Whether it’s changing from your childhood bedroom to the master suite, or going between boroughs, there’s no getting around the shittiness of Moving. There are so many aspects of it that are just no fun — never mind that part about drudging up the past (old love letters? receipts? shorts from middle school?).
It’s no fun finding a place without paying $15,000 in brokers fees. Or carrying 15 boxes down your 4th floor walk up. Or planning your third housewarming party in 3 years.
Okay so, we get it. Moving is hard. But, what are we going to do? This is a part of adulthood that we just have to deal with every few years (or every year for some of us).
Well, this year I decided to revamp my moving habits. I put my foot down, and dedicated some time to making this process better. I decided that I needed to get smart.
And now, I am imparting some of that (very) hard-earned wisdom to you. Because, Moving can and will be better come August 1st (the busiest moving day of the year for NYC folk — so watch out).
From one pro-mover to all you others out there…
Figure out your non-negotiables early
The first step in an apartment/house/RV (#wishfulthinking) hunt is realizing what you actually care about.
We know — you can’t even figure out what to have for breakfast; let alone choosing where & how you want to live for the next 12 months.
But, if we take it one choice at a time, it gets a little simpler. Try answering these questions before you begin your search:
- Cost: What is the absolute maximum I would pay? (factor in +150/month for random shit); i.e. What % of my paycheck am I comfortable dedicating to rent? Am I okay with throwing $$ down the drain in rent or should I buy?
- Location: Would I rather be close to work or ‘play’? Does commute time impact me? Do I need to be close to public transportation — which ones? Do I want to live in the same neighborhood where I work? Do I want to explore somewhere new? How safe is it? Does it have cool bars, restaurants, etc? How far will I be from the gym? … Do I care?
- Amenities: Do I like living in luxury or 4th floor walk ups are doable? Do I need a doorman? A gym? Rooftop? Laundry? Breakfast (yes this is possible)?
- Roomate(s): Are roommates okay? Random (i.e. craigslist) or best friends since kindergarten? Move in with the GF or single life forever? Do I need my own space?
Lots of questions. Lots of possibilities.
And now, you need to figure out what balance of these answers works best for you — like, would you prefer to live in a random neighborhood but beautiful apartment? Or cooler area but shitty place?
The tradeoffs begin. My advice? Get a pen and paper, and start with a pros/cons list.
Be the middle (wo)man yourself
You do not need a broker.
For those of us NYC folk who despise moving more than Trump’s hair, this might be the worst part. We are forced into paying someone to give us access to a (shitty) apartment in exchange for 2 months of our paycheck.
So, don’t do it.
Until this year, I thought that brokers were somewhat unavoidable in the Moving process, especially in Manhattan. I found it frustrating and almost unethical since it seemed like I had no other options. Boycott brokers and be homeless, or give in and be poor.
This time around, I refused.
My boyfriend and I became our own brokers. We spent weekend mornings strolling around the neighborhoods we loved, and found apartment buildings we were interested in. Usually, the building super or management company’s phone number is listed right inside the building.
We were super creepy. But hey, it worked! And guess who still had $$ at the end of the day?
In cities other than NY, you may already be doing this. New Yorkers — don’t get caught up your busy-ness and have someone else do it for you (classic). Moving is expensive, so saving money on this part can allow you to make your apartment a Home in the future.
Don’t wait for the last minute
Slow and steady wins the race they say, huh?
Although that’s not really my vibe, I would definitely say planning out the process makes everything feel a tiny bit better.
Apartments are only available 2 weeks before move-in, they say.
Well, what about all those questions you have to ask yourself (re: above)? Decisions and moving documents don’t get organized themselves.
Give yourself an extra month of prep time before the search begins. Organize a virtual folder for moving documents (bank statements, tax returns, license) that’s email accessible. Because, once the ball gets rolling, slow & steady is not your pace anymore.
Plan with a healthy dose of reality
Some grumpy dude once made up Murphy’s Law which says, “Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
I’m all for positive thinking, but when it comes to Moving, Murphy’s Law never fails.
So, plan as much as you can. But like with anything, learn to let go. This experience is definitely one that brings out your true colors.
So, don’t let yourself get stressed about silly things.
This year, we had rented a Uhaul the night before our Big Move — thinking we had it for 24 hours. But, when we got to the counter (after a miserable 40 minute wait) we found out we only had the truck for 4 hours. To be returned at 11PM — 20 hours too early. And, all trucks were booked the next day.
In the moment, I felt like I couldn’t think straight. We did not plan for this. We did not have a backup. And, our cashier at Uhaul was not very solutions-oriented.
We had to problem-solve, fast.
My boyfriend, Dupi, and I decided to take a breather, stress-eat some pizza, and pack up the van that night — hoping for the best. A reservation ended up opening the next morning, and we kept the van.
This was one small hurdle that we had to confront. Trust me, there were many. But, as long as you can keep perspective, and remember that shit will get done, Murphy’s Law is meaningless.
It’s always better to plan for the worst, and hope for the best.
Make it your home — ASAP
You just payed $$$$ this place; make it your own.
After the fun of moving is all done, you just want to relax. You want a magic fairy (Task Rabbit) to unpack your clothes, buy your furniture, hang up your pictures.
But, the tasks seem endless, and you get overwhelmed.
Over it. You decide to half-ass your actual move in, and leave this apartment not decorated. Pictures sit on the floor. Your old duvet will be just fine. Couches are for old people.
What was the point of moving then?
Spend your first week or two running random errands, and making sure you do all of your big upfront purchases within 7 days of moving in. Stop making excuses — you want the best bang for your buck right?
Most importantly, don’t get lazy. You got this apartment for a reason; it’s not a hotel (or a hostel). Make it your own, so that you can actually feel some recluse when you get home from work.
That housewarming party better be worth it!
What’s your best moving tips? Tell us!