If you're looking for a new apartment and your lease is about to end, it's important to start considering how you're going to move out in an efficient manner. Making a move is often a bigger venture than we anticipate, and waiting until the last minute can add an extra element of stress. Of course, it's easy to procrastinate, especially if you've become attached to a particular apartment. Rather than panic the morning of your move, use these five tips to get everything packed and unpacked quickly: 

1. Find ways to save space 
It's tempting to just start throwing things in a car or moving van and hope it all works out. In some cases, you may believe you have less stuff than there is in actuality. This assumption can lead to quite the surprise when your van is packed full and you still have several boxes left on the sidewalk. Make sure to load boxes in a way that optimizes their space. For example, consider wrapping fragile items in clothing or blankets since you'll have to move them both anyway. This will save you on the cost of bubble wrap and give you more room with which to work. 

2. Pack important items last 
There's nothing worse than loading everything up and realizing one or two items you'll need immediately are in the middle of it all. Consider what you made need throughout the day of your move, especially if you're not unpacking everything right away. For example, you may be moving on a hot fall day, but it may get rather chilly later in the evening. If you can't access your sweatshirt because it's buried with all of your other belongings it can be a major inconvenience. 

3. Pack an overnight bag separately 
Don't pack everything you own as if it your move is going to be a one day affair. It's easy to have a lot of ambition the morning of a move when you're loading up the van, but once you get the boxes unloaded it may be a different story. Before throwing all of your stuff in boxes, set aside items such as toiletries and a change of clothes in an overnight bag as if you were going on vacation. Make sure to pack this bag where it is easily accessible so you have necessities for the night of your move and the following day. 

4. Take photos of your apartment 
After you move out, you'll likely want to get all of your security deposit back. Having well documented evidence of how you leave the apartment is important in case there is a dispute. Some landlords may try to overcharge for damages or make up false allegations. If you have no means of proving how you left the apartment, it all becomes hearsay. On a similar note, make sure to take pictures of your new apartment when you first arrive, before you bring all of your belongings into the space. 

5. Have a loading plan 
Of course, it's good practice to be packed beforehand. This way when you pick up the truck or pull your car around, everything can be loaded up as quickly as possible. However, also consider factors such as who's going to help you move and what items need to be handled with extra care. Sometimes hiring professionals may be the way to go if you have a lot of heavy furniture. Other times, you may just have to set aside a little money to buy some beer and pizza to entice your friends.