Author Topic: Moving cross country  (Read 3656 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
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Moving cross country
« on: February 19, 2015, 06:07:28 AM »
My fella and I are leaving Pittsburgh at the end of July and setting out towards the Portland, Oregon / Vancouver, Washington area. Eventually we want to buy some land to live simply somewhere in the PNW, but we're not ready to do that yet so we're moving to Portland/Vancouver so we can use it as a home base to explore the area and figure out where we want to settle long term.

So I would love to hear any advice you can offer in two basic areas:

- Moving cross country

I've moved a lot, but never so far. Normally I just get local movers and I pack everything up and they drive it across town for me, but clearly that's not going to work in this case ...

I looked into truck rentals and the cheapest we can get is like $2500 ... plus the cost of gas and the fact that you have to drive this giant thing across the country. There's also the fact that we are probably going to stay in an Airbnb the first month, so that we can get the lay of the land and conduct a proper apartment search (and not have to do it, say, over a long weekend visit).

So I guess at this point we are leaning towards basically selling of all our furniture in Pittsburgh so that we don't have to move big things so far. Smaller stuff we can either pull in a travel trailer, or ship via Amtrak or the US Mail or something. We can buy a bed when we get there, and troll Craigslist for the other stuff we need. Basically, with a bed and towels and clothes and kitchen stuff and our laptops, we are basically where we need to be.

But, there's also the possibility of doing one of those Pod or Packrat things, where we just load our stuff in a container and they ship it and store it and bring it to us whenever we want. My concern here is that I don't want to pay for it if we're not going to be able to fill it up.

- Portland/Vancouver

Portland was the first choice, but I started looking at Vancouver when I realized that WA state has no income tax while Oregon has close to 10% (and sometimes more). 

Would love to hear about neighborhoods and what to look out for in a good rental. All my rentals thus far have been in NYC and Pittsburgh, and I'm sure things are done a bit differently out there.

We're looking to live in a safe but modest neighborhood. Need a house with 2 bedrooms because we will both be working from home and need to be able to close doors between us when doing so. We're also looking for a decent sized yard. I'd much rather live somewhere that's not hipster central, and just be able to visit hipster central from time to time.

Anyhow, I would love to hear your experiences -- thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 07:44:07 AM by miss madge »


  • Stubble
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Re: Moving cross country
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2015, 11:51:26 AM »
The sell your furniture and buy stuff on Craigslist plan is a good one. Portland has the most active and useful craigslist I've ever experienced.  I sold a non-running car in 3 hrs on CL when I lived there.  You'll find plenty of stuff, I would just caution you to contact sellers about good stuff you see immediately, rather than waiting and deliberating... things can go fast.

Vancouver is sort of suburban and boring compared to Portland, and it can be slow and inconvenient to get across the bridges to Portland.  I would recommend Portland, even with OR income taxes.  Quite a few of the neighborhoods in outer SE or NE would probably fit the bill for you.  The neighborhoods slightly further from downtown and trendy areas (I've lived in Montevilla and Woodstock, but there are plenty of others)  typically have lower rents but still some good restaurants and shops right nearby and easy to bike to the rest of the city.  Many rentals are standalone houses with yards.  Ask about insulation and heating costs on rentals.  Oregon's not super cold, but a lot of houses built in the 30s - 50s were really poorly insulated cause of all the cheap electricity coming from the Columbia dams.  We kept our thermostat pretty cold and put plastic on our windows and the heating bills were still a bit pricey.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Moving cross country
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2015, 12:23:50 PM »
Moving cross country: We used ABF U-Pack and it cost us $1800 to go from central PA to Oklahoma. It ends up being more economic than Pods because you pay by the linear foot (we used 13'). It's a commercial-size semi trailer, you pack your stuff in and then put in a bulkhead. They fill the rest of the truck with whatever and then drive it across the country. The tricky part is if you don't have a place for them to leave the trailer while you pack/unpack it (like if you don't have a driveway, and aren't allowed to leave it on the street for 24 hours), but this was the case for us at our destination and the ABF terminal wasn't that far from our new house, so I just unloaded it from there and had a few friends with trucks help schlep stuff from the terminal to our house.

Bottom line being, it was a great experience for us, still not super duper cheap but something to look into if you end up with big stuff you don't want to get rid of.


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Re: Moving cross country
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2015, 12:52:05 PM »
Right now I'm living in an apartment in Vancouver, WA. I would also prefer to live in Portland, but rent is much cheaper in Vancouver (for now). I've also moved 5 times in the past 2 years, so here are some of my thoughts.

Vancouver has lower housing costs, but the housing isn't as nice as you can find in Portland.
OR does have high income taxes, but their other taxes tend to be lower (Or has no sales tax which can be big for cars etc.)
In my opinion it is harder to find a good neighborhood in Vancouver. There are a lot of sketchy areas filled with meth houses (Portland has its fair share of sketchy neighborhoods too)
If you live in Vancouver, but work in OR, you will still have to pay OR income tax.
Portland is much hipper vibe than Vancouver. Vancouver's population is older and more conservative than Portland's.
Crossing the bridge between WA & OR is pretty bad during rush hour (or when they have a bridge lift).
Traffic is much worse in Portland than Vancouver (unless you are going into Portland from Vancouver during rush hour).

What kinds of things are important to you in a neighborhood? Are you looking for a house or an apartment? Will you be working, if so, do you know where?

Feel free to PM me if you have more detailed questions. I do know a bit about the current tax situations and what makes which city better for which.

Also, for moving you stuff. Have you gotten quotes for all the different major companies for renting trucks? Also, make sure to mess with the pick-up and drop off dates. These changes can make a huge price difference (I saved about $1000 by doing this).

I did all of my research online, then spent 2 days looking at apartments. If I were in your situation, I would fly my wife out to look at the apartments we found online, then have her stay there while I drove cross-country in the moving truck.

That's my $.02


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Moving cross country
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2015, 07:49:56 PM »
I didn't read all replies but Miss Minimalist just had a post on this topic.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Moving cross country
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2015, 09:44:26 PM »
Will one or the other of you have a job? You can write off your moving expenses on your taxes if the new job is more than 50 miles from your old house. I wish I had known this when I moved out to the PNW 3 years ago. I got rid of some stuff I probably would have kept. We found someone cheap online, they packed it up and it took 3 weeks to get out here. Don't move any particleboard furniture (ikea) it will get broken. The Rubbermaid things will get kind of crushed.
Oregon has income tax, Washington has high sales taxes. Don't know how high down south, we pay 10% sales taxes in Seattle. You might want to look at that. Good luck!


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