NYC Moving Guide

Moving to NYC Part I: Moving Day

Moving to NYC? It can be both exciting and overwhelming. As an international hub of commerce and culture, there’s no shortage of exciting career opportunities and unique things to do in the Big Apple once you’ve settled in. But moving yourself and all your belongings to the most populous city in the U.S. can be quite a challenge. Not to worry, we’ve got your back. Here are some smart moving tips for anyone planning on moving to New York City.

Organizing & Downsizing
If you’re moving to New York City from a more rural or suburban area, you’ll likely need to downsize.
Treat this as an opportunity to go through belongings like clothes, appliances, and furniture and figure out what you can fit reasonably in your new apartment and what you should put in storage.

One thing to really consider when moving to New York is your car. Since NYC has plenty of public transportation and cabs, a car is not needed for transportation around Manhattan. Plus, finding a place to park is often impossible. You’ll need to consider the time you’ll spend looking for parking spots and the money you’ll spend paying meters and parking garage fees. If you’d like to have a car for weekend trips outside the city, consider a service like ZipCar as a smart, cost effective alternative. If you do plan on keeping your car in NYC, you should factor about $400 – $500 per month in parking costs into your budget.

Planning Your Move
Moving companies in NYC usually charge by the hour. For a long distance move, they may charge by weight or flat rate depending on where you’re coming from. Before you sign on with a moving company, make sure to do your research. In NYC, CubeSmart Customers can take advantage of great deals on moving like 10% off rentals on Penske moving trucks and a free move-in truck and driver through A Super Move.

If you prefer a DIY move to New York, you’ll definitely need to recruit a few able-bodied friends or family members to help you move in. Consider heavy items you’ll be moving in like mattresses, box springs, couches, chests and tables. How many people will be needed to carry these different pieces comfortably? Where in the building your apartment is located? Is it an elevator building or a walk-up? If a walk-up, how many flights? Be sure let them know this information when you ask so they can manage their expectations.

Driving & Parking NYC
Once you’ve recruited your movers, plan your transportation. Will you take multiple cars or a larger vehicle like an SUV or pick-up truck? If you’ve never driven in NYC before, get ready! A constant stream of pedestrians, cabs whizzing by, and narrow, one-way streets require drivers to be extra alert and careful. Larger vehicles will be tough to maneuver through tight city streets, so make sure that whoever is driving has driven a car that size before. Here are some quick tips on driving and parking in NYC:

  • Familiarize yourself with a map of your neighbourhood before you move. This way you’ll know in advance which streets are one-way.
  • Avoid driving in NYC during rush hours (roughly 8am-9:30am and 4:30pm – 7pm weekdays). You can get live NYC traffic updates here.
  • Parking rules often change in NYC for street cleaning. Look for an alternate side parking signs on the street (they’ll be marked by a red “P” and broom) to find out timing and avoid a ticket. Familiarize yourself with the alternate side parking schedule here or follow @NYCASP on Twitter for announcements to schedule changes or suspensions.
  • Find & compare parking garages here
  • Find gas stations here

As mentioned, parking in NYC is challenging, especially with a larger vehicle, so you may be lucky to find a parking spot near your new place. If you double park or put your flashing lights on while you unload your stuff, it will only be a matter of time before you get a parking ticket. Make sure someone in your group always stays with the car during your move in, and keeps it running. Take turns keeping watch to make it fair.

Remember to thank your recruited movers for their generous help by taking them out for food/drinks in one of NYC’s countless bars or restaurants. Follow Time Out New York or New York Magazine on Foursquare to find out some top spots closest to your location.

Home goods, hardware, and grocery stores can be found in every neighbourhood. Use any number of online neighborhood guides to find the closest stores in walking distance or take a quick ride on public transportation to get to there. Here are some quick links to popular stores with multiple NYC locations:

For more moving tips and tricks, use the comments section below to ask us a question. We’d love to hear from you!

About the author

The Storage Queens

We know a thing or two about moving. Together, we share the best tips in organizing, storage, navigating your city, and more!

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  • Moving to a new city can be stressful enough, but I have had to move states twice. It’s a huge hassle, and with no one to help you make the move, it’s something you have to do almost entirely on your own. Downsizing all your stuff ends up taking most of the time, I’ve found, and unpacking can be stressful. It’s worth it when you finish, though.

  • I liked this take on moving to the big city. My wife and I are contemplating a move to New York. Neither of us have ever lived outside of small, southwestern town. Are there particular moving companies that are better than others? I’m not sure if we can pack everything inside of one U-Haul.

  • You would need to carefully plan your entire itinerary if you want to ensure that moving out is a breeze for you. It is irrespective of the location that you are moving to because the things that need to be done are actually quite similar. However, the main factor is the size of the new place which you need to really take note of especially if you are downsizing. You are still within the safe zone if you are upgrading to a bigger unit as  that would mean you have more space to store all of the existing belongings plus a few more new ones.