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Moving is never easy, but certain times of the year, month, and week may be more convenient and cost-effective than others. Ultimately, the best time to move will depend on your individual needs, but, if you have the flexibility, it’s a good idea to schedule your relocation when fewer people are moving.
We rounded up the most ideal times to move, whether you hire a moving company or do it yourself.
Best Time to Move by Season
Most Americans move from mid-May through mid-September—or between Memorial Day and Labor Day—which is the peak moving season. However, the best time of the year to move is during the off-season, which is mid-September through April. Moving during the off-season gives you more availability and scheduling flexibility with professional movers since you won’t have to compete with as many individuals or families for time slots. Additionally, fewer moving shipments means faster delivery times for your belongings. Rates may also be lower during the off-season than in peak season.
The best time to move will depend on your personal situation and preferences, but here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of moving by season.
Summer is the busiest time of year for professional moving companies. Many people choose to move during the summer months when the weather is more favorable and school is out of session.
Most people have greater flexibility during the summer months and can take time off work to plan and execute their moves. This is also the time of year when many leases end or begin and more homeowners list their homes on the market, giving buyers a better chance at finding their new homes.
While summer may be the perfect time to move for some people, it can also be more difficult to hire a reliable moving company with experienced movers on the days and times you prefer. Depending on where you live, there’s also a risk of overheating, and you’ll need to take precautions to ensure children, pets, and special items are safe from the heat.
Fall can also be ideal for moving. Not only is the weather a little more forgiving than in winter and summer, but there’s also less demand for professional moving companies, giving you more flexibility when scheduling your moving day.
Moving in autumn has several drawbacks. If you live near a university campus, the influx of college students could make apartment hunting more challenging. If you have school-age children, moving in fall could result in missed school days and greater difficulty adjusting to the new school year—especially if they need to switch schools.
Certain fall months can also be more difficult than others. For example, if you move in late fall, you may have to worry about rain or snow on your moving day, depending on your location. Plus, there’s the holiday season, which could put a damper on your moving day if you need to miss seasonal get-togethers and family gatherings.
Moving in the cold, dark winter months isn’t ideal, but it is the most cost-effective moving season, and you will have your pick of moving companies and dates. Your belongings may also fare better in the back of a cold moving truck than they would in the scorching midsummer heat.
Winter doesn’t come without its disadvantages. Unless you live in a consistently warm area such as the South, you could battle snow, ice, and winter storms on your moving day. Not only could it be cold and slippery getting boxes into the truck and then into your new home, but weather conditions could also make driving dangerous. Winter also gives you fewer daylight hours to work with, and exposure to cold, damp air or any significant temperature changes could damage your valuables.
Winter moving requires preparation and safety. Invest in high-quality packing materials for items that are more susceptible to cold temperatures. Be flexible if you need to reschedule due to weather conditions and make sure your driveway, paths, and doorways are clear of any snow and ice on your moving day. You should also cover your floors with protective materials to ensure carpeting and hardwood floors aren’t damaged by water or muddy boots.
Aside from a few spring showers, spring weather is usually fairly mild, and it’s a great time of year to start fresh. Not only is the weather more tolerable, but there’s still less demand for moving companies than in summer.
Spring is also a good time to put your home on the market, and beautiful spring listing photos could help attract buyers. Another advantage is that you get to miss the hectic peak season and reserve the summer for settling into your new home.
However, if you have kids, they’re typically still in class at this time of the year, and moving right before the end of the school year could be a rough transition. The weather may be nicer than winter, but spring also means rain in many regions. A rainy day could make moving a little more challenging.
Similar to winter, wet weather conditions mean it’s important to consider your floors when you’re moving in and out of the house. Pollen counts are also up at this time of the year and being outside could trigger seasonal allergies.
Best Time of Day to Move
The old adage “the early bird gets the worm” applies to moving. You only have so many hours to work with, so it’s best to start the day as early as possible. Here are several things to consider regarding the best time of the day to move.
