UPDATE: Check out the How to Move Your Garden infographic below!
It’s true, just because you’re moving doesn’t mean you have to say farewell to your garden.
There is actually a myriad of reasons you might want to move your garden. Maybe you purchased a new greenhouse and want to transfer your tomatoes and other vegetables inside before fall sets in. Perhaps you just bought a new home and want to relocate your favorite perennials to the current landscape. Or maybe you simply want to place potted plants into the ground instead.
Whatever the reason, you find the need to move your garden from its present location, which is not something you should do without reading about it first. There are a lot of steps to successfully moving a garden, so get your hoes, your wheel barrels and your expandable hoses ready folks, let’s move!
If you are able, choose the season you move.
The worst time to move a garden is in the heat of the summer. Not only is the dryness damaging to the roots, but the sun is especially hot at that time of year and direct light can cause a great deal of damage. More on this from thespruce.com:
Never leave the roots exposed to sun, heat or wind. It’s tempting to remove all plants from their pots and place them where you want them to go in the garden, but roots will desiccate quickly. Remove each plant just prior to planting.
Provided you aren’t moving into a winter wonderland, any other time is better. Of course, if you have no choice but to move your garden in the heat of summer, there are tips we will include along the way to ensure your garden’s safety.
Mark where everything is going to go first.
Wherever the new location for your garden, be sure to have the spots in which you are going to plant them ready to go ahead of digging out and transplanting. In other words, visually indicate what’s going into them so things don’t get confusing. If you are planting them in bigger pots, make sure the soil is ready to go at the bottom so the transfer will be ready to go. Conversely, if you are planting directly into the ground, make sure your spots are already dug out and big enough before anything is pulled out.
If you are moving in the heat of summer, we suggest dousing these spots with water before transferring the plants. The roots will need the moisture after the shock of being uprooted.
If you aren’t sure exactly where you want to plant, dig trenches and create a temporary nursery for your plants!
Pot, bucket or burlap: get the transportation ready.
If you are moving your garden from one pot to another or if you are moving your potted plants into the ground, skip this step. But if you are moving your garden from one home to another, then you’ll need receptacles that can be also be moved. If basic pots or buckets aren’t available, wrap the root ball in burlap for transporting. The shock of moving is enough to kill a good deal of plants, so it’s important to make sure the transport goes as smoothly as possible.
Use a special watering schedule for soon to be in-transit plants.
It’s important during transportation that you water your plants correctly. Not to mention that watered plants are also easier to remove with the root intact.
First, you should water your garden the night before you plan on moving it so that the plants are well hydrated for the move. This helps them sustain what’s called “the jolt of transit”.
Secondly, don’t go easy on the roots; Soak them well! If by chance you have plants with bare roots (or “naked roots”), the bottoms of these plants need to be submerged in water for two to three hours before being replanted. Here are just a few common bare-root plants to look out for:
Trim excess stems.
It’s suggested you cut off any stems or foliage that are dying or in excess. Doing this will diminish the trauma your plant might experience. However, this isn’t universally necessary for all plants, so use your best judgment!
Dig up using the drip line.
Now it’s time to dig up those plants. But you won’t want to dig into the base of the plant. Doing so risks chopping up a healthy root! Instead, take a hand shovel and dig a ring around the main stem of your plant, carefully paying attention to where the roots are positioned. This is the drip line, otherwise known as the area your plant drips onto the ground, and it’s a great method for digging up plants.
For larger plants, the ring you dig around the plant should be at least 6 inches deep. When you start digging around any size plant you will find that you will likely cut some roots on the way. This is okay, but make sure they are clean cuts, not torn.
Once the ring is dug, use a larger shovel (or several, for larger plants) to pop them out of place. Don’t shake or remove any soil from the root ball, since this will serve as protection. Put your plants into their transportation vehicles to get them ready for their final destinations!
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Re-plant (the right way).
You want to plant your garden in its new location as soon as possible. We would suggest doing it right after you are done uprooting them. If that isn’t possible, then quickly get them into their temporary, transitional home. Just remember, the longer the plant is out, the harder it will be to set.
Before placing your newly removed plants to their new home, you should water the holes and trenches you’ve created. Once you placed water again, gently top the roots off with some soil. Protip: Make sure the soil is solid, but not so dense it smothers the plant.
Reduce stress on the plants.
Once you have your plant in its place, give it a little shower to cool off the leaves. Provide some shade for plants planted in direct sunlight for at least a couple days. You might need to water these plants every day until they grow strong again. If you can do this gentle process in the cooler parts of the day, your plants will thank you for it. Also, if you see anything drooping, water it right away!
Check out our infographic for how to move your garden without killing your plants!
Tim Moore is the lead editor of Backyard Boss and is a lifelong backyard enthusiast. He grew up immersed in the outdoors, camping every weekend and tending to the backyard with his family. Follow Tim and Backyard Boss on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for everyday inspiration for your backyard.
For the first twenty-five years of my life, I lived in the same small town in south Florida. My hometown is nothing short of—well, boring.
While taking online classes at the University of Central Florida (UCF), I decided that in order to finally graduate, I needed to move straight into the heart of UCF. But the college campus is in Orlando and I had never moved more than thirty minutes away from my parent’s house, let alone a big city!
Moving from a small town to a big city can be intimidating. (At least, that’s how the movies make it seem.) However, what I learned from my own big move was that it shouldn’t be, and can actually be affordable – if you know what to do.
Step 1:Establishing a New Job
Step one when you are moving to a new city is to naturally find a job.
If you’re not moving for a career, establishing a new job in a big city was probably the most intimidating aspect of my move, especially since I was still in college.
In my small town, there were just a few chain restaurants here and there, only one hotel, and a handful of locally owned businesses. That’s it. Needless to say, jobs were scarce. (I worked at the same hotel for nearly four years because I heard horror stories about how hard it was to find work.)
Before I moved, I used the site Glassdoor because you can set up filters for the type of work I’m looking for. Every single day, I would submit resumes to jobs I considered accessible and efficient. My advice? Don’t be picky about the kind of job you start off with when you get to your new, big city home. You literally can’t afford to be.
Even if you aren’t a student like I was, one line of work I highly recommended is serving. Why? I needed to find something that would allow me to pay my budgeted rent and the ability to buy groceries without committing to forty hours a week. Serving not only teaches you humility, but it’s the easiest line of work to fall into; there are typically tons of opportunities, it’s an easily transferable trade, and the money isn’t bad, either.
Here are a few hacks to remember for getting a job in a big city:
Sign up for job search websites, such as Glassdoor
Schedule as many phone interviews as you can before you move
But don’t start taking interviews until you are 1-3 months away from your move date
For any in person interviews, let your potential employer know you are traveling for potential travel reimbursement
Calculate an exact starting so you can cite it for all your potential employers
Step 2: How to Budget for the Big City Prices
It can be hard to decipher what amount of rent you will be able to afford if you haven’t even started your new job. This was stressful for me at first, but I figured out a trick!
