How Long Does Moving Take?

Frank Lanigan
Aug 17, 2022
Icon Time To Read5 min read

At a glance

Even a short move becomes a big hurdle when juggling work, closing costs, lease contracts, and family activities. Interstate moves involving moving and storage can take weeks or months, depending on your moving window and storage needs. 

Every move looks a little different because of variables such as distance, number and type of belongings, and moving service you choose. Even small variables like the weather on moving day can affect the time it takes to move. Luckily, there are some planning and organizational tips that can help. In this article, we’ll walk through how long it takes to move and some ways to quickly and efficiently get through your move.

How long will my move take?

The moving process takes on average about six to seven weeks, from the day you reserve a moving company to the day you finish unpacking. This can extend for interstate moves, but you can expect most moves to fall in that time. Alternatively, you can expect a shorter moving window if you’re moving locally from one small apartment to another.

Moving companies create estimates based on factors like where you’re going and how much you’re bringing. The most influential of these factors is how far you’re moving. A lot of boxes can definitely add time to your move, but professional movers can significantly reduce that impact on moving time.

For this reason, we recommend hiring a full-service moving company to assist you on moving day. It does cost more to hire a full-service moving company, but the investment is worthwhile, especially for homes with a few bedrooms. Not only will you have several movers to get your furniture to and from the truck, but you’ll have the vast majority of your logistics handled by an efficient and experienced team.

Be sure to book your company about six weeks before moving day. If you’re moving from a smaller space, you might be able to book closer to moving day, but sooner is better.

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Looking for storage?

Sometimes housing timelines and plans change. If your home’s closing date changes for example, you may require a temporary solution for your belongings. Or you may be downsizing from one home to another. In either scenario, we recommend you take a look at some of the top self-storage options out there.

How can I make moving a faster process?

To make moving day and unpacking as easy as possible, you’ll want to do some planning and organizing in the weeks leading up to your move. For most people, this is the longest part of the process.

Before the move

The time before your move involves planning, packing, and organization. Once you’ve finalized your moving day, start packing your non-essential items such as pictures, rarely-used kitchenware, decor, and other cosmetic items. As you get closer to the move, begin packing more commonly used items. Pack absolute essentials the week before the move. Most moving companies will pack your items for an additional fee.

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Packing tips for a more stress-free move

Packing can be a long process, but luckily there are ways to stay on track and organized with your packing before moving day. Check out our resources for more packing help:

Be sure to label your items according to where they should go in your new house so that movers can quickly place them in the right spot on moving day. This can also be a great time to donate or seek junk removal help for items you don’t plan on using.

Additionally, stay in contact with your moving company to make sure they know any new information leading up to the move. Having a clear line of communication will save you a headache on moving day.

Keep your essentials separate for easy access

If you’re anticipating a long unpacking time, pack a suitcase that you can easily access on the days leading up to the move and a few days after. This way, you’ll be able access clothes and other essentials without opening any boxes.

On moving day

Moving day can go by quickly and efficiently if you take the proper steps in planning. The most important thing you can do on moving day is to be present and communicative with your movers—show them the best routes through the house and eliminate any tripping hazards along paths to the truck.

The time it takes to fully load a truck is based on the size of the truck, number of movers, and the distance from your house to the truck. Below is an estimate to give you an idea of the loading and unloading time for three movers.

Average time to load and unload a truck

Truck size
Loading time
Unloading time
10-foot truck1 hour45 minutes
16-foot truck3 hours2 hours
26-foot truck4.5 hours3 hours

After the move

This part of the process can drag depending on how quickly you want to unpack your items. At this point, the movers will place your furniture, so you’ll mainly need to start unpacking boxes. Having everything properly labeled and in the right rooms will make a big difference. While you’ll likely be tired after moving day, setting a goal of unpacking items in one room per day will have you finished in a few days.

The takeaway

Moving anywhere can be a big undertaking, but there are plenty of companies and useful resources that will get you into your new home quickly and efficiently. Putting in the time to properly pack and organize your belongings beforehand will help to create a smooth moving day—and an easy unpacking process for you and your family!


How long do local moves take?

The most common type of move is local, or in your metropolitan area. If that's your plan, you’ll have the shortest moving process. Packing can take extra time depending on how you approach it, but you can usually expect your move to be completed in a day.

What types of items will extend my moving time?

Larger items such as appliances, heavy furniture, and pianos will add some extra time on your moving day, but experienced movers will get those items on the truck quickly. Be sure to remove all loose items from wardrobes and dressers beforehand so you won’t have to do it on the day.

How long does it take to move yourself?

If you’re moving yourself, you can expect a move to take longer than with a full-service moving company. While it may be cheaper and make moving day may be more flexible for you, moving yourself can be tough. If possible, see if you can ask some friends for help or hire movers by the hour.

Sometimes moving yourself is the best option for you. If you’re gearing up for moving day on your own, check out our guide on how to move yourself.

Are there other ways to save time on moving day?

Having a plan in place is the key for moving day. Parking the moving truck close to your residence and knowing the best routes to and from the truck will make a difference. You might also want to see if your city or housing area requires a moving permit.

Additionally, be sure to prepare your space for the movers and ask if they need anything throughout the day. Having water and taking breaks, especially during summer moves, will save you time in the long run.

Frank Lanigan
Written by
Frank Lanigan
Frank Lanigan is a writer and internationally-published journalist who has over a decade of experience in the moving industry. With thousands of completed moves under his belt, Frank hopes to bring years of experience to and help readers to navigate moving day with ease.