How to Pack for a Short-Term Move
Though many moons have passed since the last time I packed a bag for summer camp, I still remember the typed “what to pack” checklist that arrived in the mail a few weeks beforehand. Inevitably I would read the itemized list and start packing immediately, even though I might not have been leaving for almost a month. Those lists helped a lot. As long as I stuck to my list, I never forgot my toothbrush or bug spray or extra pair of socks. That didn’t make it less likely that I would lose one or two of those items while I was there, but at least I was prepared going in.
Packing for a short-term move is similar to packing for a long stay at camp, and creating a list beforehand can be invaluable to you down the road.
What to Definitely Bring
Before you pack the first box, make sure you know what kind of accommodations you are moving into during your short term stay. Is it furnished or unfurnished? If furnished, what comes with the furnishings? That is, do you need to bring a bed frame and/or mattress, your own cooking utensils? Before packing, check to see if the following will be available and if not, add them to the list:
Bed (mattress and/or frame)
Bedding (fitted and flat sheet, pillows, pillow covers, blanket)
Folding chair (if there is no furniture to speak of. Thrift and consignment stores can help you with temporary furniture once you settle in. It’s cheap and you can sell it to a used furniture store before returning home)
Kitchen items (is there a stove and/or microwave?)
If there is any sort of kitchen, either bring or make sure you will have:
Saucepan and frying pan
At least one plate and bowl (microwavable), cup, fork, spoon and knife
Spatula and manual can opener
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Facial cleansers and cleaning items (ex: Q-tips and cotton balls)
Cosmetics and feminine products (short term supply until you find a local store)
Deodorant and scents (ex: perfume or cologne)
Hair products (shampoo, conditioner, comb/brush, hair spray, styling equipment, styling gel, etc.)
Basic first aid kit
Chargers for all electronic equipment
Make sure your important personal documents are in a safe and secure place, and either bring or make certified copies of any documents you might need during your stay, such as:
Social security card
Driver’s license and/or I.D. card
Emergency contact information for medical personnel (keep this with you at all times)
Travelling cash and/or travelers’ checks
Any documents required for your travel, especially if you’re going out of the country.
Prescribed and non-prescription medication(s). NOTE: Be sure your doctor(s) is aware that you will be gone for a certain length of time and insure that you will either have enough of your prescribed medication(s) to take with you, or will be able to purchase enough refills while gone.
At a minimum, you should bring the following. Remember, if you are staying somewhere for a while you’ll be able to purchase additional items as needed, but you don’t need to bring your whole closet:
Two formal outfits
Casual shoes (2)
Dress shoes (2)
Underclothes – enough to last a solid week (underwear, bras, slips, socks, etc.)
Pajamas and/or gym clothes
What to Consider Bringing
A couple sentimental items for decoration
Additional kitchen items such as:
Additional plates, bowls, cups and utensils for guests
Baking dish (microwavable)
A few extra outfits
Television set (come on, do you really need that TV, especially with so much available online?)
A couple more pairs of shoes, but not too many! Shoes are heavy and replaceable. Don’t burden yourself with too many.
Your pet, but remember that travel with your pet requires a whole new set of items to remember to bring, including finding a new veterinarian for him or her in your new location. Ideally, see if you can leave your pet with a trusted relative or loved one until you return. Be sure to leave your pet caregiver with all of your emergency contact information and veterinarian contact information.
What to Put Into Storage
Everything else! Unless you absolutely need it to survive, chances are you can live with boxing it up until you return home, especially if you’re renting your place out while you’re gone. There are some things you can do that will be helpful to you in the long run if you’re planning on packing up what’s left:
Create a list of everything you’re boxing up. This doesn’t mean write down the title of every book or list every kitchen utensil and bath product, but a general list will help you remember what you have packed away when you get home.
Have your worldly goods appraised. If you have some valuable items such as family heirlooms, antiques, paintings, etc. it would be wise to have them appraised by a certified appraiser and documented that these items are being placed into storage with the storage facility and storage number listed. If something happens to the facility, such as fire, flood or other natural disaster, an appraisal will at least make sure that you are properly compensated for your losses.
Leave – and take – emergency contact information. Make sure that your close friends and relatives are aware of where you are staying, how long you will be gone and how to contact you in case of an emergency or otherwise. Additionally, make sure you keep emergency contact information on your person at all times in case something happens to you and medical personnel need to reach an emergency contact immediately.
Kenneth McCall is a managing partner for storage.com which provides the online systems to help customers find the best self storage units for their needs. Through Kenneth’s and his team’s work, customers can find Cherry Hill storage units and self storage in other cities. In his spare time, Kenneth likes to hike, ski and participate in other outdoor activities.
My son is moving for the summer for an internship and needs to find a storage service in Belmont to put some of his stuff. I liked your advice to create a list of everything you’re putting in storage and to have any valuables appraised. I’ll give him this advice once he finds storage in Belmont.