People generally avoid moving frequently if they can help it. The reasons for potential renter’s or relocation regret abound — high security and pet deposits, losing or damaging treasured possessions, acquiring less-than-agreeable neighbors. Despite all this, however, many New Yorkers find themselves swapping digs often.
According to the Census’ NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey, the annual apartment turnover rate is 30.5%. In other words, 30.5% of renters lived in a different apartment a year ago. In an article for the New York Times, Sofia Song, the head of research at Urban Compass, explains that “one-year leases are popular because most people don’t know if they want to live in a particular place for more than a year.”
Reasons for wanting or needing to move often are plentiful. Maybe the apartment is part of the 39% of NYC units with rents determined by the free market, or you’re a young recent graduate still finding what’s right for you. Landlords and neighborhood changes are also major factors in apartment turnover. Or, it could just be a personality thing — New Yorkers are known to be movers and shakers, after all.
Whatever your reason for signing that fresh lease, the aftermath (read: the actual moving part) is rarely easy or stress-free. There are relatively simple and smart ways, however, to make moving less of a headache, and even something you can look forward to. Here are five awesome tips to make moving easier:
1. Downsize and Organize Your Stuff
For NYC buyers, the average price per square foot is over $1,400. This means that you’re more than likely to find yourself in smaller apartments, with less and less room for your belongings. Take this next move as an opportunity to organize your stuff intelligently and creatively (label by room, etc.). Get rid of what you don’t absolutely need by donating or throwing stuff away.
For things you can’t get rid of but don’t necessarily need on hand (think seasonal things), consider taking advantage of a local, low-cost personal storage service. MakeSpace, for example, will pick up, store, and deliver your stuff back so you never have to visit a storage unit. They’ll even provide durable storage bins and wardrobe boxes (for free!) so you don’t have to waste time and money buying them at a store.
Now, back to how you organized and categorized your stuff. When moving in, be creative in how you maximize your living space with what you’ve brought with you. Get inspiration from fellow New Yorkers and certified professional organizers if you’re feeling at a loss for where to start.
2. Choose a Licensed and Reputable Moving Company
First off, if you’re hiring a moving company, it’s crucial that you become familiar with any of the common red flags to make sure you’re not getting scammed or putting yourself or your belongings at unnecessary risk of damage or infestations. For instance, find out what kinds of procedures the company has in place to ensure its trucks don’t harbor bedbugs. To be extra safe, wrap your mattress and boxspring in separate mattress bags to protect them against dust, dirt, stains, water, and damage while they’re in transit. We also recommend disassembling your bed frame and wrapping the pieces in moving blankets.
Also be sure to research the company’s background along with making sure they have any necessary credentials and certifications. For example, the American Moving and Storage Association has a “ProMover” certification program that makes sure its members follow a certain code of ethics. New York movers must also be licensed by the Commissioner of Transportation. You can verify whether or not they are certified by emailing [email protected] or calling (518) 457-6512.
And while it may be tempting to trust a company’s online reviews, these can be easily manipulated, so it’s advised that you instead listen to recommendations given to you by friends, family, or coworkers.
Pro Tip: To make finding, comparing, and booking insured and licensed moving companies even easier, try using Unpakt.
3. Know Your Building’s Access and Parking and Moving Regulations
To properly prepare for your actual move-in day, you need to make sure you know and understand what kind of access you have to the building, if there is a cap time, along with whatever parking regulations there may be, especially if you’re hiring a moving company. According to the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, “many buildings don’t allow move-ins and move-outs on weekends or after regular business hours, and if a move is going to start during normal hours but run beyond, you or the mover will have to pay for the time of building employees to keep service elevators going.”
Further, think ahead when it comes to elevators or stairs, and don’t be afraid to go crazy with the measuring tape to make sure your furniture can actually make it all the way into your actual apartment. This means you should be measuring both your big furniture items and the height and width of various routes to your place — including your doors. The last thing you need is to get stuck holding a large sofa that just has no chance of making it. And don’t forget that many buildings in NYC charge a fee or require a deposit before a move to cover move-in related damage, like scratches and dents in the hallway.
4. Buy Renters Insurance
The great thing about renters insurance, besides the fact that it’s really affordable and simple to get, is that your stuff is covered even when you move from apartment to apartment or when you travel. And if for whatever reason your apartment becomes uninhabitable, some policies even cover additional living expenses like food and temporary housing costs. There are a bunch of sites equipped with quote tools so you can get a better idea of what you need and how much it’ll cost so you know you’re getting the best deal on a policy.
Not sure if renters insurance is right for you? Check out this quick guide from our friends at StreetEasy. It debunks a couple myths surrounding renters insurance and answers some of your frequently asked questions so that you can make an informed decision.
5. Dive Into Your New Neighborhood
This is where you can have a bit more fun. Often an apartment is only as good as the neighborhood it’s in, and in NYC it’s easy to turn a corner and feel like you’re in a completely different city. Be cognizant of the fact that your new piece of the Big Apple likely comes with a whole new set of common occurrences and cultures.
Stay excited about this new opportunity to explore and discover. A quick Google search or friendly streetside chat can help you uncover where the closest laundromat is or where to get the best (and fastest) cup of coffee. You may think you already know NYC like the back of your hand, but keep yourself open to the completely new experiences that come with a new apartment.