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How to Navigate a Last-Minute Move and Secure Housing


As if packing up your life for a move isn’t stressful enough, sometimes you may have to do it at the last minute due to unexpected circumstances or life events. Don’t let a short-notice move make you short-circuit—Storage Express offers this guide of helpful tips for moving at the last minute.

Preparing for Your Last-Minute Move 

You might feel like a deer in headlights when faced with a last-minute move, but it’s critical to hit the ground running and prepare as soon as possible. Don’t try to keep your moving checklist in your head—write it all down! Visualizing the tasks you need to accomplish can help you avoid procrastination and additional moving stress.

Not sure what you need to do before your sudden move? Get some inspiration from these common moving to-do list items:

  • Hire a moving company
  • Rent a moving truck
  • Give a forwarding address to service providers
  • Make travel arrangements
  • Purchase moving supplies
  • Find and research local self storage facilities

While hiring movers and forwarding your address are critical to a stress-free move, there are other factors to consider: short-term housing and self storage.

Find Short-Term Housing

You might have a plan for packing your belongings, but do you know where you’ll stay during the short-notice moving chaos? Whether your new home isn’t move-in-ready yet or you’re still trying to find one, it’s possible you’ll need a short-term place to stay.

Before you even look at a single moving box, remember to have short-term housing figured out. Common short-term housing options include:

  • Short-term rentals—Typically apartments or similar rental options.
  • Corporate housing—Similar to short-term rentals but focused on businesspeople.
  • Sublets—Take over another tenant’s lease for a short period with the landlord’s approval.
  • Vacation rentals—Check popular vacation rental sites for short-term housing.
  • Extended-stay hotels—Many hotel chains offer extended-stay options at affordable rates.

Keep Your Needs in Mind

Though most people wouldn’t say no to staying in a vacation home during a move, remember your needs. Updated appliances and a pool may be appealing, but security and cleanliness should be at the top of your “gotta-have” list for housing hunting.

In addition to security and cleanliness, think about how close you need to be to your job, the grocery store, etc. If you choose a rental that has all the amenities you need but is 40 minutes away from your job, you’ll likely lose money to filling up your gas tank more often. Try to be flexible in your search, and know what features you need the most.

Consider All Your Costs

Speaking of money, be sure to consider all your moving expenses when choosing short-term housing. In addition to rent, you’ll have to pay utilities, gas money, and groceries while you’re in your short-term housing. Calculate how much rent you can afford with your gross monthly income and expenses to determine what your budget actually is.

Also, the shorter the length of your lease, the higher your rent will be. If you’re moving somewhere near your family, consider asking if you can stay with them. Although it may not be the most exciting option, it could save you a significant amount of money. Additionally, subletting is often a budget-friendly option for short-term housing; you can enjoy a potentially nicer rental unit without worrying about short-term prices.

Find a Broker

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to finding short-term housing, consider hiring an apartment broker. Not only will an apartment broker have a vast knowledge of short-term housing options in the area, but many apartment brokers are also paid for by the property managers, which means no cost to you. In addition to being budget-friendly, an apartment broker can help you make the choice that best fits your budget and needs.

It’s worth noting, however, that an apartment broker typically focuses on apartments and corporate housing. If you’re interested in extended-stay hotels or vacation rentals, it may be better to search on your own.

Packing for Your Last-Minute Move

Once you’ve gotten your short-term housing figured out, it’s time to start packing. Frantically stuffing all your belongings into boxes and throwing clothes into suitcases may seem inevitable, but there are ways to stay somewhat organized.

When you pack for your last-minute move, there needs to be some kind of method to your madness. Take the stress out of packing with these tips:

  • Pack one room at a time—Pack and label boxes by each room they belong in (cooking ware in the kitchen box, clothes and bedding in bedroom boxes, etc.).
  • Don’t overthink packing—Don’t waste precious time completely organizing your boxes’ contents. You’ll have time to go through things after moving.
  • Keep essentials accessible—Keep toiletries, electronics, etc. in a suitcase or bag, as you’ll need them during the move.
  • Take pictures of valuables—Take photos of your valuables to document their condition, just in case they’re damaged during the move.

How to Make Moving Day Easier 

No matter how you prepare for your last-minute move, there are still variables on moving day that you can’t always account for—the weather, traffic, etc. However, there are things you can do to take some stress out of moving day, such as:

  1. Recruit friends and family—Can’t afford a moving company on short notice? You can ask friends, neighbors, and family to help load boxes.
  2. Save a parking space—If you currently live on a busy street, save a space for your moving truck by leaving your car in the closest parking to your home ASAP.
  3. Start early—Waking up early may be difficult, but the earlier you pack, the lighter the traffic will be.
  4. Take breaks—Non-stop packing without breaks can leave you exhausted and frustrated. Take a periodic breather to stay calm and collected during the move.

Overwhelmed with Moving? Take Advantage of Self Storage

Sometimes, you simply have more stuff than you can efficiently pack and move on short notice. While you can certainly donate or sell some of your belongings, there’s no need to add heartache to your move by getting rid of precious keepsakes or family heirlooms.

When your last-minute move gets swamped with belongings, keep them in a storage unit. Much like short-term housing, a storage unit gives your items a home away from home until you can decide what to do with them.

Storage facilities offer a variety of sizes to accommodate your storage needs. Once you’ve moved into your new home, you can retrieve your belongings and sort them without feeling the pressure of moving quickly.

Take Control of Your Last-Minute Move with Storage Express

At Storage Express, we know how frustrating and stressful it can be to move at the last minute. That’s why we do everything we can to make your storage experience as easy as possible. We offer access to our facilities 365 days a year from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to ensure you’ll never have to go without your belongings.

In addition to our convenient hours, we can give you peace of mind for your belongings with 24/7 video monitoring and storage insurance. Not sure how long you’ll need your unit? No problem. You won’t get locked into a long-term commitment with Storage Express. Whether you’re ready to rent or have questions, you can call our 24/7/365 customer service team any time around the clock.