I saved up the equivalent of three months’ worth of rent so that I would have everything covered. I did this by saving 10% of my weekly earnings for my Big Move a year (yep, 12 months!) before I planned on moving.
An easy way to keep track of your money is to practice using a personal finance management app on a regular basis. There are plenty, but personally, I like to use Mint because it helps track what is going in and out of my bank account. (Which means I can see when I’ve been whipping out my debit card too much.) You can also set various different budgeting goals so you can start saving for your Big Move and traveling expenses.
I also set simple budgeting stipulations for myself that I implemented to last from the year before I moved, until the year after I moved.
During this time, my budget was strict, but worth it in the end. Here are the key components you need to keep track of:
Rent and Utilities: 35% of income
Life (food, gas, etc): 25% of income
Transportation: 15% of income
Debt Repayment (yes, get a credit card): 15% of income
Savings: 10% of income
Protip: Affording an Apartment
It was actually really easy to find a home within my budget. Unlike my hometown, Orlando has an insane amount of living options! Initially, I started by looking for studio apartments by UCF (there were a lot). But then I discovered Roomsurf, which lead me to find fellow students in need of roommates. It was a lot better (and safer) than using Craigslist.
I got to bunk with a fellow English major and met some of my best friends at my apartment complex. This was another great thing; I didn’t have to live in student housing, but I still lived around people my age.
Here are some things to keep in mind for you Big City home search:
Intricately figure out your rent budget before you start looking
Include three months’ worth of rent money in your savings (just in case)
Budget for traveling expenses and plan one full weekend to look at houses/apartments nonstop
Look for low-income housing, often near a city’s major college campuses
Find a roommate using Roomsurf, or another roommate app
Rather than bring my baby photo albums and soccer trophies to my new, big city abode, I realized that there were some items that would be best left at my parent’s house. I also realized how much stuff I actually had! This meant either multiple trips or a pretty hefty moving truck rental.
Instead, I decided it was time to condense. Rather than dumping off a box of used clothes at Goodwill for them to make a profit, I found a way to use my old stuff to raise money for my Orlando move.
I hosted a garage sale. Then, I sold the remainder of my clothes to my local Plato’s Closet, a brick-and-mortar shop that will pay you for your slightly worn name brand clothes. What they didn’t want, I listed and sold on Poshmark. (Poshmark is a digital marketplace that allows to list and sell your subtly worn garments.)
Boom! Just like that, I was ready to start fresh, and I even had money in my pocket to fund my Big Move.
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Protip: Affording Movers
Let’s face it, if you’re trying to save money, you probably aren’t going to drop a few grand on professional movers.
But after I went through all the effort to sell a lot of my stuff, all I needed to do was haul a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen’s worth of essentials in a small rental truck. So instead of getting some big moving company quote, I just got my rental truck separately and hired a couple movers à la carte, to save a lot of money.
How did it work? After packing all my stuff, they got it all loaded into my truck for me (plus my annoyingly heavy couch). Then, I drove my truck to my new place in Orlando with the movers following behind me. After I got there, they just opened up my truck and got it all upstairs to my new place.
Since it only took a couple hours, the whole process only cost me a couple hundred bucks on HireAHelper, which honestly saved my moving day and was way, way worth it for the cost.
Now I’m a City Girl!
Moving to a city completely different from your own will take some getting used to. However, it is a far easier feat than most people realize. If you are looking to move to your nearby metropolis, I highly recommend it. Just like any move, it just takes some budgeting and ambition to get the wheels turning. And with these little tips and tricks up your sleeve, you will be fully equipped to make the Big Move all on your own.
Tiffani is a writer and a dreamer who moved to the big city to explore her opportunities. She has a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing from UCF and likes to travel. She also likes to watch Marvel films while researching social media marketing tips and cuddling with her pup, Lady Pug.
Can Movers Help You With Other Stuff Besides Moving?
If you thought moving companies do nothing but put all your stuff on a big truck, you’d be right—if you were living sometime in the distant past.
Today’s moving companies are constantly expanding their range of services and offering them all à la carte. That half-job or heavy lifting you need help with? Sure, you can try begging and bribing your friends, or you can call up a few movers in your area. You might be surprised at what they can help you with.
So What Else, Exactly, Can Movers Help With?
More than you can probably imagine. Heck, you don’t even need to be moving to have them give you a hand! More and more, people are turning to moving companies for all kinds of tasks too big to tackle alone. Movers make great day laborers, for things like:
Clearing out your garage or basement
Having a couple of sets of hands to move stuff while you figure out whether it goes to the curb or your cousin’s house or back into the garage can save you an entire weekend (if your garage looks anything like mine)
This also applies to attics, sheds, or anywhere
Hauling individual furniture from Point A to Point B
From your house to the curb; from your bedroom to the basement; to that cousin’s house; to the municipal trash dump; to your local secondhand store or consignment shop
Moving everything out of the room you are repainting or remodeling
And then moving it back when you are done
Hauling stuff to your home from the furniture store
Or from your second cousin’s house, or from the garage of the guy selling that big beautiful piano on craigslist
Movers can (and often will) also take care of those jobs tangential to a move:
Even if you’ve managed to tackle your entire move on your own, you may be left with a mountain of unwanted cardboard boxes and unusable packing paper that you just don’t want to deal with. Movers, however, see gold in those mountains. So try giving them a call.
Protip: Most movers tend to charge for a minimum of two hours of labor, due to scheduling their business hours. This is not by any means a hard and fast rule, but make sure you ask before you book your help.
Can I hire movers to JUST help me load and unload my U-Haul?
Renting a truck or a moving container and hiring moving labor for all the heavy lifting is a huge trend—and for good reason. You save a ton of money by renting your own truck, and you save your back by hiring movers.
À la carte movers often:
Bring all the equipment
Have all the knowledge necessary to do the job right
Pack stuff you need packed, wrap stuff you need to be wrapped
Load it all up safely and securely
You drive your U-Haul (or Penske or Budget), or have your portable container delivered, and a fresh crew of movers unloads everything at your new home. This is what we call a Hybrid Move. As far as moving goes, it’s the best of both worlds. And it’s what HireAHelper movers do best.
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Protip: If you are moving locally, your movers may be able to rent you moving blankets for a small fee. But if you are moving out of the area, you might be able to rent them from your rental truck company. You may, however, have to buy them. Just please don’t move without them!
Can my movers do my entire move?
Yes, of course. Your traditional Full Service moving company will handle the whole moving enchilada if that is what you want, including packing up your entire home, right down to your last box of biscuits. This is the easiest way to move. It is also by far the most expensive.
Movers Know Best
Of course, we can’t tell you what’s best for you. But we can say with total confidence that movers know how to best handle your stuff. Whether it’s a single item job or a few pieces of heavy furniture; whether you’re moving one room or one door down or one hundred miles away; whether you need loading help, unloading help, or both, hiring moving labor is the best and most economical way to make sure your belongings are taken care of.
