22 votes

I'm moving between apartments soon. Do you have any advice or protips on the logistics of moving?

I've moved plenty of times before, but I've been in my current place for 4 years, which is fairly long for me - most of my adult life I've moved every 1 or 2 years. As a result, I'm sure I've forgotten a lot of the "small but important things" about moving, and I've also gotten more settled into this apartment than any previous one I've lived in.

Details, if they matter:

  • This is a relatively short move (within the same city, about a 15 minute drive)

  • I'm going to be doing all the packing myself, moving small and/or fragile stuff myself, then hiring a moving company for the big stuff (couch, bed, TV, etc) because I don't want to put any of my friends in the position of feeling obligated to come help me move during a pandemic.

  • I've hired movers before, but only for a cross-country move. This will be my first time having a moving company for just an in-town move

I found a previous thread about moving, but it was about adjusting to life in a cross-country move. I'm more interested in the logistics of how to make the move itself go smoothly.

20 comments

  1. [4]
    skullkid2424
    (edited )
    Link
    I'll second the recommendations to go through now and get rid of stuff. Every move is a chance to pare down some of the junk that you've collected since the last move. Donate, sell, or trash as...
    • Exemplary
    • I'll second the recommendations to go through now and get rid of stuff. Every move is a chance to pare down some of the junk that you've collected since the last move. Donate, sell, or trash as you can.
    • Figure out utilities beforehand if possible. Its nice to not have an internet blackout for a few days - though smartphones take away the sting.
    • Figure out where the internet/cable hookups are before you move. That may determine where your TV, desktop, or work-from-home setup goes.
    • For actual packout dates, try to check the weather and have a backup date if possible.
    • Find your tools now and set them aside. You want to have all your screwdrivers and stuff on hand, not packed away.
    • Get a box/crate of cleaning supplies ready and set it aside as well. The magic sponges are super great for getting through grime and scuff marks. But cleaning the old place is a good way to get the security deposit back.
    • Allot a day or two for cleaning depend on how big the place is. Most ovens do a multi-hour self-clean. Cleaning the fridge shelves and sides can make it look pretty new.
    • Prep a basic survival kit for the new apartment - supply a bathroom with hand soap, some TP, and a couple of hand towels. Make sure you have soap/shampoo in your travel kit or make sure that get packed into a box in your car. Have a couple of bath towels too.
    • Finish off any food that you can ahead of time. Eat through some of your cans of soup and veggies so that you don't have to move them. Same for any boxes of hamburger helper or whatever. Its also probably a good time to check for expiry dates on a lot of the longer-term stuff.
    • Assuming you're in the US, go to the US Post Office website and find the mail forwarding thing. It costs a dollar and they will forward all your mail for a year. Any mail that comes in with the wrong address will have a yellow sticker on it - use that to help update your address for all companies and whatnot.
    • Send out your new address to friends/family.
    • As soon as you have access to the new place, you can start swapping addresses in various systems (banks, credit cards, 401k, amazon, etc). You'll likely want to update your billing address on a ton of things as well. It helps to make a list of everything you can think of, and add to it as you remember/discover more. Keep that list around for next move.
    • If you have time, take a half-day to scout out the new neighborhood. You aren't that far away, but try to figure out the nearest grocery stories, delivery places, liquor stores, etc.
    • You aren't going far, but it still might not be a bad idea to take your car in for a checkup beforehand. Do an oil change, make sure nothing is going to break while you move. Make sure you have a portable battery charger (the ones that are the size of your phone and go in your glovebox and can jump start your car). It matters more for further moves, but its nice that you don't need to think about it.
    • Get a couple of extra face masks and keep them in your car.
    • Figure out if you need to update residency and your voter registration.
    • Once you move in, take your time and set things up. Write down any furnishings you need. Give it a couple of weeks to see what you're missing or what space could be filled. Then go to IKEA or wherever and pick up some new stuff.
    • If you don't have a solid pocketknife, it might be a good idea to pick one up. They are super useful after a move.
    • See if your state has any home energy incentive programs. A number of them are available to renters and will provide energy efficient lightbulbs and showerheads and stuff for free.
    • See if your city has a dump or transfer station that you can get access to. Its super useful for getting rid of stuff.
    • For anything that comes apart (beds, furniture, etc) - take before, during and after pictures so you can put it back together. Its also great to have a box of zip lock baggies and a roll of tape so that you can store any screws/bolts/etc and tape it to the furniture. Sharpies to write down where it goes can help too.

