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What Sized Truck Should You Rent For Your Move?

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Moving companies tend to provide trucks in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. With all of the options and varieties available, it can be difficult for a customer to determine which truck is right for their moving project. To make matters worse, different rental companies often offer different truck sizes than their competition--meaning you can't always ask a friend what worked for them, unless you're using the same company.

Fortunately, it isn't too difficult to calculate the size of the perfect truck for your move--if you know what to consider. The process for doing this is straightforward, and begins with a critical look at the size of your key belongings.

Determining Your Key Belongings

When you're planning a move, your key belongings are the items that are the largest--or the most unwieldy. If it weren't for these objects, your move could be accomplished through multiple trips with your car or van. Examples of such objects are:

  • Dressers
  • Gun safes
  • Large paintings
  • Beds and mattresses
  • Televisions

Basically, key belongings are the items you need to consider when you're renting a truck. The smallest truck you can rent for your move must still be able to hold your largest key belonging. As a general rule, your mattresses are a great place to start. By using a size chart, you can easily find the smallest truck that would work for you without having to tie your mattress down to the roof of the truck.

Estimating Your Total Haul

Once you've ruled out trucks that are too small, you'll want to estimate how much space your belongings will actually require to move. This is extremely difficult if you don't have a plan--after all, your belongings are rarely stacked into the smallest possible place. The good news is that there's a mathematical formula for doing this estimate. 

Start by counting the number of furnished rooms in your home. Do not count the bathrooms or the kitchen unless you're moving furniture or appliances from the bathroom to your new home. Multiply that number by 150. For example, a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with a living room, dining room, and an office would come out to 900 square feet.

However, that doesn't account for the amount of furnishings that you currently have. To do this, you'll need to add or subtract square footage.  A simple way to do that is to multiply your total by 1.2 if your rooms feel crowded with furniture, or 0.8 if you're more of a minimalist in terms of your style. To get even more specific, you can add square footage for specific things:

  • High volume of clothing--add 100
  • Extra televisions/computers--add 50
  • Unique key belongings--calculate the volume of the belonging and add the exact number.

Deciding On The Number Of Trips

Now that you have a square foot estimate and you know what the minimum size of the truck must be, it's time to calculate the number of trips that your move will take. This step is largely a matter of personal taste and convenience. However, there are a few universal things to consider when making this decision.

First of all, the charge for moving up in truck size is usually not that significant. That said, larger trucks are often uncomfortable for novice truck drivers to operate. If you're not comfortable operating a large truck, consider taking an extra trip or two for peace of mind while driving.

Also, be sure to consider the length of the trip. A move across town isn't a big deal in terms of taking multiple trips. Out-of-state moves need to be done in one shot. If you're going to be on the interstate or major roads, large trucks tend to work well. If the trip is a short trip through residential neighborhoods, a big truck is usually a bad idea. 

That's really all there is to it. If you follow these instructions, you'll be sure to end up with a truck that makes your move as easy and efficient as possible. Now that you know what size truck you should get for your move, you can check out a truck rental company online at