long which exceeds their length requirement The table is 84''x30''x17'' and weighs less than 75 lbs. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. anon

Try describe your item to be shipped and your desired price-point. Shippers bid on your item and you select the one that works for you. We did it recently to get a scooter from Idaho to CA and it worked out great. Anon

Shipping a sofa out of state

Jan 2007

I need to have a queen size sleeper sofa shipped to Albuquerque, NM from San Francisco. Is there a freight company that can do this without charging more than the couch is worth? We have gotten one quote for $500 which seems too much. Two freight companies I have called only deal with businesses, not residences, and will only ship new furniture, not used. It is a lovely sofa and we would like to be able to keep it, but can't spend too much on sending it. Any recommendations and ideas how to get it to NM are welcome. Melissa

A friend of mine used Greyhound to ship a chair she got on Ebay. They have a quick quote online at suzanne

Shipping an auto hood from East Coast

May 2006

Help! Does anyone know of a transport company that will ship a car hood from NJ to CA? It is oversized for UPS, FEDEX, USPS. They do accept oversized shipments, but for businesses only, not personal shipments. My son has paid for the hood, but the person he bought it from will not arrange shipping....(good lesson there!) Any suggestion is appreciated.

I had two armchairs shipped from TX via Greyhound. Yes, on the bus! It was cheap, too, although I had to pick them up at the station. anon

Most economical way to move stuff cross-country?

Jan 2005

I'm relocating for professional reasons to the east coast, and trying to figure out the most hassle-free, economic way to make the move. I'd appreciate any suggestions from people who've done this before. I need to transport my car and my belongings (many, many, many books and dishes; a few clothes, chairs, and bookcases) and myself. I would prefer to fly and ship my effects, but don't know how the economics work, how long it takes to ship a car, etc. This is a very sudden move, so it will still be winter, which makes the drive less appealing. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Bracing Myself for the Cold!

We have moved across the country twice and have not yet found an easy way to do it without spending a lot of money. Both times we rented a huge truck, put our car on the back of the truck and drove. The rental and the gas, plus a few hotels stops, really adds up. If you decide to go this route, make sure you get a diesel truck as getting over the Rockies is nearly impossible without one. Moving expenses when moving for work is tax deductible, so save your receipts. Good luck!

I've moved cross country twice, and moved once across the Atlantic. In all cases, I packed all my belongings (you can get good boxes at U-Haul) and hired a company to do the shipping. I never had a car, though. Overall, the cost is not unreasonable (I think my last move - Boston to Berkeley - was about $1,500 total). Plus, your employer may offer to pay - mine did for one of the moves. I also have lots of books and kitchen stuff, but not much in the way of furniture. My biggest piece of advice is to make sure you get a reliable moving company. We got stuck with an unreliable company once, and they lost/broke several things. When I moved from Berkeley to the east coast, I used Mayflower, and they were very good. But it's been several years since I moved. Before you settle on a mover, check out As for shipping a car, I know that there are agencies that will have someone drive your car for you, but I've never done it myself. Good luck with the move! IC

A friend of mine recently moved everything she owned, including a large bed frame from NYC to the Bay Area- she used Air Express, she put her belongings in boxes and they came to bundle them up into pallets, it was a 10 day voyage but much less expensive considering the weight of 20 boxes of books too. anon

We have found a company which I feel would provide you with an economical way to relocate. If you don't mind loading/unloading yourself (or hiring a reputable company to perform the labor of loading and unloading), I would contact at Provide with the approximate contents of your possessions that are being move. They provide a long distance tractor-trailer. You have 1 day to load it; a driver moves your possessions to your new home;then you have 1 day to unload it. Macy

I've moved across country a couple of times--once I used Penske and moved myself (ourselves)(I liked Penske alot the truck was huge but easy to drive and comfortable--relatively you know---but I'm reluctant to make recommendations--check it out). Another time I rented a one way car for a nominal fee, packed some things in the spacious car to get me through, drove across which was really fun, and shipped the rest. Both ways were very successful under different circumstances If I moved myself again with a rental van now, I would hire people at the loading end to help, this took us a long time. It was super fast at the unloading end for us. There are also some more creative ways of doing it like using private freight storage companies, but I have no personal experience with this route. Good luch! anon

A few comments on the advice given to the person who was moving cross country. For almost two years I've been a volunteer on the consumer advocacy website (recommended by one person who responded) - I post there as ''Diane.'' At, we recommend moving yourself if possible, either with a rental van (Penske has the best reviews) or with a U-Pack, We-Drive type company such as ABF U-Pack at or Broadway Express at

Although I personally moved with ABF and wrote a glowing review about it for, I now feel that Broadway Express (BE) is a better choice for most people. Included in the low BE price are amenities such an air-ride trailer, a ramp, moving pads, tie-down straps, and dollies. You can also move your car on the same trailer with your household goods. Although it's somewhat more expensive to do this than to ship your car on an open carrier with a company like Dependable Auto Shippers or Tn'T (both of which have good reviews on, your car and your household items arrive at the same time with BE, avoiding the long delays that beset the auto transport business. Transit time cross-country with BE is usually 7 to 10 days, sometimes less.

