How Long Does It Take To Move House?

While moving house can be a fun and exciting time for many, it can also be very stressful because of just how much money and time the act of moving house can consume. However, time is often the more perplexing factor because it’s influenced by so many variables. How long it takes to move house can vary widely from one situation to the next. In this guide, we’ll explore the different stages of moving house, the factors that affect how long each stage takes, and provide some tips on streamlining the process.

Factors That Affect Moving Time

To understand the varied timeframes associated with moving house, it’s essential to delve deeper into the factors that influence the process. Each element plays a critical role in shaping the overall timeline and recognizing these can help in better planning and executing your move.


When it comes to moving, distance plays a big role, and it’s pretty straightforward: the further you have to go, the longer it’s going to take. If you’re just moving across town, you might be able to knock everything out in a day. That includes getting all your belongings loaded up, shuttled to your new place, and unloaded. It’s kind of like a sprint – quick and intense.

But when you’re looking at moving to a different state, things start to get a bit more complicated. It’s more of a marathon, with planning and logistics that stretch the process from a few days to several weeks. You’re not just dealing with the moving lorry; you’re coordinating schedules, maybe juggling hotel stays, and often waiting for the perfect window of time to make your move.

And then, there’s moving internationally. This is the ultra-marathon of moving scenarios. Not only are you dealing with the usual moving headaches, but now you’ve got to navigate customs regulations, possibly deal with shipping by sea or air (which feels a bit like sending your belongings on a holiday without you), and the ever-present potential for delays. This isn’t just about moving your stuff from Point A to Point B; it’s about managing a complex transition that can stretch out for weeks or even months.

In essence, the farther away your new home lies, the more your move starts to resemble a juggling act, with you keeping all the balls in the air: planning, packing, transporting, and waiting. It’s a test of patience and organisation, but also an exciting transition to a new chapter of your life, whether that chapter is a few blocks away or on a different continent.

House Size

The size of your current home has a direct impact on how long it will take to get everything packed up and moved. If you’re living in a cosy studio or a one-bedroom flat, you might be able to get all your packing done in just a few days, and the move itself can often be completed in a single day. It’s relatively straightforward and quick.

However, if your home is more spacious, like a four-bedroom house or even larger, then you’re looking at a significantly longer timeline. Just packing up your belongings could take up to a week, and that’s before you even get to the actual moving part, which could take several more days.

And let’s not forget about unpacking and getting settled into your new place. This phase can stretch out even further, particularly if you’re trying to balance unpacking boxes with your day-to-day responsibilities like work or taking care of your family. It’s a process that requires patience and a bit of juggling to manage everything.

Volume of Belongings

The total volume of items you’re planning to move is crucial. If you’ve embraced minimalism, with fewer belongings to your name, packing and moving can be a breeze. You could zip through the process much quicker, thanks to having less to box up and transport.

On the flip side, if your home is brimming with years of accumulated treasures, sentimental heirlooms, and hefty pieces of furniture, you’re in for a longer haul. Sorting through your possessions, deciding what to pack, what to declutter, and then packing up can take a substantial amount of time. This stage is the perfect moment to sift through your belongings, figuring out what truly matters. Not only does decluttering help streamline your move, but it can also cut down on moving expenses, making the whole process easier on your wallet and your watch.

READ: Packing Tips for Moving

Choosing Your Moving Service

Choosing the right moving service is crucial to the success and efficiency of your move. Each option offers distinct benefits depending on your needs and circumstances.

For those who prefer a hands-on approach, managing the move yourself can be cost-effective. This DIY method involves collecting packing materials, coordinating logistics, and enlisting the help of friends and family. While it saves money, it requires a significant investment of time and effort.

On the other end of the spectrum, hiring professional movers offers a completely hands-off experience. These experts handle everything from packing to transportation, ensuring your move is executed swiftly and seamlessly. Although this option provides maximum convenience, it comes at a higher cost.

