Cities, Moving

How to Get Bulky Items Into Your Apartment When Moving in New York City

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If you’re a New Yorker, you’ve likely had to cope with moving into an apartment. With over two-thirds of occupied housing units in the five boroughs being rental units, most New York City residents will move at least twice during their time in the city. The concept is so ingrained in city traditions that May 1 is historically referred to as Moving Day, the day that annual leases with no established termination date lapse legally.

From negotiating cramped hallways and tight stairwells to double parking and coping with incessant traffic, moving in New York City presents challenges not found in any other city in the nation. These challenges are compounded when bulky items must be moved, such as furniture, appliances, large musical instruments, or fitness equipment. With the proper precautions, however, moving in the Big Apple can be less of a chore.

Plan, Plan, Plan

The first step a mover should take before moving is to take careful measurements. Not only should you measure the item that needs to be moved, you should also account for the expected  path it will travel both in its old building and in its new home. The height and width of all doors the object will pass through should be noted, as well as the width of the hallways and staircases. Also important are how much clearance staircases offer around turns, the dimensions of any freight elevators, and the size of any pinched walkways or entrances.

Most of the city’s multi-unit buildings are older than 100 years; with many converted tenement buildings, originally built to pack as many people into a small a space as possible. The result here could be narrow hallways, tight corners, or smaller-than-usual entrances that makes moving bulky items challenging. As such, you should not make blind assumptions when moving.

Find the Right Mover

Each NYC borough and neighborhood have specific laws and regulations regarding double parking, moving requirements, and acceptable freight delivery practices. It is important to find a mover that is familiar with not only the area you are planning to move to, but the area you are moving from. A knowledgeable, professional moving company familiar with moving in New York City could spare you frustration on moving day and money from costly repairs and fines.

A good place to start looking for a reputable mover is with your new landlord. They likely will have a list of movers available that have successfully relocated new residents into the building. Another option is to find a reputable service with experience moving bulky items. Take the time to talk to your prospective moving company; share your concerns about the move and the measurements collected during your walk-through. Be sure you are comfortable with the mover and its reputation before signing any agreements. Also, make sure your mover is bonded.

Pick the Right Time to Move

New York City is a busy place, and its traffic can be obnoxious. It is important to know when you can move to avoid any problems. Work with your landlords to avoid days during which other tenants are moving. Avoid move-in days that are on holidays or city celebrations, where access to streets or street parking may be restricted. Do not move in during rush hours or early morning, when traffic will be heaviest. Especially for heavy items, you may be required to move during off-hours— weekends or non-business hours, when traffic is lighter. Being flexible with your delivery time will make the process easier. is a great resource. Dolly uses gig workers who are local to the area. They also use smaller vehicles, like pickup trucks and cargo vans that are ideal for maneuvering around tight corners and through smaller streets. Dolly movers can also work around your schedule to ensure your move is seamless.

Prep Your Items

Depending on the item, it may be possible to make them lighter or smaller by disassembling them. Couches might have removable cushions, legs, and inserts. Table legs could be detachable. Exercise equipment might be collapsible or have removable weights. Your owner manual/manuals could provide insight on how to transform your item for storage or removal.

Also, you might have to wrap your item to be sure it doesn’t mark or scar the building’s walls or fixtures while being moved. Make sure you check with your landlord to see what type of covering is needed when moving, such as padded protectors. A floor protectant, like Masonite, may also be needed in the hallways when moving. Check with your landlords to see what moving requirements are needed.

Along these lines, selecting the right moving help is essential. For example, Dolly movers come with their own moving equipment and protectant supplies. They are equipped to provide wraps for larger furniture pieces and can even be able to help you with disassembly and assembly.

Now is the Time to Get Ready to Move

Moving in New York City can feel overwhelming, especially with bulky items. However, with a little foresight and a lot of planning, your large-item move does not need to be a headache. Be aware of neighborhood parking laws and moving regulations, communicate with everyone involved, ask questions, and be courteous. If you do these simple things, you will be able to enjoy your new place that much quicker.

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