A couple of months ago I received a letter from my apartment management company stating that management is in the process of renovating all the apartments in my building and that my apartment was scheduled to be renovated. Due to that, the management company was electing not to renew my lease when it comes due in August of this year. However, if I wanted to, I could move into an already renovated apartment in the building and management would waive any transfer fees.
On the one hand I was excited because management was renovating my apartment, but the downside was that I was dreading the idea of moving and finding a new place to live.
Not that I am a stranger to moving – I moved a lot in college and law school and I’ve made 2 cross country moves. But mainly because I find moving to be a huge pain and inconvenience.
Moving is definitely not easy, that’s why there are so many professional movers for hire that will pack up and move all your stuff for you. Or you can rough it and choose to move everything yourself. Whatever you decide, here are some tips that I’ve found that might make your move a little easier:
- Use your move to purge your belongings. As you pack up your worldly possessions take the time to weed out any non-essential items, such as clothing you don’t wear or books you won’t read again. Not only did I recycle magazines from 2011, cleaned out my refrigerator and pantry, and got rid of random tupperware containers that were missing the lids but, while decluttering and going through stuff, I ended up finding clothes and shoes I had forgotten I owned.
- I use plastic storage boxes to store out of season items under my bed. When I move, I just move the plastic boxes which makes everything much easier because I don’t have to pack, unpack, and then pack up again. There are a lot of different sizes of plastic containers you can buy – shoe boxes, underbed storage boxes that span the entire width of your bed, underbed storage boxes that only span half the width of your bed, plastic stackable tote boxes, and more. There are many options to choose from and whatever you choose, it will make storing items and moving them easier.
- Get the tools. My apartment building has luggage carts that residents can use to transport items. It was easy to grab one of these, load it up with boxes, and push it down the hall and onto the elevator. Similarly, utility dollies (or hand trucks) are great for moving heavier furniture and boxes and make it easier to go up and down stairs. I used one for a previous move and it was so simple to stack boxes on the dolly that I could move at least 3 large boxes at a time. Furniture dollies are great for moving large furniture, as well. Most U-Haul places will rent them to you.
- Don’t wait to call or arrange to have your utilities turned on. In college I lived for 2 days in an apartment with no electricity because one of my roommates waited too long to call the electric company. Luckily I was going through a candle phase (as we all do in college, right?) so I had plenty of candles to light when it got dark. In my current move, the management company handled all the utilities. The only thing I was responsible for setting up was internet. Unfortunately, I was without internet for a week because I called to transfer the service the day I moved. Also, don’t forget to have your mail forwarded so you won’t miss out on any bills or important mail. Luckily, you can handle your mail forwarding online and don’t have to go down to the post office anymore.
- If you are handling your move by yourself, try to get your friends to help you. Make sure you give them plenty of notice about your moving plans and what you expect them to help with. It’s a good idea to preliminary stock your new place with drinks and snacks (and don’t forget bathroom necessities) as an incentive to get everything moved faster. And don’t forget to say thank you. Lunch or dinner goes a long way!
- Be creative in your packing. Use towels and bedding to wrap your dishes in. You can wrap your small breakables in t-shirts or scarves (I have a lot of scarves). Got luggage? Instead of moving empty suitcases, fill them up. This is especially useful if you have rolling luggage. I packed up a number of books in my suitcases and then just rolled them to my new destination.
- Packing up and moving always takes longer than you think. You may look around your apartment and think you don’t have a lot of things to move but when you’ve gone out to get more boxes for the third time, you may find you have more stuff than you think. It also seemed like the last 10% of my move took the longest. Cleaning and moving the last bits and pieces of random stuff that didn’t really fit into any boxes seemed to take the most time.
Ultimately, after resigning myself to the fact that I was going to have to move either now or later in the summer, I elected to remain in my building, mainly because I couldn’t find an apartment in the area that had a comparable price and comparable amenities to my current building. I ended up moving 5 floors down in my building and it took me both a Saturday and Sunday (with friends!) to move all my belongings. But I am enjoying my new apartment and new view.