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How Long Does It Take To Move (2024 Guide)

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Default Author Icon Written by Shane Sentelle + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Kent Sisneros Updated 04/22/2024

How long it takes to move depends on several factors. The average moving time is six to eight weeks, but the size of your home, what you have to pack, and where you’re headed all play a role in your moving timeline. Streamlining your move is possible, but it will still be a while before you can sit back and relax in your new place. We’ll explain different factors that determine the length of a move and offer recommendations to speed up the process. 

Prep Time

Your moving timeline starts before you pack your belongings and transfer them to your new home. It takes time to research moving companies if you’ve decided to hire movers—or truck rental companies if you’ve opted for a do-it-yourself (DIY) move. As you research the best options for your budget, keep in mind a few other factors that may affect your moving timeline, including:

  • Renting a storage unit: If you need to store your belongings, carve out some time to find a company that rents storage units.
  • Purchasing packing supplies: Finding and buying packing materials may take a couple of weeks. You can find free packing supplies, but it takes time to collect these items. It’s faster to shop for packing materials, but remember to account for shipping times if you can’t find them in stores.
  • Transporting your vehicle: If you can’t drive your car to your home, you will need to spend time finding a company that can transport your vehicle for you.

Keep in mind that you must book professional services about two months in advance.

Size of Your House

How long it takes to load and unload a truck depends on the number of boxes and furniture you have to move. A one-bedroom apartment will require about two to three hours of loading time, but a three-bedroom house may take up to seven hours. It could take an entire day to load and unload a larger home. Ensure everything is ready to go before moving day so you don’t waste precious hours packing while the rental truck or moving company is at your house.

Also, consider how long it will take you to handle specialty pieces, such as pianos, collectibles, or heavy machinery. These items require extra care, so moving them will take more time. You also have to pack fragile items, such as fine china, in packing paper or bubble wrap, place them in sturdy boxes, and handle them with care.

Factor in travel time on elevators or stairways if you’re moving into or out of an apartment building.

Distance of Your Move

Another factor that could impact your moving time line is how far you have to travel to your new apartment or house. A local move requires less time on the road, so determine how many trips you’ll need to take if you’re moving yourself. You may complete your move in a few hours or one day if you stay organized or hire professional movers.

Making a long-distance move to another state or country could take several days or even weeks to travel. A moving company can estimate how long it will take to transport your shipment, but weather conditions, unexpected traffic, or another obstacle may delay your delivery. Delays can also impact your move if you rent a moving truck and drive yourself.

Hiring Professionals or Enlisting Friends

Whether you have friends and family or movers to help will affect your moving timeline. Packing, loading the truck, traveling, and unloading demand a lot of time when you do these things alone. Hiring experienced movers or asking your family and friends for help will speed up the process.

Renters and homeowners spend weeks leading up to moving day packing—and several days afterward unpacking—but hiring professional packers or a moving company offering a packing and unpacking service will allow you to use that time elsewhere.

How To Speed Up the Moving Process

There are several steps you can take to make the moving process faster, including:

  • Creating a moving checklist: A moving checklist will help you stay organized, speeding up the moving process.
  • Decluttering your home: Leave plenty of time to go through your stuff and discard unwanted items. Waiting until the last minute can delay your move because you’ll end up wasting time packing extra items that you no longer want or need.
  • Hiring movers: Professional movers have experience moving homes of all sizes and know how to move things in and out of a home fast.
  • Label boxes: As you pack your boxes, label them according to what’s inside and where they go in your new place.
  • Starting to pack early: The average homeowner takes four weeks to pack their house unless they hire professional packers. Start to pack nonessentials early on to make your moving day smooth.

Our Conclusion

Moving may seem endless, but by following the tips above, you’ll save time. We recommend you start packing early and stay organized by referencing a moving guide. You can also ask friends and family to help you pack or load the moving truck. Consider hiring a reputable moving company or professional packers if you’re overwhelmed or short on time. Check online reviews, Better Business Bureau ratings, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a moving company’s licensing certification and safety record, and choose one that’s right for your budget and moving circumstances.

FAQ About the Time It Takes To Move

Is it possible to move in three days?

Moving in three days is possible, but it’s a lot of work. You can pack a house in less than a week if you enlist help, purchase the right packing supplies, and manage your timeline effectively. Pack one room at a time, throw out items you no longer need or want, and label your boxes so you know where they belong when you unload at your new home.

How long does it take to move cross-country?

It can take two to three weeks to move cross-country. This includes packing, making the trip to your new location, and unpacking your belongings. A long-distance mover may take up to 21 days to deliver your shipment to your new house.

When is the best time to move?

The best time to move depends on your situation. Mid-May to mid-September is a good time to move if you have kids and don’t want them to miss school. Consider moving in winter when moving company and truck rental rates are lower if school isn’t a factor.

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