Pulling Off a Last-Minute Move

in Moving on by
A young girl sits surrounded by cardboard boxes, struggling to pull off a last-minute move.

Whether it’s a breakup, an eviction, or some other unexpected life event, there are a ton of reasons you might be looking for a new place to call home in a short amount of time. Moving is stressful enough, but when circumstances necessitate a more immediate course of action, putting a concrete plan in motion is the name of the game.

Knowing that you only have two weeks — or less — to get things in order, you may be feeling totally panicked and overwhelmed. Although time is of the essence, and you don’t have the luxury of a drawn-out, leisurely apartment hunt, the best thing you can do for yourself right now is to pour a cup of tea, take a deep breath, and go over these essential steps to prepare for a last-minute move.

Browse Listings

Obviously, the first thing you’re going to want to do is actually look for a new place. Just remember that you may not be able to tour every single one of the rentals you’ve got your eye on when there’s only a small window of time in which to make a decision. Try to contact as many listing agents as you can, and if you don’t hear anything within a day or two, call again. If you still aren’t hearing anything back after that, it’s probably time to move on (the same goes for responding to “roommate wanted” ads).

If you are able to get ahold of an agent in short order, try to remain calm and focused when communicating with them. Schedule a tour of their rental property as soon as possible and confirm any details with them. It’s okay to disclose that you’re looking to move rather soon. Find out from them what you need to do after submitting your application, and have any necessary documents at the ready (both digital and hard copy) so that you’re totally prepared before you even meet with anyone.

All of the above also applies to prospective roommates. After all, the tenant or lease-holder who created the listing ought to be pretty motivated to have a roommate move in ASAP. Still, you want to make sure that this individual is someone you’re comfortable with, and that you’re not just rushing into a not-so-great situation out of panic. Keep a clear head, do your research, and if you feel like you need to, pay for an online background check. Remember, presenting yourself as enthusiastic and goal-oriented will work to your advantage during this process. You won’t be doing yourself any favors by coming across as desperate or anxious.

Find a Temporary Place to Crash

Once you’ve found a new place and signed off on all the necessary forms, you’ll want to come up with a solid plan for clearing out your old place ASAP. Understand that day-of moves may not be possible due to a variety of factors, but even then, you aren’t doomed. If you’ve got some time in between leaving the old place behind and moving into the new one, you can always look into crashing on a friend’s couch, renting an AirBnb, or staying in a hotel during the interim. It’s not ideal, but sometimes there’s no helping it.

Rent a Storage Locker

If you anticipate being unable to move into your new place right away, you’re going to have to figure out a place to store all of your belongings in the meantime. You’ll probably need to hire moving professionals anyway, and fortunately, a lot of them offer storage options as well, both full-service to do-it-yourself. So call up moving and storage companies in your area and ask if they offer temporary storage facilities for however long you may need them.

Depending on how much you need to pack away (costs generally depends on square footage or size of the unit that you require) you may end up having to pay very little for short-term storage. Either way, the process should go pretty smoothly as long as you’re dealing with a reputable company, but since packing up can be a time-consuming task, you’ll want to get started on it sooner rather than later.

It’s a good idea to go through all of your items in each room and create “piles,” then decide if you want to sell or donate anything instead of moving it into your new place. You can also drop off unopened food at soup kitchens or give it to your local food pantry. Your unwanted clothing, furniture, and the like can be given to Goodwill or other charities. Just think of it as downsizing while also helping out others.

An open self-storage unit that's filled with cardboard boxes.

You can also have a rummage sale, or try selling things on sites such as Craigslist. However, you might not have time to sell everything this way, so just plan on putting things you haven’t managed to part with into storage at first (or just giving them to charity). If you get rid of whatever you don’t need now, you won’t need as much storage space, and you’ll find moving into your new place later on to be a total breeze.

Once you’ve gotten these major steps out of the way and have a workable plan in place, getting settled into your new place shouldn’t be that much of a headache. By thinking on your feet and reaching out to the right people, you can pull off a last-minute move with minimal frustration.

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