A man and van service is not just a compromise between DIY and full-service movers; it’s a versatile and highly effective moving solution. Ideal for smaller or local moves, this service combines affordability with professional assistance. You handle the packing at your own pace, while a skilled driver with a van takes care of the transport and heavy lifting. This option significantly reduces the stress and physical strain of moving, without the higher costs associated with full-service movers. As a moving expert, I recommend a man and van service for those who seek a blend of control, convenience, and cost-efficiency in their moving process.

Time of Year

When you decide to move can play into how long the process will take. During the peak moving season, which usually falls in the summer months, everyone seems to be on the move. This high demand for moving services means you might face longer waits, not to mention the potential for delays caused by traffic jams, overbooked schedules, and even the weather playing havoc.

Choosing to move in the off-peak season could give you a bit more wiggle room. You might find that moving companies have more availability, potentially speeding up your move. However, this time of year comes with its own set of challenges, particularly from the weather and season. Winter storms, for instance, can throw a wrench in your plans, causing unexpected delays. So, while there might be more flexibility outside of the busy season, it’s always good to prepare for a few curveballs from Mother Nature.

READ: 10 Moving Tips for Rainy Days


Getting ready for your move in advance is one area where you have the power to make a difference. By planning—whether that’s decluttering your space, gathering all the packing materials you’ll need, or packing your belongings in an organised way—you can make the whole process smoother and quicker.

Putting together a detailed inventory and marking your boxes means you’ll know exactly what you have and where it should go, cutting down on the chaos when you arrive at your new home. Plus, if you get a head start on setting up your utilities and any essential services before you move, you’ll not only save yourself a heap of time but also sidestep potential hold-ups. It’s all about making a game plan that’ll help you navigate through the moving maze with as few hitches as possible.

Timeline Breakdown

Pre-move Preparation (2-4 weeks)

The pre-move preparation phase is essentially the foundation of your moving process. Think of it as laying the groundwork to ensure everything that follows goes off without a hitch. It’s a period marked by thoughtful decisions and actions that can significantly affect the ease and success of your entire move.

Save more time by using a Moving House Checklist.

During this initial stage, you engage in a thorough review of your possessions. This is the perfect opportunity to declutter, a task that involves separating your belongings into categories such as keep, donate, sell, and discard. Decluttering is not just about reducing the volume of items you need to pack; it’s a chance to reassess what’s truly important to you. By parting with items you no longer use or need, you lighten your load, potentially reduce moving costs, and simplify your setup in your new home.

Simultaneously, this phase involves finalizing the details with your chosen moving company. This isn’t just about setting dates; it’s about discussing logistics, understanding services offered, and confirming all arrangements to avoid any last-minute surprises. Ensuring you’re on the same page with your movers can eliminate a lot of stress and confusion down the line.

Starting to pack non-essential items early on is another critical component of this phase. Items that are out of season rarely used, or not needed in your daily life should be the first to go into boxes. Early packing not only helps you gauge the amount of packing material you’ll need but also gives you a clearer idea of the volume of belongings you’ll be moving. This proactive approach can also make you feel more in control and less overwhelmed as your moving day approaches.

Moreover, this preparation phase allows you to plan for the sale or donation of items, ensuring you have enough time to find new homes. Whether it’s furniture, clothes, or kitchen gadgets, selling or donating items can be a rewarding process that not only benefits you but also helps others.

In essence, the pre-move preparation is about making informed, deliberate choices. It’s about setting the stage for a move that’s as smooth and stress-free as possible. By dedicating time and effort during this initial phase, you’re not just preparing to move your belongings from one place to another; you’re preparing for a successful transition to a new chapter in your life.

Packing (1-3 weeks)

The packing phase is a critical juncture in your moving journey, with its duration influenced significantly by the volume of your belongings and the dimensions of your living space. But there’s more to it than merely filling boxes; packing is a nuanced art form that demands meticulous organization and foresight.

At its core, packing involves a strategic approach to safeguarding your possessions. Delicate items, such as glassware and heirlooms, require special attention, necessitating protective wrapping and careful placement to prevent damage during transit. It’s not just about bubble wrap and packing peanuts; it’s about understanding the unique needs of each item and ensuring it’s securely packed for the journey ahead.

