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How to Move Short Distances

Getting ready for a short-distance move? Whether you’re moving into a new apartment or a house, there are several things to check off your to-do list on or before moving day. Check out these short-distance moving tips so you can transition to your new home with ease.

Consider Your Timeline

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Knowing your timeline for your short-distance move can help you organize a moving to-do list and keep you on track. Start planning, packing, and preparing in advance. Understand if you’re able to move in early, when you need to be out of your current home, and ensure you know when your utilities are scheduled to turn on. If you only have one or a few days to move, staying organized with a detailed timeline will help ensure that the process goes smoothly.

Measure the New Space

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As opposed to a cross-country move, relocating across town means you’ll likely be able to visit your space in advance. If you can, measuring the rooms and doorways before the move will help you understand if and how larger items, like furniture, will fit into your space. Examine the areas of rooms, closets, and storage spaces. If you find that you don’t have enough space in your new place for all your current belongings, consider downsizing or decluttering before moving.

Ask Friends for Help

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Moving to a new home is always stressful, but an advantage to moving locally is that your friends may be around to help! Let them know about your relocation plans and the areas where you could use their assistance. Your friends might be able to provide moving boxes, organize garage sales, or even watch your pets or kids on moving day. Consider asking your loved ones to help transfer items into your moving vehicle or unpack boxes. Delegating these responsibilities and having your friends around will make the transition into your new home simpler and more fun!

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Pack & Label by the Area

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Focus on one room at a time when you pack moving boxes, and be sure to label boxes accordingly. While this can be helpful for understanding where to place different boxes in your moving vehicle, this packing and moving hack is especially helpful for keeping things organized and out of the way while moving into your new home. Take a few extra seconds and label with additional detail to help save you hassle down the road. For example, your bathroom boxes may be labeled more distinctly like “toiletries,” “cleaning supplies,” and “cosmetics.”

Use Household Items for Packing

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Put items you already own to good use when packing for your short-distance move! Save money on cardboard boxes by using trash bins and hampers to carry cleaning supplies, shoes, and toys. Backpacks, gym bags, tote bags, and grocery bags can keep like items together. Suitcases with wheels are the perfect packing container for heavy items, as you can roll the items into your home rather than lifting them. You can even help safeguard fragile items like plates, glassware, TVs, and mirrors by using towels or bed linens as protective wrapping!

Leave Clothes on Hangers & in Drawers

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A time-saving tip for short-distance moves is to keep your clothes on hangers or in their drawers. Leave clothes on their hangers, cover them with a garbage bag, and tie it at the top to more easily transport them to your new home. Similarly, you can remove the drawers from your dresser and treat them as moving boxes for your clothes and any random bedroom items. This not only avoids unnecessary packing, but also makes your dresser itself lighter and easier to move. These hacks can help keep your clothing organized during the move and make packing and unpacking less time-consuming.

Pack an Essentials Bag

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Even if you’re just relocating across town, a great tip for moving is to pack a duffel or gym bag with your essential items the night before you leave. No matter how far away you’re moving, you’ll still want easy access to your wallet, keys, medications, laptop, phone, and basic toiletries without having to dig through boxes on moving day. If your unpacking process will take a few days, it’s a good idea to include important documents like your passport, birth certificates, social security cards, and more with your first-night bag. This way, you have all your necessities in one safe spot.

Gather & Transport Perishables Last

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Compared to a long-distance move, one unique benefit to moving locally is that you don’t have to toss out your perishable items before moving day! This will save money and prevent food waste. Pack these perishable items in coolers, lunchboxes, or bags with ice packs to maintain their freshness while being transferred to your new home. It’s also a good idea to wait and pack food along with packing your essentials or first-night bag, which will decrease the likelihood that perishable foods will go bad on the drive.

Move Items in Shifts

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If you’re able to access your new place ahead of time, another short-distance moving hack is to move your items in gradually. While you can still transport a majority of your items into your new home on a designated moving day, it can be less overwhelming to move items in shifts. This will leave fewer boxes to worry about on moving day—and you can even get a head start on unpacking! By unloading certain things in your new place ahead of the primary moving day, you could even reuse the same boxes to save money on moving supplies!

Plan Easy Meals

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Be sure to make plans for meals on moving day. Pack water and snacks in a carry-on bag to help keep you and your moving team hydrated and energized throughout the day. Prepare meals in advance or order takeout to avoid cooking. This is also a great way to help show your friends appreciation for helping you move!

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Transfer Utilities

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Don’t forget that you’ll still have plenty of things to update even when moving a short distance. If you’re moving within the same city, change your address with your current utilities provider. If you’re moving to a nearby city, you may have to enroll fresh with the new city’s utilities provider. Call each utility company you utilize and request that they transfer services on the date of closing or possession, and provide the company with your forwarding information. Put this step at the top of your unpacking to-do list so you won’t have any delay between moving and getting your power turned on moving day!

Forward Your Mail

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Whether you’re moving across town or to another state, it’s important to redirect your mail to your new dwelling. Mail forwarding is simple and can be set up through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in person or online. Keep in mind that this process can take up to two weeks to complete, so you’ll want to plan accordingly to ensure you don’t miss any important mail.


Need a place to store your belongings during a short-distance move? Extra Space Storage has convenient storage facilities throughout the nation, so we can help with your transition. Find a storage facility near you!