When it comes to living in a city, moving is simply a part of life as rent constantly fluctuates, you change jobs, you want a different commute, and so forth. The good news is that you can learn everything you need to know about moving in a city from those who have come before you.
Here are the most important things you need to know before moving. Start by creating a moving budget, then decide your next steps based on the below factors.
Are Professional Movers Worth It?
If you genuinely dread the process of moving, you may be curious about whether you should hire a professional mover. Professional movers can help you with the entire packing process, from packing up your belongings to transporting them and unpacking them in your new home.
Start by asking around for suggestions. Otherwise, look online for a reputable company. When hiring a professional mover, you want to get an in-person consultation for an accurate quote from three different companies. Before hiring a mover, make sure they can give you the help you need, are licensed and insured, and that they have professional accreditations.
When hiring a mover in a big city, you’ll pay anywhere between $40-$150 per hour, per mover (plus extra fees for stairs, heavy items, etc.). Typically for a 1‑bedroom apartment, you’ll spend between $700 and $1,400 on just labor (moving supplies are often billed separately, plus you’ll have to tip your movers).
Should You DIY Your Move?
Are you budget-conscious or looking for ways to cut moving costs? Consider moving on your own instead. Choosing to do all the heavy lifting yourself is the cheapest option since you wouldn’t have to pay to hire movers. However, there are plenty of other benefits to a DIY move.
Even if you DIY your move, you’ll have moving expenses for hiring a moving truck, gas and tolls, moving supplies, parking, insurance expenses, and feeding the friends and family you rope in to help. Plus, there’s always a risk of breaking something in the move. So be sure to do the math and make sure a DIY move will actually save you money.
An average 1‑bedroom DIY move in a city typically costs between $400-$1,000. So, most of the time a DIY move will be cheaper than hiring professional movers. However, doing it yourself will likely be more stressful, time-consuming, and painful.
Selling Your Stuff
Whether you’re hiring a professional or making your move DIY, you want to move as few items as possible. When it comes to decluttering most people default to tossing or donating, but don’t forget that you can sell many of the things in your apartment, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, and artwork.
Think of the furniture in your apartment and determine whether you 1) want to move it and 2) if it will fit in your new space. You can easily sell furniture online that is old, outdated, oversized, or doesn’t have sentimental value. While some sites require you to do all the leg work, using a service like AptDeco makes the process extra easy. With their white glove service, you don’t have to lift a finger; simply post your item and when it sells the AptDeco team will come to disassemble and deliver it to the buyer for you!
Selling your furniture before a move makes the entire moving process easier by letting you avoid moving the big, heavy items. Plus, it puts a bit of cash in your pocket to help fund your move, refurnish your new apartment, or throw a welcome party in your space.
What You Need to Help You Move
Simplify the moving process by having the right materials ahead of time. While some materials you need are obvious, there are other helpful things to have on hand, such as:
- Cardboard or plastic boxes. Check local stores for any extra boxes from inventory, or look on your local Facebook Marketplace for old moving boxes. You may also be able to rent sturdier plastic boxes for your move. Just remember that plastic boxes can add weight that you must move.
- Packing Tape. Make life simpler by investing in a packing tape dispenser to quickly cut the tape where needed and keep track of the end for you, eliminating the frustration of trying to open it again.
- Packing Paper/ Bubble Wrap. Fill in the extra space and give extra cushioning to your most fragile items with packing paper or bubble wrap. You can also use old newspapers, t‑shirts, or linens too.
- Moving Blankets/ Bands. Moving blankets and bands can help you make sure your furniture doesn’t get damaged.
- Plastic Bags. Use plastic bags to prevent spills with soaps and liquids.
- Garbage Bags. Use them to transport blankets or pillows or use them as garment bags. If you’re careful enough you’ll be able to make full use of them in your new apartment.
- Labels and Markers. Label your boxes to simplify the packing/unpacking process. Make sure you label each side of each box to see it easily when moving.
- Tool Set. If you need to disassemble anything, you’re going to need tools on hand so make sure you have a set of screwdrivers, a hammer, etc.
- Furniture Dollies. Consider what you’re moving and get the proper dolly. Furniture dollies tend to fit directly under large furniture and appliances, while a regular dolly can also help you move boxes and requires you to tip it to move. A home improvement store or mover can help you figure out which one will be best for your move.
Purchasing these supplies can be costly and often leaves you with excess items when you reach your new home. You may opt to rent many of these items (plastic boxes, moving blankets and bands, and dollies) from a professional mover or home improvement store to save money and make your move green.
Choosing the Best Time to Move
Moving in the city is never fun, but some days are easier. Try to move between Monday and Thursday. Most people want to move on weekends, so moving companies charge premium rates. Plus, you must schedule well in advance if you want to move on the weekend. Therefore, choosing a weekday gives you more flexibility and cost savings. Also consider the time of year you’ll be moving. If you’re moving when there’s snow on the ground or heavy winter winds your experience will likely be more difficult. On the other hand, moving during the colder months may save you money on movers.
How to Move in a City
Moving in the city is a unique experience. You’re often short on space, time, and parking. Here are a few specific things to consider to make the most of your move.
- Keep your eye open for the type of apartment you want, and be as flexible as possible.
- Always factor your commute into your apartment hunt.
- Only use a broker if you plan to stay put for a few years to justify the cost.
- Try to arrange a lease date in the middle of the month since most people move at the beginning or end of the month.
- Avoid moving during any major events in the city (i.e., marathons, concerts, parades, games, etc.).
- Measure your new space thoroughly, including the building’s entrance and hallways, to ensure your furniture will fit (you don’t want a F.R.I.E.N.D.S. couch moment)
- Check your new lease for move-in requirements to ensure you have everything lined up (such as certificate of insurance, required protective coverings, freight elevator access, etc.).
- Review your old lease for move-out instructions. Be sure to clean and repair any damage in your old apartment to get your full security deposit back.
- Hire movers for the heavy items and DIY the rest of the move.
- Take note of parking restrictions around your old and new apartment to avoid parking tickets or getting towed.
Most Helpful Moving Tips
Once your new lease is signed, you want to give yourself as much time as possible to unpack. If you plan ahead, you can pack at a leisurely pace and in such a way that the entire process is as stress-free as possible. While this guide gives you all the info needed to start planning your move, be sure to check out our top moving hacks and tips that will help make the packing process a breeze.
Have you moved in a big city before? Let us know what you wish someone had told you before you moved in the comments below.