Moving Into Your First Apartment… The Right Way

Having helped my parents move out of their antique home a few years ago, I was well-versed in the trials and tribulations of moving. I had helped angle large items of furniture through narrow doorways (we’re talking seventeenth-century narrow doorways). After their new home flooded a few months later, I even helped them rescue undamaged furniture from the house.

Better yet, as a college student, I was used to the whole bi-annual process of moving in and out of the dorms. Plus, I was interning for a company in the relocation space, so I thought I had one or two moving hacks up my sleeve. So, when I sat down to prepare for the move into my first apartment, I imagined it’d be a breeze. Or, at least so I thought.

What I was unprepared for at the time: moving in New York City as a recent college graduate.

Secure a moving back-up plan

As a recent college graduate, packing up all of your belongings in the back of Mom and Dad’s van can look like an attractive option. Particularly if you’ve been using dorm furniture for the past few years, hiring a moving company to move all your belongings may seem totally unnecessary. Enter my first mistake.

My plans to move my belongings in my parent’s car fell through at the last minute. The worst part? I was moving on a weekend in mid-May, aka peak moving season. I knew that I’d be hard-pressed to book a mover for a reasonable rate at that point, so I resorted to a few “creative” solutions to move all my stuff from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn.

A few subway trips, a frantic email requesting moving help from Taskrabbit, and a ride in an Uber XL later, I had moved all of my of belongings. But, it wasn’t without experiencing a serious moving headache along the way. However obvious, my main advice is to not only schedule a fool-proof moving plan, but also to secure a back-up plan should your initial plans fall through. It will give you greater peace of mind and ensure that you’re not scrambling to plan at the last minute.

Don’t underestimate how much stuff you own

Admittedly, this was a rookie mistake. I assumed that loading up the back of the car and making one trip would do the job. In the end, I completely underestimated the amount of belongings I had (and the sheer amount of space that shoes take up).

The result? After moving the bulk of my belongings with my mover, I still had a bunch of smaller items left to pack, which meant I was mostly transporting things back and forth on the subway. Do-able and budget-friendly, but certainly a headache. I’d recommend using any number of moving calculators to determine how many boxes you need ahead of time, and see whether you have as few shoes as you really think.

Cutting corners is dangerous

After hearing that friends had used an Uber XL as a cheap way to move their belongings, I decided to use it to pick up an oak table off of Craigslist. Simply put, I knew that it’d be convenient and cheap (hey, moving’s expensive!).

While inexpensive, I hadn’t prepared for how physically taxing — and dangerous — moving a large item of furniture up a flight of stairs truly is. After lugging the table up the stairs of my walk-up building, I earned my fair share of moving warrior scars. By the end of the experience, I was glad to have gotten the table through the front door, but it certainly wasn’t without getting a few bumps and bruises first.

What I learned here is that it’s easy to want to cut corners to save a bit of cash on your move, particularly if you’re a college student moving into your first place.  Now that the move’s over, I can say with complete confidence that it’s really not worth it. If you’re not properly trained to move heavy items of furniture, you’re likely to get injured at some point in the moving process (as I did). However straightforward this advice, it’s sometimes best to return to the basics when moving — safety first!

A precarious climb up the subway steps, bags in hand.