Are you planning a moving in New York City? Whether you’re moving from one borough to another or coming to the Big Apple from another state, this transition is no easy feat.

This guide exists to help you navigate the complexities of moving in the bustling city. From budgeting and choosing a moving company to packing tips and researching your new neighborhood, Oz Moving & Storage has you covered.

So get ready for a smooth and successful move in the city that never sleeps!


Key Takeaways

  • 1. You'll learn how to properly plan your upcoming move in New York. Moving in NYC can be challenging, but with proper planning and preparation, it can be a smooth and manageable process.

  • 2. Learn about the important regulations for doing a move in NYC. This guide provides detailed information about permits, parking, building regulations & more. 

  • 3. Finally we'll present you with a list of ideas and tips for setting yourself up smoothly in your new apartment.

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Planning Your Move in NYC - Checklist

Checklists make everything more manageable, and this NYC moving checklist is no exception. Here are nine essential steps that can simplify the move to your new home:

1. Budgeting for Your Move

Every move, be it a cross-country or local move, should start with a careful look at your finances.

You can easily spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars moving (especially if you’re planning a long-distance move or have a lot of stuff). Budgeting will help you avoid overspending while also making sure you have everything you need to cover moving costs in NYC and enjoy a successful transition.

These simple tips will help you create a detailed and practical budget: 

  • Create an expense projection list: The list will help you calculate the budget needed for your move. You can create a spreadsheet with the following columns:
  • Take inventory: Walk through your apartment or home and take stock of what you’ll bring with you when you move. If you have large items like a piano, for example, that will significantly add to the cost of your move.
  • Categories
    • • Moving fees/rates
    • • Packing services
    • • Moving insurance
    • • Specialty services (pianos, safes, etc.)
    • • Hidden costs (damages, tips, etc.)
    • • Unpacking services
    • • Rental costs (security deposit, one month's rent upfront, etc.) 
  • Cost
    • • Add the estimated price in the second column next to each category. You can use additional columns for multiple quotes from different moving companies
    • • Add everything up in the cost column to create your subtotal
    • • Include a contingency of plus-five percent (meaning you anticipate possibly spending five percent more than the subtotal)
  • Consider additional expenses: You can add additional rows to the category list. Update your spreadsheet with other categories and costs you might need to factor in, such as car shipping fees, cleaning fees, storage unit rental, building moving-in fees, insurance fees and childcare/pet care while you’re packing and unpacking.
  • Consider the cost of living: Depending on where you’re moving from, you may experience a sharp uptick in your daily living expenses (monthly rent, food, gas, etc.) when moving to New York City from out of state. Factor this change in so you aren’t caught off guard when you arrive.

If you want to save money on your move, consider handling certain aspects yourself, such as packing and unpacking. You may also want to look for free packing boxes from neighbors, friends, or local businesses. 

Remember that starting early will also help you reduce costs (some companies might charge extra for a last-minute move) and give you more time to save up for the moving day.

2. Choosing a Moving Company

Could you borrow your friend’s truck, recruit your family for a weekend of hauling boxes, and handle all aspects of the move independently?

Technically, yes. However, this isn’t the most efficient option, nor is it the most cost-effective in the long run.

If you aren’t planning to already, consider hiring a professional moving company to assist you with the move out of your current place and into your new one.

A team of movers will make the process faster, and they can provide extra peace of mind. Knowing that experienced professionals are packing and transporting your belongings helps you feel confident that they’ll arrive in one piece (and the movers can offer insurance coverage to make up for damages if something does go wrong).

Here’s Nancy Zafrani, Oz’s General Manager, recommendation: “Many people underestimate the amount of work that goes into a move, especially when it comes to packing and heavy lifting. Hiring a professional moving company not only makes the process faster and more efficient, but it also saves you from the physical strain and potential injuries.”

What to Look for in a Moving Company

When looking for a moving team that can provide a hassle-free experience, pay attention to the following factors:

  • Moving services: Along with moving boxes out of your home and into your new place, what other moving services does the business offer? For example, will they help with packing and unpacking?
  • Professional affiliations: Is the company affiliated with professional organizations like a trade association or the local Chamber of Commerce? 
  • License and insurance: Does the company have an up-to-date license and insurance coverage? How long have they been in business? Are they well established, or a Fly-by-Night operation?
  • Service locations: Will the company be able to bring a moving truck to your home and to the part of NYC you’re moving to?
  • Customer reviews: Is the company highly rated? Does it have many positive (and recent) reviews?
  • Additional services: Do they provide packing supplies? Can they offer storage solutions for large items or belongings you can’t bring to your new place immediately?
  • Free quotes: Look for a company that offers free quotes so you can compare prices easily. 

When considering candidates, pay attention to potential red flags, too.

