226 W 150th st.
45 W 139th St
40 Pinehurst Ave.
Photo By: Mathew Henry
By Bohemia Agent Maria Failla
Moving. A word New Yorkers dread almost as much as “bed bugs”. It’s stressful, expensive and in the summer…sweaty. As I spent the summer finding my clients their dream homes, I was also on the hunt for myself. And boy did I find my dream apartment: washer/ dryer (it’s okay to be jealous), dishwasher, gut renovation and located on the street across from my favorite bar in Hamilton Heights. I was so excited until I realized… wait… this means I have to move.
Listen: moving sucks. I will not sugar coat that. BUT there are ways to prepare yourself to make it suck less.
Here are some things I learned first hand in my process of moving – enjoy:
NUMBER ONE RULE IN MOVING: Be positive. Be nice. Negativity gets you nowhere. It’s amazing the difference an attitude can make. Commit to staying positive and helpful through the stress of the move for everyone’s sake. And anyways, no one likes a negative nancy.
Packing up the old apartment:
1) Engage in your community. Get free stuff.
a. Three weeks prior to my move I began visiting local businesses and asking if I could take shipping boxes off their hands. I stockpiled so many boxes that I couldn’t even use all of them! My entire book case was put into various wine boxes from my local liquor store (great size for larger books, ::cough musical anthologies cough::). Maybe I looked like a lush on moving day.... but the money I saved on boxes was enough to buy the good champagne to celebrate when it was all over!
b. I trolled local business for old newspapers to help with packing fragile kitchenware and photos. All of these small costs of items such as tissue paper for packing and boxes add up! Another great $$ saving trick is to pack your fragile items in your towels or clothes.
c. Another $$ saving idea from a friend was to order all of your groceries from freshdirect.com for several months leading up to my move and save the boxes. I didn’t do this, but I thought it was brilliant and worth sharing.
2) Order ONLINE.
a. You can get anything shipped to your NYC apartment these days. Order all of your packing materials online so you don’t have to schlep them back from the store. Saves time = time is money. Ideas:
i. Boxes (whichever kinds you don’t get for free from bullet #1)
ii. Packing tape
iii. Bubble wrap
iv. Plastic stretch wrap- kind of like large saran wrap that comes wrapped around a large rolling pin. Funny to maneuver, but so helpful if you want to wrap a bureau, set of drawers, or anything oddly shaped.
v. Exacto knife, very handy for unpacking and breaking down boxes after the move
3) Do a little bit every day. Don’t leave it all until the week before you move. For the three weeks leading up to your move, pick a time every day that you devote to packing. Even if its 10 minutes after dinner every night. Or just an hour every Saturday or Sunday. Chip away at it.
4) PURGE. Moving is an amazing opportunity to set up a new environment for yourself. Don’t bring your old baggage with you…literally! Haven’t worn that impulse purchase you bought over a year ago? Donate. What about that sexy ninja turtle costume from your college Halloween party in the back of your closet? You’re right… that costume is awesome but its wasting space. Throw it out. You’ll make a new, even more brilliant costume this year.
a. Try to consign any clothing you haven’t worn in the last year! Depending on what condition and season you’re clothes are in, you can actually get cash money for them! I went to Crossroads Trading Co. (www.crossroadstrading.com) and Buffalo Exchange (http://www.buffaloexchange.com), wound up with about $50 in cash and then donated the rest at the store.
5) Pack a first day essentials box. Learn from my mistake. I wasted so much money my first week in my apartment from having to eat out every meal because my kitchenware was buried in communal boxes that hadn’t gotten unpacked yet. Pack a box labeled “day 1” with a pan, spatula, a couple of plates and glasses, toilet paper, toiletries, laptop/phone chargers … anything you’ll need to make some eggs, shower and update your Facebook status before work. This will save you stress and money during your first few days in the apartment.
Moving to the new apartment
1) If you can, try and get into your apartment a day before your move and do a cleaning yourself. Normally the apartments are clean, but for my peace of mind I did a Swiffer mop job of all of our floors and Lysol wiped our bathrooms and kitchen BEFORE we moved in. It will feel nice to know your apartment is squeaky clean. We also bought caulk and filled all of the cracks in our floors and ceilings to keep our apartment bedbug free. Check out this idiot proof instructional video on how to caulk your apartment: https://www.zappbug.com/get-rid-of-bed-bugs/bed-bug-proof-cracks/
2) To use or not to use? Movers. This is a tough decision for most people. Movers do not come cheap, but in my opinion they are the BEST decision you could make for your move. These are paid professionals who literally do this day in and day out. They know how to pack your vintage armoire that your grandmother gave you or your 6 foot mirror you bought at Brooklyn Flea so they make it to your new apartment in the same condition they were in when they left. They also do EVERYTHING for you. I had NO IDEA how awesome and stress free my actual moving day would be because of my movers. I used Oz Moving Company (http://www.ozmoving.com) who has an amazing reputation amongst New Yorkers and Bohemia Agents. Quentin, Pedro and Juan --my new best friends-- showed up at my door at 9 am sharp with a checklist and a goal: get me and my things out of my old apartment and into my new one in the most efficient, easy, and stress free way. The only way I could describe what happened in the next three hours was that they all turned into Tasmanian devils and whirled around my apartment with such expertise, grace and urgency that before I knew it, the truck was packed and we were out the door. Every time I tried to lift a finger to help, Quentin would insist that I “sit down and enjoy your move”. ENJOY my move? WHAT? Are you kidding? Isn’t this supposed to be the most stressful day of my life? Oh… guess not if you suck it up and hire movers. My wrinkle free face and ulcer-less stomach say it was worth it.
