Renting the Right Size Moving Truck

tip & tricks on orange sticky note sticky note next to house cut out

Use these tips to determine what size moving truck to reserve prior to your move, and how to load it. If you are planning on moving yourself and researching truck rentals, you must have an idea of the truck size you need in order to reserve it comfortably. You should reserve a truck four weeks before your move.
If the truck is too small you will have to make several trips. If you are moving a long distance that could be disastrous. If left to the last minute, you also risk not being able to rent the size you need for the right price. A truck that is too big is a better option; however, be aware that if your items do not snugly pack into a large truck, or if you neglect to secure them properly, they may become damaged by shifting or falling.
If you are hiring a moving company they should bring the right size truck based on what you tell them you have and being professionals they can fit more into a smaller size truck than the average homeowner.

If you are moving a child to college, cleaning out a shed or small garage, or only moving one small area, rent a trailer and hitch. You can generally measure a few pieces and estimate the number of boxes to determine which size trailer is right. This option is usually cheaper than renting any full size moving truck.
The chart below can be used as a guideline for reserving a moving truck.

  • One to Two Rooms: 12-foot
  • Two to Three Rooms: 17-foot.
  • Three to four Rooms: 22-foot.
  • Five to Seven Rooms: 26-foot.

NOTE: Keep in mind everyone is furnished differently and while these guidelines are helpful it’s not always that simple. Do you have an entire other house is your garage? Do you have lot of patio furniture, lawn mower, plants and other items that do not stack well? Do you have very little in the way of stuff or are you a pack rat? Be honest with yourself and really take a look at what you have.
TIP: Remember to take into consideration the height of the truck. If you have a tall piece it may not stand in a 12 foot rental because you don’t have the height clearance and you will need to rent a bigger truck to get the height you need. When you are renting a truck always remember to ask about the height.
Packing the Moving Truck
You want to use heavier furniture pieces like dressers, nightstands and desks as what is called “base”. Wrap moving blankets around furniture to keep things from getting scratched. Stack boxes on top of the furniture. Smaller furniture pieces can be stacked on top of your base furniture.

Fill in between and underneath with smaller pieces and boxes, wrapping where possible. Boxes can easily go under a table or a desk. Look for small boxes to fill in spaces this not only helps to keep the shipment from shifting but you also want to make sure everything fits so use your space wisely.

Keep a small step stool handy this helps with reaching high and deep into empty spaces. Always put lighter items on top and heavier on the bottom. When packing remember it’s easier to stack a box than it is to stack a garbage bag the more you have packed into uniform boxes the easier the truck will be to load.
Distribute the weight evenly throughout the truck with more weight towards the cab or front of the truck but pretty evenly throughout the truck. Not only is it not good for the truck itself to be loaded heavier on one side than the other but when taking a turn it’s possible to flip the truck if you have more weight on one side than the other.
Where you are moving and how far you are going? The farther away you are moving the longer your items will be in the truck and the more pads and straps you should use. Are you moving somewhere that you will be driving over a steep road? Keep in mind the load shifting and use straps or rope to help keep furniture in place.

Moving Truck Rental Companies we recommend are PenskeBudget  or Enterprise Truck Rental. All have good maintenance records and staff available to assist you in figuring out the proper truck size.

If you are moving cross country or some farther distance you may want to consider hiring a professional moving company to load the truck for you. Hiring a professional moving company will lesson the chances of the load shifting and items getting damaged. Check the CMSA (California Moving and Storage Association) web site for a list of California ProMovers in your area that can help with this. The money you pay upfront to load the truck could save you money in the end with less breakage not to mention getting you on the road quickly and easily.

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