Home > Moving > 10 Best Moving Companies for Small Moves (2023 Guide)

10 Best Moving Companies for Small Moves (2023 Guide)

Updated Jan 10, 2023

Updated Jan 10, 2023

Home > Moving > 10 Best Moving Companies for Small Moves (2023 Guide)

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Contrary to popular belief, small moves can be just as time-consuming and stressful as long-distance moving. This can be especially true if you’re moving for the first time and don’t know what to expect. Taking time to plan ahead and explore all of your moving options can help ensure that you arrive at your new home with as little damage to your things as possible.

Even with small moves, packing, unpacking, and choosing storage and shipping options can be stressful. Our experts have reviewed several dozen providers to compile the list of the best moving companies for small moves to help you get the cheap moving service you need. 

The 10 Best Small Load Movers

Our top recommended moving companies for small moves in 2023:

Compare The Best Moving Companies for Small Moves

CompanyWebsiteOur TakeOur RatingBBB RatingLocal Cost
International Van LinesSiteBest Full-Service Mover9.8B$600 – $1,200
American Van LinesSiteMost Transparent Pricing 9.7N/A$500 – $1,000
Safeway MovingSiteBest Moving Broker9.6NR$3,000 – $11,000
Moving APTSiteMost Moving Partners9.6B
JK Moving ServicesSiteMost Customizable Moving Experience9.5A+Call for a quote
Allied Van LinesSiteMost Vehicle Shipping Options9.4A+$750 – $1,350
U-PackSiteMost Widely-Available Container Service9.3A+N/A
North American Van LinesSiteBest Pricing Options9.2A+$750 – $1,350
PODSSiteBest Container Service for Local Moves9.1B$700 – $1,900
uShipSiteBest Single Item Mover9.0A+N/A

International Van Lines – Best Full-Service Mover

Our Top Pick
International Van Lines
  • Serving 50 states and 180 countries
  • Excellent customer service
  • One month of free storage

Why We Recommend International Van Lines

International Van Lines (IVL) has won the Forbes Best National Moving Company Award for several years because of its comprehensive moving services and continuous customer satisfaction. If you’re looking to move a small amount of stuff from a one-bedroom apartment or a studio, IVL can move you to any state in the U.S. and even to over 150 countries worldwide. You don’t even have to schedule an in-person walkthrough to get a quote; you can use International Van Lines’ MoveOne software to give a representative a virtual walkthrough of your home straight from your phone. They can then give you a free quote through that process.

International Van Lines is a full-service mover, so whether you’re interested in a local moving plan or a long-distance move, IVL can turn your small move into a smooth process. You can sign up for the full-service package, which includes packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking. You can select additional services such as furniture disassembly and reassembly and unpacking and home organization on your move date.

Pros & Cons of International Van Lines


  • Offers short-term storage services
  • Won Newsweek’s Best Customer Service Award for 2022
  • Provides moving to and from Alaska and Hawaii
  • 100% refund policy if you cancel your move at least 48 hours in advance


  • 25% upfront deposit required
  • If you don’t cancel at least 10 days before your storage service renews, you have to pay for the next month

Services Offered

IVL is a full-service moving company, which means that it provides more services than you’d typically expect from a partial moving service and does residential, commercial, and military moving. IVL currently offers packing and unpacking, loading and unloading, furniture disassembly and reassembly, crating, specialized packing for fragile items, short-term and long-term storage solutions, packing supplies, and auto transportation.


In order to help you get a better idea of what you might pay when you move with IVL, we’ve collected past customer pricing data and summarized it in the table below.

 <250 miles500 miles1,000 miles2,000 miles
Two-bedroom home$1,400 to $4,400$1,900 to $4,900$2,100 to $5,100$2,400 to $5,400
Four-bedroom home$3,200 to $6,200$5,100 to $8,100$5,700 to $8,700$6,200 to $9,200

Get a quote from IVL by filling out this form.

Read more with our International Van Lines review.

American Van Lines – Most Transparent Pricing

Most Transparent Pricing
American Van Lines
  • Flat rate pricing
  • Competitor price matching
  • Moving shuttles between major cities

Why We Recommend American Van Lines

One thing that sets American Van Lines (AVL) apart from other full-service movers who can help you with your small move is that they have a flat-rate pricing system. You know upfront what you will pay for your move, and unless you add specific extra services to your plan, your quote will not change. There are no surprises, which can be a major source of peace of mind if you’re moving on a tight budget.  Because American Van Lines offers flat rates, they are more likely to provide you with quick and competent service. The more moves they book, the more money they earn, so they will make sure your items get to your destination on time and unscathed.

