How to Move Quickly When You Have Less Than a Month

Empty apartment with moving boxes


David Seed Photography / Getty Images

For most moves, you'll be able to plan well in advance. Usually, an 8-week timeline works well. However, last-minute moves are also common, with some people having to move in four weeks or less. So, if a quick move is in your immediate plans, here’s an easy guide to ensure a quick sorting and packing of your household things.

Sort Your Stuff

Get rid of junk. The great thing about last-minute moves is that you tend to be ruthless in how you sort and pack. And this is a good thing since the more stuff you get rid of, the less you have to pack and move which equals less time and energy. Some people think that to save time, they should just pack everything they own and sort later. Not so. Get rid of as much stuff as you can – that’s rule #1!

Make three piles. Go through each room and separate items into three piles: 1) Stuff to keep 2) Stuff to donate or sell online or at a garage sale and 3) Stuff to recycle or toss. If you haven’t used it or worn it for a year, give it away or toss it. Get the whole family involved by having them follow this rule and sorting through their own stuff. My own personal rule is, if, when deciding whether to keep or toss something, if I hesitate, I toss it.

Ask for Help

Call on: 1) friends and family and/or 2) professional services. Family and friends are always anxious to help out. Just make sure that before you enlist their support, you have a clear idea of what you need them to do. Packing stuff in your “to keep” pile is a great task as is the job of getting rid of the stuff you don’t want to keep.

Service professionals are always available to help out. Professional packers can be called in to help with packing or to pack your entire household. You can even find companies that will organize a garage sale for you.

Charities will also pick up your unwanted stuff. If your donation pile is large or if you have furniture to give away that’s still in good condition, a non-profit organization will pick up the items for you, saving you the energy and time needed to drop it off. Just make sure you’ve completed your sorting so that you only go through the procedure once. Again, call and set a pick-up date and time. 

Pack Your Stuff

Get packing supplies. I usually recommend used boxes for packing; however, If you’re moving with a very short time line, then it’s best to purchase your boxes and packing supplies directly from a moving store or office supply shop. This will save you hunting for enough suitable used boxes. The other option, if you’re moving locally, is to search for a green mover or green moving box rental company who’ll supply plastic bins for your packing needs. This is a great way to move. Not only will it save the environment, but also the time needed to find boxes and to get rid of them afterward. .

Start packing. Now that you have the supplies you need, you can start packing the pile of “to keep” items. Remember that some items, such as large appliances, may require special preparation.