Moving is known to be one of the most stressful events a person can experience — and although companies like Two Small Men do our best to take as much of that stress off of our customers’ shoulders as possible, it remains true that planning and executing a move is a stressful experience for even the most organized planners.
We recommend beginning preparations for your move as far in advance as possible, including researching moving companies, finding checklists that work for your move, and decluttering/downsizing/packing whatever you can as early as you can. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to plan a move several months or weeks in advance of your moving date — so how should you handle a last minute move?
For those who find themselves in need during a busy summer of moving in Canada, we’ve prepared the tips we’ve seen work best for our customers who find themselves moving unexpectedly or on very short notice. If this describes you, don’t panic! We’re here to help, so take a breath and keep reading to see how to best pull off your last-minute move.
USE A MOVING CHECKLIST — SERIOUSLY
We get it: this may sound counter-intuitive. You may be thinking that the last thing you have time for is creating an entire checklist for moving, let alone taking the time to track your progress on it. In our opinion, a checklist is even more essential when you’re short on time for planning. The good news? We’ve created a variety of moving checklists that you can download and use for free. These checklists will take about 95% of the guesswork out of your planning, allowing you to save your energy and focus for the move itself. Find a list that best describes your move, cross out what you don’t need, and continue powering through your preparations from there. Make sure you take two minutes at the end of the day or during your packing break to consult the list, tick off what you’ve completed, and refresh yourself on what you have left to do.
BOOK UTILITIES SET-UP APPOINTMENTS AS NEEDED
You may be so focused on what’s right in front of you — packing, throwing out junk, tidying up your soon-to-be-ex home, booking movers, and so on — that your future home feels more like a distant dream than your very-soon-to-be-current home. We get it, but the last thing you’ll want after working hard to make this move happen is to arrive at your new home without Internet access, electricity, or water. Future you deserves to enjoy their first night in their new house after completing a last minute moving sprint, so set aside an hour as soon as you know where you’re moving to sort out the details for utilities. You’ll be so glad you did!
CONSIDER BUYING A PRE-MADE PACK OF MOVING SUPPLIES
When we have time to plan out our move, that planning usually includes time to figure out the cheapest ways to acquire packing supplies: asking your local big-box stores for leftover boxes they don’t need, trying to gather old newspapers and flyers for padding, and researching online for other creative packing supply techniques used by experienced movers.
While we’re huge proponents of reusing boxes and newspapers whenever possible, when it comes to moving on short notice, you should consider how long it will take to gather all these items and whether that makes sense for your timeline. Many moving companies sell packing supplies, including complete packing bundles that come with everything you need. These kits may just save you from a midnight moment of panic when you realize you don’t have packing tape, or that there’s nothing to secure your best china in before it goes into a box.
DOWNSIZING — GET RID OF WHAT YOU NO LONGER NEED (OR WANT)
Downsizing is known to be an emotional process for a lot of people. It can be painful to get rid of the things we no longer need. This may be the only silver lining of a last-minute move — there’s no time for you to second-guess yourself, and every opportunity to be ruthless about what you really want to keep for your move. You may be wondering if it wouldn’t be easier to just move everything you have and deal with downsizing at a later, undefined date, but trust us: it will just end up costing more time, money, and energy than it needs to. Designate a donation pile, a junk pile, and a sell pile, and hold yourself accountable to adding items to each pile!
DON’T CLEAN YOUR OLD PLACE UNTIL IT’S EMPTY
Cleaning as you go may seem like the most efficient way to deal with tidying up your current living space before you vacate, but it’s really best to wait until you’re completely moved out to clean up. Dust, debris, and other random items can be very sneaky when it comes to finding dark corners to hide in, and the best way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to wait until the house is empty, then clean room by room before you head to your new home. This method also offers the peace of mind that you haven’t forgotten anything, and you can snap photos as you go for your records on the condition you left your old home in before moving.
Of course, cleaning at all at the end of a last-minute moving frenzy can feel totally overwhelming — so if you have room in your budget, don’t be shy to treat yourself and hire a cleaning service to take care of this final task.
CREATE AN ESSENTIALS BOX OR BAG
Yes, there are plenty of shortcuts you’ll have to take when packing for an unexpected move — you may have to sacrifice tidy packing and inventorying your boxes, and you may have to increase your budget against time constraints. One thing you absolutely must do, however, is create an essentials box or bag with the things you need to function for the first night and first day in your new home. At least two changes of clothes, toilet paper, paper towel, your phone charger, medication, a few snacks (optional, but highly recommended), and legal or health documents that you must have on hand in the event of an emergency all belong in this box. Keep the box in your vehicle rather than sending it along in the moving truck. Best case scenario, you won’t need it. Worst case scenario, you’ll be so glad you have it.
There’s no doubt about it: a last-minute move can — and most likely will — be stressful. The time constraints can really add to the pressure of packing, organizing, and planning, but these tips can save you energy and focus. Look forward to that sweet moment after your move is complete where you can flop onto the nearest soft surface, breathe a sigh of relief, and call it a day. For now, however, you should get moving!
Need to book movers for your last-minute move? Reach out to the Two Small Men team and we’ll do our best to help!