Let’s face it, moving is never fun. And like most things, moving day in New York City is a whole different ballgame than what you might be used to in other places. But have no fear – if you plan ahead, you can eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress. Here are some important things to know that will help make the big day go as smoothly as possible.

Prepare For Your Arrival

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There are several things you can, and in some cases must do in advance that will make moving day easier.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to be in contact with your new superintendent or doormen before moving. Many buildings have restrictions on the days of the week that you’re allowed to move in and out, and may even restrict moving to only certain times during those days. Confirm that you can move in when you plan to, and reserve elevators if necessary. Also, know where and when you’re getting the keys to your new place so that you’re not locked out with all of your worldly belongings on the curb. You also need to confirm that the utilities have been transferred to your name and turned on – no one wants to move in the dark 🙁 .

Things will go smoothly if you can manage to get into your new place a day or two before your actual moving day to clean and measure. Despite whatever promises may have been made, there’s no guarantee that the place will be spotless, and cleaning an empty apartment is much easier than trying to do it while tripping over boxes. Taking measurements ahead of time and visualizing where you want things to go will eliminate extra effort and furniture rearranging. Remember, New York apartments are typically small – a lot of times it takes a good dose of creativity to make everything fit.

Finally, plan to take the day off from work. Even the simplest of moves will take longer than expected. Thinking you can just take a break for a few hours and get it all done is a disaster waiting to happen.

Don’t Go It Alone

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If you can afford to hire movers, do it. It may cost a lot, but putting all the logistical details in the hands of professionals is worth it.

If you can’t spare the extra cash, don’t worry. People move themselves in the city every day and live to tell about it. But you will need help, so start lining up your friends or family as far in advance as possible. Helping friends move is a rite of passage in New York, so no one will be surprised by the request. Unless you want to spend all day locking and unlocking your vehicle, you’ll ideally want at least two helpers so that one person can stay with the car or van at all times. This will also help avoid any possible traffic tickets.

Navigating the Mean Streets

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Parking is at a premium in New York City, so you’ll be lucky to find a spot directly in front of your building. Be prepared to drive around the block a few times and realize that you might have to settle for the closest space you can find.

In addition to the normal shortage of parking, New York streets have many confusing parking rules, so do your research ahead of time. Each street has its own unique alternate side parking and other restrictions that apply to certain days and times. Read the signs carefully and confirm that you can park on your street when you plan to be loading and unloading.

There are also specific rules pertaining to double parking and parking commercial vehicles or trucks. If you plan to rent a moving truck as opposed to a car or smaller van, these may apply to you. Be sure to consult the NYC Department of Transportation website to make sure that you won’t be fined. If you’ve hired movers, all responsibility for parking permits and fines fall on them.

Wrapping Up

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Once everything is in your new place, make sure nothing is missing or left behind. Have an inventory of boxes and furniture on hand to account for everything. The same goes for any moving contract you may have signed. Having a copy with you will help in fighting any overcharges or extra last-minute fees. If you’ve rented a vehicle, know when and where it needs to be returned. If you plan to keep it overnight, make sure you have overnight parking arrangements.

Finally, be prepared to pay your movers. While the move may be paid for in advance, that doesn’t cover tips. Plan to have plenty of cash on hand for this. Even though tipping is technically voluntary, all movers will expect it and many will even outright ask for it. If you conned your friends into helping, don’t forget to tip them as well – cash isn’t necessary, but some much-deserved pizza and beer will go a long way at the end of the day.

Now, sit back, relax, and start enjoying your new life in New York City!