If you’re not sure what to do, that’s cool. Calling a mover and asking a few questions costs nothing. And it could end up saving you a lot.
Where you grow up not only determines a lot of your personality (and what you like), but it can determine your overall quality of life too.
There can be drastic differences between someone who grew up in New York vs. Los Angeles … and the difference is even more striking if you grew up in a different country with a different culture. After all, a child in Bangkok will have a drastically different experience than one growing up in Ireland.
Life Comparison Tool
Have you ever imagined what your life would be like if you moved somewhere vastly different from where you are now? Where would you choose to live? What would you spend your time doing? How would life be easier or more difficult?
Comparing things like life expectancy, unemployment rate, average purchasing power, median age and access to the internet can give you a better idea of how other cultures live. So we built this handy tool to let you do just that!
Start by picking your “country of origin” by choosing it from the list below. Next, pick the country you’d like to compare it to and analyze the different statistics.
Feel free to mix and match as you choose—be curious!
You are years olderyounger.
You are % lessmore likely to have AIDS.
Your country would have % lessmore debt.
Your nation would spend % lessmore on education.
You would have % lessmore free time.
You would make % lessmore per year.
You would have % lessmore saved.
Your country would be % lessmore active on the internet.
Chances are, there are movers near you who can help you move that fridge, bed, or whatever else makes your back ache by the mere thought of picking it up. But if you can’t find the right help, or if you and your back feel up to the task, then keep reading—we’ve got you covered!
The First Step to Moving Heavy Furniture
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Okay, that’s a little weird, but moving heavy furniture is the same idea. You gotta really, really prepare.
Before you roll up your sleeves and start picking stuff up, you’ll want to do a few things:
Clear as wide of a pathway as you can
Measure that your furniture isn’t too big to go through that path
Mark a clear, physical end point where you will drop the item
The great news is that many movers across the country will offer to disassemble any furniture that might need it in order to be moved. All you have to do is ask if your local mover offers the service.
If you’re disassembling furniture all yourself, there are plenty of basics to know when taking off table legs, moving desks, or detaching a flat screen tv.
The Most Important Basics When it Comes to Disassembly
When removing table legs, immediately reattach whatever nuts and bolts were holding the leg in place after the leg is off. This keeps screws from disappearing
Always use a screwdriver with a magnetic head when unscrewing flat screen tv mounts, as losing important screws is extremely easy to do
Dresser mirrors always get removed and properly packed up. Any undetachable dresser mirrors require tons of special attention to move
Dining room chairs aren’t often designed to be taken apart easily, if at all. But if you have chairs with exposed bolts or screws, you may be able to disassemble them
The above just scratches the surface of what professional movers with experience know about moving furniture and disassembling furniture. You’ll learn plenty, just like I did, by trying to do it yourself.
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The furniture in your home didn’t just grow there, right? It had to have been carried in.
But the one exception to the “furniture doesn’t grow there” concept is IKEA-like furniture, or in other words, most anything you had to assemble yourself.
Full Service moving companies will generally refuse to move customer-assembled furniture made of pressboard. This is because such furniture was designed to be assembled, put in place, and never ever moved again. Any customer requesting their pressboard bookcase (or pressboard anything) be professionally moved usually has to sign a waiver stating they understand it will very likely get destroyed and the movers will assume zero responsibility for the destruction.
If you have any pressboard furniture or any furniture that – be honest with yourself – is generally cheap and flimsy, consider selling it or giving it away. Moving it costs time and money and will more than likely turn it into an unusable piece (or pieces) of trash.
At some point during the move-out process, you’ll need to wrap your furniture so it doesn’t get scratched, gouged and cracked into oblivion.
Cloth furniture pads (also known as “moving blankets”) are what movers use, and we highly recommend them. Wrapping your furniture before you carry it through your home and out the door can help protect it against incidental dings in the doorway and, quite possibly, holes in your walls.
No true professional mover will ever dream of transporting heavy furniture without furniture pads.
Protip: Moving pads can make it hard to keep a firm grip on your furniture. I always preferred to wrap everything in the staging area, or right there on the truck.
The Most Important Basics When it Comes to Wrapping Furniture
Wrapping a refrigerator or a bookcase is pretty straightforward. Wrapping a non-rectangular item like a sofa or a chair can be a challenge.
The key is to secure your furniture pads neatly and tightly, covering every surface except, in general, the bottom side
You mostly need to just make sure the pads don’t come off. Some movers use shipping tape to keep their pads in place, while others use shrink wrap. Both are effective but costly (not to mention a little wasteful). That’s why other movers use big rubber bands called “mover’s bands”. They are versatile and reusable for applications far beyond moving furniture (like, say, wrapping an office chair)
To secure those pads, whether you use tape, shrink wrap or those big rubber bands, just remember: avoid putting tape or shrink wrap directly on your furniture’s surfaces
How Many Furniture Pads Do I Need?
For reference, furniture pads the pros use measure 72” x 80”, give or take.
End tables, small bookcases, and dining room chairs usually only need one (1) pad; most furniture needs two (2), while things like sofas, really large dressers, even some big headboards need three (3) apiece.
How many furniture pads do you need, then? Your best bet is to go from room to room, check how many things you have that need to be wrapped, note how many pads each item will require to cover their surface, then tally it all up. (To be safe, you might want to tack on a half dozen more!)
How Do Pros Move Furniture Through Doorways?
If your sofa is too wide to fit through a doorway in your home, there are a few things you can do.
The simplest is to tilt it 45 degrees (more or less) so the front edge of the seat cushions and the top of the back of the couch are aligned vertically. This will make the bottom rear edge of the couch look like it is sticking further out, but all you geometry lovers out there will appreciate how this actually makes the couch narrower.
If your couch is still too wide, try standing it on end and curling it through.
Laying down a blanket first will help you smoothly and safely slide your couch through the doorway. Ease the top back edge through first, then curl the sofa around the side of the doorway closer to the seat cushions as you slip the rest of the couch through. (You can also push it through seat cushion edge first.) This same strategy can be used when trying to get oversized easy chairs through a seemingly too-narrow door.
If you find you need a few extra inches of clearance before your sofa will pop through that doorway, try removing the legs or feet.
Even though they are sometimes nothing but short squares of wood, I’ve found on many occasions that taking them off is the difference between success and a damaged door jamb. On occasion, I’ve had to actually remove a door from its hinges in order to get a couch out the door. While not difficult, you will need a flat head screwdriver and a hammer to coax those hinge pins out, and a couple of extra sets of hands to keep the door in place until those pins pop free.
Moving Furniture Up and Down Stairs
Hauling large pieces of furniture – more importantly, heavy pieces of furniture – down a flight of stairs is a dangerous proposition if you don’t take it slow (and smart).
Make sure you have a strong friend (if not two) on the lower end as you go down (or up) the stairs. Take those steps one at a time. Rest as often as need be, simply by laying that dresser or bookcase down, right on the stairs. Just make sure it doesn’t start sliding!
Watch for walls, banisters, and hanging light fixtures
It’s easy when you’re watching your feet to forget about everything else. And that, I can tell you, includes your knuckles!
