NYC Moving Tips
Moving is stressful. Packing is horrendous. Putting your entire life into brown boxes and then unpacking everything on the other end. UGH. I just did it and am still exhausted a week later. Here are a few tips for streamlining the process.
ONE MONTH BEFORE THE MOVE
- Find a Mover (DUH)
I recommend getting a few quotes from different moving companies a month before the move. Oz Moving, FlatRate and Roadway are at the top of my list. An estimator will come to your apartment and assess your furniture and belongings and have a brief discussion about your needs. The biggest question will be whether you want moving services or moving AND packing services. I typically get estimates for both and assess from there. If your budget allows, I would highly recommend the packing service. It’s a huge time saver, they bring the boxes and everything is professionally and efficiently packaged.
Many buildings will require a certificate of insurance for both the move out and move in which your selected moving company will provide and usually send directly to the management/leasing offices but it doesn’t hurt to confirm.
Don’t forget to schedule your move out and move in times with each building so they can block off time for the freight elevator if applicable. Buildings are typically very strict about when you can move out and in (often only during the week during business hours but it depends).
- Take Inventory
Taking inventory of your furniture and how it will fit into your new space is key. Even if you can fit it all, does it make sense? Our new apartment is a little smaller so I had to sell a few big pieces of furniture. These pieces were not in the best condition so I had good luck with Craigslist and my building’s internal marketplace. For nicer pieces, Chairish, Viyet, AptDeco and 1stDibs are great options.
- Purge and Organize
Now for the really fun stuff to do prior to packing: purging and organizing!! I know this may seem obvious but I highly recommend purging BEFORE the move. I went through my closet and made “give away,” “throw away,” “donate” and “sell” piles. If I had’t worn anything for a year, it went into one of those piles and even if I had worn it but was feeling lukewarm about it, it went. V’s closet was easier because it’s smaller and I keep her wardrobe tightly edited because she has a school dress code. Also, she’s 5. Anything she had grown out of went into the “give away to cousin” pile and anything that was stained or torn or worn out was thrown away. She helped me with this and actually enjoyed putting her old clothes into a bag for her cuz.
ThredUp offers a donation bag that you can order and they will mail it to you with a prepaid label to send back with all of your donated items. You can also choose to resell items if you wish. For luxury items, there are a few great resale sites like The RealReal, where all of my old designer handbags from ex boyfriends and husband went!! Those things are practically vintage by now. Boy(s), bye. Speaking of luxury resale, I also sold my old engagement ring and wedding band through Worthy.com. I took this purging project very seriously!! .
I also tackled all of the paperwork and kindergarten/preschool artwork that had accumulated and was strewn about the apartment. (And all the random glazed preschool “pottery.” So.much.pottery.) The piles of paperwork were daunting but didn’t take long to go through and I’m sorry but a portion of V’s finger painting had to go. I kept her best work and ordered a couple of these tubes for storage. Arts and crafts are her favorite activities so I had to handle that as well. Artbins to the rescue! And honestly, I gave away some of her toys; the stuff she was just not playing with: you know, the shopping cart, My Little Pony castle and many other miscellaneous things. I made some other kids in our building very happy: what was old is new again! The Barbie Dream House had to stay though, much to my embarrassment. That thing is enormous and really cramping my (room design) style.
The medicine cabinets were next on my list and I basically went into the bathroom with a big trashcan: expired medication, old makeup, empty boxes of Bandaids, almost depleted bottles of Pepto Bismol and Nyquil. Peace out.
If you’re in a rental and made any modifications to the unit like painting, customized closets or window treatments etc, find out if the building is willing to keep these as “improvements” or if you need to repaint, take down the blinds etc. (You probably should have done this beforehand but it never hurts to double check). Also, if you had your TV’s mounted on the wall, you’ll have to take care of those holes in the wall if you want your security deposit back.
The week or two before the big day, schedule to transfer your TV/Internet service to your new address. I have Verizon Fios and set up the appointment for the day after the move. (Make sure the new building offers the same service). Change your mailing address and billing address on credit cards and all that good stuff.
Order some basic groceries to be delivered the afternoon of the move. FreshDirect, Foodkick, Instacart, whatever floats your boat.
DAY OF THE MOVE
Pack your valuables in a bag you will transport yourself: jewelry, laptop, passports, important documents etc. And maybe a full change of clothes, just in case you can’t find your socks and undies for work the next day. Oops.
With that said, clearly label anything you will want first access to, like cleaning supplies, sheets, clothes and shoes.
Hand over the keys to your old place, do the walk through if necessary and hop in an Uber to meet the movers. Don’t forget the children. (V was at school, thankfully).
Don’t go it alone. Our housekeeper dusted and wiped down the new place before the movers arrived and helped us unpack and organize the entire kitchen (like 100 wine glasses and kitchen appliances I don’t even know how to use) and made up the beds!! This was an enormous help. She forced me to unpack boxes I probably would have left sitting in the living room for weeks. You can also hire a helper from TaskRabbit!
If you have kids, focus on their space first to make sure they feel comfortable during the first couple nights in an unfamiliar place. Their blankets, favorite stuffed animal, nightlight, whatever.
Make sure you have plenty of cash onhand to tip your movers. $10 per hour per man is a good benchmark. The rate of gratuity should go up for a shorter move and also for movers who go the extra mile. Having cold water and snacks available during the move doesn’t hurt either.
Take a deep breath, take a walk around your new block and grab some fresh flowers at the local bodega. Flowers make everything better.
Good luck and feel free to get in touch for a mover referral- I will pass on my discount! x