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  • Writer's pictureJason & Liz Sautter

The Ultimate Guide to Moving Locally: What to Expect

Moving to a new home, even locally, can be both exciting and daunting. One of the most common questions people have when planning a move is: How long does it take to move locally?

 While the answer varies depending on several factors, understanding the typical timeline can help you prepare and reduce stress. Here's a detailed breakdown of what to expect when moving locally.

Pre-Move Preparation (1-4 Weeks Before Moving Day)

Decluttering and Packing

Time Required: 1-2 weeks

Begin by decluttering your home. Sort items into categories: keep, donate, sell, and discard. This process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on how much you have accumulated over the years and how much time you can dedicate each day.

Once you’ve decluttered, start packing non-essential items. Packing usually takes longer than expected, so starting early can save you from last-minute chaos. Aim to pack a few boxes each day, tackling one room at a time.

Booking Movers

Time Required: 1-2 weeks in advance

If you’re hiring professional movers, book them at least 1-2 weeks before your moving date. This gives you ample time to compare quotes, check reviews, and secure a moving company that fits your budget and needs. Popular moving dates, such as weekends and the end of the month, may require booking even earlier.

Address Changes and Utilities

Time Required: A few hours over several days

Notify utility companies, change your address with the postal service, and update your information with any relevant institutions (banks, subscriptions, etc.). This can be done gradually over a week or so.

Moving Day (1-2 Days)

Loading the Truck

Time Required: 2-4 hours

On moving day, the time required to load the moving truck depends on how much stuff you have and how prepared you are. Professional movers can typically load a small apartment in 2-3 hours and a larger home in 4-6 hours. If you’re doing it yourself, it might take longer, especially if you don’t have a lot of help.

Travel Time

Time Required: Varies

For a local move, travel time is generally short. Expect it to take between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the distance and traffic conditions.

Unloading and Setting Up

Time Required: 2-4 hours

Unloading usually takes a bit less time than loading since there’s no need to pack everything securely. Professional movers can often unload a small apartment in 2-3 hours and a larger home in 4-6 hours. After unloading, you’ll want to set up the essentials in your new home, which can take an additional few hours.

Post-Move Activities (1 Week)

Unpacking and Organizing

Time Required: 3-7 days

Unpacking and organizing your new home can take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on your schedule and the number of items. Start with essential rooms like the kitchen and bedrooms. Gradually work your way through the rest of the house, taking your time to organize things properly.

Addressing Post-Move Tasks

Time Required: A few hours

After moving in, there are usually a few more tasks to handle, such as:

  • Returning the moving truck if you rented one.

  • Conducting a final walk-through of your old place to ensure nothing was left behind.

  • Meeting with your landlord or the new homeowners for key exchanges and final paperwork.

Factors That Can Affect Your Moving Timeline

Size of the Move

Larger homes with more belongings naturally take longer to pack, load, and unload compared to smaller apartments.


Being well-organized and packed ahead of time can significantly reduce the time spent on moving day.

Number of Helpers

Having more hands on deck can speed up the process, whether you’re using professional movers or enlisting friends and family.


Although local moves are typically short, moving within a congested urban area can take longer due to traffic.

Special Items

Moving special or bulky items (like pianos, antique furniture, or large appliances) can add extra time and require special handling.


A local move can typically be completed in a day, but the entire process from preparation to settling in usually spans a few weeks. By planning ahead, staying organized, and understanding the timeline, you can make your local move as smooth and stress-free as possible. Remember, the key is to start early and take it one step at a time. Happy moving!

Get a free quote from Valet Moving Services, we can get back to you with an accurate estimate in less than 24 hours!



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