How to move quickly and not mess up your entire life

In the last five years, I have moved five times. No, I am not proud of that. These also haven’t been short-distance movies, either. I went from Boston to Orlando (then to three different places in Orland), Orlando to Boston, Boston to LA. Through all of this, I’ve learned that moving is actually the worst.

But, it doesn’t have to be the worst. Yes, moving is a huge pain in the ass. It takes a lot of time and energy to get everything done. And sometimes, worst case scenario, you don’t have the time, or the energy, to get everything done. Sometimes, you have to move really fast (like, getting a new job) and that requires you to drop everything, throw some stuff into boxes, and GTFO.

Don’t freak out if this is the situation you find yourself in. If you’re staring down a deadline to get to a new place, here are some things that hopefully might make it easier for you.

1. Figure out a plan of attack 

Congrats on the big move! Now, where do you even begin? Figure out what’s the most important part of the move. This can be a few different things, though, depending on your moving situation. If you’ve found a temporary place to stay, the most important part might be getting your stuff cross-country. If you haven’t found a temporary place, then you need a REAL place first. Determine what’s the first thing that needs to happen before everything else, and hopefully, if you’re lucky, everything else will trickle into place.

2. Consider renting a furnished apartment or a sublet

Is this already too much stress for you? There’s an easy way to alleviate some of that: rent a furnished apartment or sublet. You’re going to show up to a place fully stocked with the essentials (a bed, a couch, some things in the kitchen) and that will help you settle in right away. An arrangement like this will probably cost you a little bit more in the long run, and you won’t want to sublet forever. But to get out and on your feet, this is a pretty easy way to go.

3. Accept the help of your parents

Your parents will probably be really upset about the fact that you’re moving (even further than you are already). They’ll probably be so sad, they’ll want to help in some way. Accept their help. They are older and wiser than you, and have moved before in their life. They get your struggle, and want to ease your stress. Say, “yes, mom and dad, I’d love some help!” Even if it’s just a shoulder to cry on, or they volunteer an afternoon of your time to move boxes.

4. Research research research 

Moving to a new place is certainly exciting, and it is also hella scary. Google the shit out of your new home before you unpack all your stuff. And don’t only stick to Google. Pro tip: search for your new home on both Twitter and Instagram to see what others are tweeting/posting about the area. This is the easiest way to find out if your new apartment is in a nice quiet building, or one that has parties every other night of the week.

5. Have you met Google Earth?

The apartment you’re looking at might be nice and pretty on the inside, but what does it look like on the outside? It’s important to check out your surroundings ahead of time, especially if you’re going in blind to any place. While not completely foolproof, using Google Earth to navigate the neighborhood — and see if like, there’s a park across the street, or a cemetery — will certainly help out A LOT.

6. Pack like a pro

If you’re like me, you have a ton of stuff you can’t bear to part with no matter what. Wherever you go, it has to go, too. The biggest mistake you can make is trying to cram everything into one box, and taking it all with you right away. My strategy is simple: pack the first box with things you need IMMEDIATELY. That is box Number One. From there, figure out what you’ll need next, and then after that, and so on and so forth, until you have Boxes Two – Ten. Ask a friend/your parents to hold onto these boxes until you need them, and then promise to cover the cost of shipping. That way, you can get settled, and then have all your stuff show up.

7. Figure out how to pack 

The last thing you want is to spend $30 shipping your favorite ~things~ across the country, and then have them show up on your new doorstep in pieces. Bubblewrap doesn’t always work, FYI. What I do is I wrap my breakables in clothing, mostly cotton t-shirts, and double layer them. Nothing has broken — YET — and I was going to mail this clothing to myself anyway. It’s like a twofer.

8. Accept that this will cost you $$$

Friends, don’t try to move on the cheap side. It will be a disaster. Moving is expensive. Don’t try to do it for free, because that’s when things can go horribly wrong. Don’t go with the cheapest place you see on Craigslist, don’t go with the cheapest movers, don’t skip out on any things you need immediately (like, electricity and water). Take a deep breath, and open up your wallet. It will get better.

9. Know that something will go wrong

It could be a big something, or it could be a small something. But, something along the way will go horribly, horribly wrong, and you’re going to have to deal with it. Know this in advance. The worst thing you could do is expect your move to go super smooth and easy. It might! That’d be the best case scenario. But not preparing for the absolute worst will cause everything to fall apart immediately. Have a backup plan. Have a backup plan for your backup plan.

10. Know that you are a strong, powerful woman who has totally GOT THIS

Moving sucks. But getting through the move, and successfully setting up in your new digs, will make you feel like a thousand-million bucks. So take a deep breath, pick up that packing tape, and do it. You got this.