I mentioned it in a previous post but I recently moved to my first apartment on my own! In the past 2 years I’ve moved 3 times (one of them being cross-country from NY to LA), so I’m hoping that I can stay at this new place until I graduate in 2 years. Because I’ve moved so much I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help you have an easy move and to make your transition to your new place as seamless as possible.
Tip #1: Don’t move with loose items and use boxes (not garbage bags, shopping bags, etc)
So last year when I moved I had zero boxes because I was cheap and lazy. I just transported my things in my car in storage containers and garbage bags. By the time I had all my stuff in my space I was exhausted. On top of that NOTHING was organized and it took me forever to unpack. This time around I tried to do better. First off I bought boxes from U-Haul. They seem to have the cheapest prices, especially when you buy in bulk, and they buy back any unused boxes as long as you have your receipt. Personally I recommend the $39.99 easy pack box moving kit which comes with 20 boxes (10 medium, 10 small), 2 rolls of tape, a little thing of bubble wrap, some foam wrap, markers, and box cutters. I used the foam wrap to wrap my dishes and it worked perfectly. Personally I like it better than traditional bubble wrap. The kit had the perfect amount of boxes for all my stuff (1 bedroom + a few things in the kitchen and living room). I got an additional large box for $4 to hold all my shoes and I was golden. My roommate on the other hand used her moving kit solely on her clothes and a few items in her room, but she has a lot more stuff than me. However if you don’t have many things, this kit should be more than enough.
If you do get boxes from U-haul, try to find the official U-haul store. The “neighborhood dealers” don’t always carry everything and they sometimes mark up the prices. I got the large box from a “neighborhood dealer” which turned out to be a smoke shop that also sold boxes on the side and they had very little selection. The official stores have packing material, different box sizes, tape, bubble wrap and other moving supplies.
Tip #2: Movers don’t have to be expensive – shop local/ small companies or on Craigslist!
This time is the first time I’m having movers. I’m taking my bed, dresser, kitchen table, and couch with me and there’s no way I can do it myself. It’s currently step 1 season at my school so my friends aren’t really available to help with the moving process. I found a local moving company that has pretty good rates so I’m going with them. For less than $200, they will carry and transport all my stuff plus reassemble my furniture. The time it would take me to do this on my own or with friends is worth the cost and I can spend the rest of my free time doing other things.
I was contemplating finding someone with a truck on Craigslist but given that I’ll be doing this solo, I’m not sure I feel the most comfortable with a random man from the internet coming in and out of my place. However if I was with someone else, I’d likely go the Craigslist route because it was even cheaper than my deal now. Definitely check out U-haul too if you need to rent a van or truck and have a few hands to help. I suggest reserving your truck/ van in advance and overestimating the amount of time you need. To my knowledge they don’t charge extra for making longer reservations but you can get penalized if you bring your vehicle back late. If you do go with movers, try local businesses first. They usually have cheaper prices than the larger moving companies. The company I’m going with is local and has even cheaper rates if you pay cash.
Tip #3: Use Amtrak shipping for cross-country, or long distance moves!
If you’re moving cross-country then look into Amtrak shipping. Before I moved to LA, I shipped all my stuff from NY to LA via train for about $200. They don’t take furniture but it was a great way to bring all my clothes, shoes, books, and small personal items without checking a bag and paying several hundred at the airport for multiple suitcases. You do have to pick up the items from the local Amtrak station but I packed everything in 4 large suitcases so I was able to just load them into my car relatively easily. Keep in mind that it is priced by weight but the rates are super cheap (I’m talking cents here) and regardless, Amtrak shipping is still cheaper than paying for multiple checked bags at the airport. It takes about 5-10 days to ship your items and they only hold your stuff for about 3-4 days when it reaches the station. To avoid issues, I shipped my items two days before my flight to LA so I would arrive before my stuff did. When I got to the train station in LA, I went to the loading dock and grabbed my suitcases from my shipping pallet and was on my way.
Tip #4: Pack systematically and declutter as you go!
This move was relatively painless compared to other moves. I started by packing my desk first, then my dresser, and then my closet. Beside me I kept 1 garbage bag for trash and 1 for clothes I didn’t need/ want. My rule of thumb was if I haven’t used it, thought of it, or needed it since my last move it got sent to donations (or trash, if it wasn’t in good shape). I got rid of most of my school supplies, more than half of my wardrobe and a ton of shoes. I’m also planning on getting rid of a lot of hair products I don’t like or use. You don’t have to be as extreme as me. Personally I absolutely HATE clutter and I’ve been meaning to overhaul my wardrobe anyways. I still had items from freshman year of college and a few pieces from high school so this was a much needed purge.
Tip 5: Don’t forget to forward your mail and update your address!
Forwarding your mail is probably something you’ve already thought to do, but don’t forget to update your voter registration, switch your utilities/ cable/ wifi accounts, change the address on your drivers license & identification, and update your address with your school, banks, and credit card companies. If you’re moving, you can also try to get “new move” rates with your local TV and cable provider. When I called to switch my address, I was “instantly eligible” for cheaper bundled rates for my new place. Also ask for discounts on utilities. LA Department of Water and Power gives discounts if you are disabled and if you make less than $31,000/ year (aka students like me). They also provide free shower heads that use less water, which is good for the environment (aka California drought) and makes the water bill easier on your wallet! I’m not sure what discounts other states have but it’s definitely worth checking out.
I am so excited to finally have a space of my own to decorate it exactly how I like. I’m still searching Pinterest & the internet like crazy for studio apartment friendly furniture and decorating ideas. I know exactly how I want my space to look (hint: I may or may not be obsessed with this dusty pink color I recently used to update the blog, which was also the old color of my walls in my last place). Definitely keep on the lookout for new posts in my Studio to Home series to follow along with my studio apartment decor journey!