Your American Van Lines move specialist will ensure that your move fits your requirements. Each item shipped with AVL is packed to specific standards and individually wrapped. American Van Lines has staff with special certifications on standby so that you have qualified individuals to pack and move things like antiques, instruments, art, or other specialty items.

AVL is available in 48 states, excluding Hawaii and Alaska.

Pros & Cons of American Van Lines


  • Price-matching guarantee
  • Environmentally conscious business practices (fuel-efficient vehicles, uses green energy sources)
  • Binding estimates
  • Handpicked, certified movers who have cleared background checks and drug tests


  • No services to and from Alaska and Hawaii
  • No accurate online quoting process (although there are estimates for popular U.S. city-to-city moves)

Services Offered

Like Allied Van Lines and IVL, AVL also offers full-service moving capabilities. AVL offers packing and unpacking services, storage unit arrangement, specialty packing services for items like pianos and antiques, furniture disassembly and reassembly, crating for large items (like pianos), and moving supplies. AVL also does office moving services and corporate relocation, and military moves.


To help you get a general estimate of what you might pay for moving services from AVL, take a look at the chart below before claiming your free moving quote. 

 <250 miles500 miles1,000 miles2,000 miles
Two-bedroom home$1,700 to $4,700$2,300 to $5,300$2,600 to $5,600$4,200 to $7,200
Four-bedroom home$4,800 to $7,800$5,600 to $8,600$7,400 to $10,400$10,800 to $13,800

Get a quote from American Van Lines here.

Safeway Moving Company: Best Moving Broker

Best Flat Rate Pricing
  • Diverse service offerings
  • Flat rate for all moves
  • 30 days free storage

Why We Recommend Safeway Moving

Unlike the other companies on our list of the best movers for small jobs, Safeway Moving is not a moving company itself. Instead, Safeway offers you moving brokerage services — you can think of them as a sort of concierge for your upcoming move. After connecting with a representative from Safeway, the company will help arrange services through its extensive network of partners. Safeway partners with some of the best-known moving companies in the country and will request multiple quotes to find you the best rates.

If Safeway returns a price that works for you, they’ll take care of all the hard work associated with booking your moving date. You’ll need to review your moving date and details to ensure that it works with your schedule and includes all of the specialty services you need. In addition to standard residential relocations, Safeway Moving specializes in assisting members of the military complete affordable change of station orders. The company even provides retirement advocacy services for seniors moving to a new space.

Pros & Cons of Safeway Moving


  • Arranges moving services for a simpler process
  • Can help arrange more affordable moves
  • Specializes in military and retirement moving


  • Service availability varies by location

Services Offered

Safeway Moving is a brokerage service that works with trusted movers across the country to create personalized moving packages. Safeway brokers long-distance moving services, short-term and long-term storage services, furniture wrapping, military moving, and retirement moving.


As a brokerage service, all of Safeway’s moves have highly personalized pricing. In our review, we found that most customers who worked with Safeway Moving paid between $3,000 and $11,200 for their move, depending on the size of their home. To get your custom quote from Safeway Moving, submit a few details about your move here.

Get a quote from Safeway Moving by filling out this form.

Read more with our in-depth Safeway Moving review.

Moving APT – Most Moving Partners

Most Moving Partners
Moving APT
  • Profiles for most-used partners
  • Price matching and discounts
  • Large pool of moving providers

Why We Recommend Moving APT

Moving APT has a different model than the other companies we’ve included here. They are a moving services broker, meaning they connect you with the movers you need for your small move rather than providing the moving services themselves. Moving APT can connect you with a range of services, whether you require long-term storage, packing services, crating, fragile-only packing, vehicle transport, local moving, or simply a moving truck you want to load yourself. The company is available in all 50 states.

Because of its connections, Moving APT can access its network of companies to pick and choose which carriers in your area are right for you. The goal is to save you money by finding the best deal depending on your origin and destination, but sometimes the price is the same as hiring a company yourself or it can be more expensive. This is where Moving APT’s price matching comes in handy. If you are willing to do the research to get a cheaper quote than what they give you, you can save with Moving APT and their price-matching guarantee. 

Pros & Cons of Moving APT


  • Connected with over 2,500 partner companies across the country
  • Can connect you with specialty movers for pianos and hot tubs
  • Facilitated over half a million moves
  • Offer discounts for seniors and short-distance moves


  • Does not currently provide international moving processes

Services Offered

Some of the most popular services booked through Moving APT are commercial and residential moving, piano moving, auto shipping, packing services, packing supplies (included for some moves), and appliance connection services.