    Thats all I can think of from my relatively recent one. Good luck with the move!

    12 votes
    1. whbboyd
      Link Parent
      In my area, this service is provided by the utility company, who operate a heavily-discounted online storefront for customers.

      See if your state has any home energy incentive programs. A number of them are available to renters and will provide energy efficient lightbulbs and showerheads and stuff for free.

      In my area, this service is provided by the utility company, who operate a heavily-discounted online storefront for customers.

      2 votes
    2. Amarok
      Link Parent
      One last suggestion to tack on to this excellent list - check out your internet quality before you move all of your stuff into the house. It's a lot easier to trace it all if you aren't digging...

      One last suggestion to tack on to this excellent list - check out your internet quality before you move all of your stuff into the house. It's a lot easier to trace it all if you aren't digging through overstuffed closets or trying to squeeze behind an entertainment center. I did a simple guide in this old comment.

      2 votes
    3. nathan
      Link Parent
      Regarding updating addresses, make sure to actually delete your old addresses from whatever app (Amazon Grubhub etc). I sent packages and food to my old apartment a couple of times before I wised up

      Regarding updating addresses, make sure to actually delete your old addresses from whatever app (Amazon Grubhub etc). I sent packages and food to my old apartment a couple of times before I wised up

      1 vote
  2. [4]
    Adys
    Link
    Take care of your utilities beforehand. Internet especially, but even electricity might be off if the house is currently not lived in.

    Take care of your utilities beforehand. Internet especially, but even electricity might be off if the house is currently not lived in.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      EgoEimi
      Link Parent
      Indeed this + look into cancelling every local service, like gym membership, ASAP. A lot of membership plans require one month notice — or even one calendar month’s notice. If you cancel at the...

      Indeed this + look into cancelling every local service, like gym membership, ASAP. A lot of membership plans require one month notice — or even one calendar month’s notice.

      If you cancel at the last minute you’ll find yourself on the hook paying for a month of something you won’t be able to use, like I have.

      5 votes
      1. Adys
        Link Parent
        Tip: when the charges sound like bullshit, they probably are, and you can just not pay them. Do this at your own risk, and maybe research them a bit first, but don't blindly pay. Example: I...

        If you cancel at the last minute you’ll find yourself on the hook paying for a month of something you won’t be able to use, like I have.

        Tip: when the charges sound like bullshit, they probably are, and you can just not pay them. Do this at your own risk, and maybe research them a bit first, but don't blindly pay.

        Example: I recently cancelled an insurance plan that was supposed to renew a few months ago. The way I cancelled was by sending an email saying "Hi, I won't renew this insurance plan, please cancel it.".

        They replied with a 3-page PDF saying "please fill this in, in order to cancel it". I didn't (fuck off, I don't have time for their nonsense), and I didn't reply further. They had acknowledged having read my cancellation request, and that is enough.
        When came time to renew, I got a "renewal reminder", saying "we have failed to withdraw payment for this plan". I replied again saying "This has been cancelled per email on date X", and that is the extent of my communication with them.

        They then tried withdrawing payment multiple more times, threatening in a (translated) automated email "If your insurance is cancelled by failure to pay, we reserve the right to charge late payment interests and payment recovery fees".

        You know what that's worth? Fuck all. I could just as well reply to them "I reserve the right to charge you administrative fees for dealing with your bullshit", it'd be 100% as valid.

        3 votes
    2. Parliament
      Link Parent
      I had to go 2 weeks without internet when I moved to an apartment in 2012 because of Comcast shithousery. I was applying for jobs from my phone with a bluetooth keyboard connected to it (before...

      I had to go 2 weeks without internet when I moved to an apartment in 2012 because of Comcast shithousery. I was applying for jobs from my phone with a bluetooth keyboard connected to it (before tethering was ubiquitous) when I wasn't on my laptop at a starbucks. It was so miserable.

      2 votes
  3. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    I'll start with a protip I learned...3 moves ago, maybe 4? Grocery store sushi I love sushi. There's some really good sushi restaurants where I live (Seattle) and so I would usually never get the...

    I'll start with a protip I learned...3 moves ago, maybe 4?

    Grocery store sushi

    I love sushi. There's some really good sushi restaurants where I live (Seattle) and so I would usually never get the pre-made sushi rolls sitting around all day in a cold case of the grocery store deli.

