If You Have to Move in a Week or Less, How to Pack the Kitchen Quick

A father and son moving boxes out of a room

 Emma Kim / Getty Images

So you have a week or less to move and aren't sure where to start? Start with advice on what to do on the first day, including how to get your stuff from your old space to the new place. The second day is all about rolling up your sleeves and getting to work.

First, set the coffee maker the night before and start the day early. It's going to be a long one, so make sure you have easy to make meals on hand or take-out menus right by your phone because today you'll be packing the entire kitchen.

Set aside the stuff you'll need for the week

Make sure you put aside any dishes and cutlery you'll need for the week - one set per family member is usually a good rule. Add in two knives, a couple of spoons, a can-opener and anything else you think you might need. Use the kitchen table as your temporary storage area or choose one drawer. The stuff you put aside that you'll need can be packed into your essentials' box the night before moving day.

Have packing supplies on hand

For the kitchen, you'll need lots of packing material, whether you're using towels or clothes or packing paper, make sure it's readily at hand. Keep an area on the counter or table as your packing surface, so you always have enough room.

Assign helpers to tasks

If you have friends or family helping you move, assign them tasks that they can do without too many instructions. Have one person start pulling down all the stuff in the top cupboards, while another person starts packing the pantry items. Others can have the task of packing the stuff that you want to move.

Set aside space where you'll put stuff you don't want to move

Moving in less than a week means you don't have a lot of time to sort through your things. But that's okay. Just know that you might be moving more stuff than you want, but the key to moving quickly is packing fast. As you remove things from cupboards and drawers, try to make quick decisions about what you want to keep and what to give away. Anything you don't want to move gets put into the designated "unwanted" corner of the kitchen. If you have friends or family helping you move, assign someone the task of packing the unwanted stuff you'll be getting rid of and moving it outside out of the way. Make sure everyone knows what's not wanted and what is so you don't end up getting rid of the stuff you wanted to keep.

Start with the cupboards

If you have only a few people helping you move, start with the cupboards since they usually contain the breakable and more fragile items - stuff that requires more careful packing. Anything that's not breakable can be packed quickly into heavy-duty garbage bags. While I'm not a fan of using garbage bags (and neither are most movers), they work for things like pots and pans and dish towels.

Pack the drawers

Sorting through drawers can take the most time, so skip the sort and simply pack up the contents. For utensils, I find it easiest to keep knives and forks and spoons in their utensil holder. Just wrap tape around the holder so nothing can escape.

Pantry is next

Don't sort the pantry unless you come across some items that you'll never, ever use and would rather donate. Things like spices, baking products, and specialty items can be expensive to replace, so it's usually worth the time and effort to pack and move them. Have lots of tape on hand to seal up packages, including tops of spice jars and anything else that could make a mess if contents escaped.

Contents of fridge

While you can't pack refrigerator items yet, you can get rid of stuff you don't want to move, in particular, if you're moving long distance - fridge items will spoil quickly in heat or be ruined due to freezing temperatures. Make a note in your calendar to pack any remaining fridge items the night before moving day.

Large appliances

Large appliances are often better left to professional movers. But if you have to move large appliances, you'll need special equipment, friends to help, and information on how to prepare and move them safely. Find out more.