Moving is stressful, packing is a chore, organizing is headache-inducing, and loading and unloading your entire life is exhausting. The one thing that makes moving even more stressful is having less time to move.

In a perfect world, you’d have more than a month to get everything together for a smooth transition, but life doesn’t always work that way.

Whether your boss has given you a week to be in a new state or you simply procrastinated until the night before the movers are scheduled to show, knowing how to pack efficiently and quickly will come in handy.

So you need to know how to pack to move in a hurry? Check out these tips to help take even a little bit of stress out of moving in a hurry.

1. Line Up Your Moving Company or Rental Truck Now

Moving Truck

When forced to make a last-minute move, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the number of tasks you have on your to-do list. Not knowing when to start packing and moving is normal and can be paralyzing, which takes away from the valuable time you need to use packing and organizing.

As soon as you know about your move, get to work hiring either a moving company or getting a rental truck.

2. Keep Track of Your Valuables


Even if you aren’t in a hurry, moving can quickly become messy and disorganized, which can result in losing or misplacing valuable items. To prevent anxiety over where you placed your grandmother’s engagement ring, keep things like jewelry, cash, laptops, wallet, and tablets in a place where you can keep a close eye on them.

When moving, people you don’t know might be in and out of your home, which can make it very easy to blame misplaced items on the moving company, realtor, cleaning company or even friends who may have helped you move.

To prevent any misunderstandings, make sure you always know where your valuables are, or keep them close so it’s impossible to misplace them.

3. Don’t Hesitate. Donate or Throw Away

As soon as you figure out your plan for moving, it’s time to start sorting through your things and begin packing.

You should begin purging items you no longer need or want as soon as possible. As you start organizing, put anything you don’t want or need anymore in a ‘donate’ or ‘throw-away’ bag. It’s important to do this while you’re organizing, and not while you’re packing.

Getting rid of things you won’t be taking with you first will allow you to pack up the things you will be taking much more quickly and efficiently.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what to do with the old furniture you don’t want anymore. Check out this article on ways to get rid of old furniture.

Gather Your Supplies

Moving Supplies

Spare yourself multiple trips back and forth to the store and pick up all of the packing materials you will need either in one trip or from one place.

Stores like Home Depot usually have packing essentials so you don’t need to go all over town to multiple stores.

Before you go, make sure you write a list so you don’t forget anything, and always remember to get more than you think you might need.

To figure out how many boxes you might need, start with our packing calculator and plug in a few key details. You will probably need about twenty boxes for a studio, upwards to forty boxes for a one-bedroom and so on.

In terms of supplies, start with the essentials like packing tape, packing paper, furniture protectors, dish covers, etc.

Packing tip: keep clothes on the hanger when moving and simply place a garbage bag over your clothes and use the tie strings to secure the hangers. You will be able to easily move your clothes from hanger to moving truck to your new closet without the hassle of packing and unpacking.

Packing tip: Not all of your items will fit into a specific category when packing them. Keep a large box for random, non-breakable items like your coin collection or that decorative wreath made of wine corks.

5. Don’t Worry Too Hard About Organization

In a perfect world you would have time to neatly stack all your items in various well-labeled boxes. However, when you’re moving in a hurry you don’t have the luxury of time when it comes to organizing.

So, everything your Mom taught you about organization is allowed to go out the window so you can quickly get from point A to point B.

It’s okay to pack your linens in with your hairdryer and your electronic cords with your utensils and coffee maker. However, do keep in mind to securely wrap up fragile items in packing paper. Disorganized boxes are fine; boxes filled with broken items, not so much.

Packing Tip: Use Ziploc bags for small, loose items. Organizing your random knick-knacks will end up taking up more time than you would think. Save time by placing these items in Ziploc bags, this will also prevent losing them.

Don’t worry about emptying your dressers of their contents. Depending on what’s in your dressers and the sturdiness of them, you might be able to keep your clothes in your dressers.

6. Wake Up An Hour or Two Earlier

While this might sound kind of obvious, getting an early start to your day can be a game-changer. If you’re not a morning person, consider becoming one for the duration of your move. Future you will be thankful you decided not to hit snooze five times.

Starting even an hour earlier than normal will allow you to finish your to-do list for that day, finish up things you might have forgotten about or put off the night before. Waking up even an hour earlier might relieve some anxiety and feelings of panic because you now have time you might not have had before.

When you plan on waking up earlier, don’t allow yourself to get side-tracked. Have a clear idea of what needs to get done and give yourself enough time

7. Get Help

Moving Help

Moving is a huge task, especially when it needs to be done quickly. It’s completely okay and normal to turn to your friends or family if you need some extra hands.

Having others around to help you can keep you focused, allow you to stay on track and prioritize as well as simply getting the job done faster.

Small tasks like packing up your kitchen cabinets or dropping off items for donation can easily become very time consuming if you’re working completely on your own. More people equals more hands equal tasks getting done quicker.

8. Hire A Cleaning Company

In the midst of moving chaos, it might be easy to forget about the person who will be moving into your home after you leave.

If you’re moving in a hurry, you probably won’t have time to do a thorough cleaning on your own, so we would recommend hiring a cleaning service.

This might mean having someone there cleaning as you’re running around trying to pack, but it will take a little weight off of your shoulders and allow you to focus on what really matters, which is packing up and keeping track of your things.

If your home is going to be vacant for some time before the next tenant moves in, maybe try to arrange either with your landlord, management or a cleaning company to have people come in after you’ve left.

9. If You Have Kids, Get Them Involved

If you have kids you know just how easily they get bored or distracted which could be an inconvenience for you as you’re trying to pack up and move. While you shouldn’t make them responsible for the entire packing process, consider having your kids pack up their own things such as stuffed animals or books.

You can even turn packing into a game by seeing who can pack the fastest, or offering a reward to whoever can pack up the most items in an hour.

Packing tip: Not all of your items will fit into a specific category when packing them. Keep a large box for random, non-breakable items like your coin collection or that decorative wreath made of wine corks.

10. Take Photos Before You Pack

When moving in a rush, you probably won’t have time to take account of every item you have and create a detailed inventory of your possessions. Taking pictures of your items will allow you to keep track of your things easily.

If you’ve hired movers, having documentation of the type, number and condition of your items before the move may also be a good thing to have handy in case something gets lost or broken during the move.

One look at the photo will allow you to recreate your home décor, reassemble any furniture and organize your things how you had them before.

11. Use Your Space Efficiently

When you’re moving in a hurry, efficiency is everything. This applies to both your time and packing space. One of the best, often overlooked tips while packing up for a move is utilizing your larger belongings such as bags to pack smaller items. This will save you a lot of space when packing up your moving van and cut down on the clutter.

Also consider using duffel bags or suitcases that you already own, instead of packing them inside other boxes, use them! You can pack a smaller duffel inside a larger one or use them to hold any loose items or clothing. Use anything and everything to your packing advantage, if you have a dresser keep the clothes inside the drawers.

Packing tip: Instead of throwing your books into boxes and risking hurting your back while trying to pick the box up, put books in suitcases that have wheels. This will not only save time, keep you from getting too sweaty but also avoid straining your back.

12. Stay Focused

When packing to move, it’s very easy to get distracted by either nostalgia of old items or simply your TV or phone. To prevent yourself from getting side-tracked, give yourself specific tasks (i.e. packing up the linen closet) and do not stop until that immediate task is complete. Kick it up a notch and set a timer for one hour and see how quickly you can get your task finished.

Packing tip: While packing, listen to some music or your favorite audiobook. This will keep you both entertained and stimulated which will help your focus and speed when it comes to packing.