How to Pack and Move in a Hurry: Last-Minute Moving Advice

When deciding how to pack and move in a hurry, it’s best to slow down and make a game plan for moving day. Moving is stressful and because there is so much to be done, it’s crucial to stay organized and use your time efficiently. Whether you’re moving in a month or in a week, follow this guide outlining how to pack and move in a hurry and get everything completed in time for your big move!

Make a moving checklist

Before you tackle any moving tasks, get your move organized by creating a moving checklist. When you’re packing in a hurry, you’ll want a checklist to know what tasks you’ve completed and what still lies ahead. Here’s a sneak-peek of some of the tasks you’ll need to plan for to pack and move in a hurry.

  • Collect all financial and legal records - Make a folder of all important documents and store them in a single labeled box.
  • Dispose of household chemicals -  Gardening chemicals, cleaning products, and other cleaners can’t go on the moving truck. Here’s a guide for safely disposing of toxic items.
  • Withdraw cash to tip your movers - Make sure you have cash on hand for moving day. Here’s some helpful advice about tipping your moving crew.
  • Eat at home - Clear your fridge and pantry by eating in during your last couple of weeks in your old home. When you book a moving company, ask if they partner with Move for Hunger, a nonprofit that donates nonperishables that otherwise would be thrown away.
  • Plan out your wardrobe - While you’re packing, set aside any clothes you’ll need during your final days in the old home and first days in the new home.
  • Do a final walkthrough - Perform one last check of your entire home before you lock up on moving day.

Check out all of these great moving tips and more on our downloadable checklist for packing and moving in a hurry.

 taping box - how to pack and move in a hurry

Book a moving company

As soon as you set your moving date and before you start packing, you should begin your search for a reputable moving company. When you’re getting ready to pack and move in a hurry, there may not be time to seek out and receive estimates from multiple moving companies. Instead of agonizing over your search, use Updater’s list of certified moving companies to get you started so you can feel confident on moving day.

Here are some criteria to follow when it comes to choosing the moving company that meets your needs.

  • The moving company’s history based on their reviews, complaint history, and safety rating.
  • Additional moving services you need to complete your move, such as packing services.
  • The moving company’s quoted price.
  • Their availability on your preferred move date.

Check out our how to choose a moving company guide for more. Once you have your moving company locked down you can plan the rest of your move.

Change your address with USPS (at the perfect time)

Depending on how much time you have before moving day, you should plan to change your address with the post office so it’s delivered to your new home when you arrive. Budget 10 to 12 days between when you file the request and your anticipated moving date. If you’re really moving in a hurry, put in a change of address as soon as you know your moving date.

While a change of address form is perfect for forwarding traditional mail to your new address, it doesn’t update other businesses who may send you mail or offers. Remember to update any of the businesses such as local banks, credit card companies, Amazon deliveries, airline loyalty programs, alumni associations, magazine and subscriptions, and newspapers.

Transfer utilities and book a cable appointment ASAP

Start your experience at your new home off on the right foot by scheduling appointments for cable and internet and transferring your utility services promptly. Contact your utility company a few weeks in advance of your moving day if possible. After you initiate the transfer, follow up a few days before your move to make sure everything is confirmed.

There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to get an appointment with the cable company. To avoid arriving at your new home without the services you rely on, call or schedule an appointment online with cable companies as soon as possible. Leave yourself a little extra time if you plan to shop around for the best price or are planning to switch providers.

 moving box dog - how to pack and move in a hurry

Gather moving materials

Begin collecting or setting aside all of your moving materials so you can start packing as soon as possible. Finding cardboard moving boxes is the best place to begin. If you’re moving and packing in a hurry, moving boxes can be purchased online or at hardware stores, but you can also collect them for free around your neighborhood.

Check your local restaurants, liquor stores, groceries, office supply stores, and bookstores for boxes that are set to be recycled. Whether you’re scavenging or buying your moving boxes, look for a range of sizes. You can also rent plastic moving bins for heavier objects.

Label everything

Once you have moving boxes, make sure you collect markers, labels, or colored tape to mark them accordingly. A little pre-planning with your moving supplies can save you hours of searching when you’re unpacking at your new home. Make sure you set aside sturdy boxes for breakable items and mark them clearly.

Get creative with your supplies

Instead of increasing your moving budget by buying supplies like bubble wrap, moving blankets, and stretch wrap for furniture, use household items to provide padding and protection. This will help protect your breakable items and consolidate your prep time if you’re packing in a hurry. Here are some awesome examples of repurposed packing supplies.

  • Socks - Pack your glasses and stemware in clean socks.
  • Towels and linens - Use towels and linens to wrap vases, platters, mirrors, picture frames, and other breakables. Or, use them as a cushion on the bottom of moving boxes.
  • Bags of all kinds - Plastic bags, tote bags, sandwich bags all have a use on moving day for toiletries, charging cables, screws from disassembled furniture, and remotes.
  • Suitcases - Pack clothes, electronics, books, or shoes safely inside your suitcases.
  • Garbage bags - Pack clothes right on their hangers into garbage bags to save time and protect them during your move. This trick also makes unpacking a breeze.

Sort, pack, clean, repeat

Packing in a hurry is more than just throwing a pile of clothes in a box. With a little organization, packing efficiently can decrease your moving budget and get every room in your home set for moving day. Here’s how you can break down the packing process.

Pack room by room

Make a plan and tackle each room in your home individually, packing as you go. Once a room is empty you can begin cleaning so it’s prepped for moving day. This plan will make it clear which rooms have been sorted and save you time if you’re on a tight schedule.

Make three packing categories

Create three designations for items when packing: keep, donate, and toss. To start, immediately pack anything that is firmly in the keep pile so it’s out of the way. Then begin bagging and taking out anything in the toss pile.

Save the donation pile for last in case you change your mind about any pieces of clothing when you’re packing. Once you’ve finished packing, drop donations off at a local clothing drive, church, thrift shop, or Goodwill. If you have enough time you can also plan a yard sale to make some money for moving day. Having less to transport on moving day will also save you money.

Pack an essentials bag

In order to make your last nights in your old home and first nights in the new home comfortable, pack an essentials bag of your most used items. This will prevent you from having to sift through dozens of moving boxes to find everything you need. Here are some example of what to pack in your open-first box.

  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
  • A towel
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • A change of clothes
  • Sheets, a blanket, and pillows
  • A phone charger
  • A water bottle
  • Comfortable shoes
 couple moving box - how to pack and move in a hurry

Pulling off a move where you have to pack and move in a hurry is no easy feat. We recommend starting with the logistics and moving tasks not directly in your control and then tackling your moving responsibilities. Once you have a moving plan in place, you can pinpoint your biggest needs and attack them first. With a little foresight, a solid plan, the right supplies, and a good attitude, you’ll have no trouble learning how to pack and move in a hurry.


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