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How to Figure Out How Much You Have to Move

living room

Something that is oftentimes overlooked in the moving process is figuring out how much you actually have to move. Interestingly enough this overlooked task is the first thing that should be done when you are beginning a move.

While it is true that most professional moving companies will help you to compile an inventory of your belongings, making your own moving inventory can help guide the entire process and make it run all the more smoothly.

This part of the guide is designed to help those who are struggling with how to figure out how much you have to move. Unsurprisingly many people have difficulty answering this question, as they can get overwhelmed when looking at the entirety of the belongings they have accumulated and get bogged down with the scope of the task at hand. However, if you break this job into manageable portions you will better be able to get a handle on what you have to move. As well as be able to see what items do not need to come with you to your new home.

How to Figure Out How Much You Have to Move

If you have lived in your current home or apartment for a decent amount of time then you have probably accumulated a fair amount of material possessions. Sometimes these items are stowed away in the attic or a closet that you never go into. But even the everyday items that we use take up a considerable amount of our living space.

When starting the task of figuring out how much you have to move it is best to take everything piecemeal and start with the simplest and largest questions. From there you can then move down to the minutiae of what really needs to be moved. This will allow you to methodically and systematically start off your move. And it will help to eliminate the unnecessary anxiety that can come with being overwhelmed about how much stuff you have.

In this portion of our guide, we are going to going to go from beginning to end showing you how to figure out how much you have to move. And we will break this down room-by-room in order to help guide you in any questions or concerns you may have.

Starting Point for Figuring Out How Much You Have to Move

Before you even begin to calculate how much you have to move, you should take a birds-eye view of your home or apartment. Take a seat at your dining room table, with a pen and a piece of paper and write down all of the rooms you have in your house. This list should include hallways (if you have items in the hallway) as well any crawl spaces, basements, or attic space that will have to packed and moved as well.

This initial list will allow you to have a starting point in figuring out how much you have to move. It also allows you to break the task of calculating all of this into manageable pieces.

Your list should look something like this:

  •     Kitchen
  •     Downstairs Bathroom
  •     Dining Room
  •     Living Room
  •     Family Room
  •     Master bedroom
  •     Master bath
  •     Guest Room

Depending on how large of a home you live in will obviously depend on how many rooms will be on your initial inventory sheet, but this method works regardless of the size of the home.

Once you have your list it is now time to go and actually take a look through the rooms and see how much stuff you are actually going to have to move and therefore how many boxes and supplies you will need to purchase or acquire.

Inventorying The Rooms in Your Home

A system is only as good as the processes in place and so it is important that when you begin this task that you do not jump from room to room or half finish a room. Although some of us find it difficult to stay on task in this sort of orderly fashion it is important that you start at the top of your list and work your way down otherwise your inventory list could become mixed up.

With that said let’s take a look at suggestions for how we should calculate how much you have to move in each room in your house.


The kitchen is probably one of the more complicated rooms in the house when it comes to calculating your move. The reason for this is because of the multiple draws, the utensils, the pots, and all of the other cooking accouterments. But fortunately, minus the microwave, stools, and maybe a kitchen table, there usually aren’t many large items to notate.

The best way to categorize and inventory your kitchen is by starting with the larger items and then going drawer by drawer and cabinet by cabinet. It is not necessary to take note of any food that you may be bringing with you (like certain imperishable items) but you should include at least a box or two for these types of items.


The bathroom is one of the easier rooms in the house to figure out how much you have to move. The reason for this is because even though there may be a lot of little items like makeup, medications, and toiletries, there are usually not any large items that are coming with you during the move.

For the most part, you can probably keep the majority of the items in your bathroom together when you pack. However certain items like makeup or medications you may want to keep separate so that they do not get lost in the shuffle of the move. And so that you have easy access to them if you need.

Bathrooms also offer an opportunity to clean out some of your belongings before a move so keep in this mind as you are going through and inventorying this room.


For the most part the only things that you have to look at in your hallway are paintings, decorations and maybe a closet or two. The closets are important in figuring out how much you have to move because often times we just sort of throw things in our closet that we don’t want to see on a daily basis. This once again means an opportunity to shed some of your unwanted items.


Bedrooms can be one of the more difficult rooms to estimate moving volume. The reason for this is because of how varied the items in the bedroom are. You have your large items like beds, dressers, vanities, TVs and probably a desk or chair. Yet you also have your clothes, lamps, pictures, and a number of other miscellaneous items. You will probably need to spend a decent amount of time going through your bedrooms when attempting to figure out how much you have to move, but if you estimate correctly it will save you time in the long run.

Dining Room

When going through your dining room you should take note of anything that is fragile and needs to be handled with care. Those china dishes you have or expensive cutlery should be noted as needing to be packed extra carefully.

Living Room

For the most part the living room is going to consist of the larger items in your home like couches, coffee tables, end tables, TVs, entertain stands, and all of the other electronics that you could have in your home. As a result, making an inventory of these items and figuring out how much you are going to have to move is fairly easy.

Basement and Attic

The reality about these two spaces in our homes is that many times they contain items that we put there during our last move and haven’t touched since. Now if these items have sentimental value then they should be noted and accounted for in how much you are going to move. But if you feel that it is maybe time to get rid of that box with your old college essays in it, then, by all means, toss it out. Also, many of the items in these spaces are already boxed, but you will want to make sure that the boxes are still safe for moving, otherwise, they should be replaced.

You’re Done!

Now that you have gone through all of the rooms in your house and have begun to figure out how much you have to move, you can now move on to the next step in our moving checklist which is how to find a moving company.