No two home moving scenarios are identical regardless of any apparent similarities. And that is especially true when you want to move across the country only a limited number of items – that is, when you’re facing a mini move.

Moving small loads long distance should not be underestimated – the great move distance will provide a number of challenges for you to handle one by one. After all, a cross-country move is much more complex than an in-town move, for example.

Take a look at the following 7 tips for moving small loads across country so that you know what to expect from your small moving job in terms of completing the preparation period on time, hiring good small load movers, and reducing your small moving costs.

#1. Make sure your move is a mini move

More often than not, residential moving includes the physical relocation of the items found under the roof of a home – be it a house or an apartment. Such full house moves are the most common type of residential moves and they are usually serviced by full-service movers. Of course, this happens when you effectively move between two homes, and you do take (almost) all your belongings with you.

Under specific circumstances, however, you may need to move only a limited number of your household items, for example one set or a few pieces of furniture, a few large household appliances, or one or a few specialty items – a piano, a pool table, a heavy safe, a hot tub, and so on.

What do you do in such a case then? How do you approach this type of moving challenge so that you end up with the best moving solution from a financial point of view?

By definition, a small move is estimated to be up to about 1,000 pounds of household goods. Therefore, if you’re only moving a select number of things to another location, and if you estimate that their total weight won’t get anywhere near the 1,000-pound margin, then you’re going to have to organize and execute a mini move.

#2. Ask yourself if you really need small moving services

There are several relocation scenarios that will automatically trigger the use of moving services for small loads:

  • You’re moving out temporarily, so you don’t really need to relocate all of your earthly possessions with you. After all, you do plan to return to your current place after a certain amount of time, don’t you?
  • You’re moving the contents of only one room. Moving in or out of a college dorm room can be one good reason for a partial move, but you may be faced with other small shipment scenarios as well.
  • You’re moving only a few large and heavy items. The most common reason, by far, to hire small move services is your need to move one piece or a few pieces of furniture to another part of the country. In addition to furniture pieces, household electric appliances are also included in this category.
  • You’re moving only one specialty item. Moving a piano or a pool table between two homes is a classic example of a partial load move that will require professional assistance.

Unlike moving across town, moving across the country involves great distances of hundreds or thousands of miles – a fact that will prove detrimental to any reckless self-move attempts. So, should your upcoming move falls in any of the relocation cases listed above, it’s time to consider trusting small scale movers with your prized possession.

#3. Understand how the small moving cost is formed

Before you get in touch with small items movers, you will need to know how the small moving cost is calculated. That piece of knowledge will enable you to reduce the small load moving costs by employing a number of clever cost-saving tricks with the purpose of paying less money for your long distance move.

The small moving cost is formed on the basis of:

  • Total shipment weight. Keep in mind that most full-service moving companies charge for a minimum weight of around 2,000 pounds for a cross-country move. In other words, you’re going to have to pay for a 2,000-pound shipment regardless of just how well below that limit the actual weight is. As a result, you’d be better off hiring small shipment movers with no minimum weight requirement.
  • Move distance between two homes. Moving small loads across the country means the destination of your partial shipment will fall in another state, outside the radius of roughly 100 miles. /10 tips for moving to a new state/
  • Extra moving services requested by you. You may need to have only one set of furniture moved to another home, but if you also need to have that set disassembled properly and packed safely by professional partial load moving services, then you should be ready to pay more to cover the small moving costs.

#4. Find out where to find the best small load moving companies

Even with only a few household items, moving across the country is rarely suited for brave self-moving attempts – unless you can fit them in your own vehicle. Factor in the hidden costs of moving on your own and you will most likely come to the conclusion that it’s time to look for top-rated partial load movers – the relocation option that will enable you to be more flexible and reduce the moving costs at the same time.

The very first step you need to make?

  • If someone you know has used a moving company for the transportation of only a few items, and that someone is happy with the small moving services they have received, then you shouldn’t miss that opportunity to learn the name of the small-scale moving company.
  • When looking for small load movers, your best bet is to request free moving quotes and then compare the price estimates you receive in order to pick the offer the best suits your budget, preliminary expectations, and specific requirements.
  • Remember how important it is that you ask those small shipment movers to visit your home as part of the visual inspection so that they can quote you a moving price that is as accurate as possible.
  • While holding the written cost estimates in your hands, do a quick research on the moving companies – check their license information and read moving reviews in order to pick the right mover for yourself.

