Do you know how to move quickly? These tips will show you the fastest way to pack a house and move in three days or less.

how to move in less than a week

Who knows how to move quickly without making a major mess? Packing up a house is stressful even when you have months to plan. However, that same stress can become overwhelming and virtually unmanageable when you’re forced to move in three days or less.

Figuring out how to pack an apartment in one day is no small feat, but it’s an unfortunate reality many of us are faced with during times of transition. Think job loss, eviction, sudden illness, etc.

Renting a storage unit is ideal for families that need to pack up and get out fast. These storage spaces provide a temporary holding space for precious belongings and allow you to get out of your current home in the fastest way possible. However, you don’t need to rent a storage unit to move quickly.

We’ve gathered some helpful advice and tips to help you smooth out the process. Take a deep breath and keep on reading to learn how to pack for a move quickly and efficiently.

1. Pack essentials inside suitcases.

pack essentials in suitcases to move quickly

If you need to be out of your current residence in less than a week, think about your most used items. Make a list and then gather these items and group them by category. Put these items inside a suitcase if you have one. You’ll keep these suitcases with you during the move in the event your new home isn’t ready, and you will be temporarily staying elsewhere.

Some items to include:

  • Change of clothes for 3-5 days
  • Essential toiletries and medications
  • Snacks and a water bottle

2. Hire a last-minute moving company.

If you have the budget, consider hiring a moving company for a last-minute move. You might have to make several phone calls before you find someone, but this time could be well worth it. Movers come into a home with neutral emotion and are much less likely to break something or hurt themselves because they are frazzled and overwhelmed.

3. Enlist the help of friends and neighbors.

how to ask for help moving at the last minute

Some people prefer to do things on their own, and moving is no exception. However, if you are in a pinch, think about anyone who you can ask to help. You might even consider asking people you aren’t that close to like your neighbors or colleagues. Most people are happy to help someone that is going through a rough time and is needing to move at the last minute. It’s likely they have been in a similar situation or can relate to how stressful the case might be. Reserve a time once you’re settled again to pay their kindness forward.

4. Set up a moving supplies station.

Once you have your essentials packed and you have some people to help you, set up a moving supplies station. Get organized and put all the moving supplies in one area of the home. Give each helper a task and work in an assembly line form. Your moving and packing could be so last-minute that they happen on the same day. As someone packs and labels a box, another person might be bringing that box to the moving truck.

Tasks to delegate:

  • Assign one or two people to a room to pack
  • Have one person constructing and labeling moving boxes
  • Have some people bring the boxes to the moving truck

5. Set a timer and pack in small increments.

when to take breaks when moving

Stress can impact your performance in two ways: it can enhance your performance or halt it. If you are overly stressed and feel like packing seems too daunting, try this. Set a timer for five minutes. Use that five minutes to start packing one space. Organize while you pack.

Once the timer goes off, set it again for five minutes, and take a five-minute break. Once your break is over, set the timer for ten minutes and work for ten minutes. When that goes off, take another five-minute break.

Keep adding time to your work sessions until you reach thirty minutes, but always keep your breaks at five minutes. Working to a timer will help you get out of your head and on task. The breaks will help you decompress and give you time to worry or stress out.

6. Pack up one room at a time.

Some people have a very chaotic packing style, especially if they’re not a naturally organized person. They might pack a box in the bedroom, and then before they’re done, they might pack up a couple of dishes in the kitchen. This method is fine if you have a lot of extra time to pack. However, when you’re trying to pack quickly, be sure to complete each room in its entirety before moving on to the next space.

7. Start with the kitchen.

what room to pack first when moving

We recommend starting with the most difficult and cumbersome room first. In most cases, this is the kitchen. You want to pack these fragile items when you are the least tired and burnt out. Once the kitchen is complete, the rest of the house will seem much easier to pack and will likely go much faster.

8. Declutter as you pack.

You’re probably not going to have the time to do a full-on Marie Kondo decluttering of your house when you need to move fast. However, there’s no sense spending the time moving and packing items that you don’t need. We recommend having one trash bag and one donate box in every room you’re packing. If there are items that are broken or unused, toss them in this box. Don’t spend time analyzing sentimental items or items that make you feel uncertain. Pack those items and bring them with you to your new home or storage space. You can take time with these items later.

9. Use bags instead of boxes.

moving hack - move clothes on a wardrobe rack

Knowing how to move quickly also means knowing how to cut corners when it makes sense to do so. When you need to pack up a house fast, you want to be organized, but you don’t necessarily have to be neat. Consider using thick trash bags for specific items like clothing and linens. Use white bags for moving and label them clearly with a marker. Use only black bags for trash, so that you don’t accidentally throw out the wrong bag.

Bonus tip: Move your clothing on a wardrobe rack if you have the height clearance in a moving truck.

10. Take photos of anything that needs to be disassembled.

You might be running around trying to get everything moved in time, but don’t skimp on this next step. Anytime there is a piece of furniture or electronics that need to be disassembled, take a photo and put it in a moving folder on your phone. These photos will help you in your new home because you likely don’t have the time or mental space to remember how to put everything back together.

11. Rent a moving truck.

how to load a moving truck

This tip is another one that is helpful if it’s in your budget. If you can’t afford it, try to borrow pick up trucks, vans, and SUVs from your friends. However, if you can afford it, renting a moving truck can significantly cut down on your packing and moving time. You’ll be able to move everything with fewer loads, and your belongings will be relocated more safely. If you need a storage unit with your move, inquire about using one of the storage company’s moving trucks.

We hope these tips helped you figure out how to move quickly and with less stress. When you’re stressed, take a short break and return to the task with a clearer head. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Good luck!

About the Author

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann has written about self storage and moving since 2015, making her our storage expert. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics and has published over 150 articles on moving, storage, and home organization. She is also a contributing writer at The Spruce and Martha Stewart.

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