6 Tips for Moving on Short Notice

Moving is stressful even under ideal circumstances, but when you need to move on short notice suddenly, it’s downright overwhelming. Ideally, with most moves, you would have the advantage of planning months out, but sometimes life happens, and you don’t always have the luxury of time. 

If you find yourself having to relocate quickly, here are some tips.

1. Get Organized

Moving is an arduous process. Doing it in short order makes it doubly difficult. Get started as soon as possible by organizing details:

  • Set a firm date as soon as possible
  • Make a to-do list and prioritize tasks
  • Establish a packing timeline
  • Plan a cleaning schedule (to avoid last-minute stress or losing a deposit)

Organizing helps ensure nothing is left behind, forgotten, or overlooked.

2. Make Plans ASAP

Once a move is confirmed, if planning to work with a professional moving company, compare rates. Moving reservation slots fill up quickly, and getting estimates ASAP will ensure a coveted time is secured once connecting with the right mover. It’s possible to go the DIY route when moving on short notice, but it makes things smoother if professionals do some or all of the heavy lifting. This gives you time to focus on other coordinated aspects of a move, such as arranging utilities, putting in a change of address, school and daycare registrations, medical records, and bank accounts.

3. Purge to Eliminate Clutter

Extra packing equates to additional stress and moving costs, so purge the clutter. Plan to get rid of unneeded or unwanted things such as excess CDs, DVDs, books, and knick-knacks. A short order move is also a great time to donate clothing that doesn’t fit, or you don’t wear anymore. Check the soles of all footwear and dump anything with too much wear.

4. Collect Packing Materials

To pack quickly, you will need boxes, moving tape, and other packing materials. Start collecting these ASAP.

  • Ask family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues who have recently moved if they have extras
  • Use towels, sweatshirts, and other soft materials to help pad breakables
  • Seek out sturdy boxes (grocery and liquor stores usually have strong boxes)

Prepare to purchase whatever else is needed, don’t waste time looking for freebies if they aren’t easily attainable.

5. Start Pre-Packing

As soon as you know you need to move, start packing up items you rarely use, making sure to sort out the ones you need to purge. Start in the least used rooms (including attic and basement) or closet areas. Set a goal to pack a few boxes each day. This will make the task less tedious and reduce the stress if not left to the last minute.

6. Carefully label boxes

When under a tight deadline, it’s tempting just to toss everything into boxes and sort things when unpacking in the new place. This is a bad idea. Take a few extra minutes and label smartly.

  • Organize items by room
  • Considering using different color markers to label boxes by room
  • No colorful markers? No problem, just use numbers or other identifying marks on each box)

Not labeling boxes carefully creates stress on the arrival end of the move, especially when it comes time to find essential items.

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