Moreover, categorizing your belongings is another essential aspect of the packing process. This methodical approach not only stimulates the unpacking process but also helps in keeping track of your items, ensuring that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. By grouping items by room, function, or importance, you create a system that simplifies the entire moving process, making it easier to manage both during the move and when setting up your new home.

Starting the packing process early is another key strategy for a stress-free move. Procrastination is the enemy of a smooth transition, leading to rushed packing, overlooked details, and increased anxiety as moving day looms closer. By beginning well in advance, you allow yourself the luxury of time, enabling a more thoughtful and less frantic approach to packing. This early start also provides the opportunity to tackle one room at a time, reducing the sense of being overwhelmed and allowing for more deliberate packing decisions.

Packing systematically, with a clear plan and timeline, acts as a bulwark against the chaos that can often accompany moving. It ensures that when moving day does arrive, you’re not left scrambling to box up last-minute items but are instead ready to go, with everything accounted for and securely packed. This not only makes the move easier for you but also for the movers, who can work more efficiently with well-organized and clearly labelled boxes.

In sum, the packing phase is where the success of your move begins to take shape. Through careful planning, early starts, and systematic packing, you can ensure a smoother transition, alleviating much of the stress associated with moving and setting the stage for a successful relocation.

Moving Day (1-2 days)

Moving day stands out as the crescendo of the moving process, a day filled with a whirlwind of activities that include loading up your life, transporting it across towns or even states, and then unloading it into a new space. It might sound simple on paper, but in reality, it’s a complex ballet of coordination and hard work, particularly when you’re transitioning to a new city or state.

The key to navigating this hectic day with minimal stress is a well-crafted plan. A detailed schedule that outlines the day’s activities, from the moment the moving truck arrives to the final box being unloaded, can transform chaos into order. This plan should be comprehensive, covering all aspects of the move, including any necessary stops along the way and factoring in time for breaks, especially during long-distance moves.

Equally important is clear communication and defined roles for everyone involved. Whether it’s family members, friends, or professional movers, ensuring each person knows their specific tasks can significantly enhance efficiency. For example, while one team focuses on loading the truck, another could be responsible for last-minute packing or cleaning tasks. This division of labour prevents bottlenecks and keeps the process moving smoothly.

On a moving day, flexibility is also crucial. Despite the best-laid plans, unexpected challenges can arise—traffic delays, weather issues, or last-minute packing surprises. Maintaining a calm, adaptable approach allows you to navigate these hiccups without letting them derail your entire day.

Moreover, safety should be a top priority during this bustling time. The physical demands of lifting heavy boxes and furniture can pose risks, so it’s essential to use proper lifting techniques, wear suitable clothing, and keep pathways clear to avoid accidents.

Ultimately, moving day is about more than just physical relocation; it’s a significant life event that marks the beginning of a new chapter. Approaching it with a solid plan, clear roles, and a positive, flexible attitude can help ensure that it’s a day marked by excitement and anticipation, rather than stress and chaos. With everything well-coordinated and everyone working together, you can look forward to settling into your new home with ease and starting your next adventure on the right foot.

Unpacking and Settling In (1-2 weeks)

Arriving at your new home marks the beginning of the unpacking phase, a period filled with potential and the promise of new beginnings. The duration of this stage can vary widely, depending on factors such as the volume of belongings you’ve transported and how methodically you packed them. A well-thought-out approach to unpacking can significantly influence how swiftly and smoothly you transition into feeling at home in your new space.

Developing a strategy before you start to unpack can make all the difference. Prioritizing rooms according to their importance to your daily life helps to quickly establish a sense of normalcy. Typically, setting up the bedrooms and kitchen first offers immediate benefits. By ensuring everyone has a comfortable place to sleep from the first night and access to meals, you lay the foundation for a functional living environment. This focus not only meets basic needs but also mitigates the feeling of living amidst boxes and disarray.

The level of organization during the packing phase plays a crucial role in this stage’s efficiency. If boxes were clearly labelled and inventoried, and items were grouped by room or use, unpacking would become a more streamlined process. You’ll be able to identify and prioritize which boxes need to be opened first and systematically work your way through them, reducing time spent searching for specific items and allowing you to set up each room more effectively.

