I now know that there are three options when moving apartments in the city. When I was moving out of my Sunset Park apartment, I thought there were only two options. I’ll tell you about those two first, so that you can see where my head was at the time. You’ll have to wait with baited breath for the third option – the “right” option – until tomorrow. Poor you.
So…Options 1 and 2:
The beauty of having lots of space in an apartment – an office, plus a catch-all room – as a single person is that you get the chance to accumulate lots of prized belongings unnecessary items. Unfortunately, when it’s time to leave your palatial space, you have to move your monstrous pile of possessions into your new place. Or you have to part with some of them, which I have a hard time doing. Agent Owens tells me I’m a hoarder. I’m actually not, but when I do spend my money, I buy furniture and home goods that I really love. So, letting go of them if/when I downsize is always hard.
When I moved out of Sunset Park, I moved up to Harlem, and joy of all joys, the place was big enough to hold almost everything I owned. As my interwebs idol, Sherry, from Young House Love would say, “Oh happy day!”
So, once I secured my second “new” place (which I’ll tell you all about, if you stay tuned next week), I got down to planning my move. In my brain, “moving” meant you boxed your stuff up and hired a big moving company to transport everything you own to your new digs. Reasonable, right? I thought so, too. And off I went to call all the moving companies that advertised low rates on TV commercials. Thought process: How much could it cost to move an apartment? Maybe like $300? That’s kind of a lot, but, oh well! Gotta do it!
- R: Oh, hi. I was calling to get a quote for moving my one bedroom apartment.
- Moving company X: Ok. Please list the items you need moved.
- R: 1 couch, 1 overstuffed chair, 1 coffee table, 1 flatscreen, 1 TV stand, 1 tall lamp, 1 short lamp, 1 kitchen table, 1 bookshelf, 1 desk, 1 file cabinet, 5 chairs, 1 mattress, 1 box spring, 3 dressers, 1 vanity table, 2 large mirrors, 1 chaise lounge, 2 plants, 20 boxes…. (insert 50 more things I owned at the time).
- Moving company X: That will be $900.
- R: *GASP*
- Moving company Y: $1000.
- R: *GASP GASP*
- Moving company Z: $100000000000.
- R: Oh shit.
Not gonna work. Ya know how in life they say you should have enough money saved up to cover you’re a$$ for three months? Yea, well I didn’t have enough for one month, let alone an extra $1000 lying around. Option 1, the hire-movers-like-they-do-in-the-movies method, was officially out.
Option 2 was decidedly more labor intensive, and it was all I had (because I didn’t know about the magical Option 3 at the time. Poor me). Option 2 was to rent a U-Haul, round up my friends and family, and move everything from apartment to truck to apartment, the old fashioned way. Thank goodness I have nice friends and family who are always willing to help out!
The U-Haul option is cheap, as moving goes. However, if you don’t have friends and family with some muscle and winning attitudes, you’re looking at a rough time. Heck, even if they do have muscles and a winning attitude it’s not fun. When my dream sofa (read about in in this post) arrived from Crate & Barrel, it was delivered by two lovely gentlemen who practically ran up my stairs with the furniture on their backs. However, getting that dream sofa OUT of the old apartment and IN to the new apartment meant three people needed to hurt their backs.
The crew I had with me included: my dad, my mom, Aunt Betty, and my friends Henry, Amber, and Joe.
The plan was to rent the U-Haul in Connecticut, where my parents live, and where the cost would be lower. My parents would make some trips out to Brooklyn the week before the move to transport as many items as possible to their suburban basement, and the night before the move, they’d load all those items into the truck, to save time on moving day (we’d be starting with a half loaded truck). They’d then drive the truck down to Brooklyn on the morning of moving day, and we’d all load up the rest of the boxes and furniture, to cart all my worldly possessions to Harlem.
Now, you may be wondering, “Why the big rush on moving day?” Well, moving in NYC is not like moving in the rest of the world. If you are moving into or out of an elevator building, there are often time constraints because the elevators need to be shared by everyone in the building. For instance, my building in Harlem required that tenants move between 9 AM and 5 PM, when the rest of the tenants would likely be at work or out of the house. Since I was moving on a weekend, I was allotted a timeframe between 10 AM and 1 PM.
Obviously, we had to begin the move in Sunset Park quite early, in order to finish by 1 PM. We began at 6:30 AM, and finished getting everything out of my old apartment by 8:45. We then paused for beers and cold pizza – the breakfast of champions (see the photo above) – and we were on the road to Harlem by 9:15. We arrived at the new building just before 10:00, and we were finished bringing everything upstairs just before 1:00. If we hadn’t had 7 people working on the job, it may never have gotten done. Well, that’s an exaggeration. But it certainly wouldn’t have gotten done in our allotted time frame.
The total cost for Option 2 – the U-Haul/DIY option – was about $250 in truck and gas fees. Plus about $50 to nourish the helpers. $300 for the whole kit and kaboodle was significantly less than the $900-$1 Gazillion I was quoted by the big moving companies. However, I ate up seven people’s Saturday morning. No good.
So, there you have it. Option 1: way too expensive. Option 2: cheaper, but exhausting. I’m starting to feel like I’m presenting the three houses on House Hunters. Ya know those episodes where the first two houses are SO wrong for the person, that you’re positive they’ll pick #3? That’s where we are in the Happy City Living world. No surprises; Option 3 is clearly the one I’ll pick. But what could option 3 possibly be? Stick around to find out!
Have any disastrous moving stories? Enjoy beer and cold pizza before 9 AM? Share!
Images: Rebecca for Happy City Living (all)