The Best Options for Small Moves

Moving only one room or a few items? You might not need a full-service moving company. Learn more about your options for smaller-scale moves.

Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

 ·  5 min

Not all moves are monumental occasions. Sometimes all you need is to move a single room’s worth of belongings, nice and easy.

Does that mean you shouldn’t still try to save money? Absolutely not. The best options for small moves today are still prioritized to give you the most bang for your buck.

Whether you’re a student moving back from college or a self-employed freelancer looking for a cheaper place to live, this is the list for you. We’re going to explore the best options for small moves in the United States: even just single pieces of furniture! 

What is Considered a Small Move?

Moving companies tend to prioritize large commercial moving requests. It makes sense, as these types of moves often require the most help.

Long-distance moving companies have to juggle several additional services, moving insurance, valuation, supplies, and fuel, among other details. A small move can be a little tricky to hire help for, thanks to its limited scope, so many just don’t bother. If you’re feeling stuck, rest easy knowing there are still options out there.

Firstly, let’s expand on what a small move is. The definition usually means a move that’s around 2,000 pounds or less. Some also refer to small moves as short-distance. This definition includes moving:

A Single Room

It’s not just apartments and homes that need to be moved. Sometimes it’s just one room! This is a popular choice for families that have children moving out. This can also be requested during a divorce or a break-up.

A Very Small Studio Apartment

When a studio apartment can be as tiny as 180 to 200 square feet, you’d think it’d be easy to move belongings. Not so. People can still need help moving heavy furniture down a flight of stairs or breaking down the equipment. 

Single Pieces of Furniture

Maybe you’re fortunate enough to have plenty of help moving your belongings. It’s just one piece of furniture that has you stuck. Hiring a moving company is a much safer bet than risking a serious injury trying to do everything by yourself.

Tricky pieces of furniture to move include:

  • Ellipticals, treadmills, or any other large exercise equipment
  • Pianos
  • Pool tables
  • Heavy dining tables
  • Desks
  • Original artwork (such as paintings or sculptures)

What Are My Options When It Comes to Small Moves?

Let’s get one thing clear: not all moving companies handle very small moves. Since so many are designed for large volumes, it simply won’t add up to a profit to transport a few items or even a single item.

That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. In fact, you might just get choice fatigue from all the options on your table.

Hire Specialty Small Load Movers

There are small moving companies (usually local movers) that are happy to help with tiny jobs. Unlike the full-service moving services usually offered by interstate companies, they specialize in smaller scopes. That means moving single pieces of furniture, small rooms, or studios.

Make sure to carefully read the provided services on a business’s website. If you have any questions, call and ask. When you’re presented with the bill of lading (that’s the final receipt once the job is finished), it could be too late to request new services. 

Moving businesses that regularly handle small long-distance moves are:

  • ShipSmart
  • UShip
  • MiniMove

Moving apps that specifically handle local small moves including:

  • 1-800-PACK-RAT
  • HireAHelper
  • TaskRabbit

These moving apps can consist of inexperienced people who move items on the side, so make sure to vet carefully. Long-distance movers with significant moving experience should be prioritized for their expertise and how quickly they get the job done. They tend to have a more streamlined moving process for getting your items to their new home.

Ship Your Items

This option isn’t really useful for local moves but is perfect for long-distance moves. If you’re skilled at packing and labeling, consider just shipping your items to your destination.

Too busy to pack and label your belongings? Hire a professional packing service to get the job done in a matter of hours. They usually charge by the hour, though they can sometimes charge by the volume of the items packed. Expect to pay at least $100 for a small move, though this can be as high as $1,000 if you have larger furniture.

Other packing services will do flat rates based on the size of the boxes being transported. Always double-check the professional packing services website and read the contract closely before signing!

Your best shipping options include:

  • USPS
  • UPS
  • FedEx

While shipping your items is an effective option, remember you’ll still need to pay for postage, handling, and potential fees for fragile items. If you’re worried about other people handling (and potentially breaking) your objects, consider the next option.

Rent Moving Equipment Yourself

If your move is extremely small in scope, consider just moving everything yourself. You can rent a moving container, moving truck, or cargo van to transport your goods. 

Studio apartments, college dorms, and single rooms frequently turn to these options. You’ll still need to gather up packing supplies to transport your goods from one place to another, so jot these down on your to-rent list:

  • Dolly
  • Moving boxes
  • Ramp
  • Moving straps
  • Tape

Moving containers are especially useful for movers who need a little wiggle room. Maybe you can’t move into your apartment immediately, or you need time to set everything up. Containers also function as storage units and can be rented for as long as you need them. Depending on the size and quality of the storage container, expect to pay between $75 to $500 per month.

Storage container and moving trailer companies you can check out include:

  • PODS
  • U-Pack

International Van Lines, while mostly handling large-scale moves, also offers flexible small-scale options. Consider giving them a call if you have additional last-minute moving needs, such as vehicle relocation or long-term storage. 

Small Move FAQs

How Much Can I Expect to Pay for a Small Move?

Small moves inherently run cheaper thanks to fewer items. Costs can still go up depending on the distance moved, as well as the amount of fragile or expensive belongings transported. 

The average one-bedroom home being moved across a few states will range between $1,200 to $1,500 with the aid of a professional movers. A studio apartment across the same distance is a little cheaper, hovering between $800 to $1,000.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider renting a truck or a shipping container service. The average one-bedroom home moved by truck can be as low as $300 to $400. 

How Should I Prepare for a Small Move?

Even the smallest move can be made more convenient. If you’ve been thinking of doing some spring cleaning, get this step out of the way as soon as possible. 

Whether you choose to hire a moving company or go solo, reducing the amount of items you’re moving will lower costs and even put a little money back into your pocket. Consider donating unwanted clothes to your local thrift shop and selling unwanted items online on sites like Facebook Marketplace. 

Extra time means you can get a little packing and labeling done yourself, to boot. Disassemble any equipment you feel comfortable doing and save your money for anything that can’t be done yourself.

Conclusion

Small moves should come with less stress, but that’s not always the case. It’s easy to feel stuck when so many moving companies don’t bother with tiny studios or single rooms.

Thankfully, there are a plethora of fast and efficient small moving services ready to help you out. Just like any other moving company, they should be vetted carefully beforehand through the company website. Look for important details such as:

  • List of services and pricing (including a moving estimate)
  • FMCSA verification for out of state moves or local state verification for local moving companies
  • Positive customer reviews

You can also turn to renting a moving truck or a storage unit in lieu of hiring help. One way or another, there’s a cost-effective and practical option to get you where you need to go.

Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

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