The average American has packed up all their stuff and moved five separate times, according to new research.
A poll of 2,000 adults found that 11% have moved fewer than two times and 23% have moved seven or more times.
About one-third (34%) of respondents consider themselves to be “prepared labelers,” meaning they organize and plan packing well in advance.
But about one-quarter (24%) identify as a “panic packer” — someone who waits until the last minute to prepare for their move, and lacks organization overall.
Regardless of packing method, respondents offered moving “hacks” such as, “allow yourself enough time and meditate to prevent becoming overwhelmed with the moving process,” and [using] “your towels for wrapping breakables.”
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Bellhop, the poll asked respondents to share their methods, their madness and the stressors of relocating.
Experience level and packing method aside, 58% of respondents believe it is imperative to have an explicit timeline or schedule when moving.
And where do people start? With miscellaneous items, of course! Almost four in 10 (37%) begin by putting their knick knacks and other rarely-used items into boxes.
However, 31% also cited their knick knacks as one of the top items to get the boot when cleaning.
On the other hand, collectible items get moved to the top of the “keep” pile, according to 37% of respondents.
To that same tune, respondents said they typically get rid of more items during a move than they do during spring cleaning (28% vs 21%.)
Speaking of spring, only 24% of respondents cited the first season of the year as the best time to move, while 42% went with summer.
Those in the Midwest are most likely to choose the summer season (49%) and the Northeasterners prefer spring (35%.)
“It’s a professional mover’s job to make sure all of your belongings get from A to B seamlessly, no matter the season,” said Bill Chase, Chief Marketing Officer at Bellhop. “And when it comes to move prep, they’ve seen it all: but those who create (and stick to) a reasonable packing timeline tend to be much more relaxed come move day.”
When it comes to moving, almost three in five (56%) respondents consider themselves an expert.
Interestingly, “panic packers” were more likely to consider themselves experts than prepared labelers, 76% vs 53% respectively.
But even the most seasoned experts have limitations — respondents only feel comfortable moving 28 boxes by themselves, with a maximum weight limit of about 165 lbs.
Forty-six percent of respondents have gone on a “scavenger hunt” looking for items after a move.
But those who packed in a panic are less patient than those who prepared. One-quarter (26%) of panic packers won’t spend more than 10 minutes searching for an item, compared to only 10% of prepared labelers who said the same.
Respondents also outlined some of the hardest parts of moves, which included “getting enough people to help” and “getting enough rest for myself.”
All that being said, more than seven in 10 respondents would prefer to hire a moving company than move themselves.
“Most people underestimate the sheer quantity (not to mention weight) of their belongings — a studio apartment can easily require 30 boxes! So it's no surprise that 71% of respondents want to hire a moving company to handle the heavy lifting,” said Chase.
ITEMS PEOPLE KEEP NO MATTER WHAT
Items with sentimental values - 38%
Collections - 37%
Items pass down from relatives - 35%
Gifts from family and friends - 32%
Items someone made for me - 32%
ITEMS PEOPLE ARE LIKELY TO GET RID OF DURING A MOVE
Books and papers - 31%
Consumable good - 31%
Knick knacks - 31%
Small furniture - 28%
Small appliances - 27%