Smart Tips for Last-Minute Moves

An Office Worker Packs Up His Desk

You have to move. Immediately. What next?

Most people plan a move several months in advance. This gives them time to organize, clean their homes, and pack at a leisurely pace.

But sometimes, a last-minute move can’t be avoided.

Maybe you received an unexpected job offer in another state, and the boss wants you on-site in a week. Or maybe you just discovered that you can’t renew the lease on your apartment, and you have to find another place to live ASAP.

Whatever the driving factor, it’s possible to accomplish a move on short notice without too much pain, depending on the quality of decisions you make during the short window before the move itself.

Here are tips to make your move on short notice more manageable.

Learn as much as you can about your new home. 

Decide what you can take with you and what has to be tossed or given away. Get rid of that extra furniture and stuff you’ve accumulated if you’re not sure that you’ll have room for it in the new place. Do you really need a television in the spare bedroom or an end table that does nothing but collect unopened mail?

Create a moving calendar.

Once you’ve determined how much time you have to move, you can divide your home into sections — almost like a crime scene, cordoned off! On Monday, you’ll pack the bedroom. On Tuesday, the bathroom, save for a few essentials like toilet paper and toothpaste.

You’ll need these items in your moving kit anyway — indispensable things that should always be within easy reach. With this approach, you can pack one room per day and be ready in a week. And if your home has more than seven rooms, stop reading this article immediately and call your friends for help.

Rent storage, if necessary.

If you don’t know where you’ll be living, it’s easier and cheaper to put non-essentials in storage and to live out of a suitcase for a while. Plus, there’s no need to organize a storage unit with the same care it takes to arrange and decorate a new apartment or house.

Pack accordingly. Set aside the everyday things that you can’t do without. Everything else goes into boxes.

Festina lente. Make haste slowly.

Last-minute moving doesn’t have to be hectic. Maybe the packing isn’t perfect. Maybe the labels aren’t as detailed as you’d like them to be. Your goal is execution, not perfection. Just get ‘er done! — like the All-Pro quarterback who nails the two-minute drill.

You can be that quarterback, eerily calm in the face of the storm! Just pack the fragile stuff carefully, keep track of the things you can’t live without, and you’ll have the rest of your life to sort everything else out.

In a pinch, get help.

That’s what true friends are for, right? To help you when you need help the most?

Make calls to your buddies. If you’re lucky, you have friends who can help with your last-minute move, packing and stacking boxes. Or if nothing else, they can act as support as you deal with everything from kitchen spices to boxes of books blocking your path.

Hire last-minute movers who know the drill.

Even if you’ve recruited a legion of helper friends, call a last-minute moving company. They’ve seen and been through it all. Plus, they have the know-how and equipment to shuttle all those boxes and all that equipment from your home to the truck without hurting themselves or collapsing in an exhausted heap.

The last thing you need is to worry about basic logistics, making sure the boxes end up in the right place. You’ll be tired, stressed out, and ready for a break. Let somebody else take care of the X’s and O’s.

Remember the most important last-minute tip.

Remind yourself, as the world appears to come crashing down around you, that you will survive! Take a deep breath, make quick decisions, and get packing. You’ll be in your new home before you know it.