What You Should Pack for a Temporary Move

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How to Pack for a Temporary Move

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Temporary moves are unique relocation situations. You often end up living in two places at once, unable to move all of your belongings to one location. What items should you choose to move and pack? The following guidelines will help you make the best packing choices during your temporary move.

Temporary moves happen for a variety of reasons, and most give you little time to prepare--you'll need to decide what you want to do with your belongings quickly if you're moving temporarily.

Here are some common reasons for temporary moves:
  • Extended vacation
  • Work assignment
  • Eviction followed by short term housing
  • Loss of home due to disaster followed by short term housing
  • Going to university
  • A break-up with a live-in partner followed by temporary housing
The type of home you choose for temporary housing directly influences what you should pack.


Hotels are designed for the shortest temporary moves. They can be expensive and you may not be allowed to stay at a hotel indefinitely so they are not always an option.
  • Hotels are fully furnished in most cases. There is no need to pack furniture, bedding, most appliances, or televisions.
  • Make sure you know if the hotel has questionable items like fridges, microwaves, and coffee makers.
  • Don't pack food if there is no refrigerator in the hotel room. There is very little space for food storage in hotel fridges and there may not be cabinet space to store non-perishable items.
  • Only pack season-appropriate clothing if you will be there within one season. Hotels usually do not have a lot of closet or dresser space.

Rental houses

Rental houses are best for long-term temporary moves.
  • Find out what specific appliances are included in the rental home.
  • You can pack non-perishable food.
  • You can pack more clothes.
  • You may need to pack large furniture and appliances, depending on if the home is furnished.


Find an apartment that offers short-term housing and flexible leases (such as month-to-month) for a temporary move. Many short-term rentals are pre-furnished.
  • The level of furnishing varies greatly apartment to apartment so make sure you know what you need to pack ahead of time.
  • Be aware of the landlord or building's rules. Some of your possessions may not be allowed in certain apartments.
  • Larger furniture will not fit in some apartments. Don't try to fit a washer into an apartment that is designed to have shared laundry facilities.
The other big factor in determining what to pack for a temporary move is the availability of your old home. Is the move temporary because you will be returning home after a short period of time, or is it temporary because you had to leave immediately and are looking for a new permanent residence?

If you can return home...

  • Pack as little as you can. There's no reason to move unnecessary items back and forth. If you can cope without an item for the length of your temporary move, leave it at home.
  • Consider packing the most expensive items and putting them in storage for the duration of your move. This will allow you to leave the old home vacant without worrying about theft.
  • If you plan on renting out your old home while you are away, you must choose what items you wish to leave in your home for the tenants and what items you will want to place in storage to give them space.
  • You could give your friends and family expensive items to look after while you are gone. This still may require packing and moving them. You could also recruit them to house-sit for you to avoid packing these items.

If you can't return home...

  • Most of your items need to be packed and placed in storage.
  • Anything you leave unpacked will be lost.
  • You could try to move more things into your temporary home, but don't clutter your space too much.
  • Ask the moving company to hold onto your extra items until you find a more permanent residence. They will charge you for this.

General packing tips

  • Get rid of anything you don't want or need. Donate, sell, or leave them in your home.
  • If you are packing for storage, remember that your items will be untouched for at least the length of your move. Protect them from moisture, stress, and vermin when packing.
  • The smaller the load, the easier and cheaper it is to move.
  • Use bubble wrap to protect delicate things.
  • Fill negative space in boxes with packing material to minimize movement and cushion the items.
  • Seal everything with packing tape and label it accurately.

Author :

on October 8, 2014

TopMoving.ca - Moving Expert
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