How Long Does It Take To Move Interstate?

Find out how long interstate moves take from the very start to the very end. We go over pre-move planning, moving day, delivery, and unpacking timelines.
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How Long Does It Take To Make An Interstate Move?
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The time involved in moving to another state is going to differ a great deal depending on the size of the household and, of course, the distance to the new home. That said, a simple average to use is 5 to 6 weeks if you’re counting every phase of your move.

Since you’re getting ready to relocate, let’s get into how long it takes from start to finish to complete an average interstate move. On top of that, we’ll look at what can make moves take longer and how you can make the process smooth and efficient when it comes to planning, packing, and using interstate moving companies.

Steps in the Moving Process

Moving, on paper, is simple and takes just three steps – planning, loading, unpacking. However, the process is much more strenuous when it is being carried out in the real world. If you’re prepared, though, each stage of the process will be stress-free and unproblematic.

1. Planning: Pre-Move

If you’re planning on hiring moving companies, you want to begin looking for a good long-distance moving company right away. Movers will need to conduct in-home inventories to provide accurate estimates for moving costs and gauge your specific needs.

For DIY moves, a truck rental will be required and should be reserved at least a month before your move. This also gives you time to recruit friends, co-workers, and family members to help on the day of your move if you aren’t using movers for labor.

If you need to transport a vehicle, find an auto transport company in the same way you’d select a truck rental or moving company. Once you’ve chosen movers or have decided on a truck rental or vehicle transportation company, select and book the dates you will need for your move.

Other things you’ll need to do before moving day include:

  • Transfer, cancel, or set up utilities
  • Notify insurance of your move
  • Forward mail to your new address
  • Get appliances disconnected
  • Clean the home
  • Pack an essentials bag
  • Gather important documents
  • Organize and label boxes

2. Packing

Unless you’ve recruited professionals to pack your household goods for you, you’re going to need to get moving supplies ahead of time. Packing takes a lot of time, especially when you have a larger household, so beginning immediately – or at least a month prior to your move – is highly recommended.

Start with the things in your home that are not used very often or that are not essential, such as books, spare bedroom furniture, photos, collectibles, fine china, and belongings packed in the backs of cabinets, attics, or basements.

About a week before it’s time to move, you should begin packing items that get used every day, such as pots, clothing, and dishes. If you have any fragile or awkward items, let movers handle these to avoid accidents. You should plan on being done packing a few days before out-of-state movers arrive.

3. Moving Day: Loading

The time it takes movers to get everything loaded onto the truck will depend on a number of different factors, including whether or not you are using packing services if overweight items have to be moved if furniture must be disassembled, and more. If you want to make things go as quickly as possible, you’re going to need to be prepared before movers arrive.

Loading takes longer than unloading, as movers will need to ensure that all items are loaded onto the truck safely. How much time this takes will vary, as loading a 10-foot truck oftentimes takes an hour or less while a 26-foot truck can take more than 4 hours to load. If you’re doing a DIY move, it’s going to take even longer.

Want to lessen the time it takes on moving day?

  • Disconnect as many devices or appliances as you can
  • Get absolutely everything off the walls
  • Strip mattresses of all bedding
  • Remove wheels from bicycles
  • Keep items you don’t want to be moved separate
  • Defrost the freezer
  • Drain lawn equipment
  • Break shelving down

4. Transporting Your Stuff

The time it takes for your items to be transported will be based on how far movers have to travel. If your movers have to travel more than 100 miles, it’s likely to take more than a day or two for items to arrive at the new home. In most cases, delivery takes about 10 to 15 days for a cross-country move.

5. Unpacking

Even if you’ve organized and prepared, unpacking often takes the most time – unless you plan on hiring interstate movers to do the unpacking for you. On average, it can take 6 months to completely unpack each and every box and complete your new home. Try to focus on one or two, or a set number of boxes, each day to make the process less overwhelming.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does it take so long to make a long-distance, interstate move?

Moving long distance has different logistical concerns than moving locally, as movers are trying to make things more efficient and financially feasible. This means items may be held onto until the truck has been loaded to its entirety and your stop may not be the first on the mover’s list. In some cases, weather and other delays may also make movers take longer.

What if my delivery is late?

The moving company should provide you with a timeline estimating your delivery date, but this may not always be adhered to. You should be able to contact cross country movers to get a better estimate of where they currently are in terms of delivering your shipment. In many cases, moving companies offer reimbursement for late deliveries, so speak with your movers if a delivery is delayed.

How do I move long distances cheaply?

Everyone knows moving is expensive, but the most affordable way to move is to rent a moving truck. You may also consider moving pods, as these give you extreme flexibility and maybe the cheapest option for larger households moving long distances. A hybrid move may also be beneficial, giving you the benefits of professional assistance and DIY affordability.

Make Your Interstate Move

It may take a long time to complete your move from start to finish, but the effort and time are very much worth it once you’ve settled into your home. Work with professional interstate movers and figure out how to make your move easier and faster.

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