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How To Make Moving Day Go Smoothly

Tried Guide, November 2016

moving tips

Over the past 9 years, I’ve moved 8 times. First from Marist College, back to my parents’ home in Connecticut. Then to Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a year and a half. Then a year on the UES, then a year in Murray Hill. Five years were spent in Astoria between 2 apartments. And then finally, I moved to northern Westchester.

As we closed on our home, moved in, and finished unpacking a majority of the boxes, I felt a huge sigh of relief. I wasn’t going to have to move (hopefully) any time soon.

After all these moves, I certainly have a few moving tips and tricks up my sleeve, but before I share them with you, I got a few extra ideas from lifestyle and moving expert Caitlin Porpora, the onsite concierge for Instrata Lifestyle Residences in New York City. As a concierge, she handles every aspect of the move, such as setting up utilities, connecting with moving companies to provide future and current residents with quotes, and more. Caitlin, where were you the last 9 years of my life?

Together, here are some moving tips to make your next move a breeze:

  1. Purge. Before you start packing, go through your stuff. There is nothing worse than moving to a new place, and realizing you lugged a now discontinued Keurig Kold that you are going to throw away (true story). Caitlin suggests putting your belongings into three piles: Keep, Throw Out and Give Away.  Ask yourself, does that item have a place and purpose in the home you’re exiting, and will it continue to have one in your next? A few resources may help you declutter. Caitlin recommends Marie Kondo’s New York Times best-selling guide. Cash motivates me to declutter. As I moved, I would go through my closet and ask myself would I rather wear a shirt or a dress again, or try to get money for it. If it was the latter, I would put it in a pile to send to ThredUp. ThredUp handled selling the clothes for me, earning me some quick cash.
  2. Save the Date. Regardless if you are hiring a moving company or asking friends for help, pick a moving date in advance. Why? It’s always someone’s birthday, brunch, etc. If you don’t have a date in stone, you may be tempted to reschedule. Plus, if you have a moving date well in advance, you’ll be better off getting a preferred slot with a moving company you trust or get on your friends’ calendars so they can help you move.
  3. Don’t lose a shred of mail.  Caitlin advises going to USPS.com/MailForwarding to make sure everything gets to your new place. While mail forwarding is great in theory, I’ve found after a few moves, it doesn’t aways work. Try to set up magazines, bills, etc. as soon as you have your new address. Additionally, if you can exchange emails with the new folks moving into your building, even better. I email our former homeowners often to see if they need any mail that still comes in. The tenant who moved into our Astoria apartment was kind enough to find me on Facebook. She shared with me our tax documents that came in post move.  And while you remember to close your bills at your old residence, set up utilities at your new place – including a cable or internet appointment – before moving so you can get that set up first thing.
  4. Start early and be ready.  No matter if you have friends helping you or a moving company, start the day early.  Eat a big breakfast sandwich because it will be a long day. With a moving company especially, you are often paying by the hour, so try to get as much done as you can. Make sure you are all packed before the movers arrive. If there is time, try to carry the lighter loads to the first floor, especially if in a walk up. When we moved from the UES to Murray Hill, we brought almost all our belongings to the first floor. While we were moving to an elevator building, from start to finish, the move took us 3 hours. It was the fastest it ever took, probably because we helped a lot.
  5. Treat your workers well. When I’ve hired moving companies, I’ve always made sure to have drinks on hand or a snack. The day can get long, so be sure to keep everyone hydrated. If you are having friends help out, make sure to offer food at the start of the day. And of course, don’t forget the pizza and beer reward after. We’ve had friends help us bring a few loads to our new home before a move. It has been always nice to catch up and reward them with a meal afterward.
  6. Celebrate Your Survival. Caitlin and my husband both believe you should reward yourself post move. I’d prefer to get everything unpacked ASAP, regardless if the object finds the perfect home for it. My husband would rather take the time to perfectly unpack – and reward himself along the way. Caitlin agrees, and advises to first set up your bed in order to sleep. Along the way indulge in a few luxuries – like a spa treatment.