For example, say the company’s quote seems too good to be true (i.e., it’s far lower than what other moving companies have quoted). That’s a sign that they might be luring you into a false sense of security (and will possibly ratchet up the price later or not show up at all).

3. Scheduling Your Move Date

The next step is to nail down when you want to move to your new place in New York City. The following are some questions you might want to ask when scheduling your moving date:

  • When does my lease end at my current property?
  • If I’m subletting my current property, when will the new tenant move in?
  • If I’m moving for a job, when is my first day of work?
  • If I have kids, do I need to arrive before the first day of school or the first day of a new semester?
  • How long will it take me to travel from my current location to NYC? Will I need multiple days or weeks to transport belongings, or can they be moved in a day or two?

Also consider when is the best time of year to move in NYC. Keep in mind that the busiest time for movers in New York City is the spring and summer.

If you plan on moving during these seasons, you’ll need to be proactive about hiring a moving company. If you wait until the last minute, you may struggle to find a reputable business, or you may have to pay extra for them to squeeze you into the schedule.

4. Packing Tips and Tricks

Once you’ve chosen your moving date, work backward to determine how many weeks you have before the big day. Then, assign specific tasks to each week leading up to your move.

For example, you might spend the first week collecting materials (either from your moving company or from around the neighborhood) and taking inventory of what you want to bring. Then, you might spend the second week packing out-of-season items that you won’t need for a while.

When packing boxes, keep these tips and tricks in mind to protect your belongings, maximize space, and simplify the moving process:

  • Put heavy items in small boxes and light items in large boxes
  • Use packing paper and bubble wrap to protect fragile or valuable items
  • Carefully label each box so you can quickly determine what’s stored inside
  • Pack a “first-night” box with essentials like toiletries, a coffee maker, a change of clothes, and any other items you’ll need readily available.

Another helpful tip is to make a moving folder or binder. Use it to store essential documents, including birth certificates, social security cards, copies of your lease, recent pay stubs, and bank statements.

5. Decluttering Before Moving

It’s always a good idea to declutter your home before moving (especially when moving in NYC, where many apartments offer limited space).

Go through each room and make three piles: one for donations, one for items you want to sell, and one for items that should be thrown away. Be rigorous with your decluttering process and avoid hauling things you don’t want or need with you to your new place.

Consider also decluttering by getting rid of any furniture that you no longer need, as it will be one less thing to transport to your new place.

6. Moving Supplies Checklist

The following are some of the most important moving supplies to have on hand while packing and preparing for the big transition:

  • Boxes
  • Packing tape
  • Box cutter or utility knife
  • Plastic wrap
  • Labels
  • Markers
  • Packing paper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Scissors
  • Furniture pads
  • Moving blankets
  • Bungee cords
  • Dollies or handcarts

Avoid bags, such as trash bags. They don’t stack well, and they tear easily.

Your moving company can likely provide many of these materials. Reach out to them to find out what they have access to and what you need to get on your own.

7. Researching Your New Neighborhood

Be sure to spend some time researching your new neighborhood before you arrive.

Every borough in New York City, from Manhattan and Brooklyn to Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, has its own unique layout and features that you should know.

Where are the closest grocery stores? How long will it take you to walk from your NYC apartment to the subway station? How long is the commute from your apartment to your new job? What are the nearest restaurants, bars, parks, etc.?

If possible, plan a visit or two to the new neighborhood before you move in. This visit will give you a chance to familiarize yourself before the big day.

8. Hiring Professional Cleaners

Most landlords expect renters to leave their apartments thoroughly cleaned. They also expect you to take care of repairs like holes in walls (otherwise, they’ll take that money out of your deposit). 

If you’re not sure when you’ll find time to clean on top of everything else you have to do, consider hiring professional cleaners. They can come in after you’ve moved out and take care of tasks like vacuuming, mopping, carpet cleaning, etc.

9. Renting Storage Space

Don’t have room in your new apartment for large or seasonal items?

If so, consider renting a storage unit before you leave. Stash your belongings there so you can trust they’re safe while you choose a permanent location for them. 

Talk to your moving company to see if they offer storage services. If so, they might be willing to give you a deal on a storage unit since you’ve already hired them to help with your move. 

When working with a moving company and relocating to a new place, it’s important to understand and abide by the city’s local regulations. The following are some critical factors to keep in mind:

NYC Moving Regulations Overview

Because New York City is so busy and crowded, people moving into apartments and other properties have to abide by certain moving regulations, including the following:

  • Rental trucks and commercial vehicles cannot travel on parkways
  • Rental trucks and commercial vehicles cannot park in one place for more than three hours and may not double park for more than 20 minutes
  • Rental trucks and commercial vehicles must park parallel to the curb so they don’t block traffic
  • Trailers can’t be dropped on the street and must remain attached to a vehicle.
  • You must pay for parking in metered areas
  • Someone must stay with the truck or trailer at all times

With all these rules in mind, it’s essential that you work with a New York City moving company. Movers with experience handling NYC moves will understand these rules and will know how to avoid getting penalized. 