Remember that because Moving APT is a broker and not a service provider, the services available may vary depending on your location and the carrier you’re partnered with. 


Due to Moving APT’s price-matching guarantee, it can be difficult to estimate what you can expect to pay for services before you claim your free, no-obligation quote. A recent 1,000-mile move for a four-bedroom home was quoted for $7,800 from Moving APT, which puts the company in line with its competitors.

Get a quote from Moving APT by entering your move in this form.

Read more with our full Moving APT review.

JK Moving Services – Most Customizable Moving Experience

Most Customizable Moving Experience
JK Moving Services
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Financing available
  • Excellent insurance options

Why We Recommend JK Moving Services

JK Moving Services has the reputation of being the full-service mover with the most customizable moving plans out there. They plan and execute long-distance moves in every state as well as many locations overseas. JK offers a wide array of moving services available in all 50 states.

JK Moving Services’ fleet of moving trucks is fully electric, and they also use their profits and voice as a reputable company to speak up for environmentally friendly business practices, support a wildlife sanctuary, and establish community gardens. Although JK is pricier than some competitors, you get what you pay for with peace of mind and a move as stress-free as they can make it. If you’re having trouble affording your move, be sure to ask about JK’s financing options, which are available even on small-load moves.

Pros & Cons of JK Moving Services


  • 24/7 customer service
  • GPS tracking on all moves
  • Financing available on all moves
  • Convenient mobile app to keep you updated and connected


  • Long, intensive quoting process
  • Pricier than competitors

Services Offered

One of the reasons we consider JK Moving Services one of our top-rated moving companies is their full line of moving services and processes. You can currently book packing and unpacking services, loading and unloading services, long-term and short-term storage unit arrangement, transportation and delivery, freighting, crating, furniture disassembly and reassembly services, specialty services for items like antiques and pianos, specialized services for commercial moves for law firms, hospitals and other specialized workplaces, government moving services, archive services, and auto relocation services.

If you need a service you don’t see on the list above, don’t hesitate to ask your personal moving coordinator if they can schedule it for you.


JK Moving Services takes a highly personalized approach to its pricing, which means that it’s difficult to estimate what you can expect to pay for your services before you claim your free quote. Homeowners usually expect to pay between $2,500 and $5,500 when moving a two-bedroom home a total distance of 500 miles, but this is just a general example of pricing. Click on the link below to learn more about what you’ll pay for your specific moving processes from JK.  

Get a quote from JK Moving Services by filling out this form.

To learn more, read our full JK Moving Services review.

Allied Van Lines – Most Vehicle Shipping Options

Most Vehicle Shipping Options
Allied Van Lines
  • No hidden fees
  • Vehicle shipping is NOT outsourced
  • GPS tracking

Why We Recommend Allied Van Lines

Allied Van Lines can provide peace of mind for all your moving needs, whether you’re planning a local, long-distance, or cross-country move. They also have moving services to more than 130 countries. Whatever you’re looking for in a small move, Allied can provide it. Even if you want DIY packing and unpacking services, Allied Van Lines has a new moving container service called Allied Express. 

This service allows you to save money on your small move by packing up yourself — but Allied will still do all the loading and unloading on your behalf. For this, they will pick up the moving container from your origin and drop it off at your destination before unloading everything for you, free of hassle and driving a bulky vehicle. Allied offers disassembly for pieces of furniture, appliance disconnection and reinstallation, vehicle transport, and even a short-term storage unit if your new home isn’t ready for you when you arrive.

Pros & Cons of Allied Van Lines


  • If your vehicle shipment is late, Allied will provide you with a rental car free of charge
  • A+ rating with the BBB
  • Loading and unloading included in the price of all moves
  • GPS tracking on all moves


  • Not many affordable short-term options
  • Customers say claims department can be dismissive and aloof

Services Offered

Allied Van Lines is proud to offer full-service moving capabilities. You can currently schedule packing services and unpacking services, fragile-only packing, storage for in-transit items, arrangement of long-term storage units, shipment tracking, furniture disassembly and reassembly, auto and boat transport, basic liability coverage, and full-value coverage.


To help you get a general estimate of what you might pay for moving services from Allied Van Lines, take a look at the chart below before claiming your free moving quote. 

