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Emergency Move Out Guide: How to Move Homes Quickly

Jan 5, 2022

Life is full of surprises, and sometimes, we come unprepared for circumstances like having to move out quickly. In this article, we’ll cover 7 tips for completing an emergency move-out, from sourcing last-minute moving supplies to organizing items for moving. If you need financial emergency move-out assistance, we have also provided resources you can look into to help with your moving expenses.

Moving Out in a Hurry?

Moving out can be stressful, especially on a tight schedule. Many people prefer to take their time when it comes to moving, usually in an effort to keep up with their day-to-day responsibilities. That said, life is full of unexpected circumstances that force people to move out as quickly as possible.

No matter the reason for your emergency move-out — such as relocating for a new job, moving to a new school, or even because of a sudden breakup — there are steps you can take to make your experience less hectic and stressful.

Below, we’ve compiled 7 helpful tips to serve as your emergency move-out guide. We’ve also put together a move-out supply checklist to help you pack your things quickly and efficiently. So, take a deep breath, relax for a minute, and get ready to move out like a pro.

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7 Tips for a Last-Minute Move

Organizing, packing, loading, and unloading during a move-out are taxing and sometimes even frustrating. Thankfully, following our last-minute moving tips below will help you move out quickly while keeping your sanity.

1. Prioritize With a Moving Checklist

Prioritize your move-out tasks, such as packing, cleaning, and hiring movers, with a checklist. A moving checklist will help you remember what you’ve already crossed off your list and what still needs to be completed.

A moving checklist may include:

  • Keeping track of your valuables
  • Making small repairs
  • Scheduling professional movers
  • Updating your address for credit cards, bills, etc.
  • Transferring your internet and cable
  • Setting up mail forwarding
  • Hiring move-out cleaners

Make your move-out checklist as realistic as possible while adapting it for your limited time frame.


2. Set Up New Home With Necessary Utilities

While you need to make sure the utilities at your current place — gas, water, electricity, internet, etc. — are shut off, prioritizing essential utilities at your new place is helpful as well. By the time you get settled in at your new home, you will have access to these necessary utilities right away without any problems.

3. Get Rid of Things You No Longer Need

Go through each room, cabinet, and closet, and collect items you don’t use and won’t need anymore. Sort them into two piles: throw away and donate.

Many of our belongings are sentimental, but in times of an emergency move-out, it’s important to be practical. The fewer items you have to pack, the easier it will be to unpack at your new place. Additionally, having fewer things to pack and unpack will provide you with more time and energy for other important to-dos.

4. Put Aside a Moving Essentials Bag

When moving out, whether or not you have limited time, it’s important to pack a small bag of moving essentials.

A moving essentials bag may include:

  • Medications
  • Toiletries
  • Clothing and shoes
  • Wallet with IDs and cash
  • Important documents

This bag will come in handy when you’re packing, driving to your new home, and starting to get settled in. With a moving essentials bag, you won’t have to dig through big cardboard boxes to find ibuprofen or toothpaste. You’ll have everything you need for your first couple of days in your new place all in one convenient spot.

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5. Take Photos Before You Pack

If you have a last-minute move-out, you may not pay close attention to how all your décor is set up or how your belongings are stored. Further, when you’re in a rush, you likely won’t have time to track how many items are going into and out of the moving truck. This is where pictures can come in handy.

Photo records will be useful when you begin to reassemble furniture, put up your home décor, and organize your items just like you had them before. Additionally, if you are planning to hire movers, having a record of the condition, type, and amount of your items before moving is helpful in case of loss or damages during the moving process.

6. Schedule a Moving Company

Hiring a moving company will require some money upfront, however, it can be a lot less costly than doing everything by yourself.

With a DIY move, you’ll likely have to purchase ample moving supplies, gas for driving to your new home, a self-pack trailer to move your belongings, and more. Not to mention, the move will probably take twice as long as it would if you hired professional movers since you’ll have fewer people to help.

Further, doing the moving all by yourself can lead to belongings damaged in transport. If this happens, you’ll need to spend money to fix or replace the damaged items — on top of the money you spent on moving supplies and the time and energy you spent on the move-out.

7. Hire Professional Cleaners

In addition to hiring a professional moving service, it can also be a great investment to contact a move-out cleaning company. This is especially true if you have to move out in a hurry.

Letting a cleaning company do your deep cleaning for you will allow you to focus on the things you can’t fully delegate to someone else, such as decluttering, organizing, and packing. Additionally, a professional cleaning makes it more likely that you’ll get your full security deposit back.

Emergency Move-Out Supplies Checklist

Knowing exactly what packing supplies you’ll need for your emergency move-out will save you from having to make multiple trips to the store — when you’re already short on time.

Here is a checklist of supplies we recommend for your move:

  • Boxes of different sizes
  • Heavy-duty trash bags
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Box cutters
  • Sticker labels
  • Markers for labeling
  • Rope or bungee cords to keep boxes and furniture in place
  • Basic cleaning supplies

Not only will these supplies help you transport your belongings safely, but they’ll also help you stay organized by labeling each of your boxes.

Labeling everything will take a few minutes, but you will thank yourself later when you’re unloading at your new place. Adding labels to your boxes will help you and your movers quickly know in which room each box should be placed.

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How to Get Emergency Move-Out Assistance

There’s no doubt that moving is expensive. Even if you avoid hiring a moving company and professional cleaners, you may still have to allocate some savings for moving supplies, shipping, and transportation.

Fortunately, there are emergency move-out assistance programs, such as local organizations and national charities, that support individuals and families in a tough financial spot when it comes to moving expenses.

Catholic Charities USA

This organization has different types of needs-based programs, including emergency moving assistance. Find your local chapter and see if you qualify on the Catholic Charities USA website.

Modest Needs

Modest Needs is an organization that offers a one-time, no-strings-attached grant of up to $1,000 to those who qualify.


YWCA offers various housing-related assistance programs and transitional services that can aid moving expenses.

Other Emergency Move-Out Assistance Options

Other ways to get low-income moving assistance include local religious organizations or your county government. Even if these options can’t help you directly, they’ll likely be able to connect you to a resource that can.

Move Into Your New Home With Ease

Moving is extremely time- and energy-consuming, especially when you have to do so quickly. Luckily, by following the steps outlined in this article, you can navigate your emergency move-out with ease and efficiency.

If you’re in need of emergency move-out assistance, take note of the resources above so you can learn whether you may qualify and begin the application process.


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Article written by Zhi Hao Liu

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