Moving is never easy, but when you have to move quickly, it can feel like a much more difficult task. With that in mind, we’ve brought you four tips on how to stay organized when you’re moving on a short deadline. Whether you’re moving for a new job that’s starting soon or because you want to be settled in time for the kids to start school, these tips will help you keep your cool as you go through the moving process.

Start by making a master to-do list for the move. Shutterstock/kitzcorner

Make a to-do list

Finding out that you need to make a move can be overwhelming, especially when it needs to happen on a tight deadline. That’s why the first thing to do in this scenario is to take the time to organize your thoughts by creating a to-do list. This will give you the structure you need to move through the rest of your move.

Start by doing a brain dump of all the little tasks you can think of related to your move. Include everything you can think of from scheduling movers to buying packing supplies or having a charitable service come pick up donations.
Then, once you’re done, write the list out once more. This time, do your best to put the tasks in a chronological order.

Once you’re done, keep the list close at hand so you can refer back to it during the moving process. Don’t be afraid to add to it any time you think of something new that you need to do. Additionally, remember to check tasks off as you complete them.

Create deadlines to help keep yourself on task. Shutterstock./Brian A Jackson

Give yourself deadlines

Once you have your to-do lists in order, your next task is to give yourself deadlines. Go through the list and create a deadline for each item. If it’s easier, you can work your way backwards from moving day.

If you need to give yourself extra incentive to finish on time, try setting some hard deadlines for yourself. For example, you could schedule your donation pick up for the same day you’ve scheduled to pack up your bedroom. Since other people are depending on you, you’ll be more likely to stay on task.

Make sure you pack in a systematic manner. Shutterstock/archideaphoto

Follow a packing system

As you pack, you’ll also want to follow a system that will help keep you as organized as possible. Every person knows what type of system will work best for them, but we have a few suggestions to help you get started:

  • Start by gathering all the packing materials you’ll need for the room,
  • Use soft items like t-shirts or oven mitts to protect more breakable items
  • Don’t pack your clothes separately from their drawers. Simply secure the drawers closed with [product name] and move them as-is.
  • Create a color-coded labeling system with markers that allows you to see where boxes belong with just a glance.
  • Make a list of all the items in each box. That way, you won’t have to go hunting for items that you need when you arrive at your destination.

No matter what type of system you create, consistency is the key. Follow the same system for all of your boxes. Not only will doing so help you become more efficient at packing as the system starts to become second nature, but it will also help you stay organized so you’ll have a better idea of what you’re unpacking when you get to your new home.

Don’t be afraid to hire movers to help get the job done. Image: Shutterstock/levelupart

Consider bringing in assistance

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to bring in assistance if it turns out that getting ready for your move is too big of a job for you to tackle on your own. Many moving companies also offer packing services that can help you get the job done in a fraction of the time of doing it alone. Of course, this assistance does come at an added cost so, just like with any other convenience service, you’re going to want to get quotes and read online reviews before hiring any particular company for the job.

If money is an issue, consider bringing in some of your family and friends to help out with this task. You could host a packing party, where your guests can enjoy food and beverages provided by you in exchange for helping you meet some of the deadlines on your to-do list.