 <250 miles500 miles1,000 miles2,000 miles
Two-bedroom home$1,800 to $4,500$2,400 to $5,400$2,700 to $5,700$4,400 to $7,400
Four-bedroom home$3,300 to $6,000$5,700 to $8,700$7,500 to $10,500$10,900 to $13,000

Enter your moving date in this form to get a quote from Allied Van Lines.

Get more information with our Allied Van Lines review.

U-Pack – Most Widely-Available Container Service

Best Overall Container Service
  • 240 locations nationwide
  • “Pay for what you use” pricing
  • 3-day grace period for loading/unloading

Why We Recommend U-Pack

Unlike the full-service movers mentioned on our list above, U-Pack is a moving container company. As the name suggests, you pack and load up everything yourself in a moving container provided by U-Pack, but this is the most affordable option on our list for your moving experience. All you have to do is figure out how much space your items will need. U-Pack’s ReloCubes are aluminum and steel containers that occupy a small parking space. If you’re moving to a studio apartment or a college dorm room, one ReloCube should suffice. If you’re moving a small house, you can opt to order two or three ReloCubes or even a moving trailer. Once you’ve selected your containers from U-Pack’s website, all you do is schedule a drop-off time with the driver, and they will bring the container to your home.

Once you’ve packed everything and loaded it into the container, your qualified driver will return and transport your items to your new home. U-Pack’s system is excellent for small moves because you can easily pack your small number of items yourself and then entrust the driving of a bulky moving vehicle to the professionals. You can also get a quote instantly online, which can be a major benefit for anyone looking to move on a short timeline.

Pros & Cons of U-Pack


  • Instant and accurate quotes online
  • Affordable DIY packing option
  • Overall positive customer reviews
  • Hire other services through Moving Staffers network


  • Moves must be at least 200 miles
  • Only have three days to load/unload containers

Services Offered

U-Pack currently allows its customers to schedule long-distance container-moving services and long-term and short-term storage options.

U-Pack currently only provides moving container services on moves that total at least 200 miles in distance. If you won’t be moving at least 200 miles, you may want to consider working with a competing moving container service like PODS. 


To help you get a general estimate of what you might pay for moving services from U-Pack, take a look at the chart below before claiming your free moving quote. 

 <250 miles500 miles1,000 miles2,000 miles
Two-bedroom home$600 to $1,600$1,200 to $2,200$1,600 to $2,600$2,100 to $3,100
Four-bedroom home$800 to $1,800$1,800 to $2,800$2,800 to $3,800$4,100 – $5,100

Get a quote from U-Pack by filling out this form.

Read more in our in-depth U-Pack Reviews.

North American Van Lines – Best Pricing Options

Best Pricing Options
North American Van Lines
  • GPS tracking
  • Dedicated move coordinator provided relocations
  • “Not to exceed” pricing option

Why We Recommend North American Van Lines

North American Van Lines has over 85 years of experience in the moving industry and is available everywhere in the country. Although they are a full-service mover with services ranging from specialty packing, vehicle transport, and storage in transit to international shipping and fragile-only packing, North American has also recently added a moving container service. This service, named BlueExpress, was designed for small moves. You pack up your home or office, and North American staff will load and drive the container to its destination. This is an affordable alternative to a full-service move if you only need to move a studio or one bedroom.

North American Van Lines also has a debris removal service for when the moving process is complete and you need all the packing materials removed. If you require, they can also arrange for you to have a climate-controlled, affordable storage unit in place for your shipment during transit. 

Pros & Cons of North American Van Lines


  • Driver simulator aids in driving safety
  • WorldTrac GPS software tracks every shipment
  • International moves to 175 countries
  • Each move has a relocation specialist as your point of contact for planning, questions, and concerns


  • Customers have mentioned that movers were careless and damaged floors and walls
  • Overall poor reviews online

Services Offered

North American Van Lines currently allows full-service packing, fragile-only packing, boxes, moving supplies, appliance disconnection and reconnection, furniture disassembly and reassembly, custom crates, loading and unloading, crane vans for large items, storage, auto transport, basic liability coverage, and full-valuation coverage.


To help you get a general estimate of what you might pay for moving services from North American Van Lines, take a look at the chart below before claiming your free moving quote. 

 <250 miles500 miles1,000 miles2,000 miles
Two-bedroom home$1,800 to $4,500$2,400 to $5,400$2,700 to $5,700$4,400 to $7,400
Four-bedroom home$3,300 to $6,000$5,700 to $8,700$7,500 to $10,500$10,900 to $13,000

Get a quote from North American Van Lines by adding your current location and destination here.

Read more with our full NAVL review.

