Checklist Before You Move to NYC

Moving to New York City can be a daunting experience for any individual, whether they are moving from within New York or halfway around the world. While some moving day tips are obvious, it’s easy to forget certain things before a big move. Keep reading for 13 key tips to remember on your moving day.

1. Check out the Neighborhood

Your ability to visit your new neighborhood before moving is dependent on a variety of factors, it’s best to do as much research about the area you are moving to. If you’re moving from Long Island to Manhattan, checking out the neighborhood is as easy as getting on a train. However, in the event you’re moving from out of state or out of the country, you need to use other resources to scout out what type of neighborhood you’ll be moving to.


One of the best ways to research your future New York neighborhood is to look for guides online. The article entitled “Best NYC Neighborhoods to Buy a Condo” from ManhattanMiami gives a useful guide to the new condo inventory in different NYC neighborhoods and some pros of the new developments. This article will point you to the newest Manhattan condos as you search for your new home. As you read through the guide, it will help to inform your decision about where in Manhattan you should move and which of the mentioned condos to consider.

In addition to reviewing important details about condo or apartment you are hoping to move into, it’s good to check out crime reports and the cost of living in your area. If you find that there have been constant reports of criminal activity in the area, you’ll still have time to look for property in another place.


Other important factors to consider when looking at your neighborhood is the cost of transportation. Do you plan to own a car when you move? Research the cost of gas in that neighborhood. Are you hoping to use ride-sharing apps or public transportation as part of your commute? Consider this a factor when deciding what space you want to move to.

2. Contact Moving Companies

Just as packing up should be done well in advance of the actual moving day, so should reserve a moving company. The best moving companies with the most affordable prices always book up quickly. This is especially true during the busiest moving months of the year.


To get the best deal and guarantee your belongings are in the hands of professional movers, contact moving companies as soon as you know the date you’re moving. As you shop around for the best prices, be sure to speak with multiple moving companies. When signing the contract, be wary if the movers ask for a deposit as this can be a sign that the company is unreliable or running a scam.

3. Purge Your Belongings

One of the first parts of preparing for your move to New York City must include going through your home or apartment to go through all of your belongings. This is the process where you sort all of your items into items you will be taking with you, as well as items you want to sell, donate, or throw away. While you may at first be tempted to take most of your belongings with you, it’s important for you to realize that you’ll need to downsize as the move to the city can be significantly more expensive the more items you bring with you.


When determining how to downsize your belongings, first consider the amount of space in your new place. Are you moving into an apartment that is half the size of your current place? Are you driving to your new home in your personal vehicle? Asking these types of questions will help you decide what will stay and what will go.


Start paring down by choosing the essentials first. As you sort through your furniture, clothing, kitchenware, and the like, ask yourself if each item is something you can live without. If the answer is yes, these items will go into either the donate, sell, or trash pile. Always remember, if you absolutely need a piece of furniture or equipment, you can always purchase it after you’ve moved into your new place.

4. Transfer Utilities, Schools, and Doctors

In addition to handling packing up one’s belongings, part of preparing for a move also requires one to handle all the details that comes with moving house. For example, families moving to New York City with children should set their children up with the new schools they’re moving to. If utilities aren't going to be set up already, be sure you make arrangements with the utility companies several weeks in advance.


As you tie up any loose ends that come with a change of address, make sure that you arrange to have your mailing address changed online. In addition to ironing this out with the USPS, be sure that all friends, family members, and clients are aware of your new address.

5. Create a Room-by-Room Inventory

Once you’ve figured out what essential items are making the move with you, it’s time to create an inventory of everything. This inventory will allow you to keep track of what items you have in total, what you’ve packed, what’s left to pack, and to determine if every box made the trip safely to your new home. As you prepare to take inventory, try to be a thorough as possible so you can refer to the checklist prior to moving to make sure you’ve covered everything.


While you can make this checklist by hand or on the computer, there are several apps you can use to make a digital inventory. These apps make it easy to create an interactive list with photos and descriptions of everything you’re packing. On moving day, simply open up the app and check that you have everything you need.

6. Track Your Packing Progress by Room

While each person may have a different packing timeline, it’s important to start as early as possible. It will always take longer than you might imagine to finish packing all of your belongings, so allow yourself ample time. Instead of making your packing a free for all by throwing various items into boxes in every room of the house, try to go with a more methodical packing process.


