Considering a DIY Local Move in Tampa? What to Know

A DIY or do-it-yourself move typically refers to packing up your own belongings and moving them to your new home without the help of a moving company. Some of the options you have for accomplishing this are using your own vehicle, renting a moving van, or perhaps using a borrowed pickup truck.

As seasoned Tampa local movers, Suddath has decades of experience planning relocations in the area, and our goal is to do whatever we can to make your move easier. Here’s advice from our Tampa professional movers on what you need to consider if you’re planning a DIY local move in Tampa, Florida.

How Florida Weather Could Affect Your Move

June through July is Florida’s busy season for moving, so if you’re renting a moving truck, be sure to reserve it well in advance. There are a couple of reasons why people often move during the summer: School’s out, and many leases expire at the end of June or July.

Unfortunately, moving during the busy season has its drawbacks. Moving could get uncomfortable during Tampa’s hot and humid summers, and the frequent rainstorms could present challenges as well. This is especially true if you’re planning to transport items in an open pickup truck. Relocating during the winter when the weather is cool and dry might be easier, and there will be more moving vehicles available during the slow season.

If you hire Tampa professional movers like Suddath to handle your move, the weather won’t be much of a factor. As long as you contact us a few weeks in advance, any time is a good time to move.

Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a DIY Move

  • Selecting the wrong size moving truck: If you underestimate the size of your load, you could end up running out of room on the truck and having to make multiple trips. If you overestimate how much stuff you have, you risk wasting money on too large a truck or van.
  • Assuming any moving boxes will work: When selecting moving boxes, make sure the boxes you plan to use are clean, dry, and sturdy. Avoid using large boxes when possible since small and medium boxes will be easier to carry.
  • Not following a packing timeline: Whether you’re expecting a moving truck or not, at some point, you’ll need to be out of your old house, and chipping away at packing over time will keep you from having to scramble at the last minute.
  • Failing to use the proper equipment: When moving large appliances or heavy furniture, you need equipment such as dollies, tie straps, and furniture blankets. Using the appropriate equipment will help protect your furniture as well as your back.
  • Assuming your friends will help you move: Moving is one of those situations in life where you may find out who your friends are. After all, not everyone you know is willing to risk a slipped disc moving your piano in exchange for beer and pizza. Be prepared to hire help in case no one is available.

Reasons to Downsize and Declutter First

While not always necessary, there are reasons to reduce your possessions in preparation for a move. Having less stuff will save time during the actual move and needing fewer boxes and packing materials will save money. If you haven’t decluttered your home in a while, or you’re moving to a smaller place, you may want to consider offloading some of your stuff.

On the other hand, if it hasn’t been long since your last move, you may not have much to get rid of this time. That said, if you’re downsizing from a spacious family home in Hyde Park to a tiny studio loft in Seminole Heights, you’re going to need to sell or donate some of your furniture.

Why You Should Box Everything Up in Advance

Often with a local move, there’s a tendency to skip packing and load individual items directly into your car. Another shortcut you might be tempted to take is refilling the same few boxes to move subsequent loads. The problem with these strategies is that they can slow you down, causing you to scramble at the last minute or even run out of time and have to leave something behind. Even if you’re planning to move over the course of several days, it’s best to get everything boxed up before you make that first run.

Why a DIY Move Requires Careful Planning

Sometimes the move-out date and move-in date won’t line up the way you planned. This dilemma could result in the need for a storage unit and/or that dreaded situation where you have to move twice. If you aren’t using a Tampa professional moving company, you may have to unload your belongings at a storage facility and leave them there until you get the keys to your new place. The best way to avoid paying for storage is to allow plenty of overlap in your moving dates.

When you’re buying, selling, or both, sometimes the closing dates change, making moving directly from one home to the next impossible. For this reason, many home sellers have professional movers move their belongings and keep them on the truck for a few days. This convenient service offered by some Tampa moving companies like Suddath is called “storage in transit.”

Step-By-Step Timeline for a DIY Local Move

Here’s a basic moving timeline you can adapt to your specific situation:

8 Weeks Before Your Move

  • Get quotes on moving trucks or service from Tampa local movers if you don’t have a vehicle big enough to move your items.
  • Take inventory of everything in your home to decide what is staying or going.
  • Gather boxes and other packing supplies such as pens and tape.
  • Begin packing items from basements, attics, and storage sheds.
  • Make a list of repairs required by the new buyer or landlord.

6 Weeks Before

  • Hold a garage sale.
  • Donate remaining useable items to charity.
  • Obtain copies of school records if changing schools.
  • Continue packing, room by room.

4 Weeks Before

  • Complete a change of address form with the post office.
  • Contact insurance companies and utility providers to update your address.
  • Get serious about packing anything you won’t need in the next few weeks.

1 Week Before

  • Complete any last-minute packing.
  • Collect hidden items such as extra keys.
  • Empty and clean out the refrigerator.

Moving Day

  • Leave keys and garage door openers for the new residents.
  • Remove everything from your home.
  • Do a final deep cleaning.

Pros and Cons of DIY Moving

A DIY move has both pros and cons:


  • A DIY move saves money.
  • How and when you pack is your choice.
  • You can spread the move out over several days.


  • A DIY move takes a lot of time and planning.
  • Moving heavy items is hard on your back.
  • You may have to move twice.

When comparing the cost of a DIY move versus hiring a moving company, be sure to factor in the time you’ll spend properly packing your things and driving back and forth, loading and unloading.

Work with Tampa Local Movers

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of your upcoming move, enlisting the help of professional movers in Tampa can make it much more manageable. Hiring Suddath to help with your move isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. Whether you take advantage of our optional packing services or have us move your stuff after you’ve packed, we’re here to make things easier.

Embarking on a DIY move in Tampa is a brave endeavor. However, with the above information and tips and a little advance planning, you’ll be well on your way to a successful DIY move.

For further reading, check out our Tampa Moving Guide, or contact Suddath today for a free moving quote.