Why Trust House Method

  • 24 key factors analyzed
  • 1,000+ relocation services parsed
  • 1,000+ customer reviews analyzed

House Method’s Experts collected and analyzed 25 critical data points across multiple companies to identify what makes a great moving company in the eye of the consumer. Our reviews team used this data to assess over 40 moving providers for services provided, relocation costs, and national availability to provide unbiased reviews so homeowners can confidently navigate key decisions about their next move.

PODS – Best Container Service for Local Moves

  • Affordable local moving services
  • Three container sizes available for customized moves
  • Easy cancellation and refund policies

Why We Recommend PODS

While U-Pack is our overall recommended moving container service, the company has not yet expanded to include local moves that don’t cross state lines. If you’re looking for an affordable option for a small local move, PODS can present you with a low-cost option. PODS offers three unique moving container sizes, which can help you avoid overpaying for a truck or excess container space that you don’t need. Like U-Pack, you can also view pricing completely online and book your reservation without connecting with a customer service representative.

In addition to providing transparent pricing and an easy booking process, PODS also offers flexible cancellation criteria. So long as you cancel your move before 4 p.m. the day before your move, you can claim a full refund on your booking. While PODS does not offer a full range of loading and extra services you might expect from full-service movers, it can provide an invaluable asset for a local move at a price you can afford.

Pros & Cons of PODS


  • Free cancellations and refunds up to 4pm the day before your move
  • Multiple moving container sizes
  • Easy online booking process
  • Includes a month of storage with your move


  • Long-distance moves are often more expensive than competitors

Services Offered

PODS is not a full-service moving company, so it limits its services to local and long-distance moving. Each PODS rental includes a month of onsite storage complimentary with your reservation, but you can also receive optional storage services for an extra charge.


Use the chart below to learn more about what you’re likely to pay for your moving services from PODS.

 <250 miles500 miles  1,000 miles  2,000 miles  
Two-bedroom home$700 – $1,700$1,300 – $2,300$1,700 – $2,700           $2,200 – $3,200
Four-bedroom home$900 – $1,900$1,900 – $2,900$2,900 – $3,900$4,200 – $5,200

uShip – Best Single Item Mover

  • Flexible pricing
  • Able to ship unusual items (livestock, electronics, appliances, etc.)
  • Includes “Ship with Confidence” guarantee

Why We Recommend uShip

If you’re only moving a single item (for example, a piece of furniture out of storage or a room that didn’t make it on your last move), you might not have the budget for a full moving team. In these instances, uShip can help you locate an affordable single-item mover to help you save the item you’re considering leaving behind. Unlike other moving companies on our list, uShip is not made up of a single team — instead, when you work with uShip, you’ll choose between multiple movers competing for your business.

When you start with uShip, you’ll create an eBay-like listing for the item you want to move. You can ship almost anything from furniture to live farm animals through uShip. You’ll then have the option to choose a price you’ll be willing to pay for your move or accept bids from multiple companies. Different shippers, each with their own reviews and company profiles, will then bid on your job for your consideration. You can book directly through the platform when you find a company you’d like to work with. Unique, straightforward, and flexible, uShip can be an ideal solution for anyone looking for affordable single-item moves.

Pros & Cons of uShip


  • Allows customers to name their own price on shipping services
  • More than 41,000 partner carriers
  • Available in all 50 states


  • Service quality may vary between providers

Services Offered

As a shipping broker, uShip can help you arrange nearly any type of single item or moving service. Some of the most common services brokered through the site are business shipping, auto shipping, small shipment moving, and livestock moving.

Have another item that you need to move? Don’t be afraid to list it on uShip. With more than 41,000 individual partners, chances are high that you’ll find a team with the tools and training to safely get your item from point A to point B.


One of the best parts of working with uShip is the ability to name your own price. When you create your listing, you can choose to specify the price you’re willing to pay for your single-item move and only accept offers from movers within your budget. This can be especially helpful if you aren’t sure if a piece of furniture or other heavy item is worth moving.

To learn more about uShip’s pricing system, read our full uShip Review.

What is Considered a Small Move?

A small move typically involves moving a one-bedroom or studio apartment’s worth of personal belongings and furniture. A small load shipment weight is usually less than 2,000 lbs, but for moving companies ranges from 1,000 to 3,500 for “small loads.”

Remember that some moving companies require loads to weigh more than 2,000 to move you a certain distance. Be sure to check weight requirements for small loads and the corresponding price points before booking.

