packing pinchMoving can be one of the most exciting and stressful moments in a person’s life. In an ideal situation, you’d have at least two months to get your ducks in a row before a big move. However, sometimes life throws you a curveball, forcing you to pick up the pace.

Maybe you just got a new job and you need to relocate out-of-state within the next two weeks, or maybe you need to swoop in on a house that’s selling way under market value. Either way, you’re going to have to speed up the moving process. Here are six tips that will help you move into your new place as quickly as possible.

Step 1: Create a List

Start off on the right foot by making a list of everything in your home, from furniture to dishware to board games. Section your list by room, and if you like, put a symbol next to items that are fragile, heavy or important. This way, you can easily figure out what still needs to be packed. Lists can also help ensure you don’t lose track of anything during your move as you’ll be able to check things off as you unpack items in your new home.

Step 2: Ditch Your Old Stuff

While you may think you should just pack all your stuff in boxes as quickly as possible, this is actually a huge time waster. Before you open a single cardboard box, you should sort through everything you own. Decide what stays and what goes by dividing your items into piles labeled “keep,” “donate,” “gift,” and “throw away.”

If you’re having trouble parting with some of your items, two tricks may come in handy. First, try getting rid of anything you haven’t used in at least a year. You don’t want to waste precious time and money moving unwanted items to your new place, only to shove them in the back of a closet. The second trick is to trust your instincts. When you consider each item, what pops into your head right away – keep, donate, gift or throw away? Stick to your initial gut instinct, and you’ll cut down on the clutter in no time. If you’re struggling to get rid of anything, it may help to enlist a more practical friend or family member to keep you grounded when you suddenly feel like everything has sentimental value.

Step 3: Purchase All Packing Materials

In a perfect world, you would take extra cardboard boxes off someone’s hands for free, but usually, that takes quite a bit of time, including a few phone calls and a series of car trips. Plus you may get gross boxes that have been used to transport food and have questionable structural integrity. Unless you have someone who can go box hunting for you, it’s best to bite the bullet and get your boxes the old-fashioned way – by paying for them at a store.

While you’re there, stock up on packing tape, bubble wrap, parchment paper, scissors and whatever else you may need. It’s best to have all these materials ahead of time so you don’t have to pause your wrapping session to pick up more materials.

Step 4: Keep Things Organized

Now that you’ve done the majority of the work up front, you want to pack as efficiently as possible. Look back at your list and pinpoint which rooms have the most items or the hardest items to pack. Does one of these rooms fill you with a particularly overwhelming sense of dread? Good! This is where you need to start.

By tackling the most difficult room first, you’re actually doing yourself a favor. The accomplishment you feel from completing the harde