The most important advantage of BE in my mind is that you can hire the BE driver to help you load for a small hourly fee (and you can get additional labor from a temp agency like Labor Ready at if you don't have friends to help you). The more than 70 people who have posted good reviews of BE at praise the drivers to the skies and say that it's like having a trusted friend there helping you in what can be a very stressful situation. The driver who picks up your things is the one who delivers it and there are virtually no reports of damage, probably because of the air-ride trailers.

Because moving with a freight company like BE is a new concept for most people, I developed a FAQ sheet about it (with photos showing how it works) at I have no financial connection with either BE or ABF, but I feel that they are both excellent companies that treat customers right. The fact that they charge by the floor space your things occupy, rather than by weight, also favors people who have a lot of books. Most people who move with BE or ABF save about 40% over the cost of a full-service moving company.

A further comment about the advice given to use Movex. DO NOT USE MOVEX. Movex is a broker in Tampa, FL, that uses Broadway Express as one of its main carriers, and people who think that Movex did a good job for them have often had BE as their assigned carrier. However, if you use a broker you are opening yourself up to paying a broker's fee and putting an extra layer between yourself and the freight company, which can cause problems as described here -

There is no reason to go through Movex to use BE--contact Broadway Express directly at Note, however, that Movex has set up a non-compete clause with BE whereby you can't get a quote from BE if you already have one from Movex. (The person who posted about Movex also had some of the facts wrong--you don't get a full day to load and a full day to unload. The driver stays with the trailer while you load and unload and you get several hours depending on the size of the shipment.)

If you want to use a full-service moving company (one that will load and unload the trailer) and cost is a concern, a company that has very good reviews on is Delancey Street Movers in San Francisco, reachable through the Delancey Street Foundation there. They often cost somewhat less than other companies because they employ ex-prisoners, ex-drug addicts, etc. I describe Delancey Street in detail in this thread - In general, expect to pay at least $2,000 for a full-service mover to move a shipment of whatever size cross-country. maintains a Blacklist of scam movers that can be checked out, and you should always put the name of any company you?re considering into Google to see whether any complaints come up. If anyone needs further advice about moving, please feel free to contact me or just go to the messageboard at I hope this helps! Diane

We've moved across teh country twice using ABF. they bring you a trailer, you load it yourself, and they drive it. both times the service was excellent. they are honest. it cost us about 1500 to move all possesions in a 2 bedroom house. they calculate it by feet of trailer you use, not by pound. it was far cheaper than any other alternative we could find--and, because you and your freinds pack it yourself, you can be sure you pack it the way you like it. nothing got broken either time. sarah

Shipping one piece of furniture

I need to move an antique china cabinet from the East Coast to the Bay Area. It's a fragile-ish piece (has glass windows with thin, curved wood inlays.) It was my grandmother's and has great sentimental value to me. Does anyone have a recommendation for movers who will carry just one piece for you, and get it to you intact (without it costing three times what the piece is worth??) Thanks! Elise

We're interested in having a dining room set (table, eight chairs, hutch) shipped from my mother-in-law's home in New York to our home in Oakland. Has anyone had experience shipping a small load like this, and can you recommend a company who would handle something small? Thanks-- Carolyn

I have a sofa that I would like to give to a friend in San Diego. It's a used sofa and of course the difficulty is in transporting it for less than what it would cost to buy one there. Anyone know of an inexpensive way to move this? Is anyone moving to San Diego in the next few months with extra space in their truck/moving company, or know of someone who might? cris

We shipped some antiques cross country when our Dad died. Look in the yellow pages in the town in question for packing firms. (Maybe it is actually under ''furniture''--I can't remember exactly but the ads are typically self-explanatory.) Someone comes and builds a crate for you (essentially a large cardboard box with lots of interior foam) that is custom fit to the item(s). They know how to do this, and they know the trucking companies that will ship this kind of item. It is very easy but not cheap. They will tell you the cost when they come & you can decide whether it is worth it. In our case, we figured it actually came out to about the value of the item. Since it had sentimental value as well, we had no problem paying it. The item arrived our our home with not a mark on it. Mary Ann