Take your time packing up your belongings by going room to room. As you pack up every room, be sure to label each box accordingly. To truly make your unpacking process that much simpler, consider detailing what exactly is in each box on the side of the box, as well as what room they’re destined for when they get to your new home. This way, you’ll make quick work of unpacking once everything is unloaded off the moving truck.

7. Make Travel Arrangements

There are many more travel arrangements to consider when trying to get from point A to point B. Are you driving your car to New York City? You’ll need to figure out how many stops you’ll need to make, where you’ll be staying, where you’ll be eating, and how much money to allow for gas. For those that are making this drive, it is also important to make sure your car is up for the long drive.


Flying into NYC? Start looking at flights at least a month and a half before you need to travel. Will you be able to move into your home as soon as you arrive? If no, find a hotel or Airbnb that you can stay in until you’re able to move in. If you’re hoping to find the cheapest travel arrangements, be sure to to do this step sooner than later.

8. Make Plans for Storage

One of the least desirable situations to find yourself in is to realize all of your belongings won’t fit inside the moving truck, let alone your new place. Moreover, while many people try their hardest to finish packing up long before moving day, life happens. It isn’t uncommon for people to find themselves the day prior to moving with more boxes than they can take with them.

If you find yourself in the situation of having more boxes, furniture, or belongings than you bargained for, it’s time to consider storage. Prepare for this possibility by renting a storage unit prior to the moving day. All items that aren’t making the move with you should be brought to storage a week or so before the actual moving day.

9. Arrange for the Cleaning of Your Old and New Home

Prepare your old home for the new owners or renters by having professional cleaners come in a few weeks before you have to move. Ideally, the cleaners will come in after all your belongings are all safely packed away. Though this step isn’t a must, it is a nice way to pay it forward to whoever will be moving in next.


As you make plans to clean your old home, be sure you make arrangements to clean your new home. If you can, schedule a deep cleaning of your new place a few days before you move in. This will ensure that your place is move-in ready once you arrive. If you can’t get into your new home or apartment until moving day, try to avoid completely unpacking until every nook and cranny of your new apartment has been cleaned.


For some renters, the landlord will arrange to have the room cleaned. If this is the case for you, be sure to confirm that the room has been cleaned in the weeks before your move. A few days before your move, be sure to confirm again with the landlord that your room is clean and ready.

Another cleaning tip to consider during the few weeks leading up to your big move, have your rugs professionally cleaned. Cleaning your rugs beforehand will ensure that they arrive to your new home fresh and ready to unroll.

10. Pack a Bag of Essentials

Your bag of essentials is your personal bag that you will have with you wherever you go. This is your backpack or purse that you will take on the plane, in the car, or however you travel until you reach your destination. All essentials in this bag should be basics like toilet paper, a phone charger, toiletries, a change of clothes, and anything else you'll need to survive during your trip to your new home.


In addition to all these essential items, be sure to keep your confidential items safely in this bag as well. This includes your medical documents, various forms of identification, and any other sensitive information that you cannot risk losing.

11. Visit Your Pharmacy

It will take you a few weeks to get settled after you move. Make things easier for yourself by going to the pharmacy and refilling your prescriptions so that you have a months-worth of medication to get you by until you run out. If you have extra time before your move, make arrangements to have your prescriptions transferred to your new pharmacy in the neighborhood that you’re moving into.

12. Confirm the Movers

Experienced movers that want a no-nonsense moving day encourage confirming with the moving company at least two times leading up to the moving day. Even if you’ve made a reservation months in advance, things happen. Avoid being left in the lurch on moving day by triple checking you are confirmed with the movers.


As you reach out to the moving company, verify what method of payments is accepted as well as what you will owe the movers. Ask for contact information for the movers, as well as the estimated arrival time of the moving crew. To ensure the movers are able to get to your new property as hassle free as possible, write or print out directions to hand to the movers when they arrive.

13. Arrange to Get the Keys

While you have to put all your energy into preparing for your big moving day, other people may drop the ball. Don’t wait until you arrive to contact the landlord or realtor for the keys to your new place. During the week of your move, arrange the time and place you’ll pick up your keys for your new apartment or home.


To make sure the moving day goes as flawlessly as possible, contact the realtor or landlord the day of to remind them of the time you are arriving. Ideally, you’ll be able to pick up the keys as soon as you arrive, which will allow you avoid any miscommunication or waiting hours to get into your new place.


The level of preparation is what makes a move simple or stressful. Set yourself up for the least-stressful move possible by using this checklist for your move. While you can’t plan for everything, this checklist will help you to be as prepared as possible before you move into your new home.