Home / Categories / Moving Tips / How to Decide How Much to Move in the Car

How to Decide How Much to Move in the Car

By Meghan
February 9th, 2012 - 3:41 PM
How to Decide How Much to Move in the Car

If you’ve seen our "do not ship" list, you know that when you’re moving there are some things you’ll want to move in your own vehicle instead of in the moving truck.  Some things you can’t load into the truck, and some you simply may not want to load into truck.  So the big question is: How do you decide how much to move in your car—especially if “stuff” isn’t the only thing you’re moving (i.e. other people).  Let’s see if I can give you some insight and a few tips. 

Consider your vehicle’s size and space.  Obviously this will dictate what you can take with you and what you need to make alternative plans for.  A compact vehicle may be able to carry more if the only occupant is the driver, but if you’ve got a full house, you may not be able to use your vehicle as the transporter of stuff.  On-the-other-hand, you can move a lot in an SUV or passenger van if you only have one or two occupants, but if you’re transporting five people and the family dog, you may not be able to pack as much in. Are you driving more than one vehicle? If so, split up the people and the stuff.
Keep your passengers comfy. Before you decide how much to move in your car, figure out how many people will be traveling with you. Each passenger should have a seat with a seatbelt and a “move free” zone that includes the foot well (unless they’re in a car seat).  Your five-year-old can’t hold the fern for 1,000 miles and your hubby may not want to rest his feet on boxes for the duration of the trip.  If your goal is a pleasant long distance move, comfort is the key.
Take the important stuff with you.  Similar to any road-trip that’s more than a few hours, you’ll probably want to pack things like entertainment for the kids, snacks, drinks, pillows, blankets and emergency items.  But when you’re moving, it doesn’t stop there—like I mentioned before, there are some things you can’t and don’t want to load into the moving truck. In addition to the items on the do-not-ship list, consider moving these things in your vehicle:  a suitcase with climate-appropriate clothing for everyone in the family, important documents, irreplaceable family heirlooms, pets and plants.  Since you’ll often beat the moving truck to your new home by a day or two, we also recommend you pack a “moving essentials box” that contains some of the things you’ll need right away—scissors, can opener, paper plates, paper towels, plastic utensils, trash bags, dish soap, towels, toilet paper, prescriptions, flashlight, light bulbs, hammer, pencils and paper, telephone, radio and batteries.  All small items that should fit into one medium-size box.
Now, if you can fit all of this into your vehicle and still have room for the passengers, you’ll be good to go.  I’ll be the first to admit that deciding how much to move in your car, and judging whether it will fit with your passengers, is a bit of a challenge—especially if you’re not traveling in a vehicle with a lot of cargo space.  Try loading it all before moving day, so if there’s an issue with it fitting, you can plan alternatives for getting the important stuff there.

If you have questions about deciding what to move in your car, leave a comment and let us know!  We’ll be happy to help.  If you need a moving quote, we can help with that too.  Just let us know!