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Moving made easy: Tips to help make relocating as painless as possible

Boxes should weigh 20 to 30 lbs. max

Boxes should weigh 20 to 30 lbs. max and need to be clearly labeled on all sides. (iStock) Credit: Boxes should weigh 20 to 30 lbs. max and need to be clearly labeled on all sides. (iStock)

Moving in the city is difficult due to stresses like traffic, building regulations, the heat and New Yorkers' tendency to be in a rush.

It’s always a stressful process, and while we can’t change that, experts have advice on how to make it a little easier:

Pack
“The biggest factor is, how much spare time do you have?” said Laurel Bynes, an expert at CityMove, a bidding website for moving companies that until recently was based on the Upper East Side (now in Arlington, Va.)

If possible, start planning your move two months ahead of time, she advised. This means shopping for moving companies early, or planning out your own method if you're doing it yourself (DIY) and stocking up on moving supplies such as boxes and bubble wrap.

Get boxes from you local liquor store or off freebie sites such as freecycle.org.

“Generally the best method is to [pack]one room at a time," Bynes said.

Andrea Boccard, vice president of marketing at the New York City-based price comparison company FlatRate Moving, recommended jotting down an inventory of all of your furniture and boxes.

In addition, “it’s good to set aside items that you're going to need immediately when you move in,” Boccard, who recently moved to the Financial District, added.

These include jewelry, prescriptions, cell phone chargers, your ID, cooking supplies, remotes and toiletries. Put them in a separate bag with all your other belongings that cannot be replaced.

Plan
“Probably one of the best tips that you can give for summer moving is just to book movers as far in advance as possible," Boccard said. If you're doing the move yourself, book your U-Haul in advance.

There are a number of different types of movers you can hire — from those who will move your stuff when it's already packed up to full-service moving companies that will pack your belongings for you.

"You have to talk to the management of your current building as well as the building you're moving into," Boccard added. This is because some buildings have specific times of day in which residents are allowed to move in or out, and some require freight elevators to be booked in advance.

"There are different restrictions for protecting the buildings you're in, the corners, the floor," she said.

Bynes warned that DIY moves can be as expensive as hiring a mover.

With booking a U-Haul or other moving truck and paying for its gas, plus getting all the supplies together, going DIY can cost you as much as $500 to $600, she said.

Protect yourself
Be very careful in picking a moving company, as scammers are common, experts advised.

And do your homework, Bynes said. Check for moving company reviews on Angie's List or from the state Better Business Bureau. You can also go to protectyourmove.gov to file a complaint or find information.

Also make sure that instrastate companies are registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation, but try to go with a company that's based in New York so the movers know local parking and traffic regulations and won't charge you out-of-state fees.

As for payments, the best way to go is to give a deposit up front and then pay the rest when the move is finished.

"If they come to your house and they're like, 'we need the full total right now,' generally that's a very bad sign because normally they give you an invoice when you get to the destination and that is when you pay them," Bynes explained.

Boccard added that a flat rate is the best option because if a company charges by the hour then the price is subject to change.

"It's likely that the price will skyrocket when the move is over," she said. In general, "when it comes to pricing, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is."

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IT’S TIME TO PACK

Here are some tips on packing up boxes:

-- Pack boxes as tightly as possible.
-- Boxes should not weigh more than 20 to 30 pounds each.
-- Heavier items go on the bottom to maintain balance.
-- Separate fragile items from unbreakable items.
-- Label every box clearly “fragile,” if necessary, on each side.
-- Take an inventory of your boxes and furniture.
-- Use Bubble Wrap or newspaper to protect fragile items.
-- Packing tape is the strongest and sturdiest tape.
 

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