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How Much Time Does it Take to Move?

young couple in new house

Moving to a new home can be a time-consuming process. If you’re just starting out, you may be wondering just how much time it takes to move. Making lists will help you determine your major milestones and you’ll be able to keep track of where you are in the process.

woman with boxes making list

Of course, how far you’re moving will affect the amount of time it takes you to move. If you’re moving across the country, you’ll obviously have a longer timeline than moving across the street. We’ll cover some basics that affect your timeline and give you a guideline for determining how much time it takes to move.

Phase 1 – Move Planning and Preparation

It’s always advisable to begin as early as you can with phase one – planning and preparation steps. By giving yourself ample time, you can ensure the rest of your move runs smoothly. Try starting your planning two months in advance.

Sort and Downsize

Take some time to go through your belongings and purge what you don’t need. Do yourself a favor and don’t bother packing, moving, and unpacking the things you don’t want, need, or use. By spending a little time getting rid of clutter, you’ll save yourself time later in the move.

Donate, gift, sell, or trash the extra stuff. As you’re going through this process, sort the things you’ll keep into the right rooms and areas of the house so packing becomes more methodical. 

Try getting through this in a week so you can move on to the rest.

Hire a Moving Company

The earlier you are with hiring your mover, the more likely you are to get the dates you want. Moving companies are limited by the number of people and the amount of equipment they have to perform your move. At particularly sought-after times of the year such as summer, weekends, and holidays, you can find yourself in competition with others. Plan early, and get the dates you want.

moving men with sofa

Once you’ve downsized your items, you’re able to get a more accurate quote for your move.

You can find and book a trusted, reliable moving company in a matter of minutes with an online tool.

Pack Your Things

Since you’ve already sorted your things and started purging what you don’t need, you’ll know exactly what’s left for packing. Hopefully, you also took our advice and moved things to their appropriate room as you came across them. This helps you be swift in packing your boxes.

Go room by room and start with the lesser-used items. Since you’re starting early (you are, aren’t you?) you can first pack things you don’t need every day. Out-of-season clothing, books you’ve already read, small appliances, and dishes you won’t need can all go into boxes. As you move closer to moving day, you can pack the more necessary items.

Label your boxes on the sides and top, and make it clear what’s inside. This will help you unpack more swiftly on the other side.

Packing can happen in stages, but try to be finished with all but your daily essentials a few days before the big move. Allow yourself time, but don’t drag it out too long or it will feel neverending. Start four weeks early and finish two days before moving day.

Phase 2 – Moving Day

How much you’re transporting and how far you’re going will affect your moving day, of course. Hiring a professional moving company will drastically reduce the amount of time spent in motion. Professional movers are swift and efficient, with expertise in moving your things safely. They’ll cut down your time spent loading and unloading.

Loading the Truck

Generally speaking, the time it takes for professional movers to load the truck is roughly:

  • Less than an hour for a 10ft truck
  • Four hours for a 24ft truck
  • Four and a half hours for a 26ft truck
loading moving truck

Of course, if you have a complicated entry such as a multi-floor walk-up or distant packing, these times may be affected. If you choose to load the truck by yourself, it will take longer – unless your friends happen to be professional movers lending a hand!

Arrival and Unloading

Once your movers arrive at your new home, it’s time to unload the truck. Unloading doesn’t take the same amount of time as loading, as your mover will distribute your boxes into the rooms of your house. By talking to your moving company, you’ll get an estimate on the amount of time it will take between your addresses including loading, moving, and unloading.

For general estimates for the total amount of time:

  • Two to three hours for a studio or one-bedroom apartment
  • Seven hours for a three- to four-bedroom house
  • Eight to ten hours for a five or more bedroom house

These are high-level estimates for an in-town/local move.

Phase 3 – Unpacking and Settling In

As we mentioned before, you’ll save time on the unpacking phase if you’re organized in your labeling approach. By clearly labeling your boxes by room and contents, you’ll be sure they arrive in the right place in your home. Then, you can unpack each box and empty its contents into their rightful place.

home sweet home boxes

Trust us, you don’t want to be one of the average Americans, taking 182 Days to unpack all of your things!

Set yourself achievable goals for your unpacking. Commit to unpacking one room per day, or perhaps ten boxes. There’s no shame in going step by step – just don’t drag it out until your next moving day comes along!