No matter how much you try to plan in advance, sometimes you just don’t have that luxury. Maybe this is because your job, military deployment, or school is sending you to a new location. Whatever the reason, you don’t have the eight weeks or more that most movers recommend to plan and pack, and need to make it all happen in a month or less.
These tips can help you make that happen in time:
Who can help
Find out right away who can give you a hand. Send out a general notice on social media, and make calls to the friends and family who owe you favors. Don’t just ask for help loading a truck, but see if they can help you with packing or cleaning. They can even help with your planning. Having someone you trust go through your checklist with you can be a great relief. It’s entirely possible you might forget something important if your friend doesn’t bring it up. Because it can be hard to schedule time at the last-minute, make sure you know what you want them to do while you’re asking them, and when it needs to be done.
Talk to movers
If you plan on using movers, talk to them as soon as you know about the move. In busy seasons, it may be difficult to find a truck or professionals to help load or unload. Moving companies such as Gerber are there to offer you solutions, so the more time you give them to find ways to work around any obstacles, the better. Call multiple companies and compare offers, and see how soon they can do an in-home estimate for total cost—most companies can have that done within a week. Check about trucks and availability. Even if nothing seems open when you first call, companies are happy to work with you to locate a truck if you keep checking in.
Even if you plan to move everything with just yourself, friends and family, it’s a good idea to find out how much short-term help might cost for things such as unloading heavy appliances or furniture. Just two hours of professional help can save you and friends a lot of unnecessary pain and effort.
Get rid of stuff
It’s always a good idea to reduce how much you need to move, especially when everything has to be done quickly. Give yourself three or four categories for your belongings: the things you must bring with you, the things that you will donate, and the things that can be thrown away. It can be hard to part with your stuff, but remember the “year rule.” If you haven’t worn or used something for a year, you probably don’t need it. Many charities will send someone out to pick up donations if you don’t have time to drop them off yourself, and Craigslist and other social media sites like Facebook have groups where you can advertise things you want to give away (or sell).
You can also have a fourth pile for items to store. Storage may help you reduce what you need to move right now, but the costs can add up. When you’re checking with moving companies, make sure to ask about storage rates and availability so you can decide whether it’s right for you.
Pack quickly and efficiently
As soon as you know you’re moving, you need to make sure you’ve got enough boxes or plastic tubs. Many moving companies, grocery stores, and retailers have used boxes you can take (always check with the managers), but the downside is that some days there may be enough boxes of the right kind for your belongings, or there could be nothing you can use. Be ready to purchase boxes from moving companies, especially the speciality sizes and designs that are meant for use in transporting electronics, dishes, or wardrobes.
Don’t delay packing until the last minute. Once you’ve started sorting, pack the items you’re going to keep. Pack the clothes you don’t need—winter clothes in the summer, summer clothes in the winter—books, games, dishes you aren’t using, and knick-knacks. Make sure everything you pack is labeled clearly, on the sides and the top of the boxes. It’s a good idea to have boxes or luggage set aside for items you will need, so that you can empty out shelves, closets or cabinets but still have access to those important belongings.
Clean as you go
Cleaning after you move out can be surprisingly time-consuming. Save yourself some work by cleaning early. As soon as a space is cleared out, clean it up. Make little projects to fit between sorting, packing, or attending to other items on your checklist. One day, make sure your counters are scrubbed, on another vacuum or sweep (even if there are boxes in the way), and another figure out if you need to spackle or paint parts of the walls. Ideally, once everything out’s of your house, you’ll find that there are only a few places you weren’t able to clean in advance. That final clean-up should just be one last going-over, not a floor-to-ceiling full cleaning session.
As always, remember to contact Gerber Moving & Storage if you having last-minute moving questions or needs.