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How Long Does Moving Take? When to Start Packing and Cleaning

Dec 17, 2021

Moving out can be experienced in one of two ways. Some will feel the stress and chaos that comes with frantically throwing belongings into boxes and begging friends to take furniture you didn't have time to sell. While others may find relaxation in the process, calmly organizing their belongings into boxes with a bit of music, daydreaming about all the possibilities of their next home. Which would you rather?

Considerations When Planning to Move Out

Depending on the circumstances that come with your home, moving out can take a day or a week. Often, you are going to be given a day and time that you need to vacate. Planning how much time you will have to move out and how much time you will need to move out is essential to having a relaxing experience.

Not being able to meet a move-out deadline can result in losing your security deposit, being charged extra or double your rent, or a variety of other consequences. Avoid these by planning and accounting for how long you will need.

How to Plan to Move Out

We know it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. To help your move-out go smoothly, consider the following questions:

  • What amount and type of belongings do you have?
  • What’s the size of your home?
  • On what floor is your home located?
  • How long do you expect cleaning will take?

Type of Belongings

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Some belongings will require more care and time than others. You probably don't want to treat tableware, glass picture frames, or your TV the same way you would treat books or linens. The more valuable items you have, the longer packing may take.

In addition to the fragility of your belongings, you also have to consider their size. Safely boxing larger belongings like nightstand lamps or cooking equipment will take more time to handle, wrap, and carry from your home.

Additionally, large items that don't need boxing will still need to be protected during a move. For example, it will take more time to secure furniture like a couch with bubble wrap or moving blankets because of its size.

After planning according to the type of belongings you have and the time it takes to prepare them for a move-out, you can start to think about how to be the most efficient with packing.

Working efficiently is a great way to save yourself time and allow for a smoother move-out process. Instead of packing items with no order or planning, pick one room at a time to tackle. Not only will this allow you to see the progress made, but it helps you save time by not getting overwhelmed with not knowing what you should pack next. Working room by room is also helpful with box labeling.

Size of Your Home

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After looking at the size and types of belongings you have, your planning strategy should also consider your number of items. You can make a generalized estimate of the time needed to pack your items based on the size of your home.

Whether you have a studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom, four-bedroom, or a five-bedroom house, the number of belongings you have will vary. The larger the home, the more items you can fit and, thus, the longer it will take to pack.

The list below shows the estimated time you should set aside for packing up your home or apartment:

  • Studio: 10-12 hours
  • One-bedroom: 1-2 days
  • Two-bedroom: 2-3 days
  • Three-bedroom: 3-5 days
  • Four-bedroom: 4-6 days
  • Five-bedroom: 7 days

Your planning should account for how long it will take to pack your belongings, carry all your boxes and larger items out of the home, and load them onto a moving truck or another vehicle.

Your estimated move-out time will vary depending on the amount of help you have, the size of your transportation, and how many boxes you have. If you decide to get help from a moving company, the time required in the packing and moving process will be less than if you do it on your own.

Home Floor Level

Another aspect of moving out that you should consider is what floor level you are on. Moving boxes and furniture can become a much longer task if elevator space or stairs limit you.

You should set aside more time to remove your belongings if you are on an upper level than if you’re on the ground floor. Consider the number of trips you will have to take due to limited elevator space and the effort required to carry items downstairs. More time will be needed for both moving and rest time so you don't overexert yourself.

If you are on an upper level, hiring a move-out company can make your job significantly easier. With the equipment to lift heavy boxes, the workforce to get the job done fast, and a moving truck to relocate your belongings in one trip, your move-out can be a breeze.

Cleaning Time

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After you have removed everything from your home, the next step is giving it a deep clean. Most landlords require that you arrange for a cleaning of your home during a move-out. You may find your own professional cleaning company, use a cleaning company provided by your landlord, or decide to do the move-out clean yourself.

The safest plan for giving yourself enough time to complete a deep cleaning is to provide at least one full day to clean your home.

Without cleaning your home after moving out, landlords will not consider the move-out complete. You may have neglected to arrange the final cleaning, didn’t do a good enough job, or didn’t leave yourself enough time. In any such case, landlords can choose to withhold your security deposit.

One simple way to increase your chances of getting back your security deposit is by giving yourself enough time for a professional move-out cleaning. To do so, consider the time needed to remove your belongings and the time required to clean before planning your move.

Packing and removing belongings from a home is the most tedious part of moving. Having a professional cleaning company to finish the last touches on your home can make your experience a lot less stressful. Additionally, going with a cleaning company will often require less time than cleaning yourself.

Know What to Expect When Moving and Plan Ahead

Getting clear on how many belongings you have, how difficult they will be to pack, and how many times you’ll have to take the stairs or elevator to move them is necessary to know how long to give yourself to move.

One easy way to speed up the moving process is to hire outside help, such as a moving company and professional move-out cleaners.

If this isn’t in your budget, however, or if you prefer to “DIY” your move, check out our other helpful tips for moving homes.


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Article written by Kayla Bisquera

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