How (not) to move within the city

4 Jun

In 2008, I moved from a shared studio (!!) on Madison to my own bedroom in Murray Hill. I didn’t have a friend with a car or family living nearby — thus, it was the most hellish day of that entire year.

Here are the very few things I did right, and what I wish I’d known:

An image from my actual moving day. Otherwise known as hell on Murray Hill.

What I did: Lugged boxes from the U-Haul store on the West Side Highway to my studio on 36th and Madison — on the M34 bus.
What you should do: Do not pay for boxes — get them from Craigslist (often listed under the free section), the grocery store’s recycling or the street. Look around and you’ll see them everywhere!

What I did: Assumed I could move on whatever day I wanted.
What you should do: Check with your super to see if there are certain days you’re not allowed to move out on. Some buildings, whether by law or preference, don’t want you to move out on a weekend. (And OH, did my grumpy super let me have it. I’ve never been screamed at like that before or since. Let’s just say tears ensued, and they weren’t his.)

What I did: Because of the expense, I was anti-movers at first. However, once I mentally took myself through renting and driving a U-Haul on my own through Manhattan (and even possibly hurting someone), I wised up in time.
What you should do:
Save up for Man With A Van, or something like it. I paid about $140. The rub: Usually there’s a per-hour minimum of two or more hours; my move took about 43 minutes. (Also: They will be late. The guys were super friendly, but they were two hours late coming from Queens, due to rain. Rain!)

What I did: Failed to consider the cost of moving my mattress. Instead of a few short car trips or cheap cab rides, I hired movers only because of a mattress.
What you should do:
A cost-benefit analysis. If it was cheap and you’re going a long way with a lot of stuff, consider buying a new one instead of paying to move it.

What I did: Dated someone at the time who indeed had a car, but who insisted he had to be somewhere that day and couldn’t help me move. As karma would have it, his car was towed from my street that day. He ended up at a West Side Highway impound lot, only to call me and lament that he wasn’t being allowed to leave (even after paying a hefty fine) because woops, he forgot to renew his license. My friend Katie, who had planned to help me move, graciously agreed to take a cab to the impound lot and drive his car out of the lot. It was a stick. She only knew automatic. It was ugly.
What you should do: Eh, OK, so that’s unlikely to happen to you.

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One Response to “How (not) to move within the city”

  1. Chris 08/01 at 12:27 am #

    Great stuff on this blog. I really enjoy it. Thanks!

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