Adopting a phased approach to unpacking can also alleviate the overwhelm of seeing a house full of boxes. After the essentials are taken care of, move on to less critical areas like living rooms, offices, or spare rooms. Unpacking with intention, rather than trying to tackle everything at once, can prevent burnout and make the process feel more manageable.

Moreover, it’s important to allow yourself some flexibility and grace during this phase. Unpacking and settling in is not just about placing items in their new spots; it’s about creating a space that feels like home. This may involve experimenting with the layout of furniture, hanging pictures, or even taking a break to explore your new neighbourhood.

In essence, the unpacking phase is your opportunity to transform your new house into a home. With a thoughtful strategy, a focus on essential spaces, and an organized approach, you can navigate this phase efficiently, making your new space comfortable and welcoming in no time.

Tips for a Faster Move

  • Hire Professional Movers: Investing in a reputable moving company can significantly reduce the burden on your shoulders, allowing experts to handle the heavy lifting and logistics.
  • Declutter Before Moving: The less you have to move, the quicker and cheaper the process. Take time to declutter and part with items you no longer need or use.
  • Plan Ahead: From booking your moving company well in advance to ensuring your new home’s utilities are set up before you arrive, planning can save you from unnecessary headaches.
  • Stay Organised: Label your boxes clearly, maintain an inventory of your belongings, and pack an essentials box for your first night. These steps can keep you organized and ease the stress of moving and unpacking.

Common Moving Delays and Strategies for Mitigation

Delays in Getting Keys

The closing process on a house or finalizing rental agreements often involves multiple parties and paperwork, which can lead to unexpected delays. This can be particularly stressful if your move-out and move-in dates are tightly scheduled.

  • Proactive Communication: Regularly check in with your real estate agent, landlord, or the party you’re purchasing from to get updates on the process. Ask for realistic timelines and express the importance of meeting your moving schedule.
  • Flexibility in Planning: If possible, negotiate a moving date that allows some cushioning should there be delays. This could involve arranging for a few days of overlap between your new and old places.
  • Backup Accommodations: Look into short-term rental options, hotels, or staying with family or friends if you need to vacate your current place before gaining access to the new one. Also, explore storage solutions for your belongings if necessary.

Unforeseen Bad Weather

Weather is unpredictable and can significantly impact the safety and timing of your move. Storms, heavy rain, or extreme conditions not only risk the safety of everyone involved but can also cause damage to your belongings and delay transportation.

  • Weather Monitoring: Start monitoring the weather forecasts for your current location and destination about a week before your move. Look for any warnings or advisories that could affect your plans.
  • Contingency Planning: Discuss weather-related contingency plans with your moving company, including what happens in the event of a severe weather delay. Knowing your options in advance can reduce stress.
  • Protective Packing: Use waterproof containers and covers for your items, especially those sensitive to water damage. Consider plastic wrap, sealable plastic bags, and sturdy containers to safeguard your belongings.

Last-Minute Packing

Packing is often more time-consuming than anticipated. Without a solid plan, you might find yourself overwhelmed and packing frantically in the days leading up to the move, potentially leading to disorganization and damage to your items.

  • Early Start: Begin packing as soon as you know you’re moving. Start with items you use less frequently, such as seasonal decorations, books, and non-essential kitchenware.
  • Systematic Approach: Develop a packing strategy that includes a room-by-room plan. Focus on one area at a time to prevent feeling overwhelmed and to ensure nothing is forgotten.
  • Essentials Last: Pack a box of essentials that you’ll need immediately upon arriving at your new home, including toiletries, a few days’ worth of clothing, important documents, chargers, and basic kitchen items. This should be the last box loaded and the first one unloaded.

By addressing these common moving delays with thorough preparation and strategic planning, you can mitigate much of the potential stress and disruption. Remember, the key to a smooth move lies in anticipating these issues before they arise and having a plan to tackle them head-on.


Moving house is a time-consuming process, but proper planning and organization can streamline the process and reduce stress. By considering the various factors that affect moving time and following our timeline breakdown, tips, and advice, readers can estimate the time required for their move and make the process as smooth and efficient as possible.

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