How to Prepare for a Small Load Move

As you can see, moving can be an expensive process. This is true even if you move only a few items or a short distance. Thankfully, there are a few steps that you can take to make your small load move easier and less stressful, including the following.

1. Downsize and DIY If You Can

The most important thing you can do for your move before leaving your apartment or dorm room for another is to downsize. If you have books you didn’t like or don’t want to reread, try selling them or donating them. Other items that you might want to get rid of include mismatched kitchen utensils, clothing that doesn’t fit or isn’t your style any longer, and broken appliances.

The easiest way to save money on a small move is to downsize your furniture. It could help you immensely if you can fit all your belongings inside a car (or two). This will save you money on renting a moving truck or van; all it takes is some extra gas money. You can also accomplish a DIY move by simply renting a moving trailer for the household goods that won’t fit inside your car, like a favorite armchair or a bookcase you can’t part with.

The more you downsize, the more money you’ll save on your move. If you’re able to get rid of enough, you may even save the hundreds or thousands of dollars you might have spent on a moving company. You might even be able to put additional moving funds into your pocket with a garage sale before your moving date.

2. Pack Yourself

You can save several hundred dollars on your small move if you do all the packing yourself (or with the help of a few friends or family) rather than paying movers. They are professionals, but professionals have professional rates. If you have already downsized and you’re only moving from a studio or a one-bedroom apartment, you can easily pack up your belongings yourself.

The first step is to begin collecting packing supplies. Avoid brand-name moving shops — the markup on moving supplies is quite high, and any dollar store or supermarket will have what you need for a fraction of the price. You’ll need packing tape and some plastic wrap to wrap up cleaning supplies and toiletries. Gather old towels and clothes and use them as environmentally-friendly packing material.

For boxes, try places like pharmacies, schools, and grocery stores. These businesses receive supply shipments daily, and the boxes usually end up in a designated recycling area.

If you’re moving furniture, you may need to invest in a hand truck or dolly for your move. This will help you easily carry multiple boxes at once. You can also use any suitcases or luggage you’re moving to pack unwieldy or heavy things like books. Box up heavy items in small boxes so the boxes don’t break and so they aren’t too heavy for you to move.

3. Consider Hiring For Labor Only

If you have some cash in your moving budget for labor, you can save yourself from doing the hard and dangerous jobs by hiring others to do the moving and lifting only. You can rent a moving truck and hire movers to load your vehicle only to save money if you aren’t comfortable with a day of heavy lifting.

Platforms like TaskRabbit and Thumbtack allow you to hire for affordable hourly labor jobs. This option can be especially helpful for seniors needing help with heavy lifting. You can also check to see if any local or chain moving companies in your area have hourly rates just for a labor-only move. Since you’re packing and unpacking, this method will still save you money while also saving you stress and sore muscles.

4. Use Safe Lifting Techniques

If you forgo hiring workers to lift and move your shipment, ensure you’re safe when moving these items. This is especially true if you’ll be moving heavy boxes or furniture. You should already have a hand truck for moving, but there are some other tips and techniques you can use to avoid injuring yourself during your move.

Avoid bowing or bending your back when lifting something off the floor. Instead, use your core to squat to grab the item, then keep your back straight with your feet wide apart to lift safely without causing injury to yourself. Hold boxes from the bottom, and make sure to tape the bottom of the boxes as well as the tops. When you’ve picked something up to move, ensure you’re holding it close to your body so your arms are supported by your core, and you don’t lose your grip.

You can purchase furniture gliders to put on the bottoms of your couch legs and armchair legs so you can slide them across the floor and out the door. If you’re moving furniture across hardwood or tile, you can get furniture pads to place on the legs instead, and the same method can be used.

When lifting furniture, always have a partner. Communicate when you’re lifting and work as a team. You may wish to protect your core with a weight-lifting belt if you can borrow one and get furniture straps. These go around the middle or toward the bottom of a piece of furniture, and you hold onto each end. Your partner grabs the actual furniture while the straps give you both more leverage, reducing the risk of injury.

5. Choose Your Moving Date in Advance

If you already have plans to move months in advance, you can get a moving plan and schedule together well before the date when you leave home. Get started by setting a moving date that works for you, your family, and anyone helping you to move. You can begin to downsize as soon as you know your moving date. Donate, sell, and give to friends and family — start as soon as possible to enjoy the easiest process.

Pack one room at a time, labeling each box and storing them away before moving on to the next area of your home. This systematic packing and organization will keep you on schedule and relaxed once the big day comes. Begin the packing, moving, and planning process at least one month before you need to leave your current space.