When sliding items around corners on landings, use a blanket underneath
When doing so, put a blanket down to make the sliding process easier and to avoid damaging that dresser and/or the floor. If the floor is carpeted, the item is really heavy, or if the surface it is resting on is uneven, try walking that thing forward – using small, slow, easy steps
4-wheeler: A 4-wheeler is great for moving large, heavy items over long flat distances. Two main things to watch for: your piece of furniture is resting firm and balanced, and that the wheels, usually black rubber, aren’t marking or scuffing your floors.
Hand truck: A hand truck has two wheels and a metal plate on which to rest your furniture, and a long upright surface with handles. Their soft-ish wheels let you move heavy items up and down stairs and across uneven surfaces all by yourself. However, we highly recommend having a second set of hands at the lower (bottom) end of that piece of furniture any time you are negotiating stairs.
Appliance dolly: An appliance dolly is basically a heavy-duty hand truck with a strap to secure in place the refrigerator, washing machine, dryer or whatever. Despite its name, an appliance dolly can absolutely be used to haul furniture.
This All Seems Hard. Are There Furniture Movers Near Me, Just In Case?
Most likely, yes!
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It is said, “Once you make it in New York, you can make it anywhere”. I don’t know if “making it” is a skill I can sell, but let’s just say after years of living in the Big Apple, I’ve got a pretty strong resume.
And hey, I didn’t want all of my knowledge to go to waste. So I polled our moving experts, put our heads together, and crafted a guide to one of the most difficult (but rewarding!) undertakings you may ever experience: moving to New York City.
Believe it or not, moving to New York City – and thriving once you get there – requires, above all else, a different mindset. Read on to learn much more, or skip to what you’re looking for; this is a comprehensive guide meant to be explored.
To make the most of moving to New York City, the first thing you need to have is a new mindset. Key qualities of this mindset include being:
Ask yourself, if someone challenged Steve Jobs to move to New York City as a young man with only $3,000 in his bank account, what would Steve do?
Steve would plot his own, unique course.
The rest of this article will help you plot your own course and cultivate a “warrior mindset”, starting with:
How to physically move into New York
How to rent an apartment in New York
How to enjoy life in New York
One note of caution, though: this isn’t totally a how-to article, because there is no single “how-to do it” when it comes to New York, there’s only how to think about it.
“The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people’s opinions.”
– Paulo Coelho
You’ll have to devise your own steps to take, starting with knowing when to move to New York City.
When to Move to New York City
If you have been blessed with a place to stay in the city, a sublet from a friend, an employer’s corporate apartment, then you can skip this part.
Are you an average person moving to New York City? Most everyone agrees that April is the best “first-month” to move to New York City.
Normal months to
move to New York City
January – No
February – No
March – No
April – Yes
May – Yes
June – No
July – No
August – No
September – Yes
October – Yes
November – No
December – No
Crazy months to
move to New York City
January – No
February – No
March – No
April – No
May – No
June – Yes
July – Yes
August – Yes
September – No
October – No
November – Yes
December – Yes
This solution to extreme heat is not practical while apartment hunting in NYC.
As Paulo Coelho points out, don’t go ahead and move prematurely, but definitely don’t miss your window. To some extent, your own window will depend on your personal life, but it will also depend heavily on the weather.
You might believe that weather doesn’t matter, that you are hardy, and because you grew up in Saskatchewan or Texas that temperature is no big deal to you. Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t matter how hardy you are.
Why Weather Matters For More Than Comfort
One of the biggest benefits to scheduling your move to New York is how many hours in the day you have to view apartments. The closer to the vernal equinox you position yourself, the better off you are. You want the most daylight possible.
But as the chart earlier might suggest, being crazy confers a three-month advantage over being uncrazy.
But the problem with heat is that it makes you unpresentable to potential landlords no matter how meticulous your planning. Ride-sharing will partially mitigate your troubles, but not entirely. Why? Often there will be multiple stories to ascend by stairs and the apartment won’t have AC when you finally step inside it. Plus, there may be 10 to 50 other warm bodies sharing the same tight space!
If you do amazingly well in hot humid weather and tight spaces, if you’re not prone to sweat, if you’re in good physical shape, if you have a ton of energy and discipline, and if you like paying more for movers, by all means, move to New York in the summer.
Otherwise, the classic spring/fall pattern applies to you.
How to Rent an Apartment in the City
There are two million apartments rented in New York City, so this should be easy, right?
Just a quick preface and disclaimer: I’m not going to tell you where specifically to live or move to in New York City. So much of that depends on you and your unique personality, means and needs. This is the only place you need to do your own research, and it’s easy to find places with opinions on the matter.
Having said that, if you are an adventurous person and want to replicate the spirit of moving to the East Village in the 60s, West Brooklyn in the 80s or Astoria Queens in the 90s, you may want to dig a little deeper. Downtown Manhattan in 2020? Meh. Some would say it’s not even “really” New York City anymore. (Of course, people have probably said that for decades, so it’s all relative).
How Much Does an Apartment in New York City Cost?
Zumper reports the average cost to rent a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,890 and a 2-bedroom is $3,330. Oh yeah, don’t move to New York City without a great cashflow or huge savings. There are definitely more and less expensive options, but that’s the modern-day going rate.
What Does a “No Fee Apartment” in NYC Mean?
Surprising to few, brokers play a big part of the New York City apartment life. When someone sells an apartment to rent or buy, they often incorporate the broker’s (roughly) five percent fee into their asking price. As brickunderground.com puts it:
Believe it or not, here in New York City, renters pay broker fees too. There are rentals that come without broker fees (and websites dedicated to helping you find them), but these deals tend to either be in less-than-great shape buildings, or for higher-end luxury apartments where the landlord either employs her own leasing agents or pays the fees of outside brokers herself. If you’re determined to avoid the broker’s fee, be prepared to do some digging.
If a landlord pays the fee for you, or there isn’t a fee, the place us usually listed as a “no fee apartment”. And it may or may not be worse off for wear. If the landlord doesn’t pay the broker fee themselves, that’s when the apartment is advertised as having some sort of “renting fee”. Make sense?
Wherever you decide to live, and especially if you’re targeting almost anywhere in Manhattan or Western Brooklyn or Queens, there are some fundamental hacks that I suggest you adopt.
And don’t forget to don your warrior mindset.
Cash Is King
What’s the largest amount of cash you’ve held on your person? For me, it was the $4,000 in cash I carried on me to secure an apartment on first sight. There is nothing like pulling out an envelope full of cash and putting it into a stranger’s hands.
For most places in Brooklyn, Queens and Upper Manhattan, apartments require first-month rent, last month’s rent, and deposit. But first and deposit in cash is usually good enough to secure your apartment. This is even truer when you have all the paperwork ready in advance. More on that later.
By the way, if you somehow have the runway to offer greater than a six-month deposit, you have a good chance of beating out the competition. (That’s how things work in NYC.)
