How Long Does it Take to Move?

If there was a simple answer, we would definitely give it to you.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

If you’re hiring professional movers for a small local move, it’ll take a few hours.

If you’re moving three bedrooms cross-country with a moving container company it could take over a month!

So the simple answer is, it depends.

In this article, we will discuss the factors that make a move take longer and what you can do to get the ball rolling on your next relocation.

Let’s get into it.

How Long Does It Take to Move Based on House Size?

# of Bedrooms
Square Footage
Average Move Time
Studio/1 Bedroom
400-600 sqft
2-3 hours
2 Bedrooms
600-800 sqft
3-5 hours
3 Bedrooms
800-1300 sqft
5-7 hours
4 Bedrooms
1300-1800 sqft
6-8 hours
5 Bedrooms
1800-2000+ sqft
7-9 hours

How Long Does It Take to Move?

The entire moving process takes three steps. Pre-move planning, moving day, and post-move unpacking. Estimate for roughly five to six weeks for all the phases of moving. With the right preparation you can manage all three stages stress-free and without any problems.

1. Pre-Move Planning

Pre-Move Tip: Stay organized with a moving timeline so you keep your move on schedule from the first day to the last.

How Long Does It Take to Prepare for a Move?

If you have the time, a couple of months before you move is usually a good starting point to decide whether or not you will hire a professional mover or that your move will be DIY.

If using movers, begin your selection process right away. Get in-house moving estimates and compare costs and companies.

Select and confirm the best candidate at this time so that you can focus on packing.

If you are transporting a car for an interstate move, find professional auto transporters and select one just as you would a professional mover. Confirming that agreement is one less thing to worry about.

If you’re moving yourself get your truck rental agreement four weeks prior to moving day so that you know a vehicle will be available. It’s also a good time to see what friends might help on moving day.

One week before the move you should contact your utility companies to confirm dates when service ends at your old residence and starts at your new residence. Make changes of address with the post office so your mail gets forwarded.

How Long Does It Take to Pack?

Get all your moving supplies including moving boxes a month before moving day. Packing is a gradual process that should begin four weeks before the move and end a couple of days before moving day. It’s a good idea to make a packing timeline so you know what needs to be packed when. Basically, the things you use least get packed first.

Four weeks before moving day is the time to start packing non-essentials. That means items you don’t use on a regular basis like family photos, books, furniture in spare bedrooms, anything that’s in the attic or basement. Fine china and other collectibles can also be packed.

It’s also a good time to get rid of unwanted items, fewer things to pack means less time packing.

It’s too early to pack your pots and pans and everyday dishes and clothes, but you can begin labeling the empty moving boxes for when that time comes.

Certain things will make your packing process more time-consuming. Fragile items will require extra attention. Let professional packers do it for you if possible. They’ll spend less time doing it and they know what they’re doing.

Around a week before moving day it’s time to pack all your everyday items. Because you pre-labeled the boxes you only need to pack them and seal them. The essential items you’ll use the last week should go in their own box that you can also use in your new home before you’re done unpacking. Keep the meals simple that last week so you don’t have too many things left unpacked.

2. Moving Day

Time spent on moving day can vary depending on how many belongings you need to move.

There are also other factors such as whether or not you use a professional moving company.

Pro movers are pretty efficient when it comes to loading and unloading the truck compared to moving yourself.

How Long Does It Take to Load?

The amount that needs to be moved and how far the movers need to carry belongings all factor into a loading timeline.

Generally, two professional movers can load:

  • a 10-foot truck in less than an hour
  • a 24-foot truck in 4 hours
  • a 26-foot in 4.5 hours

Loading a moving truck by yourself and friends will take longer.

How Long Does It Take to Get to Your New Home?

If factoring in loading, travel time and unloading you can use the following estimates for a move with professional movers.

  • Studio to one-bedroom apartment: 2-3 hours
  • Three to four-bedroom house: 7 hours
  • Five or more bedroom house: 8-10 hours

Also, an interstate move can take days as the truck travels across the country compared to a half or full-day for a local move. If you are moving yourself, always add more time to your timeline.

3. Post-Move Unpacking

Post-Move Unpacking Tip: Label moving boxes for specific rooms in your new home. That way it’s easy to unpack those contents where they belong rather than carrying boxes from room to room.

How Long Does It Take to Get Moved into Your New Home?

Astoundingly the average American can take up to 182 days to unpack in a new house. Some factors that will increase the amount of time spent unpacking are the following:

  • Unorganized moving process. Clearly labeled moving boxes will help you unpack faster.
  • Moving a lot of stuff. The higher number of boxes that you’re moving, the longer it will take to unload and unpack.
  • Negative weather conditions. Heavy rain or snow will make the driving slower and the unloading more difficult.
  • Inexperienced labor. Hire the best movers to have the best moving experience.
  • Unexpected challenges. Flights of stairs or poor disassembly of furniture will make the average time of your move take longer.

Set unpacking goals. You may not be able to unpack the entire house in a day but setting time frames like two rooms per day or ten boxes a day helps keep you motivated and on track to unpack.

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