6. Move During the Off-Season

Moving during the summertime is hectic — and if you’re moving out of your dorm and back home for the summer, you probably won’t be able to avoid the chaos. However, if you’re moving from one apartment or small dwelling to another and can choose when to move, choose the winter or spring season. Summer is the busiest moving season, meaning that all moving supplies, extra labor, vehicle rentals, and storage units will increase in price dramatically.

Moving in the winter will ensure you get the best deals on hired help if you need it, moving vehicle rentals, packing supplies, and anything else move-related. You also don’t have to worry as much about wearing out from the summer heat.

7. Take Photographs of Your Valuables and Furniture

Before packing everything in your vehicles, it’s best practice to take pictures of your valuable items (electronics, antiques, instruments) and furniture before you start moving. This is especially true if you’re hiring professional movers. If a mover damages your belongings during the transportation process, your photos ensure that you have proof the item wasn’t damaged before the move. You can then pursue damages from the moving company to replace or repair your things.

Make sure to inventory everything before loading begins. Number each and every box and write down how many boxes are being moved. This helps you rest with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything will be accounted for when it arrives at the destination. Label the boxes, so you know what’s in each box and which rooms they belong in once they arrive at your destination. It’s also helpful to invest in a few transparent bins to move things that are lighter and shaped oddly so that you can see through the box and know exactly what you’re moving.

8. Put Boxes in Rooms Where They Belong

Even if you’re moving to a one-bedroom apartment or a suite dormitory, you can still make your life much easier yourself by simply placing each box in the room where it belongs, or rather, where the things within will go. This may seem like common sense, but with all the frenetic activity and exhaustion that comes with a move, this could be a detail easily overlooked.

Put all the boxes with kitchen supplies in the kitchen. Everything that goes into your bedroom set it all in there. This will save you physical and mental energy, and you won’t run all over your new place trying to put everything where it should be. You can calmly work from room to room, starting with your bed and then going to the room that will get used next instead of rushing to unpack everything at once.

9. Clean Before Unpacking

Giving your new home a cursory clean before you begin the unpacking process will make it feel like a true home. You can ensure that your new home is ready for you by quickly wiping and disinfecting notorious places (like the countertops and bathrooms).

Since your cleaning supplies will all be in one box or tote together and labeled, you should have no issue finding them to give the bathroom a quick once-over. Clean the toilet, wipe down the counters, and ensure everything is ready for your things to occupy the room. It’s best to throw out items like your old toilet brush, shower curtain, and anything that can bring germs or even pathogens into your new environment.

Dust your home’s window frames, wipe out the cabinets, and disinfect the refrigerator before you load anything into it. This should be the first step once all your belongings are moved into the new place. Set them down, clean them, then start unpacking for a more organized process and home.

10. Take Photos Before and After Moving

Our final tip involves just a few extra minutes at your old apartment or dwelling — but might end up saving you thousands of dollars if you’re making the jump from renting to owning your space. Once all your things are packed away, take photos of the condition of your previous space. Take pictures of the furniture that wasn’t yours, window blinds, fixtures, and every corner of each room you occupied.

Taking and keeping photos of the condition of your previous space as you left it can help you recover your security deposit if the landlord tries to illegally withhold it. Your landlord may only keep your security deposit if you have caused significant damage to the property after moving out. If your landlord claims you caused damage that isn’t there, your photos will help get your deposit back in court.

This recommendation applies to your new place as well. As soon as possible, take photos of all the same things so you can keep a record of the condition of your new home as it was when you first moved in. This is especially true if you’re purchasing an investment property that you plan to rent to tenants in the future.

What To Look for In Moving Companies for Small Moves

Moving can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. If you’re overwhelmed at the prospect of undertaking your move on your own, you might want to consider working with a professional moving company. How can you know a moving company is right for your small move? Be sure to look for the following characteristics before you book your move date. 

  • Budget-friendly: Before considering anything else, you’ll need to consider your overall moving budget. If your employer is paying for all or part of your relocation, then this may not be your number one priority, but if you’re trying to save money on your move, make sure you don’t settle for the first quote you get. Get quotes from at least three different companies and compare them. This will help you better understand what you can expect to pay for moving services while directly comparing pricing between companies. 
  • Licensing and qualifications: It’s always great to check and see if the company is accredited with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). This ensures that customer reviews, good and bad, are available to you because the BBB is a third party with no bias toward or against the professional movers you’re researching. All movers who cross state lines need to be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a federal body that oversees the moving industry. You can be sure that a moving company is registered with the FMCSA by asking for the company’s USDOT number. 
  • Reputation and experience: Most of the companies on our list have decades of experience in the moving industry. Check out companies with many customer reviews, high customer satisfaction, and easily accessible customer service. If you know anyone who has used a moving company you’re considering, ask them about their experience. Make sure you’re going with a company that people write positive things about overall.