Being Prepared (and Being First) Is Queen
Old-timers still tell you to check the Village Voice, a Sunday print weekly, whose early editions you could grab a copy of by waiting by newsstands on Saturday night. But those days are long gone; first, they shut down the print edition, long an integral part of New York culture and life, and by now they’ve shuttered the entire magazine.
So how do you get an edge if everyone has access to the same Craiglist listings as you do? There are many ways, but the keys are having cash, being supremely prepared, and being first. Here’s the breakdown:
Have a $3,000 to $7,000 cash deposit on your person, depending on your target apartment. (Use 100-dollar bills and keep your grip in a cloth passport wallet under your clothes)
Create a printed packet that includes:
Rental resume, including references
Professional resume, including references
Credit score (Yes, they will run their own, but this will set you apart and build trust)
Background check (Same as above)
Bank statements and/or pay stubs
Color photocopies of your ID
Show up dressed nicely and as mentally prepared as if you were on an important job interview
Rely on vehicle transport, so that you will likely be the first person on site
Be decisive – nobody wants to wait a long time on your decision
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Be ready to go at 8 a.m in your target neighborhood; as soon as a new apartment is posted on Craigslist there, get a rideshare directly to that place. I recommend rideshares – or maybe taxis – because (a) you won’t have to worry about parking, and because (b) you can speak to apartment representative en route.
Show that you are prepared and mean business by using a checklist of questions you need to ask to feel good about putting down a deposit. Try not to bog them down with less important questions like, “How far is the subway?”.
Easy, right? Of course it’s not easy. Nothing about this is easy, which is why you will experience an extremely satisfying feeling of accomplishment once you land an ideal New York apartment.
Congratulations in advance.
The “CC a Lawyer” For Your Lease Hack
Renting – and existing within – a NYC apartment is sort of a low-key battle of wills between you and the landlord, unfortunately. Even if you seem to have reached a stasis point in which a long-term lease has been signed, there may still be some lingering, tacit demands put upon you. I hope this doesn’t happen to you, but better safe than sorry.
Here’s some common demands that sometimes come up from your landlord after you sign your lease:
You must sort your recycling by such-and-such an hour of the day, on “X” day of the week
Your friends can only stay over three days, not seven
You can’t have a pet
You must pay the rent on the last day of the month, not the first day of the month, despite what the lease may say
The apartment above you hosts the landlord’s family member, who hosts raucous poker games five nights a week
Here’s the thing about these kinds of subtle demands: they are tests of your will. As a New York veteran, let me tell you: do not give in, do not show weakness. Show strength. And the best way to do that is to have a lawyer.
Yes, simply hire a New York-based lawyer, partly to consult on your rights as a tenant, which are considerable in New York City, and partly to subtly say to your landlord: don’t mess with me.
What’s the easiest way to maintain your renter rights? Simply CC your lawyer on all your correspondence with your landlord.
How To Get Around New York
This is really easy. Just raise your hand and get in. No phone necessary.
First of all, don’t drive. Just don’t do it. Perhaps when you first arrive, from New Mexico, or Edmonton, or Dallas, Texas, or wherever you hail from, you can take one bleary-eyed, death-defying trip up Manhattan. You might enter off I-84 through the Holland Tunnel, to Broadway, and then all the way up. Map it, you’ll figure it out.
But the first order of business with your car is to find a place to park it. More on that later in the Hudson Valley Hack.
If you move to New York City and don’t use (a) the subway and (b) NYC taxis, you’re doing it wrong. Why is that? Primarily because both transport modes offer you a uniquely New York experience, and they’re there for a reason.
The Subway Experience
Plainly spoken, getting your subway card should be the first thing you do as a resident. It’s the most practical way to get around the city.
But it’s not just a transportation method, it’s a living theatre. There is no metro train system in the world, let alone in the United States, that provide as much musical talent and other entertainment as the New York subway system.
Consider the enormous quantity of performers who have performed in on the NYC subway. In recent years artists like John Legend, U2 and Maroon 5, along with hundreds more signed artists of less renown.
Fast forward to today and you can experience a golden age. There are on average 13,000 live performances per year on the New York Subway system – don’t miss it!
Also safe? The taxi system. This includes all taxi services, but I’m referring specifically to the legendary yellow cab taxi system, a traditional way to experience living in and getting around the city.
Not to cast aspersions on ride-sharing services based on apps, but when there is enough volume of taxis, taxis become several magnitudes more convenient. This is where NYC has so much in common with European cities. In many parts of the city, all you need to do to get a ride is put up your hand. (And it doesn’t hurt to be aggressive.)
Part of the fun of this is getting preempted by other ride hailers. You will quickly learn to claim the forward most, and most visible, location of your city block in order to be first in line. You will also learn to share. And here’s the best part: you will learn to speak to a stranger about his or her life. Can you do this on Lyft and Uber? Yes, of course, but you won’t wonder whether they’re just buttering you up for a five-star rating.
What’s a Moving Container? A Guide for Everything You Need to Know
You Must Walk
“Walking is the best way to see a city.”
– William Helmreich
Finally, if you like to walk, you’re in luck!
You should walk as often as you possibly can, to as many places as you possibly can. (Biking is fine too, but cars will not watch out for you all that well.) I will spare you the sermon on the social and health benefits and put it down to this: walking is the best way to discover New York City, no matter what your borough, or where your neighborhood.
You may try to discover New York City through an app, a website, or recommendations, or even articles like this one, but all these methods fall short. The best places you’ll find will come from exploration by foot.
As you will see from the video below, William Helmreich and his partner in crime, Matt Green, are happily and blissfully walking every single block of New York City.
Now, you can cheat if you like and limit your walks to your neighborhood or wherever you end up. And that’s fine too, because if the chances are very high that there is something very interesting to see and someone interesting to talk to.
Which brings us to the next great way to hack moving to New York City.
The Hudson Valley Hack When Moving to New York
If you’re not from the tri-state area then you’ll have no idea what “Hudson Valley” means. But you’ll probably have heard of its most famous town: Woodstock.
And now you’re thinking, “Why Woodstock? I want to live in the New York City; I’m not moving across the country to live in bucolic farmland, to drink kelp-oatmeal smoothies!”. Fair point.
Here’s why this place matters: for those of you who either (a) don’t have a place to live in the city or (b) need a place to park your vehicle, the Hudson Valley can be your temporary friend; it’s the perfect staging ground from which to enter the city. Not Woodstock itself because it’s become very expensive, but the rest of the Hudson Valley. It roughly begins with Poughkeepsie and ends somewhere well south of Albany, around towns like Saugerties.
Here’s what you’ll find in the Hudson Valley:
The possibility of a reasonably priced short-term rental. If you look at a map of the area, you’ll see a very few places that are an hour or two from the city with lower rent. Not Long Island, not Connecticut. What does that leave? Jersey. (Enough said. Sorry, Jersey.)
A train which will take you from places like Rhinecliff to Grand Central Terminal, the heart of Manhattan in less than two hours
Reasonably-priced food which still bears the influence of the city. For example, incredible lox and bagel sandwiches.