    Then one day, in the middle of a move, I was in a grocery store, walked past that deli case of sushi, and said fuck it, why not. Went back to the apartment I was moving out of, which at that point had almost nothing - no silverware, no kitchen implements of any kind, no furniture.

    I sat on the kitchen floor and ate grocery store sushi with my fingers.

    One of the most satisfying meals of my life.

    Obviously it doesn't need to be exactly grocery store sushi if that's not a thing where you live, which for many people I'm sure it isn't...but in general, I recommend any sort of satisfying comfort food you can eat with your fingers while sitting on the floor of your now-empty old house.

    8 votes
  4. kyotja
    Link
    Something I do that helps me in the pre-move planning stage, specifically to know what to keep and what to get rid off - sketching the new space out. It helps me to visualize what goes where, how...

    Something I do that helps me in the pre-move planning stage, specifically to know what to keep and what to get rid off - sketching the new space out. It helps me to visualize what goes where, how I want things to look, and decide what does and doesn't belong. It's been a deciding factor in several moves where it tips the scale on "should I keep this chair or no"? And it helps me put together a cohesive idea of what I want the new space to look like.

    Doesn't have to be fancy or look good, but putting pen/pencil to paper really helps me think spatially and helps me put my own little fingerprint on things to make it feel like home.

    7 votes
  5. ChuckS
    Link
    I was in the Navy for a while and moving was a way of life then. I would treat thrift stores like furniture portals - when it was time to leave, I'd call the thrift store and they'd come pick up...

    I was in the Navy for a while and moving was a way of life then.

    I would treat thrift stores like furniture portals - when it was time to leave, I'd call the thrift store and they'd come pick up the furniture. Craigslist free anything the thrift store won't take.

    Then move, and when you get to your new place you go out to the new local thrift store and get "your" furniture go. Most thrift stores have comparable quality stuff wherever the location. It's not going to look exactly the same, but that's part of the charm for me.

    Also, if you're actually moving that frequently, I'm going to go against everyone else here and suggest you pack the way I did - don't go through anything before you move. Put everything in boxes, label the boxes well, and just don't unpack at the new place until you need the thing in the box.

    The next time you move, get all the boxes you still have left, don't look inside them, just take them to the thrift store and tell them you'd like to donate what's in the box but you need the box back.

    Whatever is in the box hasn't been used in 1-2 years and it's just clutter you're carrying around. Take the now-empty boxes back to your place and start packing for your new move.

    5 votes
  6. wedgel
    Link
    I've mostly moved long distances but my experiences with in town movers has been pretty good. Your stuff is moved where you want it in a few hours. It's pretty boring though, so grab a book and...

    I've mostly moved long distances but my experiences with in town movers has been pretty good. Your stuff is moved where you want it in a few hours. It's pretty boring though, so grab a book and make sure your laptop is charged. I usually tip the movers cash so if you do that, hit up the bank in advance and get it in denominations that they don't need to split. We often buy our movers pizza as well.

    Go through everything and start throwing shit out. The more you get rid of the easier a move is, unless you have to rebuy.

    Depending on the size of the rooms you probably want to measure things (beds, dressers, desks, etc.) to figure out what rooms to put them in.

    When you start packing things label boxes per room ( I prefer to use colored labels so I can tell the movers 'red goes over here' and 'green goes in that bedroom', that type of thing.) For my work room, I number the boxes and make a list that matches what's in what box. Makes it easier to work on one room at a time.

    You're probably going to be pretty worn out so pack a suitcase with a couple days of clothes, your meds, toothbrush, chargers, etc. and throw it in your vehicle with your financial and tax records( I'm not that trusting). That way no matter what happens you've got your ass covered.

    As stated above, schedule your utility turn ons/ installs in advance.

    Moving is fun and exciting but that day is usually a bit rough so figure out what you're going to do for food in advance.

    4 votes
  7. [3]
    pArSeC
    Link
    If you can afford it, buy a ton of "moving house" boxes (more than you think you will need.). I used to scoff at people who would spend money on something that seemed so trivial and easy to...

    If you can afford it, buy a ton of "moving house" boxes (more than you think you will need.). I used to scoff at people who would spend money on something that seemed so trivial and easy to scavenge as cardboard boxes, but having moved house a dozen or more times, I eventually splashed out and would never go back.

    Having a plentiful supply of big, sturdy, uniform boxes makes things so much easier and quicker than having a few boxes that you've managed to find for free, that are all different sizes and all of varying reliability.

