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Moving can be one of the most stressful and overwhelming challenges in a person’s life. Whether you are moving on your own, or with a small family there are ways to simplify the process even if you’ve waited until the last minute.

So how do you pack in a hurry? First, have enough supplies like boxes and tape ready to go. The last thing you want is to have to run out to the store and buy more packing tape.

Step 1: Planning

Lay out your essential items and those that are fragile, because you’ll need to spend extra time carefully wrapping up valuables that easily break. Then group items into boxes and or bins by room. By tackling each room separately you keep everything organized and give yourself a stream-lined process for when you move into your new place.

If you’ve hired movers, they will place boxes that have been labeled “kitchen” in the correct place so you can easily unpack the items, wash them and put them away. Bulk items like bedding, pillows and comforters can easily be stored in empty suitcases or other storage units. Think about other empty spaces you have, and how you can fill those easily with small items than can be thrown in and labeled.

Step 2: Having the Right Materials

Sometimes it’s the random items that you discover at the last minute tucked away in some corner of a desk that can be most overwhelming when you’re tired at the end of the night. Have a few bags or baskets ready to just dump that stuff into and label it miscellaneous. Once you get settled into your new home, you can sort through it, and either toss it or file it away in an organized manner. Clothes can be difficult to pack. A huge help is to have wardrobe boxes, they come in different sizes, and will fit long dresses and coats, or shorter ones for suits.

Wardrobe boxes can be expensive, so an alternative is to gather dry cleaning plastic sheets or garbage bags, and cut a hole in the bottom, while draping it over a bunch of jackets. The plastic bags will keep several of your clothing items together, and then you can lay groups of dresses or pants flat on a blanket, while the plastic prevents staining. Items like shoes, boots, and hats can all be thrown into a bin and organized later. Big ticket items like bed frames, mattresses, couches and furniture are relatively easy to move for the professionals. If you’re moving those items yourself, find ways to wrap them with blankets so nothing gets scratched and position them in the truck so they remain steady. You can fill empty spaces around furniture with smaller items to keep everything snug so nothing tips over.

Step 3: Get Rid of Anything Unnecessary

Often people want to pack the left over food and beverages remaining in their refrigerator. It’s smart to have a lunch packed for you and your family while making the road trip to your new home. Often it’s inconvenient or expensive to constantly eat out, so having a few snacks packed for the drive is smart. If you have a few coolers to pack perishable items in, that will usually last for a few hours. Dry goods are easy to throw into a shopping bag, and it’s always nice to be able to stock up on your pantry in your new place when you first arrive for some easy meals.

If you have a gas grill or other landscaping items that you want to take with you, make sure they are securely tied up inside the moving truck. Most moving companies or UHAUL trucks will not allow you to bring a gas tank because of safety guidelines, so plan on leaving that behind or disposing of it.

Step 4: Wrapping it All Up

One of the most important tasks that is often missed is cleaning your current home before you leave, and it certainly should be a priority when you’re planning a move.

Whether you are moving from an apartment, townhouse or single family residence, it’s often required or just courteous. If you can afford it or have an extra day for professional cleaners to do a deep clean, then that would be the best option. If not, it is fairly simple to dust each room around the windows, in the corners and closets plus vacuum the floors one last time. Certainly wipe down all appliances including the microwave, stove and refrigerator. If floors look dirty, doing a quick wash won’t hurt either.

Overall, a move-out process shouldn’t take you anymore than 45 minutes to complete. If you are leaving a rental unit, a cleaning is part of the contract, and if not done, most landlords will not return the security deposit which is helpful to get back when facing a big move and the expenses it entails.

Tom Philips

Thomas Philips is a writer and content marketer with a keen interest in the moving industry. As a travel enthusiast and logistics expert by training, Thomas has been working with various moving companies for the past 16 years. He currently writes for Roadway Moving and applies his expertise through his written works. Thomas makes it a point to give practical moving advice to both clients and readers to help transform their moving experience into an unforgettable one