Permits and Restrictions

You don’t need a permit to move in New York City. However, you may need parking permits for your moving truck or trailer. Research the parking laws in your neighborhood ahead of time and double-check with your moving company before you arrive.

Building Rules and Guidelines

Ask about specific building rules and guidelines for new tenants, too. The following are some examples of regulations you might need to follow:

  • Many apartment buildings do not allow weekend moves.
  • The property management company might require proof of the moving company’s insurance before they’ll let you start moving in.
  • You may be required to protect floors, walls, and elevators when moving in.
  • Some building charge a move-in fee.

Find out if your building is a walk-up or has an elevator, too. Your moving company will likely factor this into your final price.

Moving Truck Rentals

Your moving company will likely be able to provide you with a moving truck (or trucks) to transport your belongings. They’ll also handle driving for you, so you don’t have to worry about navigating a large vehicle through New York City’s streets.

You can also rent trucks yourself using companies like Uhaul. If you utilize this option, though, remember that you’ll be responsible for following all parking regulations and other rules related to moving in New York City.

Building Rules and Loading/Unloading Considerations

Apart from the actual process of moving your belongings, you'll also need to navigate building rules and loading/unloading considerations. These factors can have a significant impact on the ease and success of your move, so it's important to be well-informed and prepared. In this section, we'll explore some key tips and considerations for moving into different types of buildings in NYC.

Check building rules and regulations

Before moving in NYC, it's important to check with your building management or landlord about any rules or regulations related to moving. This may include reserving an elevator or loading dock, obtaining a certificate of insurance, or scheduling a specific time for your move.

Many buildings have strict guidelines for when and how residents can move in or out, which can include limitations on the hours of the day when loading and unloading is allowed, the use of freight elevators, and the size of items that can be moved. Some building charge a move-in fee as well.

Plan for loading and unloading

Loading and unloading in NYC can be a challenge due to limited parking and narrow streets. It's important to plan ahead and try to reserve a parking spot for your moving truck or consider using a moving company with experience in navigating the city.

Be Mindful of Noise

NYC has strict noise regulations, so it's important to be mindful of noise levels during your move. This includes avoiding early morning or late-night moves and minimizing noise from moving equipment.

Take Safety Precautions 

Moving heavy furniture and boxes up and down stairs can be dangerous, so it's important to take safety precautions. This may include using proper lifting techniques, wearing appropriate footwear, and using moving equipment such as dollies and straps.

Moving to a NYC Walk-up Apartment

If you are moving into a walk-up apartment, be prepared for the stairs. Make sure you have enough help to carry your items up the stairs and consider packing your items in smaller boxes to make them easier to carry up the stairs. Navigating a narrow staircase with bulky items like sofas can be challenging as well. Experienced movers can handle it with ease.

Moving to a NYC Elevator building

If you are moving into a building with an elevator, be sure to reserve the elevator with the building management or your landlord ahead of time. This will ensure that you have exclusive use of the elevator during your move and will prevent delays. Also, make sure that you have clearance to move large items, such as furniture, through the elevator and into your apartment.

Consider Hiring Professional Movers

Hiring professional movers who are familiar with building rules and regulations in NYC can save you time and stress. They can also help you navigate any challenges related to loading and unloading in the city.

Settling into Your New Home

Along with getting comfortable navigating the city, you also need to settle into your new home by taking care of some tedious (but essential) tasks, including those listed below:

Unpacking Tips

If your moving company offers unpacking services, they will make this step a lot easier. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t have to unpack everything as soon as you arrive.

Start by locating your first night box so you have access to your essentials. Then, use the labeling system you implemented while packing to identify the most important boxes to unpack first.

Setting up Utilities

Contact the local utility companies to ensure all services are in your name. Do this right away so you don’t have to worry about the lights or water getting shut off (you don’t need that stress on top of everything else associated with moving).

Your apartment manager will likely be able to provide you with a list of phone numbers to simplify the process of setting up utilities.

Changing Your Address

If you haven’t already, update your address so your mail can be forwarded to your new apartment. Make sure that all subscription services have your new address as well.

Updating Your Driver's License and Car Registration

You will need to update your driver’s license and car registration (if you have a vehicle) so they reflect your new address, too.

You must go to the DMV to handle these tasks in New York City. While taking care of them, you can also register to vote in your new location!

Final Thoughts

Moving in NYC and moving to NYC is exciting, but it can also be intimidating. Use the guidelines discussed above to simplify the move and move-in process.

If you need help finding professional movers to assist with packing, transportation, unpacking, and storage, work with us at Oz Moving & Storage.

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