It can be daunting to plan a move at the last minute, but it is possible. Here is how to pack up your home in one week or less.
Even though you may be able to plan an easy, budget-friendly move if you have enough time, packing all your belongings can still be a daunting task. If you are short on time, it can be even more stressful. With a good plan and a strong follow-through you can make a last minute move. You can compress your moving checklist by using the schedule below.
Day 1: Get Ready
Start your week by taking a deep breath. Remind yourself that you are capable of completing the task. Start preparing for the move. This day is filled with phone calls, paperwork and administrative tasks. You may also go shopping. Here are six things to do before you move:
- Plan your week. This can be done with a moving organizer, notebook, binder, or folder. Use a planner or spreadsheet app if you’d rather keep your records digitally. It’s important to organize and find everything related to your move in one location.
- Purchase packing and moving supplies. Take a quick inventory of your possessions and what materials you will need to pack them. Your list of moving supplies may include packing tape, bubble wrap, plastic stretch wrapping, and packing paper in addition to the moving boxes. If you don’t want to buy directly from the moving company or truck rental service, there are alternatives that can be used. Packing supplies are also available at stores such as Walmart and The Home Depot.
- Call a moving service. Call around and decide whether you’d like to hire a moving company or rent moving trucks. If you have less than a week to move, then you will need to hire last minute movers. You may have fewer options and higher prices than if you had booked months or even weeks in advance. It’s worth requesting quotes from three different companies before you book your move if you have time.
- Ask for friends and family’s help. You will save time and money by asking local family and friends to help. Show your gratitude. You could offer to provide a meal or drinks for free in exchange for the help.
- Transfer your utilities. Tell your utility companies your move-out date, and your new address to ensure they send you your final invoice. Set up utility accounts for your new residence. Natural gas, electricity and water are examples.
- Set up mail forwarding. In just a few minutes, you can update your address on the USPS site. In most cases, your forwarding begins within three working days after you submit your request. It can take as long as two weeks. If you are moving at the last minute, it is worth visiting your local post office to change your address.
- Any additional services can be hired. Residential moving companies provide services to help you move, such as full or partial cleaning and packing services. Auto transport, pet relocation and furniture assembly, unpacking and appliance installation are also available. While truck rental companies do not typically offer moving services in-house, they are able to refer you to local firms that do.
Days 2 and 3: Organize
You’ll be spending these days organizing. Here are some things to do in the last four or five days before your move.
- Concentrate on a single room at a given time. Start with the easiest area to gain momentum, or your biggest room first. It’s up to you what order to follow, but it is important to complete one room before moving onto the next.
- Remove items that you no longer need, want, or use. Purge each room as you go. Decluttering and downsizing will make moving easier.
- Take an inventory. You can then determine whether or not anything was damaged or lost during the move.
- Sort similar items into groups. Sort your items into groups. Sort your belongings into groups to make it easier to pack, unpack, and find what you need. You might, for example, pack kitchen accessories in a separate box from kitchen towels, utensils and tools.
- Donate unwanted items. You may not have the time to sell items, but you can donate gently used goods to Goodwill or The Salvation Army.
- Save all unused boxes or containers for packing. Save any empty containers such as cardboard boxes or totes. Save towels, blankets and other household linens as an alternative to bubble wrap and packaging paper.
Days 4 and 5: Pack everything
It’s time for packing. Here are some things to do two or even three days before you move:
- Pack one room at a time. As you did with organizing, start by packing the room that is least used. Pack non-essentials first in rooms you use every day.
- Pack items that are similar together. It may be tempting, when you have so little time, to just throw everything into boxes. Pack similar items together. You’ll be grateful to yourself in the future.
- Label your boxes clearly. Indicate on the outside of every box which room and what is inside it. You can then number each box to know how many boxes are in each room. If you have two boxes packed in your bathroom, mark one “1 of 2”, and the other “2 of 2.
- Keep a list of all important items. Keep track of the location of important and valuable items. Not doing this is one of the most common moving mistakes people make.
- Wrap fragile items with care. Use newspaper, cardboard or bubble wrap as a wrapping material. Consider paying for fragile or partial packing services if you are not sure how to safely pack certain items.
- Pack essentials in a suitcase. Pack everything you’ll need for the trip and the first night in your new home into a suitcase. Keep it with you during the entire move.
- After each room has been emptied, store boxes neatly. After you have finished a room, neatly stack the boxes. This will simplify the loading process.
- Store any bags of screws and parts with care. Before moving, some items like desks and bed frames may require disassembly. Pack screws and small pieces into a bag of plastic and tape it to the larger piece. This will prevent you from losing them.
- Keep cleaning products readily available. Do not pack the cleaning supplies that you’ll need to deep-clean your home.
Day 6: Deep Clean
You should be able to pack and get ready for your move by the sixth day. You can then move onto cleaning. This is important, especially if you’re moving out of an apartment or rental home and you want your deposit returned. What to do the day before you move?
- One room at a Time. Cleaning one room at a time is the same as organizing and packing. List each room and mark it off as you clean.
- Vacuum the floor and then mop it. Vacuum the floor thoroughly. Follow up on hardwood floors with a damp mop, a steam cleaner or a wet mop. Rent a carpet cleaner if you have carpeted areas.
- Cleaning appliances is important. The refrigerator should be cleaned first. You should also clean any other appliances you will leave behind, like the dishwasher and oven.
- Clean the counters, cabinets and sink in your kitchen. Wipe the inside and outside your kitchen cabinets with a soft cloth and a mild cleaner. Also, thoroughly clean the countertops and sink.
- Clean windows and trim. Included in this are any built-in shelving, crown moldings, window sills and baseboards. If you are leaving behind window treatments such as blinds and curtains, it is important to clean them.
- Cleaning the bathroom is important. Wipe down bathroom counters and cabinets. Cleaning the bathtubs and sinks is important. Also, clean the toilets and mirrors.
- Make sure that no food remains. You may have already done this step if you cleaned your refrigerator and cabinets. It’s still worth a second glance. Also, check your pantry and storage closets.
- Cleaning areas that were previously difficult to reach is important. Clean areas that you previously found difficult to reach, like your closets and cabinets.
- Once everything has been thoroughly cleaned, take out the garbage. Take out the trash after everything is thoroughly cleaned.
Day 7: Move
You’ll still be responsible for a few things, even though you’ve already completed most of the work. Here are some moving tips for the big day.
- Ask for help or let the movers handle it. Let the movers do the heavy lifting if you hired movers to load a rental truck, or if you hired one of the best local or interstate moving services. You can ask friends and family members to help you lift heavy furniture if you didn’t hire movers. Do not attempt to move heavy items on your own if you are unable to do so safely. It is not a good idea to push yourself during a move.
- Make a final circuit around your house. Make a final walk through your house to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind.
- You are responsible for loading any items that remain in your vehicle. It is your responsibility to load anything you will be taking in your vehicle. You are responsible for loading your car with anything you will be taking along. This includes the suitcase of essentials, as well as any valuables or mementos that you did not want to leave to the movers.
- Lock the doors and turn off the lights. Turn off all lights before you leave. Make sure that all doors and windows are closed.
Undoubtedly, a last-minute move feels more rushed and stressful than one that you planned months in advance. It is possible to pack and organize your entire home in under a week, especially if you ask for help from family members, friends or professional movers. Follow the above steps and tackle each room (and day) one at a time.
Of course, hiring a professional moving company will help the process substantially. But don’t wait till the last minute to call.