Request a free moving quote and compare the best small load movers.

#5. Learn how to reduce the small moving costs

When moving small loads of furniture across the country, your decision to hire small load movers will prove to be the best one, by far. In case you’re wondering about the advantages of professional small move services, here’s what you need to know in advance:

  • Without any minimum weight requirements or any hidden costs that will only burden your moving budget even more, you get to pay only for the item or items you want to be moved.
  • With a limited number of household items to transport, you will get an accurate moving estimate that should reflect the final small moving cost.
  • In most cases, moving only a small load of personal items means that, unless you pay extra for express delivery, your partial load will be shared in the truck with the items of other customers. This way, the transportation costs will be shared as well, which is nothing but good news for you. The downside of the shipment consolidation tactical move is that you may need to wait longer to receive your partial load.

As you can see, using the services of low-cost small shipment movers is an excellent way to cut the small moving costs, but you should also consider the following 3 extra ways to save on your mini move:

  1. Move only household items and personal things that are worth the trouble.
  2. If you can, disassemble the sets of furniture you’re moving to lower the cost.
  3. Pack whatever you can by yourself so that the partial load movers won’t charge you for the packing service.

# 6. Start packing for your partial move. Now.

Most of the times, you’ll be able to pack up yourself the items you need to move to another part of the country. Here are the steps that will help you complete that task on your own.

  • Again, go through the items you have decided to move and make sure all of them will be worth the transportation costs. Remember that the shipment weight is the predominant factor that will determine just how much money you pay the small-scale movers in the end. Ask yourself the serious question of whether you do plan to use those things in the near future, or not.
  • Get hold of appropriate packing materials. Now, the good news here is that you should be able to secure free moving boxes – or at least very cheap ones – from friends who don’t need their stock of cardboard containers anymore, or from local businesses that are required by law to recycle their cardboard boxes at the end of the day.
  • You can really go the distance as long as cost saving is concerned by using the packing supplies you already have in your own home – ordinary blankets, bath towels and other old but clean pieces of clothing instead of moving blankets and bubble wrap. Also, use virtually free newsprint to fill up any spaces in the cardboard boxes, or to pack fragile items over the initial layer of soft white packing paper.
  • Do not overestimate your packing skills. If you own items that are too valuable or too expensive to risk getting them damaged due to a poor packing job – mostly antique furniture and specialty items, then it’s best to leave the delicate packing and handling operations to experienced packers and movers.
  • Don’t forget to label the moving boxed you’ve packed yourself.

#7. Know the important details when moving small loads

Our final piece of advice on how to move small loads across the country is a reminder not to forget to keep in mind some of the most important details when moving small amounts of household goods to another location.

  • Reserve your mini move early. The earlier you book your move, the better your chances will be at having your small load moving company combine your shipment with that of somebody else. As a result, your final moving bill can be reduced significantly.
  • Explore your insurance options. Some of the single items you’re moving may be high-value articles that must reach the destination perfectly intact. Trusting top-rated and experienced small scale movers is a must-do, but purchasing additional moving insurance for that extra peace of mind is the right thing to do under the circumstances. Speak with your partial load moving company about the insurance options they offer.
  • Don’t skip the movers comparison part. There are numerous moving companies that take small loads, and out of the small load movers that you get in touch with, you have no way of knowing which one will be the best one for you. This is why, you just have to spare some time to check and then compare the various moving companies. Check their online reputation by reading customer reviews and ratings, and then see if any of them has any complaint history with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT), the American Moving and Storage Association /AMSA/, and the Better Business Bureau /BBB/.

Kyle Jenkins

Kyle is a relocation professional and an ex-moving coordinator for a major US moving company. He has experience in handling relocations from start to the very end with the end consumer in mind. Now, Kyle Jenkins is dedicated to share his knowledge with as many people as possible to help them experience a better moving experience.
You can contact Kyle at