Moving to New York City can be equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking. Exciting because NYC is the beating heart of the U.S., and nerve-wracking because there’s so much to do to get ready for the big move. In order to make your move to The Big Apple just a little easier, we have put together a moving checklist, a breakdown that allows you to take care of one moving-related task at a time.
Two To Three Months Before The Move
__ Edit your belongings. As much as you may dread the task, there is something about sorting through your belongings that is deeply satisfying. Go through each room of your home and decide what you can’t live without, what you want to denote, and what needs to be tossed. Keep in mind that living space in NYC is at a premium and you’re unlikely to have the space to keep everything. Besides, wouldn’t you rather move only with the belongings you truly need or enjoy?
__ Call a Realtor or leasing agent. If you haven’t already established a place to live, now is the time to get a Realtor or leasing agent on the job. They’ll need to know what you’re looking for, where you’d like to live, and how much you plan on spending. It is vital to work with an agent who will dedicate himself to finding you what you’re looking for in plenty of time for you to visit and sign a lease.
__ Compile a moving binder. Keeping everything in one place may just save your sanity. It’s the perfect place to keep your moving estimates, home listings, an inventory of everything you plan to move, utility turn-off and turn-on schedule, and receipts you’ll need for next year’s taxes.
__ Research moving companies. Whether you plan to hire a moving company or rent a truck and move yourself, now is the time to gather quotes. Do not rely on a phone or online quote if you’re hiring a moving company. Request an on-site visit and a written estimate (with a “not to exceed” price). Make sure the company you’re working with has a U.S. Department of Transportation number. It’s also a good idea to check with your state’s Better Business Bureau to get a sense of the company’s reputation.
__ Research auto transport companies. If you plan on having your personal vehicles transported, now is the time to get estimates and schedule a pick-up. Ask how long the trip will take and get an iron-clad delivery date.
Six To Eight Weeks Before The Move
__ Choose a mover (or truck rental company). Now is the time to confirm your reservation and make sure you have everything you need – including the moving date and costs – in writing.
__ Visit NYC. Hopefully, your agent has a few homes for you to view. Ideally, you will find something you love and sign a sales contract or lease.
__ Take measurements. Once you’ve signed a sales contract or lease, measure the dimensions of your new home. Remember to measure the doorways in order to ensure your furniture will fit through. Because so many buildings in NYC are walk-ups and not doorman buildings, you’ll also need to measure how much room you will have navigate furniture up the stairs.
__ Eat up. Create a menu plan that allows you to use the perishable foods in your freezer.
__ Find a cleaning company. Ask anyone who has ever made a big move what their least favorite task was and they are likely to tell you that it was cleaning their old home before move-out and cleaning their new home before move-in. Hire a cleaning company to come in behind you as you’re moving out. The last thing you’re going to want to do is clean a home you’re no longer going to live in when you’re already tired from the move. At the same time, schedule a cleaning company to clean your new home before you move in. As much as you might hope that your new place will be spic-and-span on move-in day, that is often not the case. Besides, living in a new space is so much more pleasurable when every surface is clean.
__ Order moving supplies. Unless a moving company will be packing for you, you’ll need to gather bubble wrap, tape, boxes, and permanent markets. Don’t forget specialty boxes for items such as televisions, dishes, and your wardrobe.
Four Weeks Before The Move
__ Send change-of-address cards. It may seem a bit early to send your new address out to friends and family, but you’re likely to be too busy over the next month to find the time. While you’re at it, pick up a change-of-address package at the post office and have your mail forwarded. If you’d rather, you can change your address online through the US Postal Service website.
__ Begin packing. Place at least one box in each room of your home. As you pass an item you rarely use, wrap it in bubble wrap and slip it into the box. You may be surprised by how few items you actually use on a daily basis.
__ Make a list. Items like an expensive television, computer, or musical instrument may require extra insurance. Make a note of those items as you come across them.
__ Label everything clearly. The more clearly you label a box and its contents, the easier it’s going to be to find what you need in your new home.
__ Arrange for a transfer of records. If you have children, have their school records transferred to their new school district. Request that medical records be transferred for each member of your family. Finally, ask your veterinarian to provide you with a copy of your pet’s health records. Be sure to keep those veterinarian records with you as you travel with your pet(s).
Two Weeks Before The Move
__ Get tuned up. If you plan on driving to NYC, ask your mechanic which services are needed. At the very least, have your car(s) tuned up.
__ Contact moving companies. Call your mover, truck rental company and/or auto transportation company to confirm arrangements.
One Week Before The Move
__ Put together a safe box. Empty the contents of your safe deposit box and place them in the safe box. Add important items such as jewelry, passports, social security cards, and other vital information. You’ll personally transport the safe box on moving day.
__ Pack last minute items. Now is the time to pack the toaster, coffee maker, and other items used on a daily basis.
__ Have prescriptions refilled. Make sure you have enough of the medications you’ll need until you have a chance to meet your new doctor in NYC.
Days Leading Up To The Move
__ Pack your suitcases. You will need enough clothes to get you through until boxes are emptied. Now is a good time to get suitcases packed for every member of the family. While they may not have a suitcase, make sure each of your pets has the supplies they need packed and ready to go.
__ Clean the refrigerator and (if needed) defrost the freezer. Whether you’re taking it with you or not, make sure it’s empty and clean. If you’d like, this is one of the jobs a professional cleaning crew can take care of for you. Most of them specialize in move out cleanings that you do not have to worry about.
__ Get payments in order. Think of all the people you’re going to need to pay over the course of your move. In addition to the moving or truck rental company, you may have to pay for a hotel stay, and meals along the road. Go by the bank for any money orders, cashier’s checks, or cash you will need.
__ Enlist a babysitter. If you have young children or pets, make sure someone is looking out for them when the movers are there. Small children and pets are both tripping hazards for the movers and frankly, none of it is much fun for kids or pets.
__ Get generous. There are items — such as alcohol and plants — that a moving company cannot legally transport. Your current neighbors would probably love to be the recipients of both.
Day Of The Move
__ Verify moving company. If you have hired a moving company, make sure the USDOT number painted on the side of the truck matches the number on the written estimate. Verify that your not-to-exceed estimate is going to be honored.
__ Count boxes. Moving-related losses do happen. It’s not uncommon for moving companies to misplace a box or two. Carefully examine the packing slip before signing off on it. Do the same (with even more care) when your belongings are delivered. Once you’ve signed, you’re telling the company that they have delivered everything as promised. If you later realize that something was lost in transit you have no evidence to support your claim.
Like any journey, making the move to NYC begins one step at a time. The only task you need to focus on is the one right before you. Follow along with this checklist and you are sure to get everything done precisely when it should be.