Moving to a new house or apartment is one of the most stressful experiences anyone can go through, but there are ways to reduce your stress level --- the most important being proper preparation. Creating a comprehensive checklist that includes things like mail forwarding, changing utilities, and getting packing supplies is a good start, but there are other things you can do to simplify the stress and chaos of moving day.

Preparing for a move can be a time-consuming process that requires a lot of attention to detail, but it will make the actual move much more tolerable. After you have reserved your truck, started sorting through your belongings, packed and labeled boxes, and bribed friends and family members to help, one of the smartest things you can do to save time on moving day is to measure everything.

Measuring Furniture

man measuring a table

Even though your furniture fits in your current home, that doesn't mean it will work in your new one. Whether you are bringing old items or purchasing new ones, properly measuring your furniture will let you know in advance if everything will fit in your new space.

According to Crate & Barrel, you should measure the length and diagonal depth of sofas. For things like bookcases and armoires, measure the length, depth, and the diagonal height at the widest points. This tells you if an item can tilt through turns if it can't slide straight through. Taking all of these measurements will allow you to do two things --- plan for furniture placement in your new home and find out if you can move the items through specific doorways and stairwells.

To measure diagonal depth for sofas, there is a bit more to it than measuring from the lower left corner to the upper right corner like you would with a rectangular item like a bookcase. Instead, you will draw an imaginary line (using a straight edge) from the highest point of the sofa's back frame (ignore the pillows) to the highest point of the arm. Then, find the midpoint of that line, and measure from that midpoint to the couch's back leg.

The width, height, and depth of your furniture is important information, so be sure to measure your bed, dressers, chairs, tables, entertainment stand, desks, area rugs, and any other large furniture item.

Measuring Your New Home

couple measuring their new home

Make an appointment for a quick visit to your new house or apartment so you can measure the bedrooms, closets, kitchen, living room, and office. In the bedroom, you want to make sure that your bed will fit in the space, and if you have a bedroom suite, this helps you know if everything will fit into the room. You might found out that you can't fit every piece, or if you are in the process of acquiring furniture, you will know the space you have to work with. This is why it is important to measure your furniture first.

Measuring the closets will let you know if you can fit a dresser or some kind of storage system, and the kitchen dimensions will tell you if you have space for a table and chairs. Measuring the living room will let you know if your current furniture setup works, or if you need to get something different. And, it can get you to start thinking about using some pieces in another space or possibly selling them.

One of the best ways to prepare for a move is to use an online template like Homestyler that will allow you to enter the dimensions of your new space and then add your furniture to make a plan for where everything will go. If you enter your new home on moving day knowing exactly where you want to put everything, it can make the process much easier.

Measuring Doorways, Stairwells, Hallways, and Common Areas

hand holding a tape measure in a room


You might have some items that need to go through a window, so measure the height, width, and clearance of the home's biggest window that opens. Also, measure the height from the ground to the window on the outside.


For stairways, measure the width and the ceiling height from the first step, then do the same thing for the last step. You will use the smallest width and height measurements, and don't forget to measure the length, width, and ceiling height of turns and landings.


When it comes to hallways, you want to know the width and ceiling height, plus the clearance of any connecting doorways. Also, be aware of light fixtures, ceiling fans, or anything else that could be a problem for tall items.

couple measuring a window

You want to make sure that your furniture will fit through all of the spaces it has to pass through to get to your new home. If you are moving into an apartment, it is smart to measure the width and height of the doorways, hallways, elevators, and stairwells.


You need to know every doorway height (including the main building door, stairwell doors, and apartment doors), plus the width and entry clearance. Also, note if there are tight corners or alcoves that you will have to navigate.

For a new house, measure the height and width of the main door opening plus the entryway clearance. Figure out how far you can go before you hit a wall, and also measure the ceiling height in the entryway.

For secondary doors, measure the height and width, and for patio doors and sliding doors, you also need to know the clearance.

Other Things To Remember

couple moving a mattress and boxes

For just about everything, you need to know the length, width, and height. But when measuring appliances, be sure to determine if the doors are removable. And for desks and gaming tables, it is possible that you can remove the legs. For mattresses, it is good to know its bendability in addition to the size. And for things like pianos, you probably want to leave that to a professional.

It may seem tedious and time-consuming, but measuring can save you time during your moving day, and it can actually save you money. If you are using a moving company, knowing your measurements in advance will keep you from paying to move furniture that you know won't fit.

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