If You Need to Move in Less Than One Week, What to Do First

The difficulty of moving home.
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Moving in a short time requires some ingenuity, a lot of energy, and help in getting organized, which is where this guide can help..

Book a Mover

The most important part of any move is deciding how to move your stuff from your old place to the new space. Often, the decision comes down to money and time. We know you don't have much of the latter, but the former might allow a little more flexibility. If you're short on time, but not money, then consider hiring movers to move your stuff. If you're short on both, then moving yourself will save you cash, but not necessarily time. Booking a mover usually requires more than a week's notice. However, if you're moving during the off season (any time other than summer), you should be able to find a mover who can help. Other factors to consider is how far you're moving, with long-distance movers being harder to book than local companies, and how much stuff.  If you're only moving a studio apartment or small one-bedroom, often larger moving companies can accommodate you - just adding you to a truck that's not quite full. 

Rent a Truck

Truck rentals, while usually fully booked in the summer months, are often fairly easy to come by offseason. If you are moving in the summer, I suggest calling all the rental agencies in your area to see if anything's available, then book what you can. Even if it's a small passenger van, you may end up taking multiple trips back and forth, but it'll accommodate more stuff than your car or a taxi can.

Pack Your Car

If you don't need a truck or you can't rent one, then use your car. Don't have a car?  Recruit all your family and friends who have a truck, car or van to help out. It's amazing how much stuff you can pack into one car.  All you need is a little help and some tips on how to pack more in your car. 

Just remember when you're planning how you'll move your stuff, to think about combining transportation modes. For instance, you might hire a local mover to move your stuff, but to save time and money, try to pack as much as you can into your car and friends' cars, too.

Call Utility Companies, Landlord, etc

If you're responsible for paying utilities - hydro, electric, water, garbage, recyclables - then you'll need to call have your current service canceled and/or transferred to your new place. If you're moving long distance, you may need to find new services in your new city or town.  Get a list of your bills and run through them one by one.  It shouldn't take more than an hour to do, but it's important to get it done as soon as possible, so you're not charged for services you're not using.

Get packing supplies: boxes

Hopefully, by the afternoon you'll have figured out how you'll move your stuff so you can turn to what you'll use to pack everything in. Boxes are key. The easiest way to find some are to run out to your local storage or moving store and purchase them.  While you're at the store, make sure you pick up packing tape and a marker (if you don't already have some at home).  If you're trying to save money, then head to a local grocery or beverage store to ask for used boxes. Drug stores are also a great place to find good boxes. Alternatively, ask your family and friends for any plastic containers or bins or extra boxes they might have - just remember that you can never, ever have too many boxes. Better to have too many than not enough.  And you'll know if you have enough by following our box guide.

Other Packing Options

While garbage bags aren't ideal, I do recommend them for fast moves. Buy the heavy-duty clear type which will not only hold your stuff better, but you can see exactly what you packed. Perfect for clothing, linens, towels, and anything else that's bulky and takes up a lot of room.  As I mentioned earlier, plastic bins are another option. Some companies will rent them to you, which is a great time-saver and eco-friendly, too.

Other Stuff You'll Need

Packing tape, marker, and paper.  The first two you'll have to buy, but the last item - paper - is something you can find around the house or can substitute with towels, linens, and even clothes. For dish-packing, or packing glasses and other fragile stuff, I always use towels, sheets, sweaters and other fabrics to ensure everything arrives without breaking. Cheap, easy, and a great way to pack two items at once.