3) If you choose not to use movers: prepare, prepare, prepare. Choose dependable friends or family that you know will show up on time and ready on the big day. Stay positive and make the experience as enjoyable as possible for you and your helpful friends: play music, have lots of water and snacks on hand for them and be appreciative (write thank you notes with cookies the following week). Make sure you budget and treat them to beer and dinner after the move is over.
a. Word of warning: some of my roommates chose to not use movers and experienced the quintessential moving day from hell. The truck they rented wasn’t large enough for everyone’s’ stuff which resulted in having to make two trips back and forth. Moving their stuff took way more time than they had anticipated which cost them three extra hours of truck rental fees that added up.
4) Make a floor plan for your new place! One of my favorite parts of moving was making the floor plan of my new room. I took measurements of my new room and measured them on a piece of paper (1 foot=1 centimeter or inch depending how big you want it) to create a “mini 1 dimensional room”. Then made small to-scale cut outs of all my furniture with their corresponding measurements and played around with where to put them in my new room. When I made my decisions, I taped the mini furniture down and used it on moving day as a guide for my movers. This expedited the process because we knew exactly where everything was going and wasted no time guessing and moving furniture around = no extra time wasted when you pay your movers (or trunk rental) by the hour.
5) Plan something nice to look forward to at the end of the day. Make a dinner reservation (two hours later than you think you’ll be done) or pick a movie to go to at the end of the day. Having something to look forward to at the end of the stressful day helps you get through it.
1) Don’t put it off! The enormous pile of boxes in my room was so overwhelming I didn’t even know where to start! But I took a deep breath (after drinking a glass of wine) dove in and just started. Soon enough, one box was down…then two… then three… there was one pesky box that stayed open in my room for about a week, but DAMN it felt good to finally break it down and be box free! You won’t be able to settle in until the boxes are gone, so just do it!
2) Try and get your window installments up as quickly as possible. It makes it feel more like home… and the sun makes your apartment friggin hot… not fun for unpacking. Some of my roommates waiting a week to finally get to hanging their shades and paid for it with the summer heat.
3) Stay on top of garbage and recycling. When one box is unpacked, break it down and put it somewhere out of the way. Then start on the next. At the end of every couple of hours, take the boxes and whatever garbage that accumulates out. This will give you the space you need to figure out where everything is going!
A final thought:
Something I was rather unprepared for was the rush of emotions I felt on actual moving day after I had finished cleaning my old apartment. I think because moving is so stressful, I had laser focus on the logistics of it, but what I didn’t realize was that I was leaving a part of my life behind me.
This was my first NYC apartment. I had become an adult here. As a professional singer and performer, I had gotten my equity card, come and gone from my first national Broadway tour, regional contracts and even performances in Europe and always had that apartment to return home to. While living in that apartment I dated so many of the wrong guys (although they were all entertaining to myself and my roommates as most NYC dating is), and I FINALLY found and fell in love with the right one. I learned what my credit score was, paid my first set of adult bills, and started my retirement fund and a bunch of other “adult” things in that apartment. I worked 6… yes SIX side jobs in that apartment and FINALLY found and fell in love with Bohemia Realty Group and my job as a licensed real estate salesperson that leaves me fulfilled and inspired by my clients everyday as I pursue my lifelong dream of performing on “The Great White Way”. I was filled with gratitude for all of the life experiences that tiny room had been there for and just balled my little eyes out. Then with a smile and tears rolling down my face, I closed the door to my old apartment and suddenly felt a wave of excitement for all of the life milestones waiting ahead of me in my new apartment.
In the midst of your next move, take 5 minutes and make a list like the one I just made. You will be blown away by what you come up with and filled. Then make a list of all of the milestones you look forward to in your new apartment! Maybe put it on the fridge as a constant reminder of where you came from and where you’re going.
Remember, moving is an opportunity to create an entirely new space, energy and lifestyle for yourself. Stay positive, stay calm, smile and be grateful you get the opportunity to live in this wonderful city.
For most photos of my moving weekend search #MovingWithMaria on Instagram or follow MVF10.
Interested in moving in Upper Manhattan? Email me at email@example.com and let’s talk about finding you your next dream apartment and making it as stress free as possible.
Thinking of moving? Use Oz Movers and tell them Maria from Bohemia Realty Group sent you! They will hook you up with wonderful perks and give you the best and most stress free move possible! They did for me! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Stay tuned for another #MovingWithMaria blog next week with tips on how to get your security deposit back!