Home > Moving > Moving Guides and Tips > How to Navigate a Short-Notice Move
Featured Image for Navigating a Move on Short Notice

How to Navigate a Short-Notice Move

Do you need to move to a new home last minute? Whether you’re looking for the fastest way to pack or how to stay organized during a last-minute move, we have the helpful moving tips and tricks you need for getting into your new living space quickly!

How to Prep a Last-Minute Move

You won’t have a lot of time to prepare for your move when it’s last minute, but there are a few things you can do to make your quick home transition easier.

Calculate Your Costs

Even when you’re in a rush, you should know what your moving expenses are—and if possible, set a budget so that you don’t go beyond what you can afford. Account for everything from small costs like moving boxes to larger financial commitments like paying for professional movers.

Get Rid of Some Items

Cut down on packing time by getting rid of things you no longer need or use. Go through your belongings and sort items into things you plan to pack, things you can donate, and things you can throw away. Reducing the size of your moving truck will make a quick move much more manageable and affordable.

Grab Moving Supplies

Before your moving date, be sure to pick up essential moving supplies, such as boxes, packing tape, and protective sleeves or wraps for fragile items. You might also consider purchasing labels to help keep track of what boxes contain and where they’ll be going in your new home.

Forward Mail & Utilities

When you have to move quickly, it can be easy for important address updates to fall through the cracks. Though you don’t have a lot of time, make sure you set up a forwarding address for your mail and transfer utilities like gas, electricity, and internet to your new address.

Hire Same-Day or Next-Day Movers

While many moving companies require that you book in advance, some offer same-day or next-day moving services to help with last-minute moves. Search for same-day moving companies near you if you find yourself in a bind and need assistance with moving quickly.

Find Short-Term Housing

If you don’t already have a new home lined up, you may need to look into short-term housing options. Extended stay hotels, apartments with month-to-month leases, or vacation rentals with long-term rentals are all avenues to consider if you need housing temporarily.

How to Pack for a Last-Minute Move

Packing can be a time-consuming process, which can complicate things if you’re in the middle of a last-minute move. However, there are a few things you can do to pack faster and more efficiently.

Make a Moving Essentials Bag

If you have time to sort anything, sort out your essentials. Keep items you’ll need immediately in their own separate bag so that you can access them quickly once the move is over. Pack this bag with toiletries, changes of clothes, phone chargers, medications, and other items you need daily.

Pack Now, Organize Later

While organizing items before you pack is a good idea, forgoing this step can be helpful when you need to move quickly. That doesn’t mean packing carelessly. Instead, focus less on grouping similar items together and more on packing up items based on what rooms they need to go in.

Use Moving Box Alternatives

Don’t have moving boxes? Trash bags work in a pinch when packing soft items like clothing, towels, bedding, and plush toys. Try not to pack anything sharp or hard in trash bags since these may puncture the bags. Suitcases, backpacks, and duffels are also great for last-minute packing!

Leave Clothes on Hangers

Keep clothes organized by leaving them on hangers before placing them in boxes, garment bags, or trash bags. This is a simple way to keep clothing clean and ready for transport during your last-minute move. Plus, it makes unpacking clothes easier when you’re ready!

Last-Minute Moving Day Tips

Moving day is always busy—especially when you’re moving in a hurry. Consider these tips for how to handle moving day during your last-minute move.

Start Early

Give yourself plenty of time to get everything done by starting moving day as early as possible. The sooner you begin, the faster it will go. Taking this approach will also give you more time to account for any possible roadblocks that arise.

Recruit Friends & Family

If you don’t have movers helping you, enlist your friends and family in your last-minute move. Whether they help transport boxes to your new residence or assist in unpacking essential items for rooms like the bathroom and kitchen, you can get settled more quickly.

Save a Parking Space

If you’re moving somewhere without reserved parking, save a spot ahead of time so that you or the movers will be able to park nearby for easy unloading. Consider sending a friend or family member ahead to temporarily park in the space and hold it for you.

Take Breaks

Just because you’re moving in a hurry doesn’t mean you should overexert yourself. Drink plenty of water if you’re doing lots of heavy lifting or physical activity, and take breaks to rest when you’re able. This can help you maintain your energy for moving day.

Frequently Asked Questions About Last-Minute Moves

Can I move in one day?

Although difficult, it is possible to move in a single day. Packing quickly, finding temporary housing, and moving with the help of friends or family in lieu of professional movers can make a last-minute move easier on you.

Where can I find temporary housing during my move?

People making a last-minute move can find short-term housing by searching online for extended stay hotels in their area, or by using vacation rental services like Airbnb to rent a private property.

How much do same-day movers cost?

In general, moving rates range from $25 to $50 per hour, plus the price of gas. This rate can be higher for same-day or next-day movers. Contact local movers in your area to find out their exact rates.


Looking for a storage solution during your last-minute move? Extra Space Storage offers cheap monthly units that can accommodate your needs. Rent storage space near you!