Determining the size of the shipment of household goods

Determining the size of the shipment of household goods is the most important step in estimating the overall cost of a local or a long distance relocation and cost of a short or a long term storage.

The first step is to make a detailed list of items to be moved or stored. Make sure you calculate an accurate amount of boxes you will use to pack up your clothes, linens, electronics, small appliances, pots and pans, dishes, artwork, books, dvd's and cd's, tools, gardening equipment, plants (may not be allowed to be transported across state lines), office stuff, toys, etc. It is always best to overestimate by about 10% to avoid an unpleasant surprise on the move day.

Cartons/Boxes come in set sizes:

  • Small box: 1.5 cubic feet;
  • Medium box: 3.0 cubic feet;
  • Large box: 4.5 cubic feet;
  • Extra large box: 6.0 cubic feet;
  • Lamp box (medium size): 5 cubic feet;
  • Mirror/Picture box (medium size): 5 cubic feet;
  • Dish pack box: 6.2 cubic feet;
  • Big Screen TV box (72" x 8" x 42"): 14 cubic feet;
  • Wardrobe large box: 15 cubic feet.

After you are done with estimating the amount of boxes your will need for your shipment, you will need to do a room by room inventory of your furniture and other household items you own.

Movers use moving software that has "Table of Measurements" for each possible article in households. In case you happen to have an article that is not in that form, you can measure its dimensions and add it separately. Obviously, the items may vary in size and in weight, but statistically this formula works with in 5% to 10% accuracy. Once your movers determine the size of your shipment they are able to send the right moving truck to perform the job and determine the right crew of movers and the labor time it should take them to complete the job, and by multiplying the size of your shipment by 7, you will be able to get an estimate of the shipment's weight (1 cubic foot of space = 7 lbs of household goods).

In California you can request your movers to provide you with an on-site estimate at no cost to you. However, if you have a "small move", most movers will not be able to extand that service to you, as it is not cost effective to them.

If you decide to get the measurement of your shipment on your own, you must create the list of all of your items and than apply the measurements of the boxes or other items as described in the "Table of Measurements" shown below.

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Using these averages will help you determine the right size truck to get for your move, or to rent the right size storage.