Factors that Affect Small Load Moving Cost

Moving often has unexpected costs and fees which aren’t included in the preliminary quoting process. These are some of the things that can surprise you when it comes to moving costs on small-load moves.

  • Insurance: Unless you only want recovery insurance, which is the minimum requirement under the law, you will have to sign up for full coverage insurance. This is not included in most moving plans, and it will be an extra cost (typically 1-2% of the total move cost). If you opt not to book enhanced insurance, you may be left covering the costs of repairs or replacements to items damaged during shipment on your own.
  • Delays, tolls, route changes: Roads can be unpredictable whether your small move is long-distance or local. Moving companies plan their route in advance, but unexpected road work, traffic accidents, or inclement weather conditions can slow your move and thus cost the movers more fuel costs or vehicle maintenance. This increases the price of your move. 
  • Specialty items and extra fees: Most movers charge around $100 for every flight of stairs they must traverse when picking up your shipment. There are also fees for what’s called a “long carry,” which occurs when movers have to carry your items 75 feet or more from your door to their vehicle. Long-term storage, specialty item moves, and elevators can also add fees to your move cost.

Final Thoughts

Our top 3 best moving companies for small moves are International Van Lines, American Van Lines, and Safeway Moving Services. Going with one of these companies guarantees several service options to make your move go as smoothly as possible.

If you’re like most movers, you’re probably actively looking for ways to lower the cost of your small move. The best way to reduce the amount that you’ll pay for your moving services is to get a quote from at least three competing moving companies before you book your moving date. Remember that every moving company uses its own unique formula to determine what you’ll pay for your move. This means it’s possible to find the exact same moving services from five different moving companies at five different price points. Getting multiple quotes helps ensure that you aren’t overpaying for your moving services.


Can I do a DIY small move?

If you’re going to attempt a DIY move, a small move is the best time to try your skills. You can simply rent a moving trailer or a small moving truck, load everything up yourself, and drive to your new home. This isn’t a great option if you’re uncomfortable driving a large commercial vehicle or towing a trailer, or if you cannot drive. If you have any fragile items or antiques, you may be better off hiring professionals for your move.

What is considered a long-distance move?

A long-distance move is anything over 400 miles. Some moving companies consider any move that crosses state lines to be a long-distance move.

How long does a small move take?

A small move should not take more than a day or two depending on where you’re moving. Packing and loading is done on your scheduled moving day, and if the drive is only a few hours, you should be able to sleep in your new home by the end of the day. However, if your drive will take several days, it’ll take more time to travel and settle into your new property.

House Method Rating Methodology

At House Method, our primary goals are to be a reliable source of information and to be totally transparent to our readers. With that in mind, we’ve developed the following formula to render objective ratings – on a scale of 10 points – for the moving companies we review.

  • Transparency (3.0): Communication and being fully straightforward regarding company policies and licensing are incredibly important. A given mover’s willingness to display these, to supply quick quotes, and to provide clearly-worded moving contracts all factor into the three points within this single rating criteria.
  • Cost (2.5): A mover’s cost relative to industry averages, as well as accessibility to cost data play a role in the customer experience as much as anything else. We know that being sure of what you’re paying – and being confident that you’re not overpaying – will ultimately make for a positive move. We’ve weighted cost factors accordingly in our ratings.
  • Customer Service (2.0): Establishing an easy line of contact with your movers during the booking process or during the move itself is a huge asset for any moving client. The stress of moving, in general, can be greatly eased by knowing you can talk to a licensed professional whenever you need to, which is why we’ve listed this as a key rating category. This is where customer reviews come into play; since the majority of complaints stem from poor customer service, feedback from BBB, Yelp, Google, and other review platforms factor into this criteria.
  • Services Offered (1.5): This rate is lower on our priority list than many would think, simply due to the fact that many movers provide a similar line of services. However, the breadth of service offerings does still vary to a degree.
  • Customization Options (1.0): Having the autonomy to fully customize your move should rate highly on any moving checklist. Here, we’ve taken moving package customization ability, as well as pricing for more involved add-ons. Steep pricing for such services can provide something of a soft barrier for clients looking to add to their move, and we’ve taken this into consideration.

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