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Last Minute Moving: How to Move House at Short Notice

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Steve Jordan

24th Jul 2019 (Last updated on 29th Nov 2023) 8 minute read

There are a number of circumstances that can result in us having to move house at short notice. Whether it’s an issue with landlords, work commitments or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, sometimes you need a swift relocation. It might seem difficult, but it is possible to move house at the last minute - the key is organisation.

When you have less time to do it than most, careful consideration and compulsive organisation is required. To start, you’ll need to find a reliable removal company to make your move stress-free. We'll match you with up to 6 local movers so you can compare removal quotes.

Once you’ve found an experienced and appropriate moving company, it’s time to start preparing and get yourself organised. It can be stressful trying to cope with moving at short notice which is why Compare My Move has created this handy guide to give you some last-minute moving tips.

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  1. How Much Notice Do Removal Companies Need?
  2. 1. Create a Plan to Get You Started
  3. 2. Book a Removal Company Immediately
  4. 3. Manage Your Time
  5. 4. Begin Packing as Soon as Possible
  6. 6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
  7. 5. Consider Using a Storage Unit
  8. 7. Remember Your Utilities
  9. 8. Don’t Panic
  10. Saving Time and Money on Your Move

How Much Notice Do Removal Companies Need?

Ideally, you should book a removal company 4-6 weeks before your completion date. If you're organising a long-distance removal or an office relocation, you may need to give more notice again.

However, this isn't always possible and so a last-minute move is an option depending on the company you're with. For a better chance of getting accepted, book at least 7 days before the date, but if you require even shorter notice, ring around and compare.

It will be easier to organise a last-minute house move during the quiet periods as there will be less competition for certain timeslots. Even the most popular removal companies will be able to squeeze you in during certain days or months. For example, our unique data discovered that Sunday is the least popular day to move house in the UK, meaning many removal companies will likely have timeslots available then.

However, if you have to book a short notice removal during the busier periods, it's recommended you compare removal quotes with a range of different companies as there will be some teams with cancellations they need to fill. We recommend avoiding a Friday move if you're in a hurry as this is the most popular day of the week to move and will have increased competition.

1. Create a Plan to Get You Started

It may feel impossible to begin your last-minute removal, but if you take a few minutes to create a plan for yourself, you’ll soon be on your way. Don’t waste valuable time lingering on the situation - Create a moving house checklist and take a walk through your home to assess what needs to be moved and what’s being left behind. Think of what needs to be packed, donated or thrown away to lessen the load.

Create a list of the jobs you need to do yourself and in what order they should be done. You’ll need to book a removal company, contact friends and family, sort out utilities and change your address. It may seem like a long list but eventually, you’ll have everything crossed off.

2. Book a Removal Company Immediately

Although it’s usually advised to book your removal company weeks in advance, you may still be able to book them at short notice. During quiet periods they may be able to fit you in and, even when it’s busy, they might have cancellations. Choose your moving date and stick to it.

When you have so little time to get organised, a removal company will make all the difference. They can take care of everything and they will not be phased by the short time frame.

Compare My Move’s free online service saves so much time and will connect you to the most experienced and professional removal companies in your area. Don’t waste time scouring the internet or searching for reputable removal teams when they’re all here waiting for you in one place. All of our removal partners have gone through a rigorous verification process, so you can rest easy with the knowledge that you’ll only be working with professionals.

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3. Manage Your Time

Always be mindful about what you’re doing and how long it’s taking you. It’s good to be calm and to enjoy the move, but don’t allow any time for delays. Pack room by room and don’t linger on items you're questioning, either keep them or don't. Be ruthless if it helps you be decisive. Research and compare removal companies but don’t waste time scouring the internet, choose someone as soon as possible. If you don’t think you can trust yourself with moving quickly enough, set yourself a timer to go off on your personal deadline.

4. Begin Packing as Soon as Possible

For a last-minute move to be successful, it’s important to get started as early as possible. Many companies offer a packing service alongside the removal. There are many great movers and packers in London and across the UK. This can be beneficial and ensure a quicker relocation. They can arrive before moving day and professionally pack everything for you. Don’t forget the moving essentials when you get started and think about what items you should keep in the car with you.

To help the packing process go more smoothly, don’t forget to give the house a quick clean and declutter. Go through every item you can and determine if it’s needed. Figure out what is and isn’t going with you to the new property so that you have less to pack. The fewer belongings you move means the more precious time and money you save.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

A removal company’s help can feel invaluable as they will save you so much time and hassle. But there are also other things that you may need help with during your last-minute move. Don’t be afraid to ask neighbours, friends, family members, anyone who is willing to help you with the process. The bigger team you have, the quicker the process will end.

People close to you who understand your predicament will want to help. The removal company can take care of the packing, loading and unloading, but ask your friends for help with decluttering and organising. Ask them to look after children or pets, ask if anyone would like any items before throwing them out. There are plenty of ways that people can pitch in.

5. Consider Using a Storage Unit

Making use of self-storage can be very beneficial when moving at the last minute as it reduces the volume of items that need to be moved. This results in a much more efficient and organised process.

Many removal companies across the UK will offer additional services such as furniture storage. Before booking your moving date, you could arrange to move certain items into storage, taking only the most vital and essential items to the new property with you. This will shorten the entire moving process considerably. Not only will it reduce the number of boxes the moving team will have the handle, but it can also help you prioritise your items and thus your packing process.

Reducing the volume of items needing to be moved may also mean a quicker comparing process when searching for removal companies. Depending on the size of the company and their removal vehicles, some moving companies may be limited on what jobs they can take on. The fewer items you have to move, the higher chance you have of finding more companies to take on the last-minute move.

7. Remember Your Utilities

During a last-minute move, it can be easy to forget the essentials such as utilities, but you must make time for them. Electricity, internet, water, these are all vital when moving to a new property and you’ll have to set up these accounts as soon as possible. Every little inconvenience can feel major when you’re stressed or in a rush, don’t let cold water or no internet get to you during this time.

Jacqui Morris, 15th June 2022

5 out of 5 stars

 Amazing. Helpful and professional. Would recommend to anyone. 

8. Don’t Panic

When it comes to last-minute removals, the worst thing you can do is panic. It may be busy and a little chaotic but if you remain calm, nothing will seem overwhelming. Don’t rush anything, work quickly and work smart, plan as far in advance as you can. Make lists, tick off everything as you go along. It can seem tedious to do but the more organised you are, the more successful and efficient the relocation.

Check out Compare My Move’s Moving House Tips and don’t underestimate the value of research. It may not feel as if you have enough time but researching what to do, who to turn to and the removals team you’re hiring is important. Always allow yourself a few minutes to relax, research and breathe through the process. No matter how soon the deadline, your mental and physical health comes first so don't overdo it.

Saving Time and Money on Your Move

Having to figure out last minute removals may seem impossible at first but we hope this guide has helped you understand how easy it can be with a little planning and organisation. To save you both time and money during this short notice removal, Compare My Move can connect you with up to 6 dependable movers and packers when you fill out our quick and easy form today.

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Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having guest authored for many property websites, Martha now researches and writes articles for everything moving house related, from remortgages to conveyancing costs.

Steve Jordan

Reviewed by Steve Jordan

Founder and Editor, The Mover Magazine

Owner and Editor of the Mover Magazine, Steve Jordan has over 45 years of experience in the global moving industry.

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