Is It Worth It to Hire Movers? Here’s How to Decide

published Jan 16, 2021
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Credit: Lauren Volo

You’ve found the perfect place to live, signed the lease, and paid the security deposit. Now, the part many people dread: It’s time to pack up and move out. There are plenty of options from doing it all yourself to hiring professionals that’ll haul boxes and even full-service movers who pack up your belongings for you. 

In most cases, it’s better to leave it to the experts, according to professional organizers Ashley Murphy and Marissa Hagmeyer, cofounders of the Neat Method.

“Packing and unpacking is one thing, but the actual stress, mentally and physically, just isn’t worth it in our opinion. The only time we’d nudge someone to pack themselves, rent a truck, and lug heavy boxes and furniture is if they’re on a budget,” Murphy says.

Every move is different, of course, so it’s important to consider what you can spend and how much time you’re willing to invest. Here’s a breakdown of scenarios where hiring professionals just makes the most sense — and when you can simply do it yourself.

When to hire professional movers:

  • Consider your timeline. If you’re short on time, hiring a professional moving company can reduce stress and let you tackle other necessary parts of a move like setting up wifi or utilities. 
  • If you’ve budgeted for movers, keep in mind that busy seasons like spring and summer can cause companies to book up quickly. Booking at least a month in advance is a smart choice, especially if you don’t want to be lifting heavy boxes yourself.
  • It can be tricky to move bulky items like TVs, couches, and other furniture. If you plan on hauling heavy stuff from your apartment and don’t have friends to help, it’s probably best to hire a couple of professionals to avoid damaging your beloved bed frame or pricey TV. 
  • Making the move across state lines? If you’ve got a long-distance move ahead, it can be convenient to meet your boxes at the new place rather than enduring a multi-day road trip in a U-Haul.
  • Another perk to using a moving company is that they often have extra supplies, like tape and bubble wrap, on hand if you need to secure any boxes or pad your items last minute. Usually, the cost of those materials is added on top of the service price.
  • Think about the weather — do you mind packing up a truck when there’s ice and snow on the ground? Or on a humid, hot day? If that doesn’t sound appealing, it’s another reason to hire movers.
  • How are your organization skills? If the thought of packing up every room fills you with dread — how do you wrap picture frames? How many boxes do you need for your closet? How should you pack glassware? Then consider a moving company that also provides packing services. They’ll be able to organize and pack each room, plus take apart and reassemble furniture like bed frames or TV mounts. 
  • The best part about hiring help is that you can pick and choose what services you need. If you only need someone to move big items like mattresses or sofas, consider apps like Dolly or Task Rabbit for one-off tasks to simplify your move.
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

When to DIY the move:

  • It’s more work, but you’ll save a lot on moving expenses if you choose to do it yourself. So, for folks with a strict budget this is the ideal option.
  • If time is on your side, you can pack up yourself and actually remember what’s in each box (label! label! label!). Trust me, you don’t want to be digging through a dozen boxes to find your pillow or phone charger the first night in your new place.
  • Excited to declutter? Then make your DIY move an opportunity to separate everything into toss, donate, and keep piles. It’ll feel satisfying and truly give you a fresh start. 
  • Think about where you’re moving. Is it down the block? Within the same city? Are you just moving things into storage? If you aren’t going that far, then moving on your own becomes a little easier. 
  • If you have plenty of time to plan your upcoming move, then it’ll be much easier to do on your own. Plus, you’ll have time to sell whatever furniture or belongings you don’t want to bring to your new apartment.
  • If you aren’t keen on having to depend on a mover’s schedule, then moving on your own will allow you more flexibility. You can spend the weekend thoughtfully moving into your new digs, rather than rushing to make sure everything is ready for the three hours you’ve got with professional movers.
  • Another situation when you can skip the professional movers? You just don’t have that much stuff! Perhaps you’re moving a studio or one-bedroom apartment or don’t have big ticket items like a couch yet—it’ll be less of a hassle to tackle this project yourself. 
  • Got roommates, a partner, or friends? Enlisting their help instead of a professional mover can make the day go by quickly (and probably only cost you a couple of pizzas).