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Relocating to New York City is probably one of the more difficult long distance moves any individual could take on, but what about moving within the city?

Honestly, that’s not so easy either. Within Manhattan, moving from one apartment to another presents a variety of logistical issues, not to mention spatial challenges and time constraints. When I moved across town from the Upper East Side to the Upper West Side, I had no idea how tough it would be to haul my belongings a few short miles. But just as real estate is a different world in NYC, other mundane tasks such as moving come with their own set of rules as well.

Whether you’re switching boroughs or merely hopping apartment buildings a few avenues east, keep these tips in mind to make your moving day run like a well-oiled machine.

1. Hire efficient movers

First and foremost, hiring the right movers is essential. I made the mistake of going with movers who were not accustomed to moving an apartment filled with furnishings and personal belongings in a short few hours. They were antique movers, so they weren’t familiar with working on a tight schedule and transporting a lot of boxes, but instead carefully moving large pieces of expensive furniture or art. 

In New York City, you won’t have an unlimited amount of time to move, so hiring an experienced moving company who can get the job done well is as important as the moving truck itself.

2. Reserve enough time for your building

If you live in an elevator building, part of the protocol is to reserve your elevator for a block of time so you can move out. That’s to ensure that no other residents choose the same day and time, which will hopefully keep the elevator vacant so you can move in and out more efficiently. Hiring an experienced NYC mover comes in handy here too– you wouldn’t want to exceed the amount of time allotted for your move-out, which is what happened to me because my movers didn’t have experience moving a lot of items in a few hours. 

3. Pack as many items as possible

This point might seem like a no-brainer, but packing the majority of your items will keep the moving process from turning into a nightmare filled with excess tchotchkes. Stacked boxes take less time to load and unload than single pieces, so get hyper-organized before moving day. Your things are much less likely to get damaged too.

4. Keep your old apartment for a few weeks or 30 days if you can

Overlap time isn’t always doable, but if it is, I say, go for it. If you have the budget to pay for an extra month or even two weeks in your current residence, you might want to spring for it. You can move some of your more valuable belongings into your new pad ahead of the movers, and you’ll also have time to paint, clean up, and tweak the apartment before space is piled high with moving boxes. Once everything you own is sitting in your new one-bedroom apartment, you’ll barely be able to walk, let alone disco dance to celebrate your new place.

5. Scout out your street in advance

Figure out where your moving truck will be able to park, or more than likely, in Manhattan, double park. The truck will have to be stationary for several hours, depending on how much you’re moving. The last thing you’d want is for the movers to show up and have no spot for them to stage and load.

6. Don’t select a prime day or time for your move

You won’t be able to control factors like weather or traffic, but if you can move in the middle of the day rather than at rush hour, you’ll be ahead of the game. If you live in a part of the city that’s tourist-laden, avoid moving on holiday weekends, because double parking a moving van will be extra tight with the excess traffic.

7. Check the street closure list

The city shuts streets down on a regular basis, so you’ll want to map out your route to your new apartment and be sure that you don’t attempt to take a street that’s closed. For instance, Fifth Avenue is the parade route, so you’d want to avoid this street and other streets surrounding it. Or better yet, schedule your move on a completely different day to avoid the parade chaos.


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