Yes, Hiring a moving company is VERY expensive.
Here is my advice for moving:
(1) You can never be too detailed in labeling the boxes. You always think you’lll remember whats in the boxes… but you won’t. So, if you want to find specific things in a hurry, label the box well and come up with a system such as P1, P2, P3 (priority 1, 2, 3, etc) for how they go in the truck… (sheets, towels, toilet paper-- P1).
(2) Rent a truck (Penske is really good) to do the move yourself but hire a local moving company just to LOAD everything and UNLOAD everything. I did this and it was worth the $. It was only a few hundred dollars since they bring a crew of strong, young guys and have everything loaded up in just a couple of hours. Also, splurge on the moving blankets-- I wiped Penske out of them-- you can’t have enough. Invest in lots of bunge cords too to strap everything down really well.
(3) Buy boxes in bulk from www.uline.com. You can also get all the accessories from them-- tape, bubble wrap, peanuts, etc. Even with shipping, it was cheaper to buy from them than the local “box” store-- at least it was for me. So, price it out.