Answer: It depends.
Our pithy response doesn't help if you're stressed about the price tag associated with getting your stuff from one place to another. What are the main factors that have the average homeowner spending five figures on a move?
Statistics from Worldwide ERC show that the average move of household goods cost $12,459 in 2012. But as a disclaimer, ERC adds, "costs vary by family size (bigger families typically have more household good to move) and homeowner status (homeowners typically have more household goods vs. renters)."
If you're curious about the cost of your move, the first factor to consider is the distance of your move. Mileage costs pile up as you make your way to your new home. For example, your costs ratchet up right off the bat if you have a moving company help you with a cross-country move. To get a sense of your costs, try our Moving Cost Calculator.
Besides the distance traveled, the main factor influencing the cost of your move is weight. Your mover should inspect your home prior to moving day and give you a weight estimate of the contents of your home. Movers charge by total weight being shipped and the more boxes you load on the truck, the more your move will cost. Make sure to tell your movers exactly what you'll be expecting them to move. Otherwise, your estimate will be out of whack.
You'll also need to consider how much you'll spend on packing materials and whether you're going to pay someone else to do the packing. The cost of buying a pallet's worth of boxes can be daunting, which is why many folks cut corners on buying boxes. Professional packing services will also have a big impact on your bottom line, so if you think you'd rather have pros do the packing, weigh out the cost benefits of the time you'll spend knee deep in bubble wrap.
There are other costs that may ding you along the way to your new home. Check with your moving company if you're moving somewhere with stairs or difficult access to see if there are additional costs along the way.
And keep in mind, a DIY move is the ultimate way to keep your moving costs down, whether you get a bunch of friends with trucks to help or rent a small truck of your own. However, your sanity may suffer if you're not prepared to juggle the real possibility of strained muscles and strained friendships.