When to start packing for your move
If you’re wondering when to break out the boxes and start packing for your move, the answer is as soon as possible — every box completed is a step forward. But if you’re looking for an actual timeline or want to know what to do if you’ve waited until the last minute, check out the estimates below (based on home size) and get tips for speeding up the process if you’re in a hurry.
Packing time based on home size
The time you’ll need to pack depends on the size of your home. Bigger homes take more work, so you’ll typically need a few days or up to a week. Smaller homes can usually be packed in a day or less. While you might see shorter estimates online saying professional movers take only two hours per room, inexperienced packers won’t be as efficient, so 4-6 hours per room is a better estimate.
If you’re doing the work yourself, here’s how much time to devote:
|Home Size||Time to pack|
|Studio/one-bedroom apartment||10-12 hours|
|One-bedroom home||1-2 days|
|Two-bedroom home||2-3 days|
|Three-bedroom home||3-5 days|
|Four-bedroom home||4-6 days|
|Five bedroom home||7 days|
As you budget time, it’s important to note that heavily furnished rooms, like the kitchen, take longer than rooms with only a few items. If you have extra spaces, like basements or storage units, use the next largest home size to figure the total time. And if you have lots of things that need special packing, like fragile collections or frames, add an extra day to your time to allow for proper packing.
Tips to make packing go faster
If you don’t have the recommended number of days, there are some ways to pack faster (without just throwing things into boxes).
Ask for help
Getting help is key to speeding up the process. Ask family or friends to assist (or even hire someone) because having two people working will cut the time in half.
Start with a plan
Instead of constantly stopping to search for tips in each room, read over these packing tips before you get started.
Use the right boxes
Specialty boxes, like wardrobe and dish pack boxes, can speed up the process because they’re easier to use with specific items. For example, instead of folding clothes, you can take them from the closet on hangers and put them directly into a wardrobe box.
Have ample supplies on hand
Before you start, make sure to have plenty of packing paper, tape and boxes because having to stop and run to the store wastes time. Use this moving box guide to determine how many boxes you’ll need.
Go room by room
It’s more efficient to tackle an entire room rather than bounce around, so finish a room before moving to the next. Every completed area will help you feel motivated to keep going.
Touch items once
While it’s tempting to carefully sort items before you get started, if you’re trying to pack quickly, then you need only to touch each item once. Have bins ready for trash, donate and sell piles — and take them room to room with you. When you come to something you don’t want to keep, place it in the proper bin.
While the packing is super important, there are other essential steps to take before you leave. Use our moving checklist to keep track of the tasks to complete (in order).
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