And here’s a protip for those of you score a Manhattan apartment but have nowhere to park your vehicle (for less than $2,000/month, anyway): park it in public parking in Poughkeepsie and merely hop on the train when you feel like escaping for a country weekend. Your vehicle will be waiting.
How to Make Friends in New York
As they say, everyone in New York is from somewhere else. Well, it turns out that nothing could be more untrue, actually.
The truth behind that saying is that everyone from somewhere else tends to interact with other people from somewhere else.
Don’t be that New Yorker. Don’t be the tourist in Cancun who never utters a word of Spanish, the backpacker in South East Asia who only consorts with other backpackers in South East Asia or the exchange student in Europe who hangs out only with other Americans. The version of that person exists far too frequently in New York City.
There are dating apps, meet up sites, and hobbyist groups. Sure, use them. But don’t ever underestimate the power of exploring on foot and talking to people in person when the opportunity arises.
There is also a misconception that New Yorkers are unfriendly. In downtown Manhattan, sure, everyone is in a rush – and wary of wasting time with a stranger. But its many nooks and crannies of the city, you will find very friendly, very native New Yorkers. These are some of the most complex and interesting people on planet Earth.
Which brings us the last reason you should get to know the natives: some of them are simply amazing storytellers.
I once knew a native New Yorker named Phil who worked in the transit police force. Part of his job was to patrol the subways, which are mysteriously labyrinthine. But I can’t do a single one of Phil’s stories justice, so you’ll have to uncover your own.
And you’re in luck – their favorite storytelling subject is the city itself.
Where to Shop, Visit and Find Peace in New York City
Katz’s Jewish Delicatessen – who hasn’t eaten here?
Food? Create your own New York Menu
A quick word on food: earlier in the guide, we talked about the importance of walking to discover your own personal version of the New York City—one that you uncover yourself.
That’s truer of dining than anything else. Longtime residents will tell you, rightly, that the remarkable diner culture is steadily disappearing.
C’est la vie. It’s been well documented in New York City that the remarkable diner culture of yore is disappearing. (Oddly enough, you might be a little more likely to find it, or traces of it, upstate; hence the Hudson Valley hack.)
On the flipside, chefs from all over the world continue to create the most diverse and accessible dining scene in the world at every possible price point.
So rather than lament missing out on the past, in addition to a few recommendations I’ll make, I advise you to create your own, new institutions. (But for old time’s sake – and while you still can – stop by the Veselka Diner at 4:30 a.m. on a tipsy mid-January night when it’s 27 degrees Fahrenheit out. And stuff yourself.)
Which Tourist Areas in New York Are Worth It
While the food and entertainment landscape can be – and is – constantly remade, the city is having a harder time recycling its fundamental public spaces (and some private ones). City planners, architects and New York’s great patrons of the Robber baron era had so much foresight, talent and commitment, even the gigantic maw of 21st Century commercialism has barely dented their majestic legacies.
So please enjoy these timeless and essential fixtures of New York. They will bring you an escape from crass commercialism and some solace from noise and insanity.
As long as you’re wise enough not to go to them on a weekend.
The Brooklyn Promenade
Have you ever seen marvelous photos of the Manhattan skyline? Chances are that it was taken from the Brooklyn Promenade. The promenade is less popular than you’d think; I’ve met many New York residents who have never been. Here’s something to keep in mind: the point is not to promenade but to sit! Every native Brooklynite who appreciates beauty has been. There’s something to that.
Best time to visit: Daybreak on any day of the week when the forecast says clear skies. Anytime after hours.
The Brooklyn Bridge
One of the many marvels of man the Brooklyn Promenade provides a view of is the Brooklyn Bridge. But the best way to experience is to walk across it yourself. And yes, it’s open all year-round. Don’t be that person who moves to New York and never actually visits the Brooklyn Bridge, except crossing it in a car.
Best time to visit: Any time after a fresh snowfall. (Unless you’re close to Central Park; then go to there instead.) Also, any beautiful day in spring or fall during a weekday for spectacular views.
The New York Public Library
As you will see when you visit it, the NYPL is a library also an architectural masterpiece. Yes, it’s overcrowded, but what venue this gorgeous isn’t? It’s more easily accessible than the British Library in London and has beautiful interiors in which to read, write and reflect.
Best time to visit: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on a Monday during a sunny day.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Like its sibling, the Museum of Natural History, the Met (not to be confused with the opera) is in a class of its own among world museums. I visited this museum for 30 days in a row at one point, but was still unable to truly appreciate the breadth of its collection. It contains art and design from every part of the world and every era of human history.
Best time to visit: 10 a.m. to noon on a Monday or Tuesday, or between 6-9 p.m. on Fridays. Any time of year.
The “Flagship” Barnes and Nobles on Union Square
I put flagship in quotes because this isn’t the actual flagship Barnes and Nobles. (That one closed down in 2014.) But it is the biggest and perhaps the best. It was here where Ursula K. LeGuin revealed her favorite book to a shocked audience (we’ll tell you why in the comments). It’s no Powell’s books (Portland), but it’s certainly “wander-worthy” and a good place to pass a couple of hours.
Best time to visit: Weekday mornings and late evenings, during the winter.
The Strand Bookstore
For the purist who would never set foot in a Barnes & Nobles, you are in luck. The Strand – long hailed by the literati as the world’s greatest bookstore – sits right in heart of lower Manhattan, only a stone’s throw from the aforementioned “flagship” Barnes & Noble on Union Square. It has three times the character, too, but a little too crowded for my taste. This is a great place to actually, you know, find a very good book.
Best time to visit: Precisely between 9:30 a.m. and 9:37 am on a Tuesday morning, the only time it isn’t busy.
The West 4th St Basketball Court
“Portrait of a Park”, Simeon Soffer
Yes, there are other courts with perhaps “better” basketball, like the famous Rucker’s. But there is no court which remains as ensconced right smack in the heart of a lower Manhattan neighborhood like this one. You can walk here from NYU, The Strand, Soho, even Chelsea; it lies in the heart of the West Village.
But the best is to stumble upon inadvertently and spectate through the fence for a few minutes. And the quality of play can be tremendous (or ridiculous) if you get lucky.
Best times to visit: Spring, summer, or fall on a weekend afternoon.
Joe’s Pizza, on Carmine St.
If you get hungry while watching basketball at the West 4th st. court, this is the place to eat, and it’s just around the block. Who knows how long it will last in its current non-gentrified incarnation. But Joe’s Pizza has reigned as the epitome of fresh-served thin slice New York pizza since, by all accounts, the 1960s. That’s a remarkable run in a city whose food landscape is constantly remade. (Recent Google reviews qualifying it as “dingy” make my case).
The funny thing about New York City is the average pizza venue is pretty bad. Just warning you. But Joe’s lives up to the New York promise of wonderful pizza (if you prefer thin crust). Caveat: you must insist on a fresh slice, like a local. You’ll figure it out.
