How to Sort and Pack Quickly for a Last Minute Move

In a Hurry to Move? Quick Packing Tips

Woman packing in preparation for house move
Cultura RM Exclusive/Sofie Delauw / Getty Images

Ideally, most people need a minimum of eight weeks to plan and pack for a move. 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.

Get Rid of Stuff

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.

Go through each room and separate items into three piles: 1) to keep 2) to donate and 3) to 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 stuff. If, when deciding whether to keep or toss something, you hesitate, toss it.

Call for Help

Calling for help comes in three forms: 1) friends and family and 2) service companies. 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. It’s a great service that will save you a lot of time and headaches. Just keep in mind that if you’re trying to save money, professional packers can be expensive. Call around before you hire.

Other services available are pick-up companies – companies that will pick up and get rid of junk for you. Just pick a date and tell them how much and the junk will be gone quickly and easily. The fee is usually a rate per pound depending on how easy the stuff is to move. Again, call around for a competitive rate.

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. Note that some charities only pick-up on specific dates and at specific locations. Ask before you book.

Get Packing Supplies

We usually recommend used boxes for packing; however, If you’re moving with a very short timeline, then it’s best to purchase your boxes and packing supplies directly from a moving store or office supply shop. It will save you hunting for enough suitable used boxes. The other option, if you’re moving locally, is to search for a green mover who’ll supply plastic bins for your packing needs. It 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. Most companies will drop off the needed bins on a date that’s convenient for you, then pick them up after you’ve finished moving and unpacking. Easy. Quick. Simple.

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.