how to pack in a hurry

15 Steps to Pack for a Move in a Hurry

15 Steps for Packing in a Hurry

Sometimes the opportunity or challenge of moving comes without warning. Whether you’re jumping to accept an out-of-state opportunity or if your moving day just came faster than expected, a little preparation and strategy can help you pack extra quickly.

While there are several packing strategies that save money by using makeshift packing materials from items around the house, or that make unpacking a breeze with meticulous organizing, packing in a hurry is all about finding ways to minimize the time it takes to get all of your possessions loaded into a truck.

Packing in a hurry takes the right combination of moving supplies and a strategic action plan.

Supplies Needed:

  • Heavy-Duty Trash/Yard/Contractor Bags

  • A Roll of Stretch Wrap

  • Small, Medium, and Large Boxes

  • Several Rolls of Quality Packing Tape

  • Bubble Wrap

  • Packing Paper

  • Cable Ties (Trust us)

  • Roll of Colored Painting Tape

  • Permanent Markers


Step 1: Set Aside Your Living Necessities Between Now & Moving Day


First, set aside in a safe place (a suitcase is preferable) the items you will need between now and moving day. Think of it like packing for a vacation from the time leading up to moving day. Consider items you’ll need from now until moving day, such as:


  • Clothing

  • Toiletries

  • Laptop

  • Chargers

  • Important Documents (moving documents and any identification papers etc. you might need to get the keys for your new home or might need for the first day at a new job)

  • Toolbox


Step 2: Buy Packing Supplies


There are plenty of tips for how to save money during a move, but if you’re moving in a hurry then it may be time to drop the cost-savings hacks and hit the store.


Save yourself time from having to scavenge boxes or other containers from around the house or from neighbours and buy a few stacks from your local home supply or shipping store. While you’re there, pick up plenty of tape, a roll of stretch wrap, and packing paper and/or bubble wrap.

Step 3: Put Packing Supplies in a Basket


Find an easy-to-carry container, such as a plastic laundry basket, to carry your packing supplies from room to room. Taking a quick moment to consolidate your packing supplies in an easy-to-spot carton can save time during a move by preventing you from having to search for the tape every time you fold a new box or digging through clutter to find a marker.


Step 4: Use Stretch Wrap to Secure Dressers


Instead of packing clothes or objects from a dresser into a box only to have to unpack them again in your new destination, use your roll of stretch wrap to secure the drawers of your dresser. Any loose items such as books, dvds, electronics, valuables, or anything else that might be damaged if jostled, should be removed and placed in a box. Anything that doesn’t need to be wrapped or secured can usually stay in its drawer.


If the dresser will be too heavy with all of its drawers intact, take the drawers out and use stretch wrap to secure the contents so you can safely stack the drawers in the moving truck.


Step 5: Keep Clothes on Hangers


If you’re packing in a hurry, the last thing you want to waste time doing is taking clothes off hangers, folding them into boxes, and packing the hangers into a separate box. Instead, use a cable tie to secure several clothes-filled hangers together, then use a garbage bag to protect the clothes by slipping a garbage bag over the clothes and securing the bag near the top of the hangers. This protects your clothes from dirt and grime during moving and also prevents any clothes from falling off the hangers and getting lost.


If you have a clothes rack, you can use this in your moving truck to hold your clothes. If not, you can leave the bags loose to be transported in a car or fold the bags in half (or roll them) and tuck them into a moving box.


Step 6: Put Pillows, Bedding, and Other “Soft” Items in Garbage Bags


Take the rest of the soft unbreakables around your house and stuff them into garbage bags. There’s no reason to waste a more expensive, protective box on these items. Having them in garbage bags also makes them easier to fill oddly-shaped spots in your moving truck.


This includes things like:

  • Pillows

  • Blankets

  • Bedding

  • Stuffed animals

  • Rugs

  • Winter clothing

  • Curtains


Step 7: Wrap Additional Furniture Items


If you have other furniture items, such as toy boxes or bins, storage ottomans, or plastic organizers that don’t need special care or protection, use your plastic wrap to secure their contents inside for an easier grab-and-go if you’re moving in a hurry.


Step 8: Label Furniture to Donate


If you have furniture or other large items that you won’t be taking with you, use your colored painter’s tape to label the item with a strip of tape to signify you won’t be taking it with you.


Step 9: Use the 3-Bin Packing Method


Bring three bins with you in each room. Bring a garbage bin for items to toss, a garbage bag for things to donate, and a packing box for things you’re taking with you. Label the donation bag with a strip of colored painter’s tape so you don’t mistake it as items to be taken with you and label any garbage bags with an “X” so you know they belong in the garbage and not in the donation pile.


When you’re finished with a particular room, take the garbage immediately out to the trash bin (or another designated trash area). Find a spot in your garage, basement, or yard to put all the items you plan to donate. This will prevent you from having to “direct traffic” when your movers—or moving help—arrive.


Step 10: Only Pack One Room at a Time


Try to focus only on one room at a time. If you’re moving in a hurry, it can be tempting to rush from room to room before finishing any single task. However, this is a quick way to get overwhelmed and can be significantly less productive! Instead, after you’ve taken care of the main bigger items above, focus on packing boxes in just one room at a time.


As a basic, smart moving practice, pack heavier and more fragile items in smaller boxes (wrap in bubble wrap, stretch wrap, or moving paper when needed), and put lighter, less fragile items in bigger boxes.


Step 11: Leave Drawers, Doors, & Cupboards Open in Finished Areas


Once you’ve cleared a closet or cupboard, leave the door open. This way you can see at a glance that it’s empty and will know that you haven’t missed anything.


Step 12: Protect Your Art & Mirrors


When you’re packing in a hurry, you don’t want to be scrambling around last-minute grabbing artwork off walls and trying to fit it into the remaining cracks and crevices in the moving truck. Instead, finish packing a room by taking art, mirrors, and other hangings off the wall. Wrap them, if needed, in plastic wrap or bubble wrap, and stack all items together against a single wall.

Step 13: Stack All Your Boxes


Stack all your moving boxes in a single place in your home (if possible), or at least in a single spot in every room. This significantly speeds up the moving process since you can use a box dolly to wheel multiple boxes at a time to the moving truck.


Step 14: Get a Moving Truck Slightly Larger than You Need


One of the most time-consuming and frustrating parts of moving in a hurry is the challenge of trying to fit all of your belongings into a truck. Mitigate this extra challenge by preparing with a truck that you know is slightly larger than you actually need.


Step 15: Hire a Moving Company


Moving companies are not only fast and efficient at what they do, but they’re also more affordable than most people tend to realize. Hire a moving company to load and unload your truck. Some moving companies also offer packing and/or unpacking services if you truly don’t have the time to pack for a move.


Need Help?


Do you need help with your move? Talk to one of our long distance moving experts today!