Best times to visit: During your office hours.
The Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station
One of the few remaining public dining venues which has stayed true to its roots as an everyman cafeteria. (The Met, in contrast, shuttered its traditional cafeteria and only partially redeemed itself by opening the “The Balcony Bar”.) The Oyster Bar is an informal yet elegant and interior design landmark. If you take our advice on the Hudson Valley hack, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop in here for lunch.
Best times to visit: In the winter, to cheer yourself up during lunchtime hours.
Macy’s Herald Square
You may have read about the Macy’s closure epidemic sweeping the nation, but it has not, and probably will never (fingers crossed) affect the flagship Macy’s Herald Square in Manhattan. And yes, this is the same building in which Santa Claus performed his miracle on 34th St. Case closed.
And by the way, don’t expect the same paltry selection of the Macy’s of your childhood in that one suburban mall. This department store offers every designer brand you’ve ever heard of (and no, it’s not cheap).
Best times to visit: Christmas Eve (so you can experience “Madness on 34th St.” firsthand).
How Long Should You Stay in New York City?
Yes, the city is exhausting.
Even the modern sanitized version of it still has the manic feel of a roller coaster ride with your phone just about to drop out of your hand while you try to prevent your friend from vomiting, and meanwhile, you catch a fleeting glimpse of the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. All while being yelled at. And you will eventually yell back.
But coming from a New York veteran, stick it out at least one year. You must live all the seasons. Have you ever stood in the snow at an above-ground subway platform in Queens, waiting for the N Train to ferry you down to your Canal St. office? No? Well, then tough it out.
Two years is the standard, and if you can make it to three, you’re automatically amazing.
But there’s no requirement to be a lifer; if you move here, work here, study here, and live here for at least one year … you can make it anywhere.
11 years. 250,000 moves. 100,000 reviews. 1 awesome new look.
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I am one of the lucky ones who found my first job right out of school. But that secretly meant my living expenses suddenly skyrocketed after I had to buy a used car, move away from home and find and furnish an apartment.
Don’t get me wrong, I knew those purchases would be way more expensive than the usual trip to the grocery store. But there were so many details I didn’t even realize existed. It was a crash course.
Now I want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Here are the random expenses that hit me after graduation, plus how I survived a rocky first few months so that I remained intact before my first adult paychecks could make an impact.
1. Moving Costs More Than You’d Think (But There’s a Hack for That)
Moving101 Container Price Comparison
When I graduated I lived on campus, but I still somehow had a lot to move into my first apartment. The first thing I did was figure out if anyone could help me move. In return for snacks, my friends and family were happy to offer some manual labor. I got lucky!
But when I got a job, it ended up being located out of state. So to save money, I figured out I could rent a truck and tow my car behind it, and only hire movers to do the lifting. Getting your own vehicle and hiring labor separately for either end of your move (Hybrid Moving) costs less than Full Service moving and varies dramatically in price, but the average cost is around $660. It’s an added cost, but plenty of critical time saved, which I needed.
HireAHelper lets you compare the price of movers and customize everything, from how many people help you move to what arrival time window you’ll need. The more options you can compare for a moving process the better, as every move is going to be a little bit different.
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How can someone so young take on that expense? Well, I barely had enough to cover the move, but here’s another thing I learned — many employers offer reimbursement for moving expenses! Make a note to talk with your new employer and ask if they make a similar offer. It was a lifesaver when my company helped me out so that I could put my money toward the next round of expenses!
I had to fill out paperwork and pay fees for the process of:
Getting an updated title for my car
Printing a new plate
Creating a new license
All of it cost about $200! Plus, there was the time it took to go to the DMV, get my new emissions test and talk with my car insurance company about my new address and license information.
Call the DMV where you’ll be moving to ahead of time for clarification because it really is a lot to deal with when you’ve never done it before. It definitely was for me.
3. Even My Used Car Had a Major Price Tag
An approximation of how getting your first used car looks.
When I was in school, I used my parents’ old car to get around to my part-time jobs and the grocery store. But after college, I knew I had to get my own ride. I’d been saving up for a while and figured I could negotiate the price of the car down to what I had in my savings account, but it turns out there’s so much more to it than that.
The only thing I knew about buying a car before I walked into the first dealership was that you have to negotiate your final price, but fees and taxes can’t be worked down. The dealer had to explain things like document fees and dealer fees, plus the sales tax. (Again, every state will be a bit different, though some fees are the same across the board.)
It’s smart to save up some extra cash to cover these fees since they’re non-negotiable. While you’re getting your down payment together, take steps to research what these expenses will be so you can better plan for the total cost of a car.
Lastly, make sure you can handle the monthly payment. While I saved enough for a hefty down payment, I did have to take out a small loan to cover the rest. I automated my car payments through my bank once my regular paychecks started rolling in so I would never risk jeopardizing my credit score with late payments.
4. My First Student Loan Payment Shocked Me
The amount I had to take out in student loans wasn’t nearly as drastic as what some of my friends had to sign for—proud state school grad here—but there are ways those loans can pull you into paying more than you originally borrowed. For starters, I had no idea what capitalizing interest was. Basically, it’s interest that’s triggered by specific events and causes your monthly payment to not even make a dent in your overall debt. The debt increases while your payments stay the same.
I also began to panic when the loan bills came in. I hadn’t even earned my first paycheck with my new job yet, so how was I supposed to pay $350 a month after already paying for moving and buying a car?
That’s when I started to research how to consolidate my loans, and it really saved me. The Department of Education can consolidate multiple federal loans with one fixed interest rate, which streamlines the process and extends your repayment period. Rather than juggling multiple payments, I just had to worry about one.
You may also consider private refinancing if you’ve landed a steady job and worked to build a credit score of at least 690. This can both consolidate your loans and lower your interest rate — but isn’t necessarily always the best choice for recent grads. Do your research!
(So I Learned a Budgeting Trick)
Sure, I’d managed my own bills in college, but between forthcoming loan payments and the costs of moving and a higher rent, I saw my expenses skyrocket.
So I did some research online and began militantly tracking all of my income and expenses with a Google spreadsheet. I vowed to follow the 50/30/20 budget, which stipulates that half of my earnings pay fixed expenses, 20 percent goes to debts and savings, and 30 percent is reserved for variable expenses like groceries and light spending.
It’s tempting to have your paychecks come in and put all your extra cash toward one big thing like a savings account or credit card debt, but metering it out will help you tackle everything at once. Building my savings while decreasing my debt has helped me more in the long run than just choosing one over the other.
Now, my healthy savings account means a minor emergency like a car repair doesn’t trigger any anxiety. After upending my meager college savings to move, a steady and dependable tracking system soothed my nerves and helped me navigate this whole new world.
5. Filling Up a New Apartment Drains Your Wallet
The process of finding my apartment was easy since everything is online now. I could map out how far each apartment complex was from my work and not have to worry about it being too far away. Actually getting settled was a whole different story.
