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How to Make Moving Day Less Stressful

a woman is surrounded by moving boxes and appears stressed

If you are using a rented moving truck, moving container or moving trailer for a do-it-yourself move, then this moving guide is for you. Learn how to plan for potential DIY delays and how to schedule your loading and unloading moving help accordingly.

Moving day is often fraught with unexpected events, from home closing delays to rental truck breakdowns. Although it's impossible to fully anticipate and plan for many of these events, you can still reduce your risk of moving day conflicts by assessing potential delays in your individual situation and factoring them into your moving schedule.

Simply put, by giving yourself extra time as a cushion you are helping to mitigate the risk of unexpected delays. By doing so, you will ensure that your move is completed as scheduled without the risk of additional costs, fees or hassles.

Common Moving Day Delays

Let's explore the most common delays that people encounter on moving day:


Factoring your risk for inclement weather into moving day isn't as hard as it may seem. For example, If you live in New England and plan to move during the winter you can assume that there is a high probability of snow or ice. If you live in Southern Florida and plan to move during the summer it's very likely you will encounter afternoon thunderstorms.

If you're completing a cross country move, give yourself extra driving time if you believe weather may slow you down. As your move date approaches pay close attention to the weather forecast, if inclement weather looks likely you should contact your movers immediately to discuss rescheduling options.


Traffic can be hard to predict and often results in significant delays. If you're completing a long distance move and have scheduled movers to unload your truck then you will want to build in a cushion for traffic delays. By doing so you won't have to deal with the stress and anxiety of rescheduling your moving help at the last minute.

Moving soon? Find affordable local movers to do the heavy lifting for you on our mover marketplace.

Home Closing Delays

Closing on your new home is an exciting event, however, the process often encounters delays and can be very time consuming. Consider the magnitude of the closing process and how many documents must be signed, there is a high probability that you will encounter some kind of delay.

Be sure to plan accordingly and count on the home closing process taking longer than anticipated. Whenever possible, don't schedule your movers to arrive on the same day as your closing. If that is not possible, try and give yourself a cushion between your anticipated completion time and when the movers are scheduled to arrive. If your closing is scheduled in the morning have the movers come mid to late afternoon.

Unknown Delivery Date/Time of a Moving Container or Freight Truck

If you are using a moving storage container or a freight moving company, you may have difficulty scheduling your moving help in unison with your POD, truck or trailer, especially at your destination. Often times these companies will give you a date range for delivery, not a specific day. If you're lucky enough to know the actual day of delivery you probably won't know the delivery time window until the day before.

You may be surprised to learn that these problems can easily be accounted for planning ahead taking a conservative approach. Whenever possible, schedule your movers for the day after your expected delivery (if known), this is by far the best option. If that is not possible, always schedule your movers for later in the day, preferably no earlier than 1pm. Once the movers have been dispatched it can be very difficult to make schedule changes and you may incur additional costs for short notice changes.

If you have a delivery date range and don't know the exact day of delivery that's okay! You can still schedule your movers without this information, and we recommend that you do, but you will need to first decide what date is most likely for delivery. Freight companies, such as ABF U-Pack, have relatively predictable time tables. Most shipments are delivered within 3-5 days depending on the distance to be traveled. In the case of ABF U-Pack, they don't count the day the trailer is picked up, weekends or holidays. This information is very helpful when trying to determine what date is most likely for your delivery.

Truck Rental Pickup

Picking up a rental truck often takes longer than most people expect, especially on the weekend and at the beginning and end of the month. If you plan on picking up your rental truck at 8am, schedule your movers for an arrival window at least an hour later, preferably two. This allows you time to complete the necessary paperwork, inspect the truck and wait in line. A truck rental inspection is thorough and can be somewhat time consuming.

Believe it or not, having a reservation for a rental truck does not actually guarantee you a truck. Rental truck companies often run out of available trucks during peak summer months, especially at the end and beginning of the month. It's imperative to contact your local truck rental location and confirm directly with them 1-2 days prior to your scheduled pickup to avoid moving day delays and any short notice reschedule/cancellation fees.

Moving soon? Find affordable local movers to do the heavy lifting for you on our mover marketplace.

Truck Rental Breakdown

The potential for a maintenance issue with a rented moving truck will always exist. Sure, there are laws that rental truck companies must abide by to maintain the trucks, but that won't eliminate the potential for a breakdown. Although a breakdown is unlikely, it can wreak havoc on moving day if you didn't give yourself a cushion for possible delays. If you plan to rent a moving truck be sure to acknowledge that a breakdown is possible.

Bottom Line, Give Yourself Extra Time

In a perfect world your moving container, truck or trailer would arrive exactly when you want them to, but our world isn't perfect. You'll want to plan ahead and take steps to avoid scheduling your moving help too close to your estimated delivery time. Failing to plan for these common moving day pitfalls will only create more delays and add costs. Moving day is stressful enough without additional complications, plan accordingly and you will ensure a smooth day.

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