Moving is always a major undertaking, but when it’s at short notice to whole process gets a lot more difficult. Long distance movers become harder to find (or at least, harder to find for reasonable prices), new houses and apartments have to be found in a hurry, and there is a lot more pressure on everyone. However, sometimes moving at short notice is either unavoidable or worth the trouble.
Maybe you’ve been offered the job of your dreams in another city, starting right away, or maybe your partner has. Maybe one of you has lost their job and you need to move somewhere more affordable to avoid getting into debt. Maybe you’re getting divorced suddenly or your mom or dad has fallen ill and needs you nearby. Maybe there is a problem with your current home- damp, bugs, or new neighbors from hell.
The worst case scenario played out in New Orleans in 2005. Hurricane Katrina’s winds gusted up to 175 mph and some Florida towns saw more than 14 inches of rainfall over a short period, but the worst damage was caused by flooding. The New Orleans levee system failed and much of the city was submerged. When natural disasters like Katrina strike there is no time to call in movers and wrap the crockery in newspapers. Many of the people of New Orleans had no time to do anything but grab a few precious essentials and flee their homes.
However, most moves are not that catastrophic. If they have a few days, the first thing most people do is sit down and write out a list of tasks. Some of the items will be urgent, like arranging a moving company. When time is limited, some businesses will provide both packers and movers so you don’t have to spend precious hours putting all your belongings in boxes. Many people find that this really takes the pressure off- as anyone who has had to move in a hurry will agree, packing always takes longer than you think it will.
Mary Beecham, public relations manager for the Alpharetta Public Convention and Visitors Bureau in Georgia, recommends utilizing the Chamber of Commerce and convention bureau in your new city. “Our welcome center also offers welcome bags with maps and other brochures that might be helpful to new residents,” says Beecham.
If you don’t have an empty house or apartment waiting for your boxes arrive, it can be very helpful to move furniture and other large items to a storage unit rather than try and find temporary accommodation where it will all fit. Travel light and there is a lot less to worry about.
Once moving & storage is arranged, the next thing thoughtful people do is take care of the paperwork. Calling utility providers and letting them know exactly when you plan to move is essential. Otherwise you may be charged for energy and water the next occupants use or end up with a black mark on your credit record. Arrange for a transfer or cessation of phone services and call the banks.
Most rushed movers leave out small details like changing address with subscription magazines and newspapers. That kind of task isn’t urgent, so the best thing to do is note it down on a second list that covers tasks to address once you’ve moved into your new home. When you’re settled and ready, bring this out and make sure all the details get covered.