Move to Temporary Housing Seamlessly in Five Steps

Here are 5 steps to help you through your transition without having to feel like a vagabond.  

Guest post by Laura McHolm

Oh my, as if moving once wasn’t bad enough. You need to do it twice? Construction not complete? Haven’t quite found your dream house? Old house sold and new one not ready yet? Okay, let’s make this as easy as possible for you. First, don’t think of it as the same thing as the “Big Move” this is a different process. Here are some steps to help you through your transition without having to feel like a vagabond.  

All it takes are these five simple steps. You will be happy and organized in your temporary home. Here’s your new mindset for the temporary home: move only what you would take to a hotel for an extended stay, plus basic furniture and daily household items. The rest of your belongings for the big move: can go into storage (or are donated to charity). You need to focus on only moving the bare minimum to your temporary home. It can be challenging to determine what you need to make it through your transitional move. Never fear, we have the guidelines to overcome the bewilderment. Follow these five steps to a triumphant temporary move!

Step One: Room-by-Room Purge

Do a survey of your belongings. Pick one room per weekend, and sort everything in each room.

Empty everything out of closets, drawers and shelves onto the floor. I mean everything!


Step Two: What to Move

Keep only the items you need on an extended vacation plus kitchen items and linens.

Only bring kitchen utensils you use daily and one set of sheets and towels per person.

If your temporary housing is not furnished, bring basic furniture with you. This means beds, kitchen table & chairs, couch, coffee table, etc. Only pieces of furniture you use daily. Of course, if it is furnished simply store all of your furniture.

Bring the clothes that fit the season(s) you will be living in the temporary housing. Include a little over hang into the abutting seasons, just in case it gets chilly or extra hot.

Step Three: What to Giveaway & Throw Away

Having trouble letting go of clothing and nostalgic items? Ask yourself: When was the last time I wore or used this? If you can’t remember, get rid of it.

Ask yourself: Could someone else use this item even if I can’t? If so, donate it to a charity. If it is too worn, add it to the trash/recycle pile.

If an item is just too difficult to part with, place it in your store pile.

Evaluate all of your furniture, cookware, appliances, sporting goods, artwork, etc. Will you use them later in your next permanent home? If not, donate the items that are in good shape. Habitat Humanity ReStore, Goodwill, Salvation Army, veteran organizations and other nonprofits will accept these items. If you will use the item in your next permanent home, store it.

Bring gently used clothing that you no longer wear to Goodwill, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America or any other charitable organization in your community.

Step Four: What to Store

Think of your temporary home as prime real estate that needs to be accessed daily and your storage as the summer vacation home for your stuff.

Store anything that you will not use daily or during the time you are in temporary housing.

If the item is seasonal only put it in your move pile if fits into the season(s) that you will be living in your temporary home. Other seasons go into storage.

Store all of the household goods that you will use in your next permanent home. Again, only bring basic furniture to the temporary home.

Step Five: Box, Label & Move on Out

Take pictures of the items you plan to store and file them on your computer so you know exactly what is in storage. Carefully label or place a copy of the photo on the outside of each storage box.

Do the same for your move boxes so you know what is in each box when you move it.

Be sure to create two distinct piles of boxes: store and move. When the movers arrive they will know what goes with you and what to take into storage.

Remember, keep the “hotel needs” approach on your brain as you sort and pack everything. Add a tiny cushion just in case construction or house hunting takes longer than you anticipated. When you settle into your temporary home, you will feel organized and stress-free without the clutter of unneeded items cramping your new fully appointed “hotel lifestyle.”  And, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your items are safe in storage and organized, packed and ready for the Big Move into your dream home.


Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.


Sharon is the Digital Content Specialist for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. She lives in New Jersey and holds a BA from Syracuse University. She is passionate about giving back to the community and enjoys teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at the local Boys & Girls Club. She loves pun-ny jokes and she can watch adorable videos of puppies and babies all day.

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