I had to buy all my own furniture, and you can bet that I didn’t have the money to do it all at once! For a little bit, my apartment décor consisted of a mattress on the floor and the most basic kitchen supplies. A good list of basic apartment supplies you’ll need will consist of:
Don’t panic if your apartment doesn’t feel like home for a little while. Getting more than the basics will take time, but eventually, your new fancy budget will help you get everything on your list, and your apartment will gradually feel more like a home and less like a living space.
Plus, if you have a roommate, that makes your quest to fill the space of essentials even easier! Me? I bought myself a couch from a killer Amazon Prime Day deal—and I’ve been treating myself with one apartment item a month since.
Some of the above surprise costs were never mentioned to me because I didn’t know to ask about them.
Give your post-college world about six to eight months to settle down. Now, I’m much more financially secure and living in a home that feels cozy and welcoming. I’m finally ready to put some money into my travel fund and I don’t sweat the occasional sushi dinner. For now, you just have to buckle in and prepare for a crazy ride after that diploma lands in your hand.
Holly Welles is a millennial-focused real estate writer and the editor behind The Estate Update. For more home tips and financial advice, subscribe to her blog for even more financial advice.
How do you move your piano? As with moving anything, the answer revolves around three objectives:
Keeping your piano safe
Keeping your home safe
Keeping yourself safe
No matter what type of piano you have, the best way to accomplish all three is by hiring a team of piano mover pros. Moving a piano on your own (or hiring non-professionals) is simply not a good idea.
Many (but not all) moving companies you find will move pianos as part of what they do. There are even a few who specialize in only moving pianos! The former might be a bit cheaper, while specialists will likely be more expensive.
How much does it cost to move a piano?
Another common question. And the answer is always the same.
It mostly depends on:
What kind of piano you have
How heavy it is
How many obstacles (stairs) the movers will have to negotiate
The ballpark is typically between $200-1,000+, touching on both ends of the price spectrum.
And it’s a safe bet that hiring piano moving specialists will cost more than having a typical moving company do it as part of your overall move.
As for how many movers you need, and therefore how much it might cost, figure:
2-3 movers for a vertical piano (or 4 if it’s on the heavy end)
4-6 movers for a grand piano
Multiply by your movers’ hourly rate (very roughly $25-40) and there’s your estimate!
If your total sounds a little high, remember what counts: protecting your piano, protecting your home, and protecting yourself. Hate to say it, but getting that locked down no matter the price should be music to your ears.
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Who should I hire?
Who you hire will depend on these questions:
What type of piano do you have?
The two major types of pianos are vertical pianos and baby grand pianos. A baby grand piano is an entirely different beast from a vertical piano, and it will impact who you hire.
While many standard moving companies have the tools and the know-how to move a baby grand, as you move up the scale toward larger, heavier and more expensive grands, you should consider hiring a specialist.
How heavy is your piano?
Is it a three-foot, three hundred pound spinet, or a five-foot, half-ton upright?
Even if you somehow don’t know this, a moving company will either ask, or take an educated guess based on the info you provide, then prepare accordingly.
Where do you live?
Surprisingly, some states have very specific laws regarding piano transportation, due to weight regulations. Unless you are a touring musician, you’re unlikely to know your particular state’s laws, as well as any sticky interstate regulations. Professional movers will likely know all this info for you already.
What is the path out of your location like?
This is strictly the path from piano to truck. Distance is not a problem. Staircases are significant. The more you have and the heavier your piano, the more expertise and number of movers becomes a factor.
How does an upright piano get moved?
Very carefully, we hope. But if there are no staircases to negotiate, don’t be surprised if only two movers show up. Even for a heavier vertical piano, all it takes is for one person to lift one end and one person to position a 4-wheeler underneath.
On average, the process of handling a piano – from wrapping it to moving it to securing it on the truck – only takes about an hour. Multiple flights of stairs and tight pathways will, of course, require more time.
But just like every other piece of furniture, a piano needs to be wrapped in thick, protective moving pads. It might seem strange if – potentially – your movers don’t wrap your piano before moving it. However, pads can make it tough to get and keep a firm grip on just about anything bulky and heavy. As a professional mover myself, I personally prefer to wait until the piano is on the truck before wrapping it up. Your movers might want to do the same.
Your movers will also likely have no problem negotiating a step or two (or three) without the aid of a third set of hands.
An entire staircase almost always requires a third person who (absolutely) should be helping out on the lower end of the piano, whether going up or down. The mover handling the higher end, meanwhile, will be bent over trying to keep their side under control. Here, too, a second set of hands is helpful, if not crucial.
But this is a professional’s job. Resist the temptation, if one arises, to jump in and help. Please, trust me on this.
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Though I’ve never done it myself, it is entirely possible as a last resort to turn a vertical piano upside down. If your movers do this in order to slide your heavy upright down a flight of stairs, understand it is not for any reason but the safety of your piano and your home – and possibly the movers themselves. (You may, however, question them if they try to slide your piano, on any side, across a bare floor or bare steps if that piano has not been pad-wrapped!)
What should I expect if I have to move a baby grand piano?
A grand piano requires an entirely different approach, not to mention totally different equipment. And if only two movers show up? Get between them and your piano and demand they call the office and double, if not triple their manpower. The steps for moving a grand piano show us why.
Don’t try this at home. When you hire a professional to move your baby-grand piano, this is exactly what you should expect them to do:
Your piano is wrapped – across the top and all around the sides
All but one of the crew grab hold around the left front corner of the piano
The one remaining mover crawls under the piano to remove the bolt from that corner leg. The crew lifts the corner slightly off the floor
The mover under the piano (gently) bangs the leg loose from its bracket with a rubber mallet
Half the crew holds that now-legless corner up while the other half grabs hold of the piano along the opposite side
Legless corner gets lowered to the floor while the movers on the opposite side lift up to keep the weight of the piano off the two remaining (and now diagonal) legs. (This is critical to make sure those legs don’t crack under the piano’s considerable weight.)
The left side of piano – the longest side – is set on the piano board the movers need to have brought. This strong narrow platform is padded, has a raised lip on one end, and sports two metal brackets on each side for the ratchet straps necessary to keep the piano strapped tightly to the board
Once the piano is strapped firmly in place the remaining two legs are removed, the piano is tilted so a 4-wheeler can be placed under the piano board, and the crew keeps it steady as they get rolling
That’s a lot of technical stuff. Could you even keep up?
Normally, the grand piano will remain on the piano board all the way to the owner’s new living room. But if you rented a rig from Budget truck rental and are using local moving labor like HireAHelper provides, expect the move-out crew to take your piano off their board once it is on the truck. They’ll set it on extra pads and strap it tight to the (inside) wall of the truck, and the unload crew will put it on their piano board to haul it into your new home.
Don’t worry, many of HireAHelper’s movers are well-qualified to handle your piano. Just make sure to checkmark that you own a piano while browsing the nationwide marketplace. And be sure to let the winning mover know what kind you have so they can bring all the right equipment – and enough manpower – to do the job right. Your piano deserves it.
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