The best time to start moving is in the early morning. Hiring professional movers or picking up a moving truck early in the day—between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.—will give you more time to load, unload, organize, and return the truck if necessary. If you plan to use a mobile moving-and-storage container, plan to start packing as early as you can so you don’t run out of daylight. Getting packed and on the road early also means less traffic if you live in a busy area. If you move during summer, starting the day early can also help you avoid the hottest hours of the day.
If you aren’t an early bird, you can still start the moving process early in the afternoon. However, you may be pressed for time by starting later in the day. Make sure everything is ready for the movers if you hire a moving company. If you are doing it yourself, be prepared ahead of time so you can start loading the truck as soon as possible. If you hit the road earlier in the afternoon, you may be able to avoid rush hour traffic.
Further, you should accept the possibility of a delayed start if you book an afternoon move. If your movers have another job scheduled the same morning, they may run into roadblocks that cause them to run late.
Your busy schedule may take up most of your day—or you may be more of a night owl. Whatever your reason, you may want to relocate in the evening. Some moving companies offer after-hours services if you need extra time to move after regular business hours, but you may need to extend your move to the next day depending on how much time it will take. Some areas also have laws against moving at night. For example, it is against the law in Atlanta to move household goods and furnishings between sunset and sunrise without obtaining a permit.
If you are moving in the evening, ask your moving company if it can get the job done on the same day. You should also check whether any local laws prohibit moving at night. Even if an evening move isn’t against the law, you must adhere to local noise ordinances.
Another key consideration is safety. Evening or night moves can be more of a hazard due to a lack of sunlight—make sure your utilities are connected ahead of time and everything is well-lit.
DIY vs. Professional Moves
The best time to move may differ depending on whether you’re doing a DIY move or hiring professional movers. Here’s what you need to know.
Best Time for a DIY Move
If you’re planning a DIY move, the best time of year to relocate is usually early spring or late fall to avoid the extreme weather conditions of summer and winter. However, the best season to move depends on other factors, such as whether you have school-age children.
For both professional and DIY moves, certain days of the week and times of day are more convenient. Morning weekend moves are typically preferred for convenience’s sake, but, if you want to avoid peak days and times and ensure a reservation, Allied Van Lines suggests moving mid-week on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
Remember that leases and closings tend to happen at the beginning or end of the month, so more people may be renting moving vehicles around this time. Make sure you schedule a day and time for a moving truck a couple of months in advance and have everything packed and ready to go on your moving day to avoid delays.
Best Time for a Professional Move
The best time for a professional move is during the off-season, from mid-September through April, when there is less demand for moving companies. Moving during the winter months may also be a more viable option since moving companies have the experience to handle icy roads safely.
Similar to a DIY move, there may be more available moving day options if you plan to move in the middle of the month and during the week. Schedule your movers for as early in the day as possible to give yourself enough time to move and get settled.
Some moving companies can accommodate last-minute moves, while others recommend setting a date weeks (or months) in advance, particularly if you’re undergoing a long-distance move. It’s best to book your move as early as possible to avoid last-minute scrambling.
The best time to move depends on your location, the weather, your family, and your schedule; however, the general rule is that it’s from September through April, when movers are not in high demand. You should also try to schedule your moving day during the week and in the middle of the month when there’s less demand.
The best time to move will ultimately depend on your individual circumstance and preferences. Consider all the variables, such as weather, school, and rates, when scheduling your move day. We recommend getting quotes from at least three providers before hiring a professional mover to ensure the best rate and date for your move.
Best Time to Move FAQ
Is it better to move at the beginning or end of the month?
It’s typically better to move mid-month. Around the beginning and end of the month is when most apartment leases end, so movers will likely be busier during this time.
When is the best time to move with kids?
The best time to move with kids is during the summer when they are out of school. However, summer is also the peak moving season, so you can expect higher rates and less availability from moving companies.
Should I move in fall or summer?
If you want to avoid the peak season and extreme heat, fall is a better choice. If you have young children in school, it may be better to move in summer so they don’t have to miss any school days.
When is the most cost-effective time to move?
The most cost-effective time to move is during the off-season when there is less demand, typically from mid-September through April.