In an ideal world, you can spend plenty of time planning and executing your move. You have the luxury of time to search for a new place, prep your current home, and have zero pressure to get the job done when moving day arrives.

In reality, the world isn’t such a fairytale.

Whether you’ve had something come up and need to make an unexpected move quickly or you simply procrastinated until you ran out of time, you may need to move to your new house in one day. We’ve put together a checklist to help you lower the stress and have a smooth move.

Avoid Clutter

Okay, this isn’t a moving-specific suggestion and actually applies to life in general. By making a point not to let clutter pile up you’ll make things easier on yourself when it’s time to move.

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You can apply this principle to the packing process, ensuring that you don’t build clutter while preparing for your move. Stay organized and methodical as you tackle the moving process and you’ll do yourself a big favor.

Once you’ve moved, stay committed to being clutter-free. Use storage and sorting systems in your closets, garage, attic, and anywhere else things collect. Do a seasonal purge where you objectively approach your belongings. If you haven’t used them for quite some time, do you really need them? Avoid the urge to keep things “just in case”, no matter how savvy that might seem. 

Make a Packing List

The “box everything!” strategy may seem like a good idea but trust us, you’ll want to do a bit more planning than that. If you’ve been meaning to clean out the pantry or ditch old collections of things, make a note so these things don’t get swept into boxes and bags.

Keep a list of things to donate and decide where you’ll drop them off. A charity organization or consignment store is a great destination for these things. By keeping a list, you’ll also know exactly what you’ve got. Getting rid of clothes, small appliances, or furniture? Maybe a friend will take some of these things off your hands.

Start Early

If you’re moving in one day, you want to ensure you have as much time as you can to get the job done. That means starting early in the day, even if the idea of a sunrise wake-up sounds like torture.

Enlisting a moving company can help you save time and energy. Full-service movers will pack your things and disassemble your furniture before moving. They’ll even save you the hunt for packing supplies. If you prefer to pack yourself your moving company will show up on the day and start shifting your items with their expertise to get you moving smoothly.

Take it One Room at a Time

Don’t burden yourself by trying to tackle everything at once. Start, instead, with one room at a time. Breaking down your sorting, packing, and shifting by room will help the job feel much more manageable.

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As you approach each room, break those down into smaller steps as well. Ready to pack the kitchen? Start by going drawer by drawer, cupboard by cupboard, and work through it all bit by bit. If you have friends helping you, assign everyone a room. You’ll save everyone from getting in each other’s way and you’ll cover a lot more ground in a lot less time.

Ditch the Extra Stuff

Filling boxes with everything you have might make packing seem easier, but how will the future you feel when you arrive on the other side? It’s not a very “Welcome Home!” vibe to start unpacking things you wish you had thrown out.

Grab some bags and boxes and ensure you make the big purge. That includes trash and recycling – start filling your bins!

Leave Your Clothes on Hangers

Unhanging and packing clothes is a very time-consuming process. If you’re moving at short notice or just short on time, don’t bother with unhanging and rehanging. Instead, leave your clothes on hangers for transport. Pile them into a moveable stack, wrap a trash bag around them, and leave the hook on the outside. You can tie a rope along one side of your moving truck and hang the bags for ease of transport.

Have multiple family members and closets? Use a piece of masking tape to label the bags as you tie them up.

Use What You Have

Don’t stress over hunting for new or used boxes. Chances are, you have a lot around the house that you can use to transport your things – particularly those that aren’t fragile.

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Use clothes, towels, rags, and other soft items to pad your breakables. Save yourself the trip for boxes and bubble wrap!

Suitcases, dresser drawers, laundry hampers, and duffel bags are all great candidates for packing materials. Moving companies often have reusable crates or boxes that you can use for the move, so check with them before the day.

Cover the Practicalities With Your Movers

There are a few little bits you’ll want to cover with your movers to make sure there are no hangups on moving day.

  • Speak to your mover in advance if you’ll need extra packing services to ensure they come prepared.
  • Chat with your moving company about how much time they anticipate the job taking so you can reserve the elevator in your building.
  • If you live in a building with a doorman, check to see what you need to do in order to prepare and plan for the move to ensure minimal disruption.

The key to moving effectively in one day is to ensure you have all of the information you need and you – and your movers – are fully prepared before the time comes.