    If you can't afford them, look on places like Freecycle or Craigslist to see if anyone near you has recently moved and is giving theirs away. And ask on social media. And wherever you've got your boxes from, put them on freecycle for someone else after you've finished!

    4 votes
    1. pArSeC
      Link Parent
      Also if the place you're moving out of is a rental: On your last day before handing the keys back, get today's newspaper - a tabloid one with a big, visible front page splash - and take LOTS of...

      Also if the place you're moving out of is a rental: On your last day before handing the keys back, get today's newspaper - a tabloid one with a big, visible front page splash - and take LOTS of photos of the condition of the old flat. Make sure the newspaper headline is clearly visible in every shot. Take pics of inside the kitchen cupboards, inside the oven, all the walls, the carpets, the furniture, the matress, etc etc. This way you can easily prove the condition you left the flat in on the day you moved out, and Landlords can't withold your deposit for BS stuff.

      2 votes
    2. DanBC
      Link Parent
      Yes, absolutely. Also, buy or hire a sack truck to move them. Putting 4 boxes on a trolley that has wheels is almost a super power. Sack trucks can be expensive, but cheap versions are fine too.

      Yes, absolutely. Also, buy or hire a sack truck to move them. Putting 4 boxes on a trolley that has wheels is almost a super power.

      Sack trucks can be expensive, but cheap versions are fine too.

      2 votes
  8. [2]
    edoceo
    Link
    Burn all the old stuff and start over. (I hate moving)

    Burn all the old stuff and start over. (I hate moving)

    3 votes
    1. Akir
      Link Parent
      I know this is a joke, but yeah, you really should use this as an excuse to get rid of as much stuff as possible. Marie Kondo everything. If it doesn’t spark joy, it’s not worth keeping. As a rule...

      I know this is a joke, but yeah, you really should use this as an excuse to get rid of as much stuff as possible. Marie Kondo everything. If it doesn’t spark joy, it’s not worth keeping.

      As a rule of thumb, if your new house doesn’t feel too big after you move, you haven’t done this right. 😺

      3 votes
  9. nacho
    Link
    What stuff do I actually need? What items can I throw out before packing? What items do I have that are just memories? These Items I can just photograph, keep the images then throw out the images....

    What stuff do I actually need?

    • What items can I throw out before packing?
    • What items do I have that are just memories? These Items I can just photograph, keep the images then throw out the images.
    • What things do I think I use but don't? Pack out things as you actually use them to avoid filling storage space with clothes you never wear, and things you don't miss.
    • What things have you considered replacing for a while? A move is a good time to do those replacements.
    3 votes
  10. WendigoTulpa
    Link
    When fixing the holes you made in the wall due to software crashing, make sure you apply the spackle in layers since the inside will never dry if you do one huge clump. If the holes are big...

    When fixing the holes you made in the wall due to software crashing, make sure you apply the spackle in layers since the inside will never dry if you do one huge clump.

    If the holes are big enough, stuff some plastic bags in and then cover it all up with plaster or paris. You'll want thick plaster so it doesn't run, so just use less water than the standard 1:1 ratio. Also, plaster is hard to sand by hand when it dries, so try to spread it as smooth as possible while wet.

    Once you get desperate and give up trying to pack things nicely, just start jamming everything into bags. Once at the new place you can unpack these last by placing them in a closet somewhere.

    If your significant other is moving and you want to break up, make sure you do it AFTER they finish moving, since otherwise it will be hard for them to pack their things when every little piece of paper and receipt reminds them of you.

    3 votes
  11. patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    For a cross-town move, if you have access to your new place before the move-out date for your old one, you can do two very important things: If your livelihood depends on reliable Internet access,...

    For a cross-town move, if you have access to your new place before the move-out date for your old one, you can do two very important things:

    1. If your livelihood depends on reliable Internet access, get service established and tested in your new place before the move. Take your router, connect it to the modem in your new apartment, and be certain you can get service. [We were very fortunate in having access to our new place a month before moving, because that's how long it took Spectrum to repair the line to the house.]

    2. If you have fragile or valuable light-weight items, baggable clothing and bedding, etc., you should hand-move them. You won't be paying movers to break them or wasting time packing them for someone else to carry, then unpacking again. Never trust moving companies to make good on insurance for damaged or lost items, and irreplaceable is just that.

    2 votes