Whether you’ve been thrown into a last-minute m because of a great job opportunity or you’re a procrastinator packer, a speed-run packing session is often the only way to go when you’re getting ready to move. It’s easy to find yourself urgently longing for more hours in the day as you plan your move, acquire packing supplies, hire long-distance movers, discover a new place to live, and pack for a last-minute relocation – all while managing the ordinary responsibilities of your daily life. Take a deep breath… you can do this! If you’re facing a last-minute move and aren’t sure where to begin or how to have everything packed by moving day? Simply follow the instructions below.

Find out what the movers will be doing

When you’re short on time, there’s no use in doing anything that you don’t have to do. Before you start doing everything yourself, find out exactly what services are covered and what they can help you with if you’re hiring movers—which you should carefully consider for moves with a short turnaround time. If your preferred moving company does not provide in-home packing services, there are firms that specialize in this service, or you may hire someone through a site like TaskRabbit.

Keep in mind that higher service levels or hiring additional aid for packing will cost more than packing yourself, so keep that in mind while planning your move. If you’re relocating for employment and your company is paying for your move, keep track of any additional packing charges. This counts if you are moving for yourself, for business, or even to start a business in Manhattan.

 Movers loading a truck
Before you start doing anything, you should figure out what the movers will be doing, so you can do it yourself.

Make a strategy to pack for a last-minute relocation and get some help

Don’t plan too far ahead, for that’s where crazy lurks. Instead, concentrate on breaking things down into small tasks by generating a to-do list of everything you need to get done, organizing those activities by area and the order in which they must be completed, and then checking them off. For example, get some moving crates and figure out what will be going in which crate. If you don’t want to buy supplies, rent the supplies you need and start planning.

It’s time to call in all of your moving favors, providing it’s safe to do so and you’re not breaching any COVID-19 rules in your state or city. Anyone who has ever assisted you in moving inside your pod should be contacted as quickly as possible. Friends and family members who can safely assist should also be enlisted – a last-minute relocation necessitates all hands on deck.

Stay safe

To keep your packing party pandemic-friendly, make sure you have masks and hand sanitizer available, and keep everyone working in separate, well-ventilated rooms if feasible. You should follow these rules both if you are moving across the globe and if you are moving from Maryland to NYC!

Purchase packaging materials

You’ll need boxes, tape, packing paper, and cushioning material to begin packing your items. Pick up your materials as soon as possible so you may begin using them. If you don’t want to buy boxes or crates, you can always rent them. But, we still recommend ordering boxes because if you own them, the benefits are many different things. For example, you can use them as storage boxes, or reuse them in another move.

A pen on a notebook
Create a plan and stick to it!

Or rent them

After you’ve decided on your strategy to pack for a last-minute relocation, divide your belongings into piles to retain, donate, or dump, placing “keep” things immediately into a moving box. After you decluttered you will know how many extra moving boxes you need, so you can get them from places like Capital City Bins NYC. That way you won’t end up with unused moving boxes.

Prepare a carry-on bag for your last-minute move

Make a bag or box with necessary goods you’ll need in the first 24 to 48 hours after arriving at your house, especially if you won’t have time to precisely name all of your boxes. Everyone in your house should have their own necessary moving kit, including dogs. Include the following items in this bag or box:

  • Prescriptions and other medications used on a daily basis
  • Toiletries
  • PJs, as well as other changes of clothing
  • Technologies that are essential (phone, laptop, chargers, etc.)
  • Important papers and identification
  • Earplugs and other sleep-related necessities


Unless you have less than a day to pack, you should attempt to schedule some time for decluttering, even if it is only a little amount of time. In the long run, taking a few seconds to sort through possessions you need and those you don’t will save you room, time, and money.

During a time-constrained declutter, you have two options:

  1. Donate/throw out as much as possible and be ruthless. This method is advantageous since the fewer goods you have, the fewer items you must pack, and the less expensive your move will be. On the other hand, you face the danger of declutterer’s remorse after the relocation. If you’re concerned that you’ll come to regret your decluttering decisions, consider technique #2.
  2. Skip it and deal with decluttering while you’re unpacking. Separate just the simple decluttering candidates to prevent the anguish of having to make difficult decisions under duress and afterward regretting them.

When you’re on a tight schedule, the most essential thing is to get everything into a box.

A cat in a cardboard box.
You will need moving supplies before you start packing, so go find them!

Turn off your brain

This isn’t typical advice, but if you’re truly pressed for time, it’s alright to make the organization an issue for future you. Pack fragile and breakable objects last, mark them appropriately, and then switch off your brain. Don’t stress over what to pack for your move or how. Here are some pointers to help you pack for a last-minute relocation:

  1. It doesn’t matter if the objects belong together; all that matters is that they’re in the box.
  2. Instead of a detailed label, just mention which room the box belongs in and whether it includes anything breakable.
  3. As a packing material, use soft materials. Things like socks, towels, and clothes can assist fill space in boxes and preventing shifting, while this is not recommended for preserving breakable items.
  4. Remove the garments from the hanger and set them aside. Wrap elastics or rope around the hanger hooks, wrap the clothing around the hangers and place it in a box.
  5. Placing your clothes in the drawer is one of the packing hacks. Cover the drawers with saran wrap and tape to keep them from flopping about.

Conclusion on packing for your last-minute relocation

When you don’t have time to delay packing, make a strategy and start to pack for a last-minute relocation as soon as possible. Once you begin the process, packing in a rush will get easier and less overwhelming.

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