How to pack for a temporary move?

When moving house one assumes that there will be no coming back – you are supposed to leave your old life behind you and start afresh in your new surroundings. However, this is not always the case – under certain circumstances, you may need to move to another state or city only temporarily, for several months or for a couple of years, and then return to your old home. Or you may have to move into temporary accommodation for the period until you find an appropriate permanent residence in your new area or until your dream home is ready to be occupied. In all these scenarios, your immediate destination will not be your final destination but only a way station on your path.

Therefore, when planning a short-term relocation, you will be faced with some specific challenges, quite different from the ones typically involved in a residential move. You will not only have to organize a safe and efficient relocation, but will also need to figure out what to do with your old home, what type of temporary accommodation to choose, which of your possessions to take with you, what items to put into storage, etc. The answers to all these troublesome questions depend on a number of pertinent factors.

Factors to consider when preparing for a temporary move

1) How long are you going to stay into temporary housing – if you will be moving to another city for just a few weeks, you will probably stay at a hotel and will only need your personal essentials. If you are going to be away from home for a much longer period, however, you may want to bring along your entire family and take most of your belongings with you. In this case, you are going to need an appropriate rented property where to live, of course;

2) What type of temporary housing you are going to live in:

  • if you are staying at a hotel, you will only need a bag or two of clothes, toiletries, medicines, certain electronic devices, and other personal items. All your other belongings can stay in storage (or at home);
  • if you opt for an extended stay hotel, you will be offered suitably furnished rooms with full kitchens, on-site laundry facilities, and various other necessities available for use. So, you will be able to put your household items in storage (or leave them at home) and take only your personal essentials;
  • if you are moving into a rental home, you will probably need to bring along most of your belongings. At least, make sure it is furnished, so that you don’t have to relocate your heavy furniture and household appliances several times;

3) What is the weather like at your destination area – if you are moving to Chicago for a couple of months in mid-winter, you won’t need a beach umbrella and a straw hat, that’s for certain. When packing for a temporary move, you should take into account the climatic conditions in your destination area at the moment of your relocation. It is also a good idea to choose clothes, shoes and accessories that can be matched with one another in several different ways to allow for a change of looks. Avoid packing garments you are not likely to have the occasion to put on (such as formal clothes, sports outfits, etc.) or specialty items you won’t be able to use.

Once you have made all the above considerations, you can finally start packing for your temporary move. Here are some useful tips on how to make the process easier and more efficient:

Find out what is already available in your temporary home

Make a detailed list of all the major household items – furniture and appliances – you are going to need during your short-term stay in temporary lodgings and find out if they are available or not. This refers to beds and mattresses, dressers and couches, tables and chairs, kitchen appliances and electronic devices, silverware and bedding, curtains and area rugs, and everything else you need to ensure your comfort. You may prefer to use your own kitchen utensils or bed linen, of course, instead of those included in your temporary accommodation – it’s up to you to decide – but at least you will know which of your items you need to bring along and which ones you can leave behind or put into storage.  This way, you won’t end up lacking something essential or going through the effort of (and paying the price for) moving unnecessary pieces.

Sort out your belongings and take only what you really need

The decision of what to pack for a temporary move may be harder than you think – there will be, without a doubt, many enjoyable and treasured items among your possessions that you’d rather not part with. However, every single item you include in the shipment will increase the final cost of your move and will add to the time and effort involved in the relocation process. Besides, you risk damaging your cherished possessions when moving them several times from one location to another.

Therefore, you are strongly recommended to sort out your belongings and pack for moving only those of them you are actually going to need during your short-term stay at temporary housing (as well as certain items of very high monetary or sentimental value you want to keep with you all the time, regardless of whether you use them or not – just to be safe). Everything else should either go to storage or stay at home until your return. Have in mind though that the more things you put into storage, the more you will have to pay for the service. So, it is a good idea to set aside any old items you don’t need or like anymore and get rid of them before your move – donate them to charity, give them away to friends, or sell them to pocket some extra money.

Don’t forget the essentials

No matter how short your temporary move may be and how well-provided your temporary accommodation, there are some personal essentials you just can’t do without – documents, medications, toiletries, clothes and accessories, important electronic devices (laptop, phone, camera, music player, etc. – together with their chargers), your kids’ favorite toys and games, your pet’s amenities, and so on. You may experience a lot of inconvenience and a great deal of trouble if you happen to leave behind any of these absolute essentials. So, make sure you don’t forget anything important and take special care of your valuables, as already mentioned above.

Take care of the all the items you are leaving behind

If you intend to return to your current home after your temporary move, you can leave all your belongings there – just make sure your property is well secured against the whims of the weather and possible burglar attempts. In case you have decided to lease your home for the period while you are away, set clear terms with the tenants concerning the condition of your property and the usage of your belongings.

If you are selling your old home or terminating your lease, you will need a suitable storage solution for all the household items you’re not taking with you. Pack them properly to ensure their safety and choose a secure storage facility (preferably a climate-controlled one, especially if you have antiques, fine furniture, or other delicate possessions) where your belongings will be well protected and easily accessible if you happen to need any of them.

If you need temporary storage for a short period only, consider negotiating it with your chosen moving company to take care of your items.  The movers will pick up your belongings, keep them safe in their storage facility, and deliver them to your final destination upon your request. What’s more, in-transit storage expenses, as well as the expenses for moving from a temporary to a permanent new residence, are tax deductible. So, using the services of a reliable moving company for your temporary move is your most beneficial and most convenient option.

Good to remember: Make a detailed list of everything you intend to put into storage and consider purchasing adequate insurance for your stored possessions – just in case.

Have in mind that you may need to apply for a temporary change of address, as well as to update your car’s registration, your driver’s license, and various other documents depending on the duration